Kalamazoo, MI (WKZO) – The forecast for Saturday in Kalamazoo is calling for a beautiful sunny day, a perfect afternoon for football. But if the Broncos lose on Saturday, it will become very cloudy and dark in the city of Kalamazoo. That being said, the Broncos have to beat Central on Saturday. HAVE TO. Doesn’t matter if it’s by 1 or 30, anything other than a victory for the Broncos could start a downward spiral that no one will want to see.
For the Broncos, a loss on Saturday will make the team 1-2 and with tough road games at Illinois and at UConn the next 2 weeks, it could possibly mean a 1-4 start to the season. Starting 0-1 in the MAC will also hamper a chance at a MAC Title, something many people expect out of this team.
A loss will also have a major impact on attendance at Waldo Stadium. Last week’s attendance was announced at over 19,000 with a good majority of that coming from the student section. The turnout from the student section was the largest I’ve seen in recent history. More students and alumni are expected Saturday, as a sellout is very possible. When the Broncos return to Waldo on October 8th for homecoming, a huge decrease in attendance could be seen if the Broncos lose to Central.
But the bigger impact from a loss might be the future of Head Coach Bill Cubit.
Now I don’t want to start any rumors that Saturday's outcome will put Cubit’s job on the line because it won't. Cubit has done an excellent job at recruiting and most importantly, he graduates his players and runs a clean program. He is loved by his players, coaching staff, Athletic Director Kathy Beauregard, President of WMU John Dunn and the city of Kalamazoo. But a loss to Central for a 6th straight year will start water cooler talk between administration, alumni and students that Cubit needs to be replaced. It’s the John Cooper effect. Cooper, the former head coach of Ohio State, was an impressive 111-43-4 with the Buckeyes but a very unimpressive 2-10-1 against archrival Michigan. It didn’t matter that Cooper’s teams finished in the top 10 5 times in an 8 year span or that OSU played in 3 BCS games. All that mattered was beating Michigan and Cooper struggled to do that. And in the end Cooper was fired after 11 years as the Buckeyes head coach.
And Cubit has struggled to beat Central.
Lately the Chippewa’s have had the Broncos number. To be fair, Central had the better teams for the majority of the time during the current losing streak. But this year is different. This year the Broncos are the superior team. They were as well last year but turnovers haunted the Broncos as Central escaped with a 26-22 victory.
The Bronco players have said all the right things this week. They have the confidence and swag needed heading into a rivalry game. They all know the importance of beating Central but not one current member of the Bronco Football Team has experienced a win against Central. 2 former Bronco players made an appearance at practice on Thursday, both of whom never beat Central. They talked about how still to this day it eats them alive knowing they never had the satisfaction of beating the Chips. And I know for a fact that this senior class doesn’t want to live with the same regret of never beating Central.
Saturday could be the start of something special for this current Bronco squad. A win would start the Broncos on the right track to win their first MAC Title in over 20 years. But a loss, regardless of what happens the rest of the season, will be remembered forever by the players that take the field Saturday afternoon. A memory hopefully no will have to remember.