Western Michigan is 13-0, but is it enough for New Year’s Six bowl?

USA TODAY Sports’ George Schroeder breaks down the biggest matchups of the week.


The standings are in Western Michigan’s favor. Friday night’s 29-23 win against Ohio moved the Broncos to a Football Bowl Subdivision-best 13-0, as one of just two unbeaten teams in college football, joining Alabama.

Perfection is so infrequently attained in college football that it demands some historical perspective: Western Michigan is just the seventh team in the past six seasons to complete an undefeated regular season, and the first to do so from the Group of Five. Just seven teams in the past decade have concluded an entire season unbeaten.

Yet the rankings are not in the Broncos’ favor. Western Michigan was 17th in the most recent College Football Playoff standings, two spots ahead of Navy, the top-ranked team from the American Athletic Conference — in other words, the best team from what is without question the strongest non-Power Five league.

The Broncos did all they could do. Thirteen games, all wins. Two victories against Big Ten foes in Northwestern and Illinois. Just two wins by fewer than two touchdowns. Western Michigan was given a schedule, rolled through its schedule and stood as perhaps the best team in the history of the Mid-American Conference.

And it may not be enough. That the Midshipmen sit just two spots behind the Broncos in the penultimate Playoff rankings is telling: Navy stands within very close striking distance with two games left to…