Eastern Michigan running back Bronson Hill

Eastern Michigan running back Bronson Hill is one of the Eagles' top returning players. (Danny Wild / USA Today Sports / October 12, 2013)

The Orlando Sentinel's college insider Matt Murschel has ranked all 128 Football Bowl Subdivision teams in the country entering the 2014 season. The Sentinel staff will take a closer look at a new team daily, counting backward from No. 128 to our projected No. 1 team.

Today at No 118: Eastern Michigan Eagles

Coach: Chris Creighton (0-0, entering first season; 139-46 overall) 

2013 record: 2-10 (1-7 in Mid-American Conference, tied for fifth in West Division) 

Look back: Eastern Michigan suffered through another two-win season — its second in as many seasons. All 10 of its losses last season were by double digits, with six of those losses coming by 30 or more points. The Eagles finished the season ranked last in the Mid-American Conference in scoring defense (44.6) and total defense (511 yards per game). Ron English was fired after nine game when the school obtained a tape of him berating his team with obscenities. During the offseason, Chris Creighton was brought over from Drake University, where he went 139-46. 

Offensive starters returning:

Offensive starters lost:

Defensive starters returning:

Defensive starters lost:

Key losses: QB Tyler Benz, WR Demarius Reed, SS Donald Coleman, CB Ja'Ron Gillespie, DT Kalonji Kashama, LB Sean Kurtz, NT Cy Maughmer, FS Mycal Swaim 

Top returnees: RB Bronson Hill, LT Andrew Wylie, C Kent Collins, CB Willie Creear, DT Pat O'Connor, LB Great Ibe, DT Mike Steals

Strengths: Eastern Michigan returns four starters on an offensive line that allowed 28 sacks last season. Andrew Wylie started all 12 games at left tackle and anchors a group that has 90 total career starts. Bronson Hill and Ryan Brumfield return to shore up the backfield for an Eagles squad that finished sixth in the league in rushing offense with 155 yards per game on the ground. They combined for more than 1,500 yards rushing: Hill with 1,101 yards and five touchdowns and Brumfield with 509 yards and five touchdowns. Darius Jackson was third on the team with 201 yards in seven games.

Weaknesses: First-year defensive coordinator Brad McCaslin has a huge task ahead of him. Eastern Michigan only returns five starters from last season, led by linebacker Ike Spearman. He was tops in the team in total tackles (82) and interceptions (2). He'll be joined by defensive tackle Pat O'Connor, who was second on the team in sacks (4.0), and defensive back Pudge Cotton, who has 29 career starts heading into this season.

Brogan Roback is the only quarterback with playing experience on the roster. The sophomore started four games last season, throwing for 640 yards and four touchdowns. It will be part of his job to lead an offense that struggled to put up points (18.9 points per game in 2013). 

Special-teams play has to be a major concern after Eastern Michigan finished last in the MAC in punting (32.9 yards per punt) and field goals (6-of-11, 55 percent made).

Outlook: Creighton has never coached a team that's won less than 66 percent of its games. He'll get a big challenge with Eastern Michigan. Offensively, the Eagles appear to have the pieces to score some points, but defensively, this group was horrible last season. The Eagles finished last in turnover margin in the MAC, forcing a league-low 13 total turnovers while turning the ball over 22 times. Turning around this program will be a lengthy process and require patience from fans. 

2014 schedule

Aug. 30 Morgan State

Sept. 6 at Florida

Sept. 13 at Old Dominion