To help give us some insight into the other side of this week's matchup with Central Michigan, the guys from FireUpChips.org are here to give us the low-down on the Chippewas. Here are my answers to their questions.
Was what happened in the Ball State game due in part to it coming between games against two BCS opponents or is it indicative of some more major flaws for the Chippewas?
The players and coaches seemed very unprepared for Ball State and maybe this is due in part to the big let down loss to Northwestern the week before. There is no doubt that our team was probably looking past Ball State to our date in Blackburg.
Dan Enos' style is a lot different from what we've seen out of CMU in recent years. How difficult was it for Chippewa fans to let go of the identity they had under Butch Jones and Brian Kelly?
The offense was definitely the hot button issue all offseason. Would we lose our exciting style? Would we truly be able to run the ball? Since Enos has taken over, the looks the offense has given have been wide ranging (I-form, double TEs, wildcat, play action, spread, etc.) but as of late, the offense seems to have been finding their success through an oddly familiar spread while maintaining a nice run ratio (170 rushes, 185 passes).
CMU's strength on defense has to be its front seven, led by Nick Bellore and Matt Berning. Do you expect those two will be able to rally the defense after giving up 300 yards on the ground to Ball State?
I really do. This group is very, very talented and to lay an egg like they did last weekend had to have been very disappointing for the seniors and particularly, Matt Berning and Nick Bellore. I think the defense can have some success against a Virginia Tech team that may be looking to impose their physicality on the Chippewas. Then again, if I were the head coach of Virginia Tech I would air it out and exploit the speed mismatches they will have with their WR/RBs on our CBs.
What do the Chippewas have to do come away with a victory Saturday?
As crazy as this is to say, I think the Chippewas really need to play well on Saturday to have a successful second half. CMU is a desperate football team right now and with a 2-3 record, they will play like it. This does not mean coming away with a victory against a very talented Hokies team, but this means being competitive, winning a few battles and moving the ball on offense.
To upset, the Chippewas will need to follow the James Madison blue print but unfortunately for CMU, I can't imagine Virginia Tech is looking past anyone these days... 1) Take the crowd out of the game early. 2) Win the turnover battle. 3) Make a couple big chunk plays offensively. 4) Make a play or 2 on special teams.
What's bigger for CMU fans: Beating an AQ school or winning the MAC?
A great way to get immediate recognition is to beat BCS schools, but to sustain long term success, MAC titles and bowl games are where it's at.
Good luck on Saturday and here is to both sides staying healthy. FIRE UP CHIPS!