Over the past two and a half decades, the wings of the Eastern Michigan Eagles have been clipped, preventing the incompetent MAC program from taking flight in the FBS. For whatever reason, the 2016 Eagles could make a logical case as the nation’s most surprising team. With Week 6 underway, coach Chris Creighton and 4-1 Eastern Michigan have us wide-eyed at their peculiar and immensely inspiring early-season success.
Raise your hand if you predicted these five things coming to fruition prior to the season. Yeah, keep them down.
Already (sort of) Winners
The MAC has one team which doesn’t need to sweat out its projected 2016 win total leading up to only Week 6 of the season, and you’re reading about it. Even if the Eagles elected to forfeit the rest of the season, those who gambled on Eastern Michigan’s pegged win total to sail over the number of 3.5 (according to South Point Casino) would be lining up in a single-file manner to collect their winnings.
Looking Great in the Great Lakes Rankings
Glossing over Page 163 of the Full College Football Almanac — a fictional book that doesn’t entirely exist, except perhaps on Amazon Prime — one will find the State of Michigan Power Rankings section jammed into Chapter 9.
Eastern Michigan typically hasn’t fared well in this pecking order, yet here we are with the Eagles sitting at No. 3 in regard to Michigan-based FBS football program win-loss records. The men in green are currently staring up at a pair of undefeated teams — the University of Michigan and Western Michigan University — while two other schools are being peered down at: In a “we-can’t-believe-we’re-actually-trailing-EMU-right-now” plot twist, both Central Michigan (3-2) and Michigan State (2-2) have inferior records when compared to little ol’ EMU.
The almanac also states in Chapter 14, Section D, and Sentence ii, that should a Michigan State team compile fewer wins than Eastern Michigan, East Lansing will be changed to Eagle Lansing, and whoever is at the helm of the Spartans program will become the school’s newly-appointed janitor, effective immediately.
Straight from the book.
Success Away from the Nest
Eastern Michigan has registered a pair of wins on the road through five weeks. It took the program more than three years to scrape together two victories away from home before 2016 unraveled. The Eagles took care of Charlotte with a double-digit win in Week 3 and squeaked out a victory over the Bowling Green Falcons in Week 5.
Crushing the Cogs
Nearing the midway point of the season, the Eagles have generated more slashes in the win column than Northern Illinois and Bowling Green combined. It’s largely due to the Falcons’ staffing turnover with first-year head coach Mike Jinks, and the Huskies’ inadequacy under Rod Carey, but a win is a win, moral victory or not. The cardinal direction Michigan team matches up with Northern Illinois at home on November 16.
Postseason Pipe Dreams
Don’t look now, but the Eagles are a couple of wins away from making hotel reservations for a bowl game; that is, unless the Little Caesar’s Bowl in Detroit is still appointing MAC teams in one of the two slots. Two dates to slip a bookmark in: October 29 versus Miami (Ohio) — the most winnable game remaining on the docket for Eastern Michigan — and November 8, the subsequent contest at Ball State. The team hasn’t tasted bowl season since 1987 — that could all change nearly three decades later.