Preview 2018: Previewing and looking ahead to the Toledo Rockets season with what you need to know.
Preview 2018: Toledo Rockets
– What You Need To Know: Offense | Defense
– Top Players, Key Game, Fun Stats
– What Will Happen & Win Total Prediction
– Recruiting Class Analysis | Schedule Analysis
– Toledo Previews 2017 | 2016 | 2015
What’s the best Group of Five program during the College Football Playoff era?
Over the four years, Boise State, Houston, Western Michigan and UCF have been the four teams to get the New Year’s Six call from the Group of Five champions. During that time, Boise State has won 42 games – it’s been the star outside of the Power Fivers. Fine, the Broncos have been fantastic.
Houston has won 37 games through the Tom Herman run and now Major Applewhite, and Western Michigan rowed the boat for 35 victories. UCF is hamstrung by a winless 2015, but it has 28 wins – along with a self-proclaimed national championship – during that time.
The No. 2 program in wins over the last four seasons? With 39 wins, it’s a tie between San Diego State and Toledo.
The Rockets finally got a MAC championship again for the first time since 2004, rolling past Akron for the title to finally get over the hump again. It was all soured a bit by coming up with a complete and total clunker of a 34-0 bowl loss to Appalachian State, but still, the program did what it was supposed to do.
Matt Campbell showed how good a coach he is with what he did moving from Toledo to Iowa State, and Jason Candle has been able to take it all to another level with 20 wins in the last two seasons.
And now the program will undergo a big test to see if it can keep it all going.
There’s still big-time talent at certain spots, but it’s a bit of a rebuilding year with five key starters gone off of both sides of the ball and with just enough tough games to be pushed off the perch.
For a team that’s been the second-best in the Group of Five lately, now it has to prove it has the staying power to keep it all rolling.
The receiving corps is beyond loaded – four Rockets could and should end up on the All-MAC team – but can a quarterback rise up and be another Logan Woodside?
There’s talent at running back, but it’ll be a bit of a rotation to be next up in the progression from Kareem Hunt two years ago and Terry Swanson taking over last year. The line will be good enough, but that too has a few key parts missing.
There wasn’t much of a pass rush last season even with the occasionally unstoppable Olasunkanmi Adeniyi, and now the Rockets have to somehow find a few dangerous ends.
The secondary is fantastic and should be among the best in the MAC, and the linebackers are good enough in the 4-2-5 alignment, but the pressure is on to be better after a rough last several games.
But there is talent on both sides of the ball, there are options, and there is Jameson Vest – one of the nation’s best kickers – along with a whole lot of great parts to build around.
Best of all, Candle hasn’t been snapped up yet by a next-step job. That won’t last too much longer.
But the program being one of the Group of Five’s best will continue on.