College Football Countdown: No. 110 Central Michigan

The Orlando Sentinel has ranked all 120 Football Bowl Subdivision teams in the country. The Sentinel staff will take a closer look at a new team daily, counting backward from No. 120 to our projected No. 1 team. We will not be including the four teams the NCAAlists as still reclassifying to the Football Bowl Subdivision level.

Today at No. 110: Central Michigan

Coach: Dan Enos (6-18, third season)

2011 record: 3-9 (2-6 in Mid-American Conference, 6th in West Division)

Look back: The Chippewas started the season off right with a 21-6 win over FCS opponent South Carolina State however it was short lived when CMU dropped their next three games. A win over Northern Illinois in Week Five was much-needed but again, it was short lived as the team continued a pattern by losing its next three games. Central Michigan held off Akron in Week Nine for its third win of the season but much like earlier in the year, the team dropped its final three.

Offensive starters lost/returning: 2/9

Defensive starters lost/returning: 3/8

Key losses: RB Paris Cotton, DB John Carr, OLB Armond Staten

Top returnees: QB Ryan Radcliff, WR Cody Wilson, WR Titus Davis, DB Jahleel Addae, DB Avery Cunningham

Strengths: The return of Ryan Radcliff at quarterback is a huge plus for the Chippewas. The senior-to-be has thrown for over 3,000 yards the past two seasons and ranks second in the school in passing yards, completions, touchdown passes and total offense. Cody Wilson returns as Radcliff’s top target after leading the team with 48 receptions and 526 yards. Joining Wilson will be Titus Davis (40/751) and Jerry Harris (22/253). The secondary returns Jahleel Addae, an All-MAC first team selection and Avery Cunningham. Both finished first and second, respectfully in total tackles on the team. Addae finished with 107 tackles and four interceptions while Cunningham added 79 tackles.

Weaknesses: The rushing attack ranked 115th in the nation last season which makes the loss of Paris Cotton loom larger. Anthony Garland and Zurlon Tipton both saw action last season and will be called upon to pick up the slack in the ground game. Defense has to be a concern as the Chippewas ranked 96th in the national last season in total defense. The squad returns eight starters but most of that talent is located in the secondary.

Outlook: It’s been a rough start for Enos in Mount Pleasant. A pair of three-win seasons weren’t necessarily the type of start most expected but with 17 returning starters, 2012 could see better returns. Central Michigan needs to start out quickly especially considering some tough non-conference opponents including a home games against Michigan State and Navy and a road game against Iowa. October features four contests at home with a final game against new MAC member Massachusetts. While the offense continues to grow, the defense is the part of the game that the team needs to see major improvement if the Chippewas want to see marked improvement.

2012 Schedule

Aug. 30 Southeast Missouri State
Sept. 08 Michigan State
Sept. 22 at Iowa
Sept. 29 at Northern Illinois
Oct. 6 at Toledo
Oct. 12 Navy
Oct. 20 Ball State
Oct. 27 Akron
Nov. 3 Western Michigan
Nov. 10 at Eastern Michigan
Nov. 17 Miami
Nov. 23 at UMass

The rest of the countdown:
No. 111 Indiana
No. 112 Memphis
No. 113 Middle Tennessee
No. 114 UAB
No. 115 Buffalo
No. 116 Tulane
No. 117: FAU
No. 118: UNLV
No. 119: Akron
No. 120: New Mexico

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