Football on the Fringe Season Previews were ranked, then delivered in random order.
Kent State came painfully close to breaking through the six win barrier last year, which they’ve done only twice in the last two decades. They started conference play well, beat eventual division winner Ohio, but lost to their biggest rival, Akron, who they should have wiped off the field. Even so, they controlled their own destiny when they faced Temple, but couldn’t get it done there and ended the year with a 6-9 loss to Buffalo.
Despite the fizzle at the end of the year, there’s a lot to be optimistic about for the Golden Flashes- their quarterback joins 8 other offensive starters, and only four defensive players have been lost. The best in the East will have to come through their stadium, and the coaching staff is stable.
9/2/2010 Murray State
9/11/2010 at Boston College
9/18/2010 at Penn State
10/2/2010 at Miami
10/16/2010 at Toledo
10/23/2010 at Bowling Green
10/30/2010 Ball State
11/20/2010 at Western Michigan
The draw always matters in two-division leagues, and Kent State’s is near perfect. No Central Michigan, no Northern Illinois. Toledo and Bowling Green may have good teams, and WMU may bounce back, so there are no free wins…but it’s still good to dodge the Huskies this year. As mentioned, they get Temple and Ohio at home which has to help if KSU is going to give them a fight. Akron too, so perhaps the Flashes can avoid another embarrassing loss there. Even the timing of the bye week is optimal, with a break after what will most likely be a difficult game at Penn State.
Doug Martin is in his seventh season at the helm for Kent State. He’s two wins away from 3rd on the school’s all time win total list, although farther back in overall winning percentage. The Flashes have shown steady improvement the last three years, although Phil Steele has Martin on his hot seat list, but he thinks he’ll make it through again.
The MAC media has picked Kent State to finish third in the East this year.
I see good things for the Golden Flashes this year. I’m not sure they can jump Ohio & Temple, so I’m inclined to agree with the media poll, but Kent State should be in the hunt for their first bowl game since 1972. This team is capable of a 7 or 8 win season, if they can avoid the inexplicable losses they had last year. Seven wins is going to be a magic number in the MAC, because there could be more 6-6 teams than bowl slots open this year.
Kent State Connections
Flash Fanatics – NCAAbbs message board
Akron Beacon Journal – Local coverage of the Flashes