• Coach: Frank Solich, seventh season (40-36 record at school)

• Last season: 8-5, 6-2 (second in MAC East; lost to Troy 48-21 in New Orleans Bowl)

Talent pool

Bobcats have a playmaker in wide receiver LaVon Brazill, who is back from a medical reshirt after a leg injury in 2010. He had 53 catches, 702 yards, six touchdowns in 2009. Wide receiver Riley Dunlop (27 catches, 387 yards, three touchdowns) and tight end Jordan Thompson (21 catches, 204 yards, three touchdowns) also are impact players. Defensively, linebacker Noah Keller returns after taking a medical redshirt for a toe injury last season; he led the MAC with 155 tackles in 2009. Keller and defensive back Omar Leftwich (seven passes broken up) rate among the best in the conference. Place-kicker Matt Weller is accurate beyond 40 yards (6 of 8, long of 51 last season) in a conference in which consistent kickers are difficult to come by.

Exclamation points

Ohio scored at least 30 points in eight games last season and the beat should go on, especially behind an offensive line that returns all five starters. Former quarterback Phil Bates, who is a load at 6 feet 2, 226 pounds, could be an impact player as a receiver, tailback and wildcat quarterback. The Bobcats have top players on both sides of the ball in Keller and Brazill. Brazill has returned four punts for touchdowns and Keller totaled 259 tackles as a sophomore and junior.

Question marks

This will be redshirt sophomore Tyler Tettleton's first year as a starting quarterback. His only experience came in the wildcat scheme as a true freshman in 2009, when he had 17 rushes and 23 pass attempts in 10 games. Although Solich has the reputation as a run-oriented coach, the offense has lacked a reliable tailback since record-setting Kalvin McRae graduated after the 2007 season. Donte Harden will get first shot at the position. The defense returns only four starters and the line will be young.

Outlook

The Bobcats have been picked to finish second in the division behind Miami, but they have defeated their biggest rival the past two years. If they stay healthy and find a way to beat Kent State - three losses in the past four meetings - they can get to their first MAC title game since 2006.