2013 MAC Football Season Preview: Eastern Michigan Eagles

Mike Carter-US PRESSWIRE

10 days until kickoff. Ron English say's it's "Time to Fly", I say it's time to preview.

The opening kickoff against the Howard Bison is nearing with each passing second. While many students are excited to fill the stands of Rynearson Stadium, the optimism and high hopes of everybody is running high this year. Those same fans, near and far, bleeding green and white, are begging to the college football gods that the demons of Kirk Herbstreit be vanished at the mercy of some much-needed #MACtion magic.

MACtion (n)-

1. Where everything you know about every sport ever goes out the window. If you're looking for logic, you're reading the wrong blog.

2. A community of folks throwing out insane ways to get their best players a couple Heisman trophy votes.

3. A destination where a populous of Big Ten fans crumble in the hands of Jeremy Guy's twitter rant's wrath.

4. Where "worst to first" lives.

5. Where the sky is not the limit and stars have emerged.

Without further ado, let's take a gander at Eastern Michigan's schedule.

Schedule

Date Opponent 2012 Record
8/31 vs. Howard 7-4 (6-2 MEAC)
9/7 @ Penn State 8-4 (6-2 Big Ten)
9/14 @ Rutgers 9-4 (5-2 Big East)
9/21 vs. Ball State 9-4 (6-2 MAC)
10/5 @ Buffalo 4-8 (3-5 MAC)
10/12 @ Army 2-10
10/19 vs. Ohio 9-4 (4-4 MAC)
10/26 @ Northern Illinois 12-2 (8-0 MAC)
11/2 @ Toledo 9-4 (6-2 MAC)
11/9 vs. Western Michigan 4-8 (2-6 MAC)
11/23 vs. Bowling Green 8-5 (6-2 MAC)
11/29 @ Central Michigan 7-6 (4-4 MAC)

A rather difficult schedule that the Eagles have ahead of them. Only five home games and they aren't exactly cakewalks, either. Ohio and Bowling Green are both teams that are in the preseason running's to win the MAC East, and will be hosted at Rynearson Stadium this year.

Many, myself included, believe that the Eagles will beat Howard at home to start the new year off on the right foot. Penn State and Rutgers could be noted as "automatic losses", but don't forget that upsets happen at Happy Valley.

How good is Buffalo? I know our neighbors at UB Bull Run dot com can give me their take on how they'll fare this year, but are they good enough to beat EMU in New York for the first time since... well... ever?

The Michigan MAC. The Eagles still have the trophy for the second year in a row after beating Western Michigan last season in Kalamazoo. This year, the Broncos will be coming to Ypsilanti, which didn't exactly end well for the brown and gold last time they made the road trip.

Most Discussed Staff Member Not Named Ron English

OC/QB Stan Parrish

Parrish's resume says that he has helped polish quarterbacks to win huge games. Super Bowls and Rose Bowls are big games, right? No? What about MAC Championships?

You don't have to break it down and micro-analyze what Parrish brings to the table. Parrish knows quarterbacks, knows offense, and knows how to win. And let's face it, this school needs to win football games.

Key Players

QB Tyler Benz

About this time last year, I was wondering how Benz would do in his first start under center. I didn't know that start would happen before 2013. His first start came in at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing, Mich. in what was the coulda-shoulda-woulda been a huge upset game over the Michigan State Spartans. That makes me a little less worried about how he could do this season.

Benz puts a zip onto every ball he throws, with accuracy. If he has been a good student for Stan Parrish, Benz could be one of the more polished quarterbacks in the Midwest (not just the MAC).

RB Bronson Hill

I'm not too sure if the lame Heisman nickname I gave him will get him a plane ticket to New York in December or not, but if it does, I'll gladly take all of the credit.

All eyes will be on the strong, speedy back from Grand Rapids. Much of the success EMU had in 2011 had a lot to do with the fact that they used multiple backs, keeping everybody's legs fresh and ready to go. Expect Javonti Grenne, Darius Jackson, and Ryan Brumfield to get their fair carries this season, but Hill and Greene are the two that will need to be the play makers out of the backfield.

WR Dustin Creel

Many were ready to see Nick Olds take the field last season, but injuries sidelined the senior, giving Creel more opportunities to play as a true freshman. Appearing in 6 games, making 13 catches for 220 yards, the 6'2", 205 pound receiver should be very entertaining to watch this season.

DB Pudge Cotton

If there's any time for Cotton to prove his worth, it's this year. A setback in 2011, sidelined due to an early injury as a freshman, but rebounded very nicely in his second go-round in 2012. Cotton recorded 66 tackles with a pair of interceptions for 80 yards, appearing in all 12 games.

Can the hard-hitting ball hawk not only replicate, but be a defensive stud this season? A lot of fans were excited to have him on the team after watching his high school highlights, so now is the time to be "that guy". Pudge Cotton can be a play maker and a bruiser. If defense wins championships, then Cotton needs to a threat.

K Dylan Mulder

Say what you want about kickers, but Eagles fans should feel comfortable with this kid if they need a field goal in do-or-die situations. Put some distance in there too, this kid can really boot a pigskin.

Wrap-up

Eastern's schedule is dreadful. You look at the talent of a team that could win 8 games, but the schedule says less. I may be biased here, but this team is an upset or two away from making things very fun for EMU fans. If the Eagles can have a potent offense and a defense that played as hard as they did in 2011 (and score more than they scored on, etc.), a bowl game isn't too far out of reach for this team. Yes, I said it. A bowl game is not too far out of reach for this team.

EMU Football - Together (via Eastern Michigan)

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