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Coming off a nine-win campaign, Toledo has almost every piece it needs to win the conference and reach double-digit wins. The Rockets were good last year, but still came up short against their toughest competition, and that included losing to WMU in the season finale and then App. State in their bowl game.

But with the teams around Toledo weakening, the advantage of having Logan Woodside at quarterback in his senior season could prove the difference. Woodside is coming off an incredible year in which he threw for 4,129 yards, 45 TDs and 9 INTs while completing 69.1% of his passes. If he reaches those levels again, there’s no telling where Toledo will be at the end of the season. And it’s possible that happens with top receivers Cody Thompson (1,269 yards, 11 TDs) and Jon’Vea Johnson (773 yards, 10 TDs) still around to go with last year’s backup RB Terry Swanson (583 yards, 4 TDs). And to make all of that work, the offensive line returns three starters with the two newcomers being upperclassmen. Needless to say, the Rockets have the tools to match 2016’s 38 points per game.

The defensive side is more of a question after the unit was gashed by any relevant team last year (55 points allowed to BYU and WMU). Nose tackle Marquise Moore and linebacker Ja’Wuan Woodley will anchor the unit with both of them being top of the conference at their respective positions. The line has decent depth, which will help while linebacker returns all three starters. It’ll be up to two new faces at safety to help this group stay at last year’s levels or maybe even improve. The Rockets have to be more consistent to win the MAC and the tests start early with a trip to Nevada in non-conference play.

Reaching double-digit wins may be tough due to that non-conference slate with the trip to Nevada along with one to Miami later in September. It doesn’t get easier in MAC play as the Rockets face all of their toughest opponents on the road, first against CMU and then later in back-to-back games against Ohio and Bowling Green, two of the expected top teams in the East division. Toledo has the tools to win the conference, but it’s a wonder if that schedule will be too tough to overcome.

The Rockets have reached nine wins in five of their past six seasons and while that’s definitely possible, it’s not a given. Toledo will need its defense to step up in order to win some of those road games and if it loses its two early non-conference tests, another nine-win season could be in sight with their over/under at 5Dimes Sportsbook hovering at 8.5 wins. Still, they are slight favorites to win the MAC with +210 odds, just above WMU.


2017 Toledo Rockets Football Schedule

Aug. 31 vs. Elon
Sept. 9 at Nevada
Sept. 16 vs. Tulsa
Sept. 23 at Miami (FL)

Oct. 7 vs. Eastern Michigan
Oct. 14 at Central Michigan
Oct. 21 vs. Akron

Oct. 26 at Ball State
Nov. 2 vs. Northern Illinois
Nov. 8 at Ohio
Nov. 15 at Bowling Green
Nov. 24 vs. Western Michigan

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