Team: Central Michigan Chipewas
SBNation Site: Hustle Belt
Game Date, Location: September 30, Chestnut Hill
2016 Record: 6-7
2016 Overall Offense Ranking: 78th
2016 Overall Defense Ranking: 54th
Bill Connolly’s Projected S&P: 99th
Last 2 Matchups: Boston College 31 CMU 10 (2009), Boston College 31 CMU 24 (2006)—-interesting note, Brian Kelly was CMU’s head coach at the time.
Key Players: Central Michigan has a very talented wide receiver in Corey Willis, who last year had 71 catches for over 1,000 yards and nine touchdowns. While CMU may lean a little more towards passing the ball, their run game isn’t too shabby either with Devon Spalding averaging over 5 yards per attempt last season. The Chippewas also bring back their entire starting offensive line, which should give them some stability up front this season.
On the defensive side of the ball look out for the defensive tandem of Joe Ostman and Mike Danna who combined last year for 10.5 sacks and 18 tackles for loss. They also bring back three players in their secondary (Josh Cox, Amari Coleman, and Sean Bunting) who combined for nine interceptions in 2016. Given all of this, CMU has some good returning depth on the defensive side of the ball.
Why Boston College Will Win This Game: The biggest issue with CMU is that they don’t have a quarterback with any experience (to be fair though BC doesn’t really either). Their options are Tommy Lazzaro who has zero pass attempts collegiately, Tony Poljan , Jake Johnson, and redshirt freshman Austin Hergott. CMU did bring in a transfer in former Michigan QB Shane Morris, who was pretty terrible at Ann Arbor with 47-for-92, 434 yards, no touchdowns, five interceptions, a 79.8 career passer rating. Boston College’s defense should feast on whichever quarterback gets the start. Offenses start and stop with the line and QB play, and the Chippewas lack of experienced QB depth is going to cause major issues, especially when Harold Landry is staring them down.
Why Boston College Will Not Win This Game: CMU comes out early and puts some points on the board, maybe Willis torches a Boston College cornerback. Force BC to play from behind. If BC is banged up from their previous two match ups with Clemson, either physically or emotionally, this could be a trap game for the Eagles as well. CMU did defeat Oklahoma State last year, then again they lost to 3-9 Kent State so anything is possible.
AJ’s Odds BC Wins This Game: 80% . BC at home, against a MAC team shouldn’t be much of a stress. Only two things worry me, one is that the Chippewas have the pedigree to win games they have no business winning, secondly BC’s two games ahead of this matchup could beat up the Eagles. They are going to need to be ready.