COLUMN: Don't count football team out yet
After the 50-35 loss Saturday Central Michigan equipment managers packed up everything in the truck, players piled into a bus and the team made its way back to Mount Pleasant.
Senior wide receiver Cody Wilson was exhausted.
He took a pounding catching passes in front of safeties and getting nailed while catching a punt. He left all his energy at the Glass Bowl.
Even after two consecutive losses, and an 0-2 Mid-American Conference start, the Chippewas better not have packed up their hopes and dreams and left them in Toledo. Fans, students and alumni will hopefully carry their aspirations for this team past the 15-point loss.
This team will still win this season.
CMU just finished a brutal four–game stretch, that won't get much easier playing Navy Friday in Mount Pleasant. But being 2-3 after facing Michigan State, Iowa and MAC elites Toledo and Northern Illinois is not awful.
Yes, it will be extremely difficult to get back in the hunt for the MAC title. But this team should still have bowl eligibility expectations and goals of winning the Michigan MAC Trophy for best record between Michigan MAC schools.
Navy will make it tough to defend the triple option, but it's a very winnable game. This Navy team lost to San Jose State 12-0 on Sept. 29.
CMU may have lost the past two games, but the offense can move the ball. The defense is better than the scoreboard has shown. In Toledo, nearly half the 50 points came off punt returns or interceptions for scores.
Toledo and NIU are elite MAC teams. Expect different outcomes the rest of October and November.
CMU is home against Ball State, Akron, Western Michigan and Miami the rest of the way. Of those schools, only Miami has a winning record in the MAC.
The Chippewas also have two away games remaining with Eastern Michigan and Massachusetts. Both teams are a combined 0-11.
It's doable for CMU to go 3-2 at home the rest of the way. And if it goes 2-0 against the cupcakes of the MAC on the road - which they better – that puts them at 7-5 at the end of the season. That would result in bowl eligibility and a winning season.
Obviously, a 3-9 season is still possible, but don't count on it.
CMU is through the toughest part of its schedule, so don't forget to pack up your hopes from the first five games. A bowl game is still possible.