The Central Michigan Chippewas are one of those teams that could come out of the Mid-American Conference and surprise some people in 2013. Offensive tackle Eric Fisher seemingly put the school on the map with his recent appearance and selection in the 2013 NFL Draft as the No. 1 overall pick.
Rant Sports’ Top 100 in 100 rolls on and the Chippewas are the next team on the list. Coming in at No. 90, this team finds themselves in a spot they would like to improve on, but being ahead of two Big Ten schools speaks volumes of this team’s increasing talent and potential.
Let’s take a look at this team for the 2013 season.
Zurlon Tipton has one of the most unique names in all of college football, but it’s his play that sets him apart from the rest. The senior running back will lead the otherwise inexperienced Chippewa offense come fall.
Tipton had nearly 1,500 yards rushing and 19 touchdowns on the ground in 2012. He could also be utilized as a pass-catcher, racking up 287 yards receiving and a touchdown on 24 catches last season.
Titus Davis is a deep-threat at wide receiver. The junior caught just 43 passes last season, but racked up the most receiving yards on the team with 860, making for a 20-yards per catch average — a pretty impressive deep-threat if you ask me. He will likely be even better in 2013 with former No. 1 receiver Cody Wilson out of the picture.
The Chippewas lost their star quarterback Ryan Radcliff to graduation, and will look to last year’s backup QB, Cody Kater to take over the responsibilities of starter. While there are two incoming freshmen that could compete with Kater, I believe that he will start the season with the No. 1 job and it will be his position to lose.
The 2012 season was not the absolute best for the offense, but they were still in the middle of the pack in total yards per game in the nation. They ranked 65th in total offense and their skill positions were a big reason why.
Explosive running back, Tipton, and deep-threat receiver, Davis, will lead the way for the Chips in 2013 and they will look to improve on their national offense ranking.
The offense was average last season, but their defense was far below average. Ranking 89th nationally in yards allowed per game, the Chips needed to do some searching for a defensive stopper last season. Then-sophomore linebacker Justin Cherocci had a team-leading 132 tackles last season followed by junior linebacker Shamari Benton with 126 total.
Both top linebackers will be returning for the 2013 season and that position will surely be locked and loaded come August. Five of the top six leading tacklers on the team in 2012 are returning this season and that will help the defense with experience and that will, in turn, lead them to a higher ranking than 89th nationally.
One more key piece returning to the defense is defensive back Jason Wilson. He was sixth on the team in tackles in 2012 with 50 and second on the team in interceptions with two. He also scored a defensive touchdown, making him a very valuable returning player.
Central Michigan made their first bowl game in three years last season and finished the season with a 7-6 record. The 2013 schedule is a bit tough and with the recent rise in talent in the MAC, the Chippewas desperately need an improved year to ensure the talent starts flowing to Mount Pleasant, Mich.
If they can win half of these games, then I think they will be on their way to a second-straight bowl appearance. I see them going 7-5 with yet another appearance in the Little Caesar’s Pizza Pizza Bowl in Detroit. Not bad for the season following the loss of many key players.