2. The defense returns a lot of starters
The other side of the ball is where Central Michigan will do its best to win games. The defense ranks 19th in the country in returning production so there is plenty of experience on the field.
The bad news? The Chippewas lost three of their four top defensive linemen including Thomas Incoom who tallied 11.5 sacks last year, good for second in the MAC.
Their linebackers and defensive backs are hands-down the strength of this team. They return seven of their top 11 tacklers, and their third-best sack leader. This team is very similar to Michigan State on defense as they had a lot of young players gain meaningful experience last season at the expense of losing games and giving up a lot of yards and points.
Both teams should see major improvements in 2023.