- Mid-American Conference preseason media poll — Fifth in East Division
- Phil Steele — Sixth in East Division, with a note that “they could be more talented than ’09 team that went 6-2 in MAC”
- Athlon — Fifth in East Division
- The Sporting News — Sixth in East Division
REASONS TO BOAST
- The Falcons return five seniors at wide receiver, a group led by Kamar Jorden. Last season Jorden was voted All-MAC first team after ranking among the national leaders with 96 catches for 1,109. Other seniors to watch include Adrian Hodges (20 catches, 156 yards) and Eugene Cooper (17 for 130) as well as Southview product Shaun Joplin, a sophomore.
- The Falcons’ front seven should be improved against the run this season after allowing 207.8 yards per game a year ago. Among the players to watch in this group are junior linebacker Dwayne Woods, who ranked among the national leaders with 134 tackles and was named All-MAC second team, and junior defensive tackle Chris Jones, who had 11 tackles for loss and was voted to the All-MAC third team.
- The offensive line does have more depth than last season, but the group still is inexperienced. If you exclude senior center Ben Bojicic and his team-high 30 games started, the rest of the entire line combines for just 28 starts. And all but two of those starts came last season, when BG was last nationally in the running game (62.8 yards per game) and allowed 34 sacks.
- The defensive backfield will be very young this season, with a strong possibility that freshmen will man both cornerback positions and both safety spots. The Falcons allowed a number of big plays in the passing game last season, and that puts pressure on the young DBs to learn their jobs quickly — not to mention the need for the front seven to apply pressure on QBs and make tackles before a play reaches the defensive backfield.
Coach Dave Clawson is happiest that he has position battles all over the field, a change from last season. Among those to watch are at quarterback, where redshirt freshman Trent Hurley ispushing incumbent starter Matt Schilz; wide receiver, where five seniors are part of a deep group fighting to get onto the field; running back, where sophomore Jordan Hopgood has a narrow nod over a deep cast; and the defensive backfield, where seniors Adrien Spencer and Jovan Leacock are competing with a number of talented underclassmen.
No. Name Pos. Class Hometown/High School
34 Zach Akenberger RB Sr. Bowling Green
12 Patrick Brown QB So. Liberty Center
99 Kyle Burkhardt PK So. Toledo/Central Catholic
83 Shaun Joplin WR So. Sylvania/Southview
68 Scott Lewis OG Sr. Sylvania/Northview
47 Clay Rolf TE R-Fr. Pemberville/Eastwood
95 Brian Schmiedebusch P So. Ottawa/Ottawa-Glandorf
45 Zach Steinmetz TE Fr Toledo/St. John’s
OFF THE CUFF
- The Falcons need eight victories to reach the 500-win plateau. BG, which enters the season with an all-time record of 492-339-51 (58.7 percent), would be the sixth current Mid-American Conference school to reach 500 wins; Miami tops the league with 660 victories.
- With last season’s home win over Marshall, Bowling Green has collected at least one win over a non-MAC BCS opponent in each of the last five seasons — with three of those wins coming on the road. The Falcons have 21 BCS nonconference wins since 2001, the most in the MAC.
- The Falcons could have a very “local” look on special teams. BG’s field-goal and PAT kicker is expected to be Kyle Burkhardt, a sophomore from Central Catholic who saw action late last season, while the punter probably will be sophomore Brian Schmiedebusch, an Ottawa-Glandorf grad who earned all-league honors at the University of Findlay as a freshman before transferring.