An early look at the 2013 EMU football schedule
It seems that this week the Mid-American Conference informed the schools who their 2013 MAC opponents would be, and several athletic departments were kind enough to quickly pass this information on to their fans. From these, we’ve been able to put together a guess — and I can’t emphasize enough that it is just a guess — at what the 2013 EMU football schedule may look like.
|Date||Opponent||2012 record||2012 post-season||Location|
|8/31/13||Howard||7-4 (6-2 MEAC)||Ypsilanti, MI|
|9/7/13||Penn State||8-4 (6-2 B1G)||Ineligible||University Park, PA|
|9/14/13||Rutgers||9-3 (5-2 Big East)||Russell Athletic Bowl||Piscataway, NJ|
|10/12/13||Army||2-9||West Point, NY|
|TBA||Ball State||9-3 (6-2 MAC)||Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl||Ypsilanti, MI|
|TBA||Toledo||9-3 (6-2 MAC)||Famous Idaho Potato Bowl||Toledo, OH|
|TBA||Central Michigan||6-6 (4-4 MAC)||Little Caesar’s Pizza Bowl||Mount Pleasant, MI|
|TBA||Western Michigan||4-8 (2-6 MAC)||Ypsilanti, MI|
|TBA||Northern Illinois||12-1 (8-0 MAC)||Orange Bowl||DeKalb, IL|
|TBA||Buffalo||4-8 (3-5)||Amherst, NY|
|TBA||Ohio||8-4 (4-4)||Independence Bowl||Ypsilanti, MI|
|TBA||Bowling Green||8-4 (6-2 MAC)||Military Bowl||Ypsilanti, MI|
To me, that looks like a difficult schedule, but one that should hardly be insurmountable. Army has been moving in the wrong direction lately, and if the Eagles are prepared for their unusual schemes, that’s a winnable game. Western Michigan, coming off a 4-8 season and breaking in a new head coach should also be winnable. Howard is much better than they were two years ago, but should still be an easy win to open the season. Buffalo is another team that’s shown a little improvement over the last few years, but I think the Eagles can continue to build on their winning streak against the Bulls.
The question marks on the schedule are Ball State and Central Michigan. Pete Lembo continues to attract interest from big schools, and it seems likely that he won’t be back in Muncie next year. The Brady Hoke – Stan Parrish – Pete Lembo transitions have proven that as quickly as he’s built things up for the Cardinals, they can fall apart even faster. Central Michigan also remains a question, because, much like EMU the year before, the Chippeewas rode an extremely easy schedule to a 6-6 record; the six teams they beat had a combined total of just nine FBS wins.
Beyond that, things get tougher for the Eagles. Last month, the EMU-Northern Illinois game was not decided by in-game coaching, it was decided by talent and recruiting, and that’s not a gap that’s likely to close in one more year. EMU might have a shot in DeKalb, but it will be a long shot. Games at Toledo, Penn State, and Rutgers are likely to also go very badly for the Eagles. Ohio and Bowling Green are possibly winnable games, but either would require an awful lot to go right for the Eagles and/or wrong for the visitors.
In other words, I have to think we’re looking at about a ceiling of 6-6 for next year. All this depends on coaching changes of course, and not just what happens elsewhere. A dynamic offensive coordinator given free reign by Ron English could probably help the team to as many as nine wins next fall. But let’s be honest, do you really see Ron English bringing in that kind of coordinator?