Central Michigan Chippewas 2023 College Football Preview

Central Michigan Chippewas 2023 College Football Preview

June 20, 2023

2022 Recap

Record – 4-8

ATS – 5-7

FIRE UP CHIPS had a rough season after displaying a decent amount of success during the first three years of the Jim McElwain experience (20-13). They had a tough battle with the injury bug, but nonetheless, were unable to find a way to do much of anything in the win column. Their best win was over Buffalo, and they weren’t competitive in the majority of their losses. Things have gotta get better in 2023. AMIRITE?

Central Michigan Chippewas 2023 Outlook


There’s potential at the QB position with a pair of talented and mobile youngsters battling for the starting gig but they’ve got some work to do. Jase Bauer had a dismal 1-5 TD to INT mark LY and Bert Emanuel only attempted 8 passes. We expect Bauer to win the starting job as he’s the more polished passer but you cannot deny the ridiculous athletic ability of Bert Emanuel who rushed for an impossible 293 (!!) yards and 3 TD vs Buffalo LY. The quality at the skill positions is a bit suspect as they only have one WR who recorded more than 100 receiving yards LY (Jalen McGaughy) and they’ll be without star RB Lew Nicholls who’s off to the NFL. Nicholls struggled LY but he had over 3,000 rushing yards during his career with the Chippewas. Things might work out decently if last season’s backup RBs can take a step forward and they get decent production from transfer WRs Stephan Bracey (Wisconsin) and Thomas Pannunzio (Colorado St). Three starters return up front and improvement is expected.


The Chips were mid-pack in the MAC in terms of rushing defense and pass efficiency defense LY but they were #4 in sacks (33) and rock solid on 3rd downs (#2, 32.6%). Things look great heading into 2023 as nine starters return for battle. They look especially strong at LB with the return of the entire starting unit that includes #1 and #3 tacklers Kyle Moretti and Justin Whiteside. The secondary will be one of the best in the MAC as they bring back almost everyone of consequence including 1st Team All-MAC CB Donte Kent (15 PBU). Two potential issues on the horizon are finding a replacement for the 11.5 sacks provided by Thomas Incoom and the need to generate more turnovers. Central Michigan forced just 10 (!) turnovers in 12G LY (#127 FBS).


The FG kicking was a complete DEBACLE last season (6/14)(!) and the hope is that Josh Rolston (1/3) can bring a level of competence to the job. New punter Jake Walrath did good work during his time at Tarleton St.

Schedule Analysis

Overall – They have three tough road tests in non-conference action (Michigan St, Irish, South Alabama) and draw a road game with Ohio from the East. Central Michigan only gets to play five games at home so they better make them count.

Potential ATS Trouble Spot – at South Alabama (Sept 23)

This will be their 3rd road challenge in four weeks to start the campaign and they’ve got a rivalry game on deck (Eastern Michigan).

Season Win Total

Market consensus June 20 <wide range of prices available>

Over 5.5 -110

Under 5.5 -110


Lean: Over

They’ll almost certainly need to win five MAC games to hit the over but that’s definitely doable.

MEGAmazing Tidbits

Chippewas legendary QB Dan Lefevour led the program to three MAC titles (2006,2007,2009) and finished his college career with 12,905 passing yards, 102 TD passes, and 47 rushing TDs. Total beast, yo.

Central Michigan was -18 in turnover margin last season (#129).


This is an important season for the Chippewas. They had some good mojo going under HC Jim McElwain until last season’s disappointing result. The defense will be good enough to keep them in every MAC contest but it’ll be up to the offense to make significant improvement if they want to compete in the West division. It doesn’t hurt to have a nasty defense and good coaching so we’ll call for them to win six games and achieve bowl eligibility. FIRE UP CHIPS!