The last time we heard from Virginia Tech's Oct. 9 opponent, Central Michigan, it was having trouble adjusting from a spread offense to a pro-style one. That was apparent when its spring game improbably ended 3-0 thanks to a late field goal.
The Chippewas will have one of the better defenses in the MAC, but according to Fire Up Chips, that's rarely a good thing unless there's an offense to match. Their hopes on offense rest squarely on the shoulders of Ryan Radcliff, who will be a spread quarterback playing in a pro-style system in 2010.
Fire Up Chips says he's ready for the challenge (well, at least more ready than the team's other options at QB):
Nothing in the kid at the spring game suggested wariness, tentativeness, or a desire to have the ball in somebody elses hands.
It's his rodeo now.
Radcliff is ready to ride this offense all twelve games.
So, while some might lament his situation because the expectations are so high and the fans will eat him alive should he fail, I think being able to "be the guy" doesn't have Radcliff singing the blues, but rocking out.
Radcliff may be ready for the pressure of being a D1 quarterback, but others are wary of the Chippewas this season, including Holly from Dr Saturday and Paul Myerberg from Pre-Snap Read. Both see CMU taking a step back (Myerberg has it at No. 82 in his countdown), but think Enos will get plenty of time to get it back to the level former quarterback Dan LeFevour had them during his time in Mount Pleasant.
The Chips have a lot going against them in 2010. In addition to a new QB, new coach and new offense (similar to what ECU's going through), CMU also has three tough road games on its non-conference slate against Tech, Navy and Northwestern. However, Myerberg writes there are still reasons for optimism for CMU fans.
The Chips return four of five offensive linemen (although they were likely recruited to block in a spread offense) and will be solid up the middle on defense, especially at linebacker:
If you don't know about Nick Bellore, you should. He's not only the finest returning linebacker in the MAC, he may just be one of the most productive linebackers in the country. The three-year starter earned first-team all-conference honors last fall - for the second consecutive year - after leading Central Michigan in tackles (132) and tackles for loss (13).
This year's edition of Central Michigan football shouldn't strike nearly as much fear into the hearts of Hokie fans as last year's would have. The Chips will have five games to get used to their new power run game before visiting Blacksburg, which I don't think will be enough time for them to give Virginia Tech a serious game.
We kind of lucked out with when the Chips are appearing on our schedule. If we had played them any of the last four years or in 2012 or 2013, I'd probably be legitimately worried about this game. But as it stands, Tech's game with CMU will start a string of three very winnable games (Wake and Duke the others) before Georgia Tech comes calling on Nov. 4.
Be sure to check in on SB Nation's BCS Evolution to see when CMU will appear on its 120-team college football countdown.