I don’t like playing the Michigan directional schools in the pre-season, the majority of players on those teams want to show MSU that they should have recruited them. Also for them this is the biggest game of the year sort of like the UM game is for us.
It has come back to bite us against CMU multiple times with Perles actually losing two in a row to them, Dantonio also managed to drop one to CMU.
For a team we pay handsomely to come in and lose, CMU has been a very bad guest over the years.
Last year CMU went on the road to play #12 Oklahoma state and scored 44 points, then went on the road to #12 Penn State and played statistically almost even, but lost the turnover battle by 4 which eliminated any chance of an upset.
CMU was very good in 2021 but not as good last year because of an atrocious -18 turnover margin, which was the worst in all of the FBS.
Giving away the ball makes it very hard to win games.
A negative turnover margin led to disappointing seasons for both of our teams last year. Our coach made no changes except to replace assistants that bailed, their coach did the Dantonio shuffle moving lots of assistants around to new areas this year.
Just like us they return 3 of 5 offensive linemen, but like us it remains to be seen if it is a good thing or a bad thing.
They did move in two new coaches to try and resurrect their offensive line.
Similarly, CMU also has a QB competition still going on but both of their QBs started games last year and have a lot more experience than any of ours.
One rushed for well over 100 yards and almost two TD's per game ( but only threw 8 passes).
Their other QB option is also a runner but a slightly better passer, but still only threw for around a hundred yards per game.
They are a running team but lost their best running back to the Packers in the draft.
They have a lot of good speed options at RB, but not a lot of power ones.
Their receivers are similar, a lot of speed but not a lot of size or proven experience.
The strength of CMU this year may be their defense.
Their D-line got a bunch of top 10 grades by football outsiders, and their defensive coordinator likes to bring linebackers and safeties up to stuff the run and blitz a lot.
They had more sacks for more yardage than we did last year, however they lost their best Edge rusher to the NFL who had 11.5 sacks last year ( all the defensive tackles and ends on our entire team combined for only 13 sacks ).
The way they can get away with it is that their cornerbacks are good man to man defenders, and the secondary is the strength of the team.
Their secondary and three times the interceptions that ours did (but that isn’t saying much).
They did have a respectable 55 pass breakups last year ( we only had 31), and they return 4 out of 5 starters.
Another similarity between the teams is that both were horrible on special teams.
The difference is that CMU actually went to the portal and grabbed kickers who have actually kicked field goals and punters that have actually punted a lot. They also added two power five return men from the portal.
I would much rather play any rushing team than any passing team even though we were outside the top 100 in rushing defense last year.
This year I expect a much better rushing defense, although I was disappointed by the new defensive line coaching choice ( multiple horrible years at Stanford ).
Last year when we could not push Western around on either line I knew it might be a long season.
That is what I will be looking for this year as both of our lines are much bigger and deeper than either of theirs, and it needs to show that on the field.
The main risk I see in this game is missed tackles or assignments, leading to long TD's as they do have good speed at QB, RB and WR.
The other risk is turnovers as we have a new QB and WR’s who might not always be on the same page.
I expect our defense to shut down their running game, and pressure their QB when they decide to pass, which will hopefully lead to us breaking last years interception total in our first game ( we only had 2 all year ).
I expect our O-line to push Central around and actually establish a running game on the offensive side, leading to big games from Carter and Berger.
We should win this one, and the Richmond game easily ( you should never play a top 20 FCS (division 2) school ).
If we don’t win both game handily expect a long season, if we do it will make the Washington and Maryland games telling as both bowl teams with very good passing attacks.