#15 Western Michigan Football Preview: Cotton Bowl vs #8 Wisconsin

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Cotton Bowl SPREAD: Western Michigan football  +8 1/2

Cotton Bowl Kickoff: January 2nd Noon Central

ESPN TV: Bob Wischusen, Brock Huard, Allison Williams

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Wisconsin Badgers Preview:

To borrow a phrase from Jim Nantz, “It’s a tradition unlike any other,” at Wisconsin, when it comes to tailbacks.

Senior Badgers rusher Corey Clement is the latest in a long line that includes such stalwarts as Ron Dayne, Montee Ball, Melvin Gordon, James White, Anthony Davis, P.J. Hill, Brent Moss, Terrell Fletcher, John Clay and Alan Ameche.

Here’s a link to much more on Clement.

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Hello Wisconsin football friends, yes the #8 Badgers suffered a heart-breaking loss in the B1G Championship game, but now they move on to greener pastures at Jerry Jones’ monument of a shrine of a compound of a DeathStar in Arlington.

The actual Cotton Bowl stadium still exists, as it’s now home to the much lower on the pecking order Heart of Dallas Bowl. To be fair that game is actually closer to downtown Big D than Dallas Cowboys Stadium, which is where the Cotton Bowl has been held for several years now.

Call me a dinosaur, or a sappy traditionalist, but I believe that when you have a bowl game and stadium name the same, the venue should host it.

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Meaning the Cotton Bowl should be in the Cotton Bowl, the Rose Bowl in the Rose Bowl and the Orange Bowl in the Orange Bowl. Well, maybe scratch that last one as the classic Miami venue is now long demolished. Of course bowl games aren’t really breaking with tradition here after all when you look at what their tradition truly is. For that, you need to go to this link and read about the actual origin story of bowl games.

Wisconsin Football have their own version of Duke basketball’s Plumlees. If you’re a Plumlee brother, you go on to play hoops for the Duke Blue Devils. If you’re a Watt brother, then it’s Wisconsin Badgers football for you.

However, the Watts have a serious edge over the Plumlees, as we’ll detail for you now.

Moving on Junior Outside Linebacker T.J. Watt is the third and final member of his family to play football for the University of Wisconsin. He projects as a mid-first round pick, at DE/OLB in the 2018 NFL Draft.

t.j. watt

For more on T.J. Watt and the rest of the Watts, I suggest you check out this link.

Western Michigan Football Preview:

For the Badgers this game is a chance to make a big national statement by handing P.J. Fleck and company their first loss of the season. On the other side, it gives this Western Michigan football team an opportunity to show that they truly belong.

It’s another B1G/MAC showdown for Fleck and company, this one deep in the heart of Texas. WMU beat Northwestern on the road in a very tightly contested season opener. That win, over a 6-6 Northwestern side playing Pitt in the Pinstripe Bowl today, remains the Broncos best win of the season.

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They also went to Champaign and absolutely pantsed Lovie Smith and the Illinois Fighting Illini in all facets. It was a thorough whopping, and an ugly day for the B1G. Maybe the third time is now the charm for the league?

Perhaps Corey Clement in one last go around, and a tremendous opportunity to greatly impress pro scouts and wash the ugly taste of the B1G title game out of his mouth, will lead his favored Badgers to victory?

If so, they’ll have to contend with a stout, physical Broncos line.

2016 Western Michigan football has big boys on both sides of the trenches, as they have the beef eater bodies to fit right in with any B1G Team.

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Their start player though is wide receiver Corey Davis, a potential first or second round NFL Draft pick, who…well, let’s see, all he did was become the all time NCAA receiving leader last month. He’ll be the guy that Wisconsin Coach Paul Chryst must game plan around.

Getting Davis the ball is QB supreme Zach Terrell, who is just as superlative as a human being off the field as he is as player on it. When other college jocks are boozing it up and chasing tail in the tropics on spring breaks, Terrell takes his time off from school to go help the unfortunate in poverty-stricken countries.

He’s literally who you hope your son grows up to be.

PJ FLECK

The real star of the Western Michigan football team though is Head Coach P.J. Fleck. The always amped, forever quoted in ALL CAPS! mode, because he’s quite often YELLING LOUD NOISES is one of the game’s most entertaining sound bites and compelling characters.

You got to love his “I’m wearing all cotton everything all the time” bit after the Broncos won the MAC Championship game. Fleck modeled his style, approach and character after Northwestern Coach Pat Fitzgerald and then took the Coach-y McCoachington aspects of that demeanor up a notch.

Fleck took the amp with settings 1-10 and turned it up to 11. When the two men met in week one, it really was, in some ways the “Do You Even Lift Bowl?”

However, don’t let the hamming it up for the cameras mislead you. Both Western Michigan football head coach Fleck and Fitzgerald are two deep, considerate, thoughtful leaders with a ton of wholesome character traits.

They just do the meathead stuff for show because that’s what you have to do in this game. The “DO, YOU EVEN LIFT BRO?!” stuff helps a lot in recruiting.

Cotton Bowl prediction: Western Michigan football 34, Wisconsin 31

The Broncos buck stops here? Either way, once the Cotton Bowl is over, then the next storyline will become where is P.J. Fleck heading after 2017? Or will he stay in Kalamazoo for the immediate future?

As of now, he hasn’t shown any interest in leaving for the next step up the ladder, but how long will that loyalty last as more big name suitors with big money come calling?

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Win or lose, he’ll be the hottest coaching commodity in the nation next year, and the 2017 coaching carousel could end up being much better and bigger than this last one. We should see some great jobs open up in the SEC and Pac 12, and Notre Dame might even be an option too.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net, partnered with FOX Sports Engage Network. and News Now. Banks, a former writer for the Washington Times, currently contributes regularly to the Chicago Tribune’s RedEye publication and Bold Global.

He also consistently appears on numerous radio and television talk shows all across the country. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram and Sound Cloud.

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