Second-half outlook: Central Michigan

October, 21, 2009
10/21/09
12:25
PM ET
Posted by ESPN.com’s Graham Watson

CENTRAL MICHIGAN (6-1, 4-0 MAC)

Central Michigan lost its season opener against Arizona and hasn’t stumbled since, winning its last six games, including an upset win over Michigan State, to get off to its best start since 1984. It’s clear that the Chippewas are out to fix last season, which ended with three consecutive losses, and regain the Mid-America Conference title they held in 2006 and 2007.

Best-case scenario: Unfortunately for Central Michigan, its schedule isn’t carrying very much clout, which has kept the Chippewas out of the national rankings and BCS standings. Even if the Chippewas go 11-1, the best they can hope for in the postseason is the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl. However, they will regain the division and conference titles that they lost to Ball State and Buffalo.

Worst-case scenario: Central Michigan gets tripped up by Bowling Green, Boston College and Toledo in the next three weeks. Those are the toughest teams the Chippewas have faced since opening with Arizona and Michigan State, and they might be a little overconfident after their quick start. The tailspin costs the Chippewas a shot at the MAC championship because of the head-to-head loss to Toledo and they finish second in the MAC West.

Prediction: Central Michigan has been playing well on both sides of the ball and none of the conference teams the Chippewas are playing through the second half of the season have been consistent enough to put up a good fight. CMU might struggle at Boston College, but that still won’t change their likely trip to the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl. CMU will end up in Detroit because it's like a home game and it will bring goodwill to the city. However, they have played in the bowl three consecutive seasons and would probably like a change to the GMAC Bowl.

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