By RENALDO DORSETT
A WEEK ago we learned the participants in the 2015 Popeyes Bahamas Bowl and now odds makers have set the lines for the Christmas Eve matchup.
The Western Michigan Broncos will be favoured by three points over the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders when the teams face off in the Thomas A Robinson Stadium at noon on December 24.
The Broncos, 7-5 overall and 6-2 in MAC play, will come into the Popeyes Bahamas Bowl with a share of the MAC West Division title after posting six victories in their last eight games, including a 35-30 victory over No. 24 Toledo in WMU’s last game.
It will mark Western Michigan’s seventh overall bowl game appearance, and it will be the second straight for the Broncos under head coach PJ Fleck, who is in his third season at the school and is the youngest head coach at the FBS level.
The Broncos played in the 2014 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl against Air Force.
The Blue Raiders will represent Conference-USA in the bowl. They concluded the season with a 42-7 win in their regular season finale. This will be the fifth bowl game appearance, and the first since the 2013 Armed Forces Bowl, for the Blue Raiders, all under head coach Rick Stockstill, who is in his 10th season at the school.
This is the second time Western Michigan will participate in a bowl game outside of the United States as the Broncos played in the inaugural 2007 International Bowl against Cincinnati in Toronto, Canada.
Western Michigan has the top receiving duo in the country as juniors Daniel Braverman (103 receptions; 1,270 yards) and Corey Davis (82 receptions; 1,253 yards) have combined for 185 catches in 2015.
The Blue Raiders offence is led by a pair of freshmen, quarterback Brent Stockstill, the son of the Middle Tennessee head coach, and wide receiver Richie James.
Stockstill set a Conference USA record for most passing yards by a freshman with 3,678 yards. James, his favourite target, set a school record for receptions with 100 and became the second player in school history to have over 1,000 receiving yards with 1,220.
The duo is the first 3,000-yard passing and 1,000-yard receiving combo in school history.