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2017

Eastern Michigan

College Football

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Schedule

Eastern Michigan took quite the jump in 2016, finishing with a 7-6 record after only having one win a year prior. With 16 starters returning, there’s no reason they can’t reach yet another bowl game, but it’s not as easy as one would think. The Eagles had a lot of things go their way last season and now get just five home games in 2017.

An offense that scored just under 30 points per game returns its quarterback in Brogan Roback (18 TDs, 7 INTs) so being just as good isn’t a long shot. Roback didn’t open last season as the starter, so a full offseason as the No. 1 should help. That said, the offensive line could be a work in progress with only two starters back and a couple of the ones gone being all-conference selections. Fortunately, the only question is on the line as every relevant skill player returns. Top running back Ian Eriksen (771 yards, 9 TDs) will share duties with Shaq Vann, who missed most of last year with an injury. Receiver is set as well with Sergio Bailey (868 yards, 7 TDs) ready to top his 2016 numbers with Eddie Daugherty and John Niupalau also in the mix. But with a new coordinator in Aaron Keen (former special teams coordinator, tight ends coach), the offense may do some different things.

The same goes for the defense that was mediocre all season. The Eagles never dominated on this side of the ball, yet did enough against weaker opponents to get wins. Still, last year was a huge boost from the previous one and if they can improve again, this could turn into one of the better units in the MAC. But before we get there, the line has to replace a few key cogs with Luke Maclean the senior leader of that group. The back seven looks a little better starting with linebackers Ike Spearman and Kyle Rachwal. At safety, Jason Beck is one of the best and he leads a secondary that has a nice combination of youth and experience.

Even if Eastern Michigan is as good as last year, the schedule may become a roadblock. While the beginning of the season is mostly favorable, things get tough with a three-game road trip that features Kentucky and Army along with Toledo, one of the better teams in the MAC. Outside of Ball State, the Eagles don’t have any extremely favorable conference game. To reach a bowl again, they may have to grab a road win or two and that will be tough with NIU and CMU the easiest of those matchups.

This team should be as good as a year ago and while the schedule is more difficult, six wins will definitely be on the table. However, the Eagles could have one more non-conference loss than last season and throw in a schedule that includes the toughest competition out of the East division and nothing will come easy for this team, including a bowl game. The Eagles have +1500 odds (at 5Dimes Sportsbook) to win the conference, placing them in second-to-last in the West division. Their over/under was also at 4.5 wins, but more money was coming in at 5Dimes for the over.

 

2017 Eastern Michigan Eagles Football Schedule

Sept. 1 vs. Charlotte
Sept. 9 at Rutgers
Sept. 23 vs. Ohio
Sept. 30 at Kentucky

Oct. 7 at Toledo
Oct. 14 at Army
Oct. 21 vs. Western Michigan

Oct. 26 at Northern Illinois
Nov. 2 vs. Ball State
Nov. 8 at Central Michigan
Nov. 15 at Miami (OH)
Nov. 21 vs. Bowling Green

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