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Central Michigan Chippewas 2016 College Football Preview, Schedule, Prediction, Depth Chart, Outlook

2015 Record 7-6

Central Michigan Chippewas 2016 Preview

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The Central Michigan Chippewas have enough talent to challenge for the MAC West title for the second straight season.

Overview: A cancer free John Bonamego looks to lead his Chippewas to another postseason berth behind a solid passing attack and a competitive defense. The trick for Central Michigan is to find a way to win tight contests where four games were lost by seven points or less.

Central Michigan Chippewas 2016 College Football Preview, Schedule, Prediction, Depth Chart, Outlook

USA TODAY Sports

Offense: Central Michigan outscored opponents 26-22 in 2015 so it’s obvious that scoring points was the biggest concern. CMU had zero problem putting the ball in the air and shouldn’t this year either with quarterback Cooper Rush bringing back nearly 3,900 passing yards on over 66% with 25 touchdowns and eleven picks. Jesse Kroll (61-866) and Anthony Rice (57-595)  are the top Chips receivers with Corey Willis and Mark Chapman both 550+ yard receivers also returning but just about everybody that caught a pass is back. The CMU running game was a problem with a four yard run being a great gain but Romello Ross showed flashes as the season matured with a 4.6 yard average on 54 totes but anything close to five yards per touch would take some pressure off the passing game. The O-Line gets back three starters but the loss of All MAC center Nick Beamish hurts and makes us wonder if the rushing numbers improve.

Defense: The Central Michigan defensive line loses two of their top performers but the good news is defensive end Joe Ostman returns from injury after recording ten TFL and three sacks but this unit could certainly improve their pass rush. The linebacking unit returns almost everybody that saw the field a season ago so in the scope of things the front seven has the bodies and should be effective against the run with the hope that opposing quarterbacks have less time to scan the field. Safety Tony Annese combined with corners Amari Coleman and Josh Cox for 20 passes defended and four interceptions despite a subpar pass rush so the Chippewas managed to defend the pass well regardless.

Special Teams: Punter Ron Coluzzi is gone but Brian Eavey was deadly on field goals under 40 yards at 11-11 but was only 5-13 on attempts of 40+ yards which was below average. Emmett Thomas will handle all return duties but the Chips special teams could use a boost.

Outlook: The Chippewas will be able to pass once again and will be competent defensively as well which were strengths in 2015. A better running game and pass rush and the MAC West title could be theirs because the team had neither in 2015 and nearly won their division anyway so a Bowl appears to be well within grasp.

Schedule:

9/1                 Presbyterian

9/10               @ Oklahoma State

9/17               UNLV

9/24               @ Virginia

10/1               Western Michigan

10/8               Ball State

10/15             @ Northern Illinois

10/22             @ Toledo

10/29             Kent State

11/4               @Miami (OH)

11/15             Ohio

11/22             @ Eastern Michigan

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