Big Game Looms for Broncos and Wolverines

September 4, 2009

Tim Hiller looks to shock the world and the Wolverines this Saturday in Ann Arbor

Tim Hiller and Western Michigan look to upset the Wolverines this Saturday

Rarely does a sports fan have a conflict of interest in a singular game. Everyone has their favorite team that they root for with a diehard vengeance. A team, where if they lose on a given day, it will crush your spirit, ruin your day and make you punch a wall or kick the dog…Relax, I’d never do the latter, but the other three? Guilty as charged.

It’s no secret my love for the Maize and Blue. I grew up a Michigan fan since the day I can remember. Saturdays in the Fall you won’t find me anywhere but planted on a couch or a bar stool watching my beloved Wolverines take the field in hopes of acheiving eternal greatness, or at least pulling out a big win.

But, as most of you know, I did not attend the university. I applied to two schools – Michigan and Western Michigan. There was no other choice. Like I was going to go to school in East Lansing. Please…

Option A, or Option B.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t quite smart enough and not nearly wealthy enough for the tastes of Ann Arbor. It was a tough day for me when I received that letter of denial, but I carried on and attended WMU. Kalamazoo treated me just fine and I enjoyed my time there and believe that I acquired myself a a pretty decent education. And while enrolled at Kalamazoo, I became a pretty big fan of Bronco athletics as well. But it never trumped my love for the Wolverines. I followed both closely, and could spout of facts, history and rhetoric about both athletic programs (well, mostly football and basketball, those are really the only college sports that count.) Let’s face it though. Michigan is just that much more of a premier program and even though WMU has a special place in my heart, I will always be a Wolverine first.

Which brings me to the reason I am writing tonight. Who do I cheer for this weekend in the matchup between the Wolverines and the Broncos at the Big House? I have been to a couple games there before between the two schools. I sat in the WMU student section, sang the fight song, cheered with my fellow students and had a great time. But when Michigan ended up on the winning side of things, I was of course cheerful on the inside. Both times I attended, the Wolverines were a preseason top-10 team with Big Ten title aspirations and a great chance of making noise in the national picture. A loss to Western would have erased all those hopes. It would have been a great win for the Broncos if things had gone differently, but in the grand scheme of things, it would not have mattered all that much as the season progressed.

This weekend presents a different angle on the whole quandry. Michigan’s season starts off with more questions than answers. No one expects them to do too well this year, and just qualifying for a bowl game with six victories seems like a daunting task right now. It’s totally possible, but then again, it’s also not. A win for the Wolverines is expected and will give them a boost of confidence that is sorely needed for a team whose locker room is as divided as its fan base. But what about the Broncos? Some preseason publications have them ranked HIGER than their opening-weekend opponent. When was the last time that happened? My hunch, without doing any research, is never.

Never ever.

So the question is: Is this game bigger for U of M or WMU? In past seasons, Western has beaten Iowa, Purdue and Illinois all away from the friendly confines of Waldo. A road win against the (once) mighty Wolverines would be the biggest win in program history bar none. It can be done. The Broncos are led by one of the nation’s top quarterbacks in Tim Hiller, who isn’t as heralded as some other signal-callers across the country but is just as talented. He and his recieving corp will test a shaky Michigan secondary early. If they jump on the Wolverines early, watch out! WMU may be an underdog, but I like their chances of pulling off the upset.

I just don’t like the fact that I do like their chances, if that makes sense.

Saturday should be an interesting afternoon for both teams, both schools and both fan bases. And for one fan in general, a real conflict of interest.

Prediction: Michigan 31, Western Michigan 27


2 Responses to “Big Game Looms for Broncos and Wolverines”

  1. andyandvickie said

    Gotta go Broncos pal. If U of M didn’t want you, why should you love it back ???

    I am going to the game and will scream my lungs out for Western.

    And for the record, I got into Michigan, but chose to go to Western. There are 8 Bronco grads in my family, so tomorrow is a HUGE freakin’ day.

  2. chriswillemse said

    The admissions board isn’t the same as the football team, but I hear what you are saying. Michigan is the one team that will make or break my day, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love Western. I remember watching the Broncos play Marshall back in the day when they dominated the MAC, and that got to me too. Either way, it will be a bittersweet day. Thanks for reading.

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