Returning Starters – Offense: 10 Defense: 4
Preview: Bowling Green took a slight step back in 2014 under new head coach Dino Babers, but it was still a successful campaign as the Falcons went 8-6 overall with a bowl appearance coming against Pittsburgh. Bowling Green took a large step back on the defensive side of the ball last season, but the offense showed great improvement overall which the team will build off of coming into 2015.
The Bowling Green offense almost has an embarrassment of riches as they return 10 starters including 2 very capable QBs in Matt Johnson and James Knapke. The top 4 pass catchers from last season also return so the Falcons’ passing offense should continue to put up huge numbers in 2015. The group of returning receivers is led by all-conference performer Roger Lewis, and this unit will add veterans Gallon from injury and Rhodes from Baylor. The O-line returns all 5 starters from a unit that has a lot of experience. RB is also a position of strength with Travis Greene back and ready to build off of the 2,600+ yards he’s put up over the past two seasons.
Bowling Green’s defense took a noticeable step back last season, but part of this had to do with the switch to an up-tempo offense giving opposing offenses more possessions. There’s reason to worry even more on this side of the ball in 2015 with only 4 starters returning to a unit that just got a whole lot younger. It’s likely to be a work in progress up front with the top 4 ends along with 2 linebackers moving on. The secondary will be inexperienced as well with 2 starting safeties and 1 corner needing to be replaced.
Prediction: The Flacons have the pieces on offense to be the best in the MAC on this side of the ball, but the question marks on defense are real. Bowling Green will have to outpace their opponents on the scoreboard and take advantage of their opportunities even better than they did in 2014 if they want to repeat as MAC East champs. If the defense proves to be better than expected then this could end up being the top team in the conference.
Projected Record: 7-5 (6-2)