GRAPEVINE, TX. (WOOD) — Western Michigan University head football coach P.J. Fleck said the team has been preparing for the Cotton Bowl for quite some time.
Fleck spoke to media at a press conference in Grapevine, Texas, Tuesday morning as the Broncos prepare for their first appearance in the Cotton Bowl.
“This is a very mature group…These guys understand what they have to do, they understand why they’re here. Our team is not shocked at being here guys, they’re not shocked. It’s not too big for them. Jan. 7 we showed them that logo [Cotton Bowl] in a team meeting,” said Fleck.
The Broncos, one of two undefeated teams in Division I football, will take on the Wisconsin Badgers on Jan. 2.
“One thing I’ll say about our football team, we beat everybody on our schedule. I don’t care who you are. I don’t care what conference you’re in. I think at one point we’re averaging close to beating our opponents in conference by 15 points. That’s unheard of. They’re arguably one of the best if not the best Mid-American Conference team of all time is what they’ve talked about. I’m not sitting here saying we are that but what I’m saying is what we’ve done is very special,” said Fleck.
Fleck also explained how “Row the Boat” came to be after he lost his second son to a heart condition on Feb. 9, 2011 shortly after birth.
“Everybody always asks, what does it have to do with a bronco? The answer is nothing.”
Fleck said after he lost his son his life changed and it became about serving and giving. He said he wanted a mantra the community could rally around.
“We affected more people with Row the Boat in our lifetime at Western Michigan in four years than we’ll ever affect with 13 wins.”
The team arrived in Texas on Monday and attended the Detroit Lions vs. Dallas Cowboys game to get some perspective of AT&T Stadium where the WMU Broncos will play next week.
“Coach said that we were going to be blown away and I guess I didn’t know what exactly to expect but it has exceeded my expectations already and we just finished day one so I’m excited to continue soaking up this experience,” said senior quarterback Zach Terrell.
If the Broncos beat the Badgers, it will be their third win over a Big Ten team a single season for the first time ever.
24 Hour News 8 has crews in Texas for the big game and will have live reports starting at 5 p.m. Wednesday.
The Cotton Bowl kicks off at AT&T Stadium in Arlington at 1 p.m. on Jan. 2. You can watch it on ESPN.