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Fans celebrate after Ohio's first touchdown in the 2015 game against Marshall at Peden Stadium. Ohio beat Marshall 21-10. 

'Post' sports staff makes predictions for top teams this fall

With fall sports season upcoming, The Post Sports staff put together some hot takes in anticipation of the upcoming season...

Best sports team this fall:

Charlie Hatch — Football

A bold claim, especially considering the quarterback with the most experience on the roster left the team two weeks before the season started.

That being said, Ohio’s conference portion of the schedule is favorable. Ohio hosts Bowling Green on Oct. 8, which is significantly better than on a cold Tuesday in November when a third of the roster has injuries.

Ohio hasn’t won the Mid-American Conference title since 1968. If all goes smoothly, the team could make the MAC Championship Game. Stand up and cheer.

Ethan Felderstein — Football

It wasn’t the best offseason for the Bobcats. With their expected starting quarterback leaving weeks before the season, some bumps are to be expected in their season opener against Texas State.

But, you have to think that at some point the Bobcats will put it together. You can’t help but have trust in Frank Solich and his staff to, at some point, claim the Mid-American Conference title. With a whole cast of players returning from last year, this could certainly be the year.

Jordan Horrobin — Hockey

Quick disclosure: This is my third year covering the hockey team. And yes, I know it’s not a varsity sport. But the hockey team is expected to be spectacular this year.

First off, it’s always good. The team has been .500 or better all but once after the 1976-77 season and is a mainstay in the national tournament. But this year, 11 players return as seniors (that’s more than half of a game lineup) and they’ve got some serious chemistry built up behind third-year coach Sean Hogan.

Andrew Gillis –– Hockey

I’m not going to predict the Bobcats will win the national championship. That went poorly last time.

But for a team that’s continually ranked in the top 10, it’d take an act of God to keep this team from being one of the top ranked teams in the country. Ohio lost captain Michael Harris, but with the expected contributions of upcoming stars like Matt Rudin, the Bobcats might actually be better off as a team without their best scorer from last season.

Nick Kairys –– Hockey

Eleven. That's the number of players the Bobcats will return on the ice for this season – including three senior goaltenders in Aaron Alkema, Jacob Bloomfield and Ryan Heltion. Looks like a few shutouts are in Ohio's future.

Plus, six straight home games in Bird Arena to jump-start the year could realistically mean an early six-game winning streak.

Dark horse team this fall:

Charlie — Soccer

While the Bobcats haven’t struggled recently, they haven’t killed it either. A well-rounded roster with youth and depth should shake off previous years of mediocrity.

Success will come down to one thing: ruthlessness in front of the goal. That’s something the team have been lacking in previous seasons. The win over Dayton is a good sign.

Ethan –– Volleyball

The Bobcats are in  rebuilding mode just one year removed from winning the Mid-American Conference Tournament. Last year saw the departure of five seniors, including two that may have been the best the program has seen at the players' respective positions.

This year, the team is going to have to have a change in identity. Picked to finished third in the East, Ohio may surprise some in the conference by having an incredible offense. Mallory Salis is in her senior year, Jaime Kosiorek is in her third year and looks to have turned a corner at the end of last season and Lizzie Stephens has real MAC Freshman of the Year potential.

Jordan — Football

Not sure why some of my compadres have boldly chosen football to be the “Best Sports Team” of the fall, but I think it fits nicely in the dark horse spot.

A recent juggle at the quarterback position should be at least somewhat of a red flag, but 15 returning starters and a preseason pick to finish a close second in the MAC East have primed the football team to be a dark horse.

Andrew –– Football

Ohio’s defense is going to be one of the top defenses — in terms of points allowed — in the country. I guess that’s my bold prediction. Enough deep passes from Greg Windham to Sebastian Smith and Jordan Reid could put the Bobcats in a position to win their first MAC Championship since 1968.

In a down MAC East this season, it wouldn’t be a shock to see the Bobcats sit atop the MAC at season’s end.

Nick – Volleyball

There aren't very many teams that would be projected to finish third in its division after back-to-back seasons with an undefeated regular season conference record and then a conference tournament title the next year. But, here the Bobcats are.

Sure they lost Abby Gilleland and Meredith Ashy, but coach Deane Webb still expects to compete for an NCAA Tournament bid.

What if (but probably not)?

Charlie —

The Athletic Department puts together good marketing promotions for football games. The “TailGreat Park” has a good spread, and occasionally fans get cool stuff at the game, too. Fleece blankets in 2013 and pint glasses last year come to mind.

I’d like to see similar promotions. Cheers!

Jordan —

Why is the baseball team’s fall schedule so heavily under the radar? Fall baseball is the most meaningful part of the MLB season, and yet the Bobcats play their autumn games in front of very few fans. The team’s fall schedule isn’t currently on ohiobobcats.com, which is probably the stem of the problem.

Andrew ––

What if people actually show up to sporting events? “The Best Fans in the MAC” turns slowly from a t-shirt phrase to a running joke more and more each year. The Marching 110 is awesome, but the bars can wait.

Ethan ––

What if this is it for Frank Solich? At 71-years old, Solich is the second-oldest coach in the nation and the fifth-longest tenured coach as well. He’s accomplished a lot in Athens, but Ohio has yet to capture the MAC Title, and Solich is certainly not a young buck anymore. 

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