13 Teams/13 Days Countdown: Bowling Green Falcons

Updated 8/20/2013

Conference: MAC, East Division
Location: Bowling Green, Ohio
Nickname: Falcons
Returning starters: 18 (9 offense, 9 defense)
2012 record: 8-5 (6-2 MAC)
Aug. 29 -- Tulsa, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
Sept. 7 -- at Kent State, Noon (ESPN Regional)
Sept. 14 -- at Indiana, Noon (ESPNU)
Sept. 21 -- Murray State, 3:30 p.m.
Sept. 28 -- Akron, TBD
Oct. 5 -- Massachusetts, 3:30 p.m.
Oct. 12 -- at Mississippi State, TBD
Oct. 26 -- Toledo, TBD
Nov. 5 -- at Miami, 8 p.m. (ESPN2/ESPNU)
Nov. 12 -- Ohio, 7:30 p.m. (ESPNU/ESPN3)
Nov. 23 -- at Eastern Michigan, 1 p.m.
Nov. 29 -- at Buffalo, TBD (ESPNU/ESPN3)
SOCIAL MEDIA (Accounts to FOLLOW on Twitter if you are an Bowling Green Fan)
Media Coverage/Beat Writers: @JWagnerBlade; @jncarle
SEASON BREAKDOWN & PREDICTION (courtesy of USA Today's Paul Myerberg)
In a nutshell: Bowling Green continues to climb up the MAC ladder as it adds marks in the win column, building more and more confidence with each passing year and accumulating more and more talent suited for Clawson's schemes and vision for the program. This year's team is very easily one of the top five in the MAC and one of two teams with a viable shot at taking home the East Division – and the Falcons haven't won a divisional crown since 2003, believe it or not. This has much to do with a defense that should remain elite despite losing two all-conference stars, including the league's best interior lineman; this defense will continue to shine despite these departures.
The offense has me concerned, and it's the reason why I think Ohio will retake the East Division despite traveling to Bowling Green in November. Everything – a bowl game, eight or more wins, the East, the MAC – hinges on Schilz's play as a senior. If he puts together a solid-to-strong final season – perhaps one like his 2011 campaign – Bowling Green will be a serious challenger to Northern Illinois for the MAC title. But how secure can Bowling Green feel in the position? That's a major worry, as are the lack of proven depth in the backfield and the slight sense of unease at left and right tackle. While I see enormous potential, I can't pull the trigger on Bowling Green as the unquestioned leader in the MAC East – though again, I can see the draw.
But this is an eight-win team. The Falcons could even squeeze out nine wins with a 2-2 split during non-conference play – with one win from Tulsa, Indiana and Mississippi State – or a win against Toledo, even if the Rockets' seemingly have Bowling Green's number. Nine wins? How about 10 wins? Yes, 10 victories is a slight possibility should the offense rebound. Clawson's process has led to this point: Bowling Green is one of five teams in the MAC with the potential for double-digit wins and the talent and experience to take home the conference title.
READ MORE of USA Today's Preview (courtesy of Paul Myerberg) by CLICKING HERE