Eastern Michigan Eagles 2023 College Football Preview
June 20, 2023
Record – 9-4
ATS – 7-6
The Eagles had a great season and won nine games for just the second time since joining the FBS almost 50 years ago. They treated us to one of the great UPSET SPECIALS of the year when they took down Arizona St in Tempe whilst racking up 305 yards on the ground. They didn’t lose back-to-back games all season, lost to Toledo by a mere 3 points, and won their final four games including an Idaho Potato Bowl win over San Jose St (W 41-27). Let’s see how things look heading into 2023.
Eastern Michigan Eagles 2023 Outlook
The offense wasn’t the killer that you would expect from a nine-win team last year (#8 MAC rushing, #7 passing) and they’ll need to be better this year if they wanna challenge for a divisional crown. They must replace QB Taylor Powell who was decent LY but he had the mobility of a SHIPWRECK and we’re excited to see what sophomore Austin Smith can do in a full season as the starter (57%, 6-4 TD to INT, 255 rush LY). The Eagles’ best weapon is RB Samson Evans who’s one of the most underrated RBs in college football (1,166, 15 TD) and he’s got a fine backup in Jaylon Jackson. The primary concern on offense is the loss of a ton of production at WR/TE but at least they bring back #1 WR Tanner Knue (632, 9 TD LY). The offensive line could take a step backwards with the departure of SIDY SOW (NFL, Patriots) and they only return a pair of starters up front. The hope is that West Virginia transfer Chris Mayo can do a bang-up job at LT.
“It’s deja vu all over again.” <Yogi Berra>
In addition to the offense, the defense wasn’t the killer that you would expect from a nine-win team last year (#7 MAC run D, #7 MAC pass efficiency D, #10 3rd down conversions, #9 sacks). That was one heck of a magic trick to support a run to nine wins but at least they have seven returning starters to work with in 2023. We love the look of the LB group and secondary as they bring back almost everyone of consequence including the great 1-2 LB combo of Chris Kline and Joe Sparacio (top two tacklers LY) and DBs Joshua Scott and Kempton Shine who combined for an impossible 22 PBU and 4 INT in 2022. We have a medium-level of concern about the DL as they lose all-Universe DE Jose Ramirez who’s off to the NFL as well as two other starters.
WHOA, NELLIE! The Eagles just might have the best special teams unit in the MAC. PK Jesus Gomez is a devastating ROBOT (14/17 FG, 47-47 XP LY), punter Mitchell Tomasek is a monster (44.1), and KR Jaylon Jackson is a legit weapon (26.0, TD LY).
Overall – It appears promising. They should book three wins in non-conference action (Howard, UMass, at Jacksonville St) and they draw Akron and Kent St from the East. Playing Toledo ON THE HIGHWAY is not ideal.
Potential ATS Trouble Spot – Western Michigan (Oct 28)
This will be the Eagles’ 9th consecutive week on the gridiron and they have the yuuuuge game with Toledo on deck.
Season Win Total
Market consensus June 20 <wide range of prices available>
Over 7.5 -110
Under 7.5 -110
This team might be a SMIDGE ** weaker than last year’s version but the schedule is very favorable. We’d be interested in taking an ‘over 7’ with higher juice but we’ll have to shop around for that number during the summer.
** technical term meaning “a little bit”.
In 1926, the legendary magician Harry Houdini paid a visit to the Eastern Michigan University biology department where he donated a piece of elephant skin that he had previously used in one of his famous illusions. Houdini’s death is a bit of a mystery. We know he died of appendicitis, but was it brought on by punches to the stomach by some chick named Jocelyn Gordon Whitehead? Were the Clintons involved? Was it a result of the safe and effective DEATH JAB? It remains a mystery to this day.
The Eagles are definitely a major player in the MAC West. We rate them as slightly above-average on offense and defense and just love their special teams and coaching. The schedule should also give them a helping hand. However, we have a sneaky suspicion that they’re a significant notch below Toledo and they have to face the Rockets on the road this year. We project them to fall short of a MAC West title but fully expect them to participate in bowl season once again. Go Eagles!