Western Michigan Broncos vs. Air Force Falcons (-1.5, 56 o/u)
This Saturday, the 2014 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl will pit the Western Michigan Broncos (8-4, 6-2 Mac) against the Air Force Falcons (9-3, 5-3 Mountain West) at Bronco Stadium in Boise (5:45 p.m. Eastern).
At 8-4 on the year, the Broncos performed better than expected. The pessimism surrounding the team is evident from its tremendous 10-2 ATS record. Western Michigan rode a six-game SU winning streak into its last game of the season, but lost to MAC champs Northern Illinois, 31-21, in its last regular season contest.
Now the Broncos are looking to rebound and do something the school has never done: win a bowl game.
“This is going to be our sixth bowl game ever… We’ve never won one. There’s a lot of things we want to accomplish here, and I want our alumni to understand we want that to happen for your institution,” head coach P.J. Fleck said. “I want people to be proud of your institution because it’s winning and it’s on a national stage.”
Air Force ended the season with a 9-3 record and won five of their last six games. The Falcons were a perfect 6-0 at home, but just 3-3 on the road.
Like its brethren Navy and Army, Air Force basically ignores the passing game. The Falcons are ranked 118th in passing yards (151.3 per game), but average 272.2 rushing yards per game, eighth-best in the nation.
“We are thrilled to represent the Mountain West in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl against a quality opponent like Western Michigan,” Air Force Director of Athletics Dr. Hans Mueh said. “This will be a great opportunity for our team to compete in a Mountain West city and to finish out what has been a remarkable season. I’m very happy for our staff and players to play in a seventh bowl game in eight years. What a tribute to the kind of young people we have at the Air Force Academy.”
Air Force went to six straight bowl games from 2007 to 2012 (going 2-4), but missed out last year for the first time under coach Troy Calhoun. The Falcons’ last bowl appearance was a 33-14 loss to Rice in the 2012 Armed Forces Bowl. Their last win was over Georgia Tech (14-7) in the 2010 Independence Bowl. Air Force has a 10-11-1 all-time bowl record.
The odds have the Falcons as 1.5-point favorites and the game total is at 56 points. This will be the first ever game between Air Force and Western Michigan.
(Photo credit: U.S. Air Force photo/Mike Kaplan; edited by jjron (minor sharpening and shadow/highlight adjustment) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.)