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Central Michigan

College Football

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Central Michigan has been a respected team throughout the years, but it seems like it is never good on both sides of the ball. Last year, the offense was set to be explosive with Cooper Rush in his senior season, yet the team scored just 26.3 points per game. While the Chippewas made it to a bowl game, more was expected than a 6-7 record and blowout loss to Tulsa in their bowl game. With a new quarterback in 2017, surprisingly more is expected from them.

Even after spring practices, quarterback wasn’t fully decided, mainly because Michigan transfer Shane Morris joins the team in the fall. He’ll be competing with freshman Tony Poljan for the job, who looked able in the new spread offense this spring. Chris Ostrowsky, formerly at Northern Michigan, will coordinate the offense and has the pieces to score in bunches even if quarterback is unknown. The offensive line is one of the rare cases in which all five starters return so that should be a big help. Running back Devon Spalding will be one of the best playmakers in the league and he’s surrounded by an even better receiving core. Corey Willis (1,087 yards, 9 TDs) leads the way along with Mark Chapman (592 yards) and tight end Tyler Conklin (560 yards, 6 TDs). The offense will look different due to a new coordinator and quarterback, but the talent is there for them to be better.

Defensively, the group only returns five starters, but all five are top players at their respective positions in the conference. End Joe Ostman is one of the best in the MAC at rushing the passer (nine sacks), while linebacker Malik Fountain and corner Amari Coleman are set to be all-conference players. With talent returning at every level, the hope is that it will be enough for them to improve from last year’s 30.3 points per game allowed. There are some new faces, but that shouldn't be a major factor in whether this group improves or not.

However, improving from six wins isn’t going to be as easy as hoped with three road non-conference games coming against bigger teams in Kansas, Syracuse and Boston College. The Chips should be competitive in those games, especially the KU one, but none can be chalked up as wins. The unfortunate thing for CMU is that it’s in Toledo’s division, making the MAC title game a difficult task. They’ll need to win at Ohio and WMU to have a chance in the division and then still have to take down Toledo and Miami in home games. After last year’s inconsistency in home/away games, nothing is a given, especially as they implement a new offense.

Still, the Chips have the playmakers on both sides of the ball to remain competitive against the toughest teams they face, while also having the ability to run up the score on weaker opponents. Of course, that rarely happened last year and with a new quarterback, it’ll be hard to back CMU for more than six or seven wins yet again. The Chips are +1300 (at 5Dimes Sportsbook) to win the conference, placing them surprisingly in fourth place in the division behind Toledo, WMU and NIU. Their over/under is set near 6.5 with the under getting most of the action at 5Dimes.


2017 Central Michigan Chippewas Football Schedule

Aug. 31 vs. Rhode Island
Sept. 9 at Kansas
Sept. 16 at Syracuse
Sept. 23 vs. Miami (OH)

Sept. 30 at Boston College
Oct. 7 at Ohio
Oct. 14 vs. Toledo

Oct. 21 at Ball State
Nov. 1 at Western Michigan
Nov. 8 vs. Eastern Michigan
Nov. 14 at Kent State
Nov. 24 vs. Northern Illinois

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