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Things couldn't have gone much better for Bowling Green last year in a 10-win season. While the Falcons lost big in their bowl game to Georgia Southern, they dominated the MAC and won the title game with ease. They even won two non-conference games against Big Ten teams. But with a new coach (Mike Jinks from Texas Tech) and quarterback, it's expected this team falls off a bit.
Jinks will continue the high-paced offense, which he's plenty familiar with after spending time with the Red Raiders. The Falcons will at least have an experienced quarterback to work with in James Knapke, who was forced to play much of the 2014 season due to injuries. He was okay, finishing with 15 TDs and 12 INTs, while completing 58% of his passes. The ground game should also be fine with Fred Coppet taking over, who ran for 825 yards and five touchdowns in a backup role last year.
The receivers are the biggest question on this team with so many guys moving on after last year's success. Ronnie Moore (72 receptions, 954 yards, 6 TDs) takes the lead with the most experience, while Teo Redding should fill in another spot with mostly unproven guys elsewhere.
To help, the line returns four starters and should be a strong suit of the offense. Sure, Bowling Green will drop off after scoring 42.2 points per game, but with a strong line, should be one of the better offenses in the conference again.
The defensive side is the bigger question per usual as the Falcons found themselves in a number of shootouts last season. As a basis, they'll have one of the best linebacker cores in the MAC with three returning starters that have all played well in the past. Austin Valdez is a first-team talent, while Trenton Greene finished with 127 tackles in 2015. The secondary is also almost set with both cornerback spots returning starters.
But outside of that, there are some questions at safety and along the line. End Terrance Bush provides the only experience on the line and that could be an issue.
Things won't be easy for BGSU out of the gates as they travel to Ohio State in the first game. But from there, the Falcons could easily finish with three non-conference wins again. Of course, that means winning at Memphis, another team working in a new quarterback. The conference slate isn't the best either with road games against their biggest challengers in the East: Ohio and Akron. Then the Falcons also have to travel to two of the better teams in the West: Toledo and Northern Illinois.
And so, due to schedule, Bowling Green may be looking at six wins this year. Strangely enough, their over/under is at 7.5 at 5Dimes, with the under at just -140 in July. Yes, the Falcons can still be good, but this schedule is none to friendly. They'll only be able to reach eight wins if the defense makes an improvement from last year as the offense will surely take a step back.
2016 Bowling Green Falcons Football Schedule
Sept. 3 at Ohio State
Sept. 10 vs. North Dakota
Sept. 17 vs. Middle Tennessee
Sept. 24 at Memphis
Oct. 1 vs. Eastern Michigan
Oct. 8 at Ohio
Oct. 15 at Toledo
Oct. 22 vs. Miami (HO)
Nov. 1 at Northern Illinois
Nov. 9 at Akron
Nov. 15 vs. Kent State
Nov. 25 vs. Buffalo
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