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The Countdown

A bottom-to-top assessment of the F.B.S. landscape heading into the 2012 season.

Likes and Dislikes

Five and Five: Central Michigan

What are five things I like about Central Michigan in 2010? What about five things I don’t? This list has all the answers.


1. The linebacker corps. Forget that one outside spot remains open to competition: it’s all about Nick Bellore and Matt Berning, the best linebacker pairing in the MAC.

2. The interior of the defensive line. The Chippewas face issues at end, as I’ll touch on below. Yet Central Michigan’s interior pair of Sean Murnane and John Williams rivals any such starting duo in the conference.

3. A stout offensive line. Four starters return from last year’s group.

4. Not to say the C.M.U. struggled offensively under either Brian Kelly or Butch Jones; far from it, in fact. But as a football traditionalist, I’m excited to see the Chippewas embrace the power running game philosophy that new coach Dan Enos brings to Mount Pleasant from his stint at Michigan State.

5. I’m impressed by the enthusiasm with which Enos has attacked his new job since being hired by Central Michigan earlier this year. He remains an unknown commodity, of course, but there’s something to be said for his ability as a recruiter and his familiarity with the state.


1. Losing quarterback Dan LeFevour. You all know the story: four-year starter, N.C.A.A. record holder, the most wins in school history. There are options coming through the ranks, but little experience — as of now. Ryan Radcliffe will get the call in 2010.

2. Somewhat similar issues at wide receiver. Gone are Bryan Anderson and Antonio Brown; Kito Poblah, who has waited a long time to get his shot, will lead an otherwise inexperienced group.

3. The play of the secondary will depend on how well C.M.U. replaces Kirkston Edwards and Josh Gordy at cornerback. The position is an unknown as of now, but perhaps the return of Taylor Bradley from an academic suspension will help matters.

4. A weak group of defensive ends. Losing your top three players at the position to graduation will do that to a team.

5. A difficult non-conference schedule. I don’t think the Chippewas will take more than four games in conference play — I see three losses off the bat in MAC action — so in order for this team to reach bowl eligibility, it will need to take one game from the group of Virginia Tech, Navy and Northwestern. All three come on the road.

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