Central Michigan Preview 2006

Posted Aug 7, 2006

Enjoy head coach Brian Kelly now, because he isn't going to be around for long.

Offense | Defense | Depth Chart | Further Analysis

One of the rising stars of the coaching ranks after putting together CMU's first winning season since 1998, Kelly will soon attract plenty of interest from the big boys if he can keep CMU on track and become even more of a player in the West race. First things first, the team has a chance to take another step up and be this year's Akron. 

CMU got blown out by Penn State, lost in an opening day heartbreaker to Indiana, and lost three MAC games by a total of 13 points. Eight of the team's 11 games were decided by a touchdown or less, and CMU should be on the right side of more of those battles this season with 33 lettermen and 16 starters returning. 

Head coach: Brian Kelly
3rd year: 10-12
Returning Lettermen:
Off. 12, Def. 18, ST 3
Lettermen Lost: 19
Ten Best CMU Players
1. DE Dan Bazuin, Sr.
2. RB Ontario Sneed, Soph.
3. LB Thomas Keith, Jr.
4. OT Joe Staley, Sr.
5. LB Isaac Brown, Sr.
6. LB Doug Kress, Sr.
7. WR Damien Linson, Sr.
8. C Drew Mormino, Sr.
9. DT Steven Friend, Jr.
10. WR Obed Cetoute, Jr. 

2006 Schedule
CFN Prediction:

8/31 Boston College
9/9 at Michigan
9/16 Akron
9/23 at Eastern Michigan
9/30 at Kentucky
10/7 at Toledo
10/14 Ball State
10/19 Bowling Green
11/4 at Temple
11/10 Western Michigan
11/17 at Northern Illinois
11/24 at Buffalo

2005 Schedule
CFN Prediction: 2-9
2005 Record: 6-5

Preview 2005 predicted wins

9/2 Indiana L 20-13
9/10 at Miami Univ. W 38-37
9/17 at Penn State L 40-3
9/24 Eastern Mich L 23-20 OT
10/1 at Akron W 31-17
10/8 at Army W 14-10
10/15 Ohio W 37-10
10/29 Toledo W 21-17
11/5 Northern Illinois L 31-28
11/12 at Western Mich L 31-24
11/19 at Ball State W 31-24 OT

There's reason to worry about a porous secondary that isn't going to be any better, and the loss of steady QB Kent Smith isn't going to help the offense, but everything else is in place from four returning starters on a rock of an offensive line to an improved receiving corps to one of the MAC's best linebacking corps. And there's also star power to rally around.

Northern Illinois RB Garrett Wolfe will likely be everyone's MAC preseason offensive player of the year, but CMU RB Ontario Sneed will be in the discussion with his workhorse ability and great hands as a receiver. CMU DE Dan Bazuin should be a serious threat for 20 sacks on his way to being every NFL scouts' hidden gem.

It's all there for the Chippewas to have a fantastic season and even hope for their first bowl bid since 1994 while shooting for back-to-back winning seasons for the first time since 1990 and 1991. There's reason to get excited around Mount Pleasant, but it might still be a rough start because of ... 

The Schedule: The good news: CMU gets four of its final seven games at home with two of those road trips at Temple and Buffalo. Akron has to come to Kelly/Shorts Stadium, as does Bowling Green and Western Michigan. The bad news: CMU plays four of its first six games on the road including a nasty three-game road swing at Eastern Michigan, Kentucky and Toledo. Things do start off interesting with Boston College coming to town followed up by a road trip to Michigan.

Best Offensive Player: Sophomore RB Ontario Sneed. Sneed filled in as a true freshman after all the off-the-field problems of Jerry Seymour. Now Sneed has to make sure he can hold up for a full season after handling the ball over 20 times a game over the last eight. He's a 1,000-yard rusher who's also one of the MAC's top receiving backs making 51 grabs last year.

Best Defensive Player: Senior DE Daniel Bazuin. The senior is known for being one of the nation's dominant pass rushers with 16 sacks and 26.5 tackles for loss last year, but he's also a tremendous run defender finishing second on the team in tackles. Watch his profile skyrocket if he has big games early against Boston College and Michigan.

Key player to a successful season: Senior CB Terrance Robinson. The secondary was the team's weak link last year and it doesn't look like a prize going into 2006. The corner situation is so rocky that starting safety Pacino Horne will move to one spot, while the 5-6 Robinson will get the first look on the other side.

The season will be a success if ... Central Michigan wins seven games. The schedule might be a wee bit too demanding to win the MAC West, but there's too much experience and too many good things happening on both sides of the ball to shoot for anything fewer than seven wins.

Key game: Sept. 16 vs. Akron. The Chippewas will desperately need a win over the defending MAC champions to get the conference season off to a good start. This is the only home oasis in the with three road games to follow and the Michigan game the week before.

2005 Fun Stats: 
- CMU opponent second quarter scoring: 119 - CMU opponent fourth quarter scoring: 31
- Penalties: Central Michigan 92 for 857 yards - Opponents 63 for 483 yards
- Rushing touchdowns: Central Michigan 15 - Opponents 6

The Last Time Central Michigan…
…played in a bowl game…1994 (Las Vegas Bowl vs. UNLV)
…missed a bowl game…2005
…pitched a shutout…1996 (Akron)
…was shutout…2002 (Northern Illinois)
…scored 50 points…2004 (Eastern Michigan)     
…went undefeated…1979
…won a conference title…1994 (MAC)
…had a 3,000-yard passer…never
…had a 1,000-yard rusher…2005 (Ontario Sneed)
…had a 1,000-yard receiver…1999 (Jammarl O’neal)
…had a first-round draft choice…never

Related Stories
Central Michigan Preview 2006 - Offense
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  Aug 7, 2006
Central Mich. Preview 2006 - Further Analysis
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  Aug 7, 2006
Central Michigan Preview 2006 - Depth Chart
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  Aug 7, 2006

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