BOWLING GREEN — This season, there is no such thing as a grace period for Bowling Green. The Falcons play on the road against two Power Five teams, host a Big Ten team at Doyt Perry Stadium, and face a critical division game — and that’s all before the end of September.
Bowling Green State University running back Josh Cleveland is stopped by a host of Toledo defenders last season. The Rockets have won the past eight games between the rivals.
As BG aims to return to contention following a 2-10 season last year, here are the program’s biggest games.
1. At Toledo, Oct. 6. Everyone in orange and brown is plenty tired of the way this series has gone lately. Toledo has won the past eight against BG, and the overall series is now dead even. A win here would be a major boon to the Falcons’ program.
2. Miami, Sept 22. This will shape the rest of the Falcons’ season. The next four weeks after this game are: at Georgia Tech, at Toledo, vs. Western Michigan, then at Ohio. BG would be in good shape if it beats Miami; a loss would make bowl eligibility a serious challenge.
3. At Akron, Nov. 17. The games grow bigger as the weather turns colder, and the Falcons’ final road game will have stakes no matter what. Bowl eligibility likely will be on the line for one (or both) teams.
4. At Ohio, Oct. 20. BG’s hopes to contend in the MAC East likely will be decided in Athens. If the Falcons spoil MAC favorite Ohio’s homecoming, the path to Detroit for the MAC title game will be wide open in the East.
5. Maryland, Sept. 8. It’s a big deal for any Mid-American Conference school to draw a Power Five home game. The Falcons hung 48 points on Maryland in the 2015 meeting in College Park, but third-year Maryland coach D.J. Durkin — a BGSU alumnus — has the Terrapins trending upward.
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