Eastern Michigan finished the season last year with another trip to a bowl game, losing to Georgia Southern via walk-off field goal in the Camellia Bowl. Their trip to Alabama was their second bowl game in three years after going 29 years without a bowl appearance, which is a testament to the job Chris Creighton has done in Ypsilanti.
The main question for 2019 will be: can they go back to back for the first time in program history? Can they win said bowl game for the first time since 1987?
Eastern Michigan will only host five games at home this year, which already puts them behind the eight ball in terms of scheduling. Granted, they don’t seem to have much of a homefield advantage, but all that travel (three straight road games to open the season, seven overall) might wear on them at the end of the season.
Mike Glass III only played in 8 games last season but his impact seemed to be huge. It seemed like with Tyler Wiegers played, Eastern had a tough time moving the ball (although he was pretty efficient). Mike Glass seemed to provide a spark and it showed in their bowl game. If he can remain healthy, he could have a bigger impact this year.
The same analysis could Well be used for running back Shaq Vann. One of my big complaints is that it doesn’t seem like Eastern Michigan has much of a running game. Getting Vann back in good condition will certainly help, as when he touches the field, he's shown the ability to tote the rock, averaging 4.4 yards per carry in 2018... if he can get on there.
Eastern Michigan loses Maxx Crosby to the Raiders, so will the rest of the defense step up to fill that gap?
The good news is they return a bunch of seniors, which means the rebuild could be very quick, especially with Neal Neatherly returning to help bolster the line with Crosby and Jeremiah Harris departing for the NFL.
Last but not least, there were a few rumors that Coach Creighton was off to greener pastures. Those same rumors indicate that it might have just been more of a feeling out process, but where there's smoke, there's fire.
Coach Creighton has done an excellent job rebuilding the EMU program from the ground up despite all the dramatics surrounding him. With his reputation for being a quick-fixer, he'll surely be attractive to suitors.
But does he leave? I think he has to have another winning season for that to be a consideration, so we will see.