Coming into this bowl game, the Central Michigan Chippewas (7-5, 5-3 MAC) and Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (7-5, 5-3 C-USA) finished with identical records and identical finishes in the standings, as the Chippewas finished 4th in the MAC West and the Hilltoppers finished 4th in the C-USA East.
However, the teams took totally different paths to get there. WKU needed a four-game winning streak in order to clinch bowl eligibility, includng a shootout of a win vs. then-ranked Marshall, while CMU suffered a tense home loss to rival Western Michigan in the last week of the season, finishing off a strange and emotional season, which saw them beat eventual MAC champions Northern Illinois, lose to disappointing Ball State the next week, and scrape by basement-dwelling Miami some time after.
They are set to face off in the Popeye's Bahama's Bowl. Here's evertthing you need to know about this game:
Where: Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium (max capacity: 15,000) Nassau, BAH
When: December 24th, at noon EST
TV: ESPN. Steve Levy, Mark May, Lou Holtz, and Laura Rutledge are on the call.
Streaming: ESPN3 and WatchESPN app. A valid cable subscription is needed to access these channels.
Radio: ESPN Radio will be carrying the game. John Brickley and Pete Najerian will be on the call.
Odds: Western Kentucky by 4, over/under set at 67, according to OddsSharks. In previous matchup, CMU won despite being a 6.5 point dog.
All-time series: Central Michigan is 1-0 vs. the Hilltoppers, with the only meeting in the 2012 Little Caesar's Pizza Bowl in Detroit.