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Western Michigan looks to break curse of being ranked No. 17

Tony Paul
The Detroit News
Jarvion Franklin is Western Michigan's leading rusher with 909 yards.

Anywhere but 17. Why did it have to be 17?

Western Michigan hopes to accomplish this week what the last six teams to be ranked 17th in the Associated Press poll have failed to do -- win.

That's right. Six straight weeks, the 17th-ranked team in the country has lost that same week.

They include:

* Arkansas (3-0) lost to No. 10 Texas A&M, 45-24.

* Michigan State (2-1) lost to Indiana, 24-21.

* North Carolina (4-1) lost to No. 25 Virginia Tech, 34-3.

* Virginia Tech (4-1) lost to Syracuse, 31-17.

* Arkansas (5-2) lost to No. 21 Auburn, 56-3.

* Utah (7-1) lost to No. 4 Washington, 31-24.

Western Michigan, at 8-0, remains one of five unbeaten teams in Division I. It plays Tuesday night at Ball State, with a chance to be the first team in the country to be 9-0.

This is the first of two consecutive Tuesday night games for WMU, which also has one Saturday and one Friday game left.

"I love these midweek games,” coach P.J. Fleck said. "It breaks up the monotony of the season."

WMU is ranked No. 18 in the coaches' poll. Both rankings are program records, given the football team had never been ranked before this season.

tpaul@detroitnews.com

Twitter @tonypaul1984