It’s a new team with old expectations.
In week eight last year, the football team hosted Akron with a 2-5 record and on a four-game losing streak.
Head coach Dan Enos’ career record at that point was 8-23, including three wins against FCS teams.
This paper called for his job.
CMU rallied to finish the season 4-1 and won a bowl game, the first bowl win since the 2009 GMAC Bowl.
I grew up in Mount Pleasant and understand the frustration the Chippewas fan base has with a 12-24 record following a four-year span with a 38-17 record, three Mid-American Conference championships and four bowl appearances with two wins and a spot in the top 25.
I was frustrated, too, but after the momentum the team built to end the 2012 season, my expectations are back up to where they were when I was a freshman in 2010.
It was unrealistic of me to expect the same carryover from Butch Jones to Dan Enos that happened with Brian Kelly to Jones. It wasn’t as simple as a coaching change. It was a change in philosophy, not to mention Enos didn’t inherit the team that Jones did from Kelly.
But, Enos now has his pieces in place.
These players are all his. Even the redshirt seniors bought into his system. He has a solid running game, experience on the offensive line, a reliable receiving core, and a mature quarterback who looks ready for his turn.
The defense might have some questions, but I feel it has enough answers to at least slow down opposing offenses with a strong group of linebackers and senior leadership on the defensive line with Jeremy Gainer, who transferred from Michigan State, and in the secondary with Avery Cunningham.
Junior Cody Kater was the obvious choice for starting quarterback. He has more experience. His journey to CMU has matured him and will only help this season.
Playing Michigan right off the bat will also help this season.
CMU will not face a tougher team or road atmosphere this season, which will help when it comes time to play at Ohio, North Carolina State and Western Michigan or at home against Toledo and Northern Illinois.
I believe CMU will finish the year 7-5 and make another bowl game.
Nothing makes fans forget an 8-23 start more than a 12-6 record since and two bowl wins.