Schedule and Odds
Middle Tennessee finished at 6-6 overall last year, yet still placed second in the East division with a 5-3 Conference record. The Blue Raiders have 16 starters back, but are expected to finish third in the East and have the fifth-best odds to win the C-USA (+1400). Their over/under is set at seven wins (at sportsbook.ag), but in mid-July the under was at -210.
The offense was solid all around last year scoring 31.6 points per Game and that should be the case again with Austin Grammer back at quarterback. Grammer finished with 23 total touchdowns (six rushing), while completing 65.4% of his passes. However, he also turned it over 17 times, 12 interceptions and five fumbles. As only a junior, he still has some improving to do. Most of his top receivers will be back to help in Ed’Marques Batties (45 receptions), Terry Pettis and Shane Tucker (25 receptions) out of the backfield. The running Game is mostly intact as well with Jordan Parker (546 yards) and Tucker expected to split time.
There aren’t any major problems along the line either with three starters returning, although a redshirt freshman is slotted to be the starting left tackle at the moment in Carlos Johnson.
Defensively, Middle Tennessee struggled in 2014, allowing 31.5 points per Game, and that was a main reason they finished with only six wins. However, this year should be better with eight starters back and a lot of talent from last year’s group.
Safety Kevin Byard is the best of them after being a first-team all-Conference selection last season after having six interceptions. The other three members of the secondary are all seniors as well, and the same can be said about the linebackers where T.T. Barber leads the way. The line returns three starters, but none of those guys were standouts like Byard or Barber. The experience is there, and now it’s about turning that into success.
The Blue Raiders made it to six wins in 2014, but weren’t awarded a bowl Game. Reaching a bowl this year should be a good possibility, but a couple tough non-Conference road Games will keep their win total down again as they travel to Alabama and Illinois. Middle Tennessee also gets the unfortunate Schedule of having to travel to both Western Kentucky and Louisiana Tech, the probable two best teams in the conference. With Marshall on the Schedule as well, this team can ill-afford to lose Games against teams like FIU and UTEP again.
If Grammer can reduce his turnovers and improve just a bit in this offense, this team will be better. However, with a tougher Schedule this season, that might not mean a better record for the Blue Raiders.
2015 Middle Tennessee Football Schedule
Sept. 5 vs. Jackson State
Sept. 12 at Alabama
Sept. 19 vs. Charlotte
Sept. 26 at Illinois
Oct. 3 vs. Vanderbilt
Oct. 10 at Western Kentucky
Oct. 17 vs. Florida International
Oct. 24 at Louisiana Tech
Nov. 7 vs. Marshall
Nov. 14 at Florida Atlantic
Nov. 21 vs. North Texas
Nov. 28 at UTSA