2011 Record: (3-9, 2-6 in MAC)
Head Coach: Dan Enos (6-18 overall, 4-12 in MAC)
Last Bowl Game: 2009 Season GMAC Bowl: Beat Troy in OT 44-41
Must Win: 8/30 vs SE Missouri St, 11/23 at UMass
Stat to Cheer: had 133 pass plays of 10 yards or more (4th in the MAC)
Stat to Fear: only gained 12 turnovers in 2011 (3 fumbles and 8 INTs). This ranked 118th out of 120 FBS teams.
Phil Steele’s Returning Starters: (Offense: 8; Defense: 8; Specialists: 2)
Key Defensive Returnees: S Jahleel Addae (107 tackles, 4 INT), S Avery Cunningham (79 tackles)
Key Offensive Returnees: QB Ryan Radcliff (25 TD, 16 INT), WR Titus Davis (40 rec, 8 TD), WR Cody Wilson (48 rec, 3 TD), OT Eric Fisher
It’s been a rocky two years for Dan Enos in Mount Pleasant. Dan Enos has won just 25% of his games. Butch Jones had a 59% winning percentage in his first two years and Brian Kelly won 45% in his first two campaigns. In the third season, Kelly took the next step by going 9-4 and Jones went 11-2. They both posted their best records in their third seasons (and then promptly moved on to a different job). If Enos is to turn it around, it needs to be this year.
According to Phil Steele, Central Michigan is the second most experienced team in the FBS (behind Tennessee). The biggest thing for this team might be flipping the turnover margin. Not only did they lose 23 turnovers (9th in MAC) but they gained just 11. In it’s three wins last year (including a victory over NIU) they turned it over just two times. Another key is getting more consistent play out of QB Ryan Radcliffe. He’s a senior now and it’s time for him to take the next step on his way out.
If CMU can have those two things happen and actually compete on the road (they have won just two road games in Enos’s tenure) then CMU can have a winning season. On thing that will affect CMU is that they play in the tougher division of the MAC. There isn’t an easy win in any of their division foes (Western Michigan, NIU, Toledo, EMU and Ball State) as none of them finished with losing records last season. I expect improvement out of CMU and they will win more than they did last year but I’m just not sure how much.
2012 Prediction: 5-7
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