2017 Conference USA Season Preview

2016 Standings

East   West
Team Overall Record Conference Record   Team Overall Record Conference Record
Western Kentucky 11-3 7-1 Louisiana Tech 9-5 6-2
Old Dominion 10-3 7-1 UT San Antonio 6-7 5-3
Middle Tennessee 8-5 5-3 Southern Mississippi 7-6 4-4
Florida International 4-8 4-4 North Texas 6-8 3-5
Charlotte 4-8 3-5 Rice 3-9 2-6
Marshall 3-9 2-6 UTEP 4-8 2-6
Florida Atlantic 3-9 2-6

2017 Projections

East Division

1 Western Kentucky – Mike Sanford Jr. (1st year)

Schedule

Date Opponent
9/2 Vs Eastern Kentucky
9/9 At Illinois
9/16 Vs Louisiana Tech
9/23 Vs Ball State
10/7 At UTEP
10/14 Vs Charlotte
10/21 At Old Dominion
10/28 Vs Florida Atlantic
11/4 At Vanderbilt
11/11 At Marshall
11/18 Vs Middle Tennessee
11/25 At Florida International

Projected Record: 12-0 (8-0)

2 Middle Tennessee – Rick Stockstill (12th year)

Schedule

Date Opponent
9/2 vs Vanderbilt
9/9 at Syracuse
9/16 At Minnesota
9/23 vs Bowling Green
9/30 at Florida Atlantic
10/7 vs Florida International
10/14 at UAB
10/20 vs Marshall
11/4 Vs UTEP
11/11 at Charlotte
11/17 At Western Kentucky
11/25 Vs Old Dominion

Projected Record: 8-4 (6-2)

3 Old Dominion – Bobby Wilder (9th year)

Schedule

Date Opponent
9/2 vs Albany
9/9 at Massachusetts
9/16 Vs North Carolina
9/23 At Virginia Tech
10/7 Vs Florida Atlantic
10/14 At Marshall
10/20 Vs Western Kentucky
10/28 At North Texas
11/4 vs Charlotte
11/11 at Florida International
11/18 Vs Rice
11/25 At Middle Tennessee

Projected Record: 7-5 (5-3)

4 Marshall – Doc Holliday (8th year)

Schedule

Date Opponent
9/2 vs Miami (OH)
9/9 at NC State
9/16 vs Kent State
9/30 at Cincinnati
10/7 At Charlotte
10/14 Vs Old Dominion
10/20 At Middle Tennessee
10/28 Vs Florida International
11/3 At Florida Atlantic
11/11 Vs Western Kentucky
11/18 At UT San Antonio
11/25 Vs Southern Mississippi

Projected Record: 6-6 (4-4)

5 Florida International – Butch Davis (1st year)

Schedule

Date Opponent
8/31 At Central Florida
9/9 Vs Alcorn State
9/16 At Indiana
9/23 at Rice
9/30 Vs Charlotte
10/7 At Middle Tennessee
10/14 Vs Tulane
10/28 At Marshall
11/4 Vs UT San Antonio
11/11 vs Old Dominion
11/18 at Florida Atlantic
11/24 vs Western Kentucky

Projected Record: 5-7 (3-5)

6 Florida Atlantic – Lane Kiffin (1st year)

Schedule

Date Opponent
9/1 Vs Navy
9/9 At 9 Wisconsin
9/16 Vs Bethune-Cookman
9/23 at Buffalo
9/30 vs Middle Tennessee
10/7 at Old Dominion
10/21 vs North Texas
10/28 at Western Kentucky
11/3 vs Marshall
11/11 At Louisiana Tech
11/18 Vs Florida International
11/25 At Charlotte

Projected Record: 4-8 (2-6)

7 Charlotte – Brad Lambert (5th year)

Schedule

Date Opponent
9/1 At Eastern Michigan
9/9 at 20 Kansas State
9/16 vs North Carolina A&T
9/23 Vs Georgia State
9/30 At Florida International
10/7 Vs Marshall
10/14 At Western Kentucky
10/21 Vs UAB
11/4 At Old Dominion
11/11 Vs Middle Tennessee
11/18 At Southern Mississippi
11/25 Vs Florida Atlantic

Projected Record: 3-9 (1-7)

West Division

1 Louisiana Tech – Skip Holtz (5th year)

Schedule

Date Opponent
9/2 Vs Northwestern State
9/9 Vs Mississippi State
9/16 At Western Kentucky
9/23 At South Carolina
9/30 Vs South Alabama
10/7 At UAB
10/21 Vs Southern Miss
10/28 At Rice
11/4 Vs North Texas
11/11 vs Florida Atlantic
11/18 at UTEP
11/25 vs UT San Antonio

Projected Record: 10-2 (7-1)

2 Southern Mississippi – Jay Hopson (2nd year)

Schedule

Date Opponent
9/2 vs Kentucky
9/9 vs Southern
9/16 at Louisiana-Monroe
9/30 Vs North Texas
10/7 At UT San Antonio
10/14 Vs UTEP
10/21 At Louisiana Tech
10/28 Vs UAB
11/4 At 25 Tennessee
11/11 At Rice
11/18 Vs Rice
11/25 At Marshall

Projected Record: 9-3 (6-2)

3 UT San Antonio – Frank Wilson (2nd year)

Schedule

Date Opponent
9/2 vs Houston
9/9 At Baylor
9/16 Vs Southern
9/23 At Texas State
10/7 Vs Southern Miss
10/14 at North Texas
10/21 vs Rice
10/28 at UTEP
11/4 At Florida International
11/11 Vs UAB
11/18 Vs Marshall
11/25 At Louisiana Tech

Projected Record: 6-6 (4-4)

4 North Texas – Seth Littrell (2nd year)

Schedule

Date Opponent
9/2 vs Lamar
9/9 at SMU
9/16 At Iowa
9/23 Vs UAB
9/30 at Southern Miss
10/14 Vs UT San Antonio
10/21 At Florida Atlantic
10/28 Vs Old Dominion
11/4 at Louisiana Tech
11/11 vs UTEP
11/18 vs Army
11/25 at Rice

Projected Record: 6-6 (4-4)

5 UTEP – Sean Kugler (5th year)

Schedule

Date Opponent
9/2 At 7 Oklahoma
9/9 Vs Rice
9/15 Vs Arizona
9/23 At New Mexico State
9/30 at Army
10/7 vs Western Kentucky
10/14 at Southern Miss
10/28 vs UT San Antonio
11/4 at Middle Tennessee
11/11 At North Texas
11/18 vs Louisiana Tech
11/25 at UAB

Projected Record: 3-9 (3-5) 

6 Rice – David Bailiff (11th year)

Schedule

Date Opponent
8/26 Vs 14 Stanford – Neutral Site Game
9/9 At UTEP
9/16 At Houston
9/23 Vs Florida International
9/30 at Pittsburgh
10/7 vs Army
10/21 at UT San Antonio
10/28 vs Louisiana Tech
11/4 at UAB
11/11 Vs Southern Miss
11/18 At Old Dominion
11/25 Vs North Texas

Projected Record: 4-8 (3-5)

7 UAB – Bill Clark (2nd year)

Schedule

Date Opponent
9/2 vs Alabama A&M
9/9 at Ball State
9/16 Vs Coastal Carolina
9/23 At North Texas
10/7 Vs Louisiana Tech
10/14 vs Middle Tennessee
10/21 at Charlotte
10/28 At Southern Miss
11/4 Vs Rice
11/11 At UT San Antonio
11/18 at 17 Florida
11/25 vs UTEP

Projected Record: 3-9 (1-7)

Conference Championship

  • Western Kentucky over Louisiana Tech

Overall Thoughts

  • Can Western Kentucky repeat as Conference USA champions? They have a new head coach in Mike Sanford after Jeff Brohm left to take the head coaching job at Purdue.
  • Can Middle Tennessee mount a challenge to Western Kentucky in the East Division? Can Old Dominion prove that last season’s success was not a fluke but a sign of a program turnaround?
  • Will either of the two Florida schools (FIU and FAU) get back to levels of success with new head coaches?
  • In West Division, it seems like it is Louisiana Tech’s to lose, but can Southern Miss be a dark candidate to win the division? How does UAB do after suspending their program for two seasons?
  • This conference is full of high-flying offenses and is a lot of fun to watch. I think that there is a chance that Western Kentucky goes undefeated this season, but does that mean they have a chance at getting into a New Year’s Six bowl?

*All stats and information came from Wikipedia, Athlon Sports, and ESPN

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Big 12 Conference Preview

2016 Standings

Team Overall Record Conference Record
5 Oklahoma 11-2 9-0
11 Oklahoma State 10-3 7-2
18 West Virginia 10-3 7-2
Kansas State 9-4 6-3
TCU 6-7 4-5
Baylor 7-6 3-6
Texas 5-7 3-6
Texas Tech 5-7 3-6
Iowa State 3-9 2-7
Kansas 2-10 1-8

2017 Projections

1 No. 20 Kansas State – Bill Snyder (26th year)

Schedule

Date Opponent
9/2 Vs Central Arkansas
9/9 Vs Charlotte
9/16 At Vanderbilt
9/30 Vs Baylor
10/7 At 23 Texas
10/14 Vs TCU
10/21 Vs 7 Oklahoma
10/28 At Kansas
11/4 At Texas Tech
11/11 Vs 22 West Virginia
11/18 At 10 Oklahoma State
11/25 Vs Iowa State

Projected Record: 10-2 (7-2)

2 No. 22 West Virginia – Dana Holgerson (7th year)

Schedule

Date Opponent
9/3 vs 21 Virginia Tech (Neutral Site Game)
9/9 vs East Carolina
9/16 Vs Delaware State
9/23 At Kansas
10/7 At TCU
10/14 Vs Texas Tech
10/21 At Baylor
10/28 vs 10 Oklahoma State
11/4 Vs Iowa State
11/11 at 20 Kansas State
11/18 vs 23 Texas
11/25 at 7 Oklahoma

Projected Record: 10-2 (7-2)

3 No. 10 Oklahoma State – Mike Gundy (13th year)

Schedule

Date Opponent
8/31 vs Tulsa
9/8 At South Alabama
9/16 At Pittsburgh
9/23 Vs TCU
9/30 at Texas Tech
10/14 vs Baylor
10/21 at 23 Texas
10/28 At 22 West Virginia
11/4 vs 7 Oklahoma
11/11 at Iowa State
11/18 vs 20 Kansas State
11/25 Vs Kansas

Projected Record: 10-2 (7-2)

4 No. 7 Oklahoma – Lincoln Riley (1st year)

Schedule

Date Opponent
9/2 vs UTEP
9/9 at 2 Ohio State
9/16 Vs Tulane
9/23 At Baylor
10/7 Vs Iowa State
10/14 vs 23 Texas
10/21 at 20 Kansas State
10/28 Vs Texas Tech
11/4 At 10 Oklahoma State
11/11 Vs TCU
11/18 At Kansas
11/25 Vs 22 West Virginia

Projected Record: 9-3 (7-2)

5 No. 23 Texas – Tom Herman (1st year)

Schedule

Date Opponent
9/2 vs Maryland
9/9 Vs San Jose State
9/16 At 4 USC
9/28 at Iowa State
10/7 vs 20 Kansas State
10/14 vs 7 Oklahoma (Neutral Site Game)
10/21 Vs 10 Oklahoma State
10/28 At Baylor
11/4 at TCU
11/11 vs Kansas
11/18 at 22 West Virginia
11/24 vs Texas Tech

Projected Record: 9-3 (7-2)

6 TCU – Gary Patterson (17th year)

Schedule

Date Opponent
9/2 vs Jackson State
9/9 At Arkansas
9/16 Vs Southern Methodist
9/23 at 10 Oklahoma State
10/7 vs 22 West Virginia
10/14 At 20 Kansas State
10/21 vs Kansas
10/28 at Iowa State
11/4 Vs 23 Texas
11/11 At 7 Oklahoma
11/18 at Texas Tech
11/24 Vs Baylor

Projected Record: 7-5 (4-5)

7 Baylor – Matt Rhule (1st year)

Schedule

Date Opponent
9/2 vs Liberty
9/9 Vs UT San Antonio
9/16 At Duke
9/23 Vs 7 Oklahoma
9/30 At 20 Kansas State
10/14 at 10 Oklahoma State
10/21 vs 22 West Virginia
10/28 Vs 23 Texas
11/4 At Kansas
11/11 Vs Texas Tech
11/18 Vs Iowa State
11/24 At TCU

Projected Record: 7-5 (4-5)

8 Texas Tech – Kliff Kingsbury (5th year)

Schedule

Date Opponent
9/2 vs Eastern Washington
9/16 Vs Arizona State
9/23 at Houston
9/30 10 Oklahoma State
10/7 at Kansas
10/14 at 22 West Virginia
10/21 vs Iowa State
10/28 At 7 Oklahoma
11/4 Vs 20 Kansas State
11/11 vs Baylor
11/18 vs TCU
11/24 at 23 Texas

Projected Record: 4-8 (3-6)

9 Iowa State – Matt Campbell (2nd year)

Schedule

Date Opponent
9/2 vs Northern Iowa
9/9 vs Iowa
9/16 at Akron
9/28 Vs 23 Texas
10/7 at 7 Oklahoma
10/14 Vs Kansas
10/21 At Texas Tech
10/28 Vs TCU
11/4 At 22 West Virginia
11/11 vs 10 Oklahoma State
11/18 At Baylor
11/25 at 20 Kansas State

Projected Record: 4-8 (1-8)

10 Kansas – David Beaty (3rd year)

Schedule

Date Opponent
9/2 vs SE Missouri State
9/9 vs Central Michigan
9/16 at Ohio
9/23 vs 22 West Virginia
10/7 Vs Texas Tech
10/14 At Iowa State
10/21 at TCU
10/28 vs 20 Kansas State
11/4 Vs Baylor
11/11 At 23 Texas
11/18 Vs 7 Oklahoma
11/25 at 10 Oklahoma State

Projected Record: 2-10 (0-9)

Conference Championship Game

  • Kansas State over West Virginia

Overall Thoughts

  • How well can Oklahoma, Texas, and Baylor do with head coaches in their first years at their respective programs?
  • With everyone looking at Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and Texas, can Kansas State or West Virginia shock a lot of people and make it to the conference championship game?
  • I don’t think that there is any way that the Big 12 is kept out of the College Football Playoffs this season, but it is going to take a team only losing one game. That could be tough because every team plays the other and many of their top teams have difficult out of conference games.
  • I really like Oklahoma State and love the experience they return on offense and predict that they will finish ahead of the Sooners.
  • Be prepared to not see much defense in this conference, because there are a lot of high-flying offenses and not a ton of talent to stop them. Kansas State seems to be the only team with a competent defense and that is why I see them winning the conference.

*All stats and information came from Wikipedia, ESPN, and Athlon Sports

2017 Big Ten Conference Preview

2016 Standings

East

 

West

Team Overall Record Conference Record   Team Overall Record Conference Record
7 Penn State 11-3 8-1 9 Wisconsin 11-3 7-2
6 Ohio State 11-2 8-1 Iowa 8-5 6-3
10 Michigan 10-3 7-2 Nebraska 9-4 6-3
Indiana 6-7 4-5 Minnesota 9-4 5-4
Maryland 6-7 3-6 Northwestern 7-6 5-4
Michigan State 3-9 1-8 Illinois 3-9 2-7
Rutgers 2-10 0-9 Purdue 3-9 1-8

2017 Projected Standings

East Division

1 No. 6 Penn State – James Franklin (4th year)

Schedule

Date Opponent
9/2 vs Akron
9/9 vs Pittsburgh
9/16 vs Georgia State
9/23 At Iowa
9/30 vs Indiana
10/7 at Northwestern
10/21 vs 11 Michigan
10/28 At 2 Ohio State
11/4 at Michigan State
11/11 Vs Rutgers
11/18 vs Nebraska
11/25 at Maryland

Projected Record: 11-1 (8-1)

2 No. 2 Ohio State – Urban Meyer (6th year)

Schedule

Date Opponent
8/31 At Indiana
9/9 vs 7 Oklahoma
9/16 vs Army
9/23 Vs UNLV
9/30 At Rutgers
10/7 Vs Maryland
10/14 At Nebraska
10/28 Vs 6 Penn State
11/4 at Iowa
11/11 vs Michigan State
11/18 vs Illinois
11/25 at 11 Michigan

Projected Record: 10-2 (7-2)

3 No. 11 Michigan – Jim Harbaugh (3rd season)

Schedule

Date Opponent
9/2 Vs 17 Florida (Neutral Site Game)
9/9 vs Cincinnati
9/16 vs Air Force
9/23 At Purdue
10/7 Vs Michigan State
10/14 At Indiana
10/21 at 6 Penn State
10/28 Vs Rutgers
11/4 vs Minnesota
11/11 at Maryland
11/18 At 9 Wisconsin
11/25 vs 2 Ohio State

Projected Record: 9-3 (6-3)

4 Michigan State – Mark Dantonio (11th year)

Schedule

Date Opponent
9/2 vs Bowling Green
9/9 vs Western Michigan
9/23 vs Notre Dame
9/30 Vs Iowa
10/7 At 11 Michigan
10/14 at Minnesota
10/21 Vs Indiana
10/27 At Northwestern
11/4 vs 6 Penn State
11/11 at 2 Ohio State
11/18 Vs Maryland
11/25 At Rutgers

Projected Record: 7-5 (3-6)

5 Indiana – Tom Allen (1st year)

Schedule

Date Opponent
8/31 vs 2 Ohio State
9/9 At Virginia
9/16 vs Florida International
9/23 vs Georgia Southern
9/30 at 6 Penn State
10/14 Vs 11 Michigan
10/21 At Michigan State
10/28 at Maryland
11/4 vs 9 Wisconsin
11/11 at Illinois
11/18 vs Rutgers
11/25 at Purdue

Projected Record: 5-7 (3-6)

6 Maryland – D.J. Durkin (2nd year)

Schedule

Date Opponent
9/2 At 23 Texas
9/9 Vs Towson
9/23 vs Central Florida
9/30 At Minnesota
10/7 at 2 Ohio State
10/14 vs Northwestern
10/21 at 9 Wisconsin
10/28 Vs Indiana
11/4 vs Rutgers
11/11 Vs 11 Michigan
11/18 At Michigan State
11/25 Vs 6 Penn State

Projected Record: 4-8 (2-7)

7 Rutgers – Chris Ash (2nd year)

Schedule

Date Opponent
9/1 Vs 8 Washington
9/9 vs Eastern Michigan
9/16 vs Morgan State
9/23 at Nebraska
9/30 Vs 2 Ohio State
10/14 At Illinois
10/21 Vs Purdue
10/28 At 11 Michigan
11/4 vs Maryland
11/11 At 6 Penn State
11/18 at Indiana
11/25 vs Michigan State

Projected Record: 3-9 (1-8)

West Division

1 No. 9 Wisconsin – Paul Chryst (3rd year)

Schedule

Date Opponent
9/1 vs Utah State
9/9 vs Florida Atlantic
9/16 At BYU
9/30 Vs Northwestern
10/7 At Nebraska
10/14 Vs Purdue
10/21 vs Maryland
10/28 at Illinois
11/4 At Indiana
11/11 Vs Iowa
11/18 Vs 11 Michigan
11/25 At Minnesota

Projected Record: 10-2 (7-2)

2 Northwestern – Pat Fitzgerald (12th year)

Schedule

Date Opponent
9/2 vs Nevada
9/9 At Duke
9/16 Vs Bowling Green
9/30 At Wisconsin
10/7 Vs 6 Penn State
10/14 At Maryland
10/21 vs Iowa
10/28 Vs Michigan State
11/4 at Nebraska
11/11 vs Purdue
11/18 vs Minnesota
11/25 at Illinois

Projected Record: 9-3 (6-3)

3 Nebraska – Mike Riley (3rd year)

Schedule

Date Opponent
9/2 vs Arkansas State
9/9 at Oregon
9/16 vs Northern Illinois
9/23 Vs Rutgers
9/29 At Illinois
10/7 Vs 9 Wisconsin
10/14 vs 2 Ohio State
10/28 At Purdue
11/4 Vs Northwestern
11/11 At Minnesota
11/18 At 6 Penn State
11/24 Vs Iowa

Projected Record: 8-4 (5-4)

4 Iowa – Kirk Ferentz (18th year)

Schedule

Date Opponent
9/2 vs Wyoming
9/9 at Iowa State
9/16 vs North Texas
9/23 vs 6 Penn State
9/30 at Michigan State
10/7 vs Illinois
10/21 At Northwestern
10/28 Vs Minnesota
11/4 vs 2 Ohio State
11/11 at 9 Wisconsin
11/18 Vs Purdue
11/24 At Nebraska

Projected Record: 8-4 (5-4)

5 Minnesota – P.J. Fleck (1st year)

Schedule

Date Opponent
8/31 vs Buffalo
9/9 at Oregon State
9/16 vs Middle Tennessee
9/30 vs Maryland
10/7 at Purdue
10/14 vs Michigan State
10/21 Vs Illinois
10/28 At Iowa
11/4 At 11 Michigan
11/11 Vs Nebraska
11/18 At Northwestern
11/25 Vs 9 Wisconsin

Projected Record: 7-5 (4-5)

6 Illinois – Lovie Smith (2nd year)

Schedule

Date Opponent
9/2 vs Ball State
9/9 Vs Western Kentucky
9/15 At South Florida
9/29 vs Nebraska
10/7 at Iowa
10/14 vs Rutgers
10/21 At Minnesota
10/28 Vs 9 Wisconsin
11/4 at Purdue
11/11 vs Indiana
11/18 at 2 Ohio State
11/25 vs Northwestern

Projected Record: 3-9 (2-7)

7 Purdue – Jeff Brohm (1st year)

Schedule

Date Opponent
9/2 vs 16 Louisville
9/8 vs Ohio
9/16 at Missouri
9/23 vs 11 Michigan
10/7 Vs Minnesota
10/14 At 9 Wisconsin
10/21 at Rutgers
10/28 vs Nebraska
11/4 Vs Illinois
11/11 At Northwestern
11/18 at Iowa
11/25 Vs Indiana

Projected Record: 3-9 (1-8)

Conference Championship

  • Penn State over Wisconsin

Overall Thoughts

  • How does Ohio State’s offense fair after changing over their offensive coordinator? They were shutout in their playoff semifinal against Clemson and quarterback J.T. Barrett struggled with accuracy last season.
  • How many points is Penn State’s offense capable of this season in their second season with Trace McSorley at quarterback and Joe Moorhead as offensive coordinator? Their biggest question mark is going to be their defense, which is lacking in depth. Expect them to be in a lot of shootouts.
  • Jim Harbaugh has had success in his two seasons in Ann Arbor, but not the kind of success the school has been hoping for. If he doesn’t get Michigan to at least the Big 10 Championship Game this season, does the heat get turned up on Harbaugh? The amount of turnover that is taking place on their roster could make a 10 or 11 win season this year difficult.
  • In the West Division, I think that Wisconsin is the only real candidate to win it.
  • There could easily be a log jam at the top of the East Division again this season. Penn State hosts Michigan but plays Ohio State on the road, Michigan hosts Ohio State but travels to Happy Valley, and Ohio State hosts Penn State but has to travel to Ann Arbor. Ohio State also has the more difficult schedule between the three teams and I see a path for the Nittany Lions to get back to the Big 10 Championship Game.

*All stats and information came from Wikipedia, Athlon Sports, and ESPN

2017 ACC Preview

2016 Standings

Atlantic

 

Coastal

Team Overall Record Conference Record   Team Overall Record Conference Record
1 Clemson 14-1 7-1 16 Virginia Tech 10-4 6-2
21 Louisville 9-4 7-1 North Carolina 8-6 5-3
8 Florida State 10-3 5-3 20 Miami 9-4 5-3
NC State 7-6 3-5 Pittsburgh 8-5 5-3
Wake Forest 7-6 3-5 Georgia Tech 9-4 4-4
Boston College 7-6 2-6 Duke 4-8 1-7
Syracuse 4-8 2-6 Virginia 2-10 1-7

2017 Projections

Atlantic Division

1 No. 3 Florida State – Head Coach: Jimbo Fisher (8th year)

Schedule

Date Opponent
9/2 Vs 1 Alabama (Neutral site game)
9/9 Vs Louisiana-Monroe
9/16 Vs 18 Miami
9/23 Vs NC State
9/30 At Wake Forest
10/14 At Duke
10/21 Vs 16 Louisville
10/27 At Boston College
11/4 Vs Syracuse
11/11 At 5 Clemson
11/18 Vs Delaware State
11/25 At Florida

Projected Record: 10-2 (7-1)

2 Clemson – Dabo Swinney (10th year)

Schedule

Date Opponent
9/2 vs Kent State
9/9 vs Auburn
9/16 At 16 Louisville
9/23 vs Boston College
9/30 at 21 Virginia Tech
10/7 Vs Wake Forest
10/13 At Syracuse
10/28 Vs Georgia Tech
11/4 At NC State
11/11 Vs 3 Florida State
11/18 vs The Citadel
11/25 at South Carolina

Projected Record: 10-2 (6-2)

3 NC State – Dave Doeren (5th year)

Schedule

Date Opponent
9/2 vs South Carolina
9/9 vs Marshall
9/16 Vs Furman
9/23 At 3 Florida State
9/30 Vs Syracuse
10/5 vs 16 Louisville
10/14 at Pittsburgh
10/28 At Notre Dame
11/4 Vs 5 Clemson
11/11 At Boston College
11/18 At Wake Forest
11/25 Vs North Carolina

Projected Record: 9-3 (6-2)

4 No. 16 Louisville – Bobby Petrino (4th year)

Schedule

Date Opponent
9/2 vs Purdue
9/9 At North Carolina
9/16 vs 5 Clemson
9/23 Vs Kent State
9/30 vs Murray State
10/5 At NC State
10/14 Vs Boston College
10/21 at 3 Florida State
10/28 At Wake Forest
11/11 Vs Virginia
11/18 Vs Syracuse
11/25 At Kentucky

Projected Record: 10-2 (6-2)

5 Boston College – Steve Addazio (5th year)

Schedule

Date Opponent
9/1 At Northern Illinois
9/9 Vs Wake Forest
9/16 Vs Notre Dame
9/23 At 5 Clemson
9/30 Vs Central Michigan
10/7 Vs 21 Virginia Tech
10/14 At 16 Louisville
10/21 At Virginia
10/27 Vs 3 Florida State
11/11 Vs NC State
11/18 Vs Connecticut
11/25 At Syracuse

Predicted Record: 6-6 (4-5)

6 Syracuse – Dino Babers (2nd year)

Schedule

Date Opponent
9/1 Vs Central Connecticut
9/9 vs Middle Tennessee
9/16 vs Central Michigan
9/23 at 13 LSU
9/30 At NC State
10/7 vs Pittsburgh
10/13 Vs 5 Clemson
10/21 at 18 Miami
11/4 At 3 Florida State
11/11 vs Wake Forest
11/18 At 16 Louisville
11/25 Vs Boston College

Projected Record: 4-8 (1-7)

7 Wake Forest – Dave Clawson (4th year)

Schedule

Date Opponent
8/31 vs Presbyterian
9/9 At Boston College
9/16 vs Utah State
9/23 at Appalachian State
9/30 Vs 3 Florida State
10/7 At 5 Clemson
10/21 At Georgia Tech
10/28 Vs 16 Louisville
11/4 at Notre Dame
11/11 At Syracuse
11/18 Vs NC State
11/25 Vs Duke

Projected Record: 3-9 (1-7)

Coastal Division

1 No. 18 Miami – Mark Richt (2nd year)

Schedule

Date Opponent
9/2 vs Bethune-Cookman
9/9 at Arkansas State
9/16 At 3 Florida State
9/23 Vs Toledo
9/29 At Duke
10/12 Vs Georgia Tech
10/21 Vs Syracuse
10/28 At North Carolina
11/4 Vs 21 Virginia Tech
11/11 Vs Notre Dame
11/18 vs Virginia
11/24 At Pittsburgh

Projected Record: 11-1 (7-1)

2 No. 21 – Justin Fuente (2nd year)

Schedule

Date Opponent
9/3 vs 22 West Virginia (Neutral Site Game)
9/9 Vs Delaware
9/16 at East Carolina
9/23 vs Old Dominion
9/30 Vs 5 Clemson
10/7 At Boston College
10/21 vs North Carolina
10/28 Vs Duke
11/4 At 21 Miami
11/11 At Georgia Tech
11/18 vs Pittsburgh
11/24 at Virginia

Projected Record: 11-1 (7-1)

3 Georgia Tech – Paul Johnson (10th year)

Schedule

Date Opponent
9/4 vs 25 Tennessee (Neutral Site Game)
9/9 vs Jacksonville State
9/16 at Central Florida
9/23 vs Pittsburgh
9/30 vs North Carolina
10/12 at 18 Miami
10/21 vs Wake Forest
10/28 At 5 Clemson
11/4 at Virginia
11/11 Vs 21 Virginia Tech
11/18 At Duke
11/25 Vs 15 Georgia

Projected Record: 7-5 (3-5)

No 4 Pittsburgh – Pat Narduzzi (3rd year)

Schedule

Date Opponent
9/2 vs Youngstown State
9/9 At 6 Penn State
9/16 Vs 10 Oklahoma State
9/23 At Georgia Tech
9/30 vs Rice
10/7 at Syracuse
10/14 vs NC State
10/21 at Duke
10/28 Vs Virginia
11/9 vs North Carolina
11/18 at 21 Virginia Tech
11/24 vs 18 Miami

Projected Record: 7-5 (3-5)

5 North Carolina – Larry Fedora (6th year)

Schedule

Date Opponent
9/2 vs California
9/9 Vs 16 Louisville
9/16 At Old Dominion
9/23 Vs Duke
9/30 At Georgia Tech
10/7 Vs Notre Dame
10/14 vs Virginia
10/21 at 21 Virginia Tech
10/28 vs 18 Miami
11/9 At Pittsburgh
11/18 Vs Western Carolina
11/25 At NC State

Projected Record: 7-5 (2-6)

6 Virginia – Bronco Mendenhall (2nd year)

Schedule

Date Opponent
9/2 Vs William and Mary
9/9 Vs Indiana
9/16 Vs Connecticut
9/22 At Boise State
10/7 Vs Duke
10/14 At North Carolina
10/21 Vs Boston College
10/28 at Pittsburgh
11/4 vs Georgia Tech
11/11 at 16 Louisville
11/18 At 18 Miami
11/24 Vs 21 Virginia Tech

Projected Record: 4-8 (1-7)

7 Duke – David Cutcliffe (10th year)

Schedule

Date Opponent
9/2 vs North Carolina Central
9/9 vs Northwestern
9/16 vs Baylor
9/23 at North Carolina
10/29 Vs 18 Miami
10/7 At Virginia
10/14 Vs 3 Florida State
10/21 vs Pittsburgh
10/28 at 21 Virginia Tech
11/11 At Army
11/18 Vs Georgia Tech
11/25 at Wake Forest

Projected Record: 4-8 (1-7)

Conference Championship Game

  • Miami over Florida State

General Thoughts

  • The ACC could make a serious run at the SEC for being the best conference in college football this season. In 2016, they had the national champion in Clemson, three 10 win teams, the Heisman Trophy winner in Lamar Jackson, 11 teams had winning records, and the conference had nine bowl wins. This season has the potential to be even more successful for the conference, with Florida State and Miami set to take big steps forward, Clemson with the talent to be really good again, and Virginia Tech, Pitt, Georgia Tech, and NC State all with the potential to surprise.
  • Their problem is that the bottom of their conference – Boston College, Syracuse, Wake Forest, Virginia, and Duke – are all really bad.
  • Miami seems like a lock to win the Coastal Division, with their game against Virginia Tech occurring at home, and the only other stumbling blocks being an early season road game against Arkansas State and playing Florida State on the road. In the Atlantic Division, this season is Florida State’s for the taking. With Clemson having to work in some new starters on offense, the Seminoles’ path to the College Football Playoff is easier, but not perfectly clear. They open the season against Alabama, plus have to play Clemson on the road, and have home games against Miami and Louisville.

*All stats and information came from Athlon Sports, Wikipedia, and ESPN

2017 American Athletic Conference Preview

2016 Standings

East

 

West

Team Overall Record Conference Record   Team Overall Record Conference Record
Temple 10-4 7-1 Navy 9-5 7-1
19 South Florida 11-2 7-1 Tulsa 10-3 6-2
Central Florida 6-7 4-4 Memphis 8-5 5-3
Cincinnati 4-8 1-7 Houston 9-4 5-3
Connecticut 3-9 1-7 Southern Methodist 5-7 3-5
East Carolina 3-9 1-7 Tulane 4-8 1-7

2017 Projections

East Division

  1. No. 19 South Florida – Head Coach: Charlie Strong (1st year)
  2. Temple – Geoff Collins (1st year)
  3. Central Florida – Scott Frost (2nd year)
  4. Cincinnati – Luke Fickell (1st year)
  5. East Carolina – Scottie Montgomery (2nd year)
  6. Connecticut – Randy Edsall (1st year)

West Division

  1. Houston – Major Applewhite (1st year)
  2. Memphis – Mike Norvell (2nd year)
  3. Navy – Ken Niumatalolo (10th year)
  4. Tulsa – Philip Montgomery (3rd year)
  5. Southern Methodist – Chad Morris (3rd year)
  6. Tulane – Willie Fritz (2nd year)

Conference Championship Game

  • South Florida over Houston

 

2017 Penn State Nittany Lions Season Preview

With a crispness beginning to appear in the air and the light going down earlier each evening, that can only mean one thing: college football is just around the corner. Instead of doing a team-by-team preview for all 129 FBS teams, which would be nearly impossible and way too time-consuming, I am going to do a team preview for my favorite college football team and the one I am most familiar with, Penn State. I will also do conference previews for each conference in which I will predict the standings for each of them and then do a general preview for the season. As I mentioned in my “About” section, much of my college football writing will be Big Ten focused since that is what I am most confident in.

2017 Penn State Preview

2016 Nittany Lions

Overall Record: 11-3

Conference Record: 8-1

Finished 7th in the AP Poll

Won the Big Ten Conference

Lost to USC in the Rose Bowl

Coaching Staff

Head Coach James Franklin
Offensive Coordinator Joe Moorhead
Defensive Coordinator Brent Pry
Special Teams Coordinator Charles Huff

2017 Roster – Returning Starters in Bold

Quarterbacks

# Name Yr Comp % 2016 Pass Yds 2016 TDs/INTs 2016 Rush Yds 2016 Rush TDs
9 Trace McSorley RS Jr 57.9 3,614 29/8 365 7
2 Tommy Stevens RS So 66.7 36 0/0 198 2
7 Jake Zembiec RS Fr
14 Sean Clifford Fr
16 Billy Fessler RS Jr
  • Trace McSorley returns for his second year as the starting quarterback for Penn State and looking to build off an amazing sophomore year last season. He emerged as one of the most electric players in all of college football and played a big role in helping Penn State get to their best season since 2005. He won’t be able to catch defenses off guard as easily as he did last season and will have to work to replicate last season’s numbers. I think another year of maturity, plus a better offensive line, will help McSorley develop into a better all-around quarterback. I would like to see him become a more accurate passer this season since he had a completion percentage below 60 last year, but if he can improve in this area, he will be one of the best players in the nation this season considering his athleticism. He will be one of the early season candidates to win the Heisman.
  • Behind McSorley is Tommy Stevens, who only played in limited action last season but was plenty serviceable when needed. He showed an ability to run well and added two rushing touchdowns late in games. Stevens will likely be the backup once again to McSorley unless one of their other depth QBs step up and jump slots on the depth chart. The Nittany Lions do have an interesting freshman on their roster in Sean Clifford, who was a four-star recruit out of Cincinnati, OH, but he is almost guaranteed to red shirt this season unless he jumps Stevens before the year begins.

Running Backs

# Name Yr. Att 2016 Rush Yds Y/A 2016 Rush TDs 2016 Rec Yds 2016 Rec TDs
26 Saquon Barkley Jr 272 1,496 5.5 18 402 4
24 Miles Sanders So 25 184 7.4 1 24 1
6 Andre Robinson Jr 29 141 4.9 5 42 1
8 Mark Allen RS Jr 29 115 4.0 1 24 1
32 Journey Brown Fr
  • At running back, Penn State has the best one in the nation and one of the best overall players in the country in Saquon Barkley. Barkley carried the ball 272 times last season and maintained an average of 5.5 yards per carry. He didn’t seem to tire out despite the heavy workload and had one of his best games of the season against USC in the Rose Bowl, carrying the ball 25 times for 194 yards and two touchdowns. Apparently he worked like crazy this offseason to be an even better ball carrier this season and is supposed to be stronger and faster than he was last year. I don’t think that 1,500 rushing yards is out of the question this season but could see offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead cutting back some of Barkley’s carries this season to keep him fresh. He may find himself more involved in the passing game this season now that Chris Godwin is gone and with the presence of several talented running backs behind him on the depth chart.
  • Miles Sanders is really good and seems to be the clear cut number two on the depth chart. It seems all but guaranteed that his workload increases this season and he is really talented as a former four star recruit who had offers from Alabama, LSU, and Michigan, among others. Sanders has excellent size, an area he has a leg up on others on the depth chart. Andre Robinson and Mark Allen will both compete for carries this season but are both undersized and struggled after first contact. Penn State also has newly-arrived freshman Journey Brown on their roster but he is likely to red shirt unless injuries happen.

Wide Receivers

# Name Yr Rec 2016 Rec. Yards Y/C 2016 Rec. TDs
5 DaeSean Hamilton RS Sr 34 506 14.9 1
3 DeAndre Thompkins Rs Jr 27 440 16.3 1
13 Saeed Blacknall Sr 15 347 23.1 3
10 Brandon Polk Jr 2 18 9.0 0
84 Juwan Johnson RS So 2 70 35.0 0
11 Irvin Charles RS So 2 106 53.0 1
87 Dae’Lun Darien RS Fr
39 Josh McPhearson RS Sr
1 KJ Hamler Fr
82 Cameron Sullivan-Brown Fr
12 Mac Hippenhammer Fr
  • Losing Chris Godwin to the NFL is going to be difficult for Joe Moorhead and the offense to replace. He had over 1,000 receiving yards last season and was Trace McSorley’s number one option, especially on deep balls.
  • Luckily for the Nittany Lions is that they have DaeSean Hamilton, DeAndre Thompkins, and Saeed Blacknall back this season and all three were key contributors to their offense last season. Backnall is likely to replace Godwin on the outside as he was very good at catching the deep ball last season and has the size to be that type of receiver. Hamilton will likely move into their number two receiver with Thompkins slotting in as their slot receiver.
  • The Nittany Lions do have some interesting options in their depth, including Brandon Polk, who attended the same high school as McSorley and have some chemistry with each other, Juwan Johnson, and Irvin Charles, both of whom have excellent size with a lot of talent. Dae’Lun Darien redshirted last season and is likely to get some playing time this season.
  • KJ Hamler, Cameron Sullivan-Brown, and Mac Hippenhammer are all true freshmen but the latter two figure to be redshirted. Hamler, a four star recruit, is probably talented enough to play this season but is still likely to redshirt given the number of players above him on the depth chart.

Tight Ends

# Name Yr Rec 2016 Rec. Yards Y/C 2016 Rec. TDs
88 Mike Gesicki Sr 48 679 14.1 5
83 Nick Bowers So
89 Tom Pancoast RS Sr
80 Danny Dalton RS Fr
  • At tight end, Mike Gesicki may be the pass-catching tight end in the nation with only Wisconsin’s Troy Fumagalli being in contention. At 6’6” and 257 pounds, Gesicki is the ideal size for a tight end and there will likely be a premium placed on him at next year’s draft. When he decided to return for his senior season, Penn State fans everywhere breathed a collective sigh of relief because of how important he was to their offense last season. Considering he was the only tight end to catch a pass last season and his ability to be a solid run blocker, Gesicki is a vital piece to Penn State’s offense. With Chris Godwin gone, Gesicki is likely to have an even bigger role this season.
  • It’s difficult to determine the abilities of the other tight ends on their roster considering their lack of playing time. All of them have the appropriate size for the position and Danny Dalton seems to have the potential to take over as the number one tight end next season. Gesicki played in every game last season, something that is unlikely to be repeated this season, so there is a strong chance a tight end not named Gesicki will catch a pass.

Offensive Line

POS # Name Yr
C/G 66 Connor McGovern So
C/G 62 Michal Menet RS Fr
C/G 74 Stephen Gonzalez RS So
C/G 64 Zach Simpson RS So
C/G 61 CJ Thorpe Fr
C/G 73 Michael Miranda Fr
T 52 Ryan Bates RS So
T 59 Andrew Nelson RS Sr
T 70 Brendan Mahon RS Sr
T 77 Chasz Wright RS Jr
T 71 Will Fries RS Fr
T 51 Alex Gellerstedt RS Fr
T Noah Beh RS Jr
T 75 Des Holmes Fr
T 72 Robbie Martin Fr
  • Penn State’s offensive line is finally a strength for them, perhaps the first time this has been the case in a decade. They return four starters from last season, including three players who have experience playing tackle. This bodes really well for them as kicking one of these three to the interior is likely to maximize his value. Ryan Bates is a former ESPN 300 recruit who is a red shirt sophomore who could anchor their line for the next three seasons if he stays through his senior year. Brendan Mahon was also an ESPN 300 recruit and Andrew Nelson was a four star recruit out of high school. Both are seniors and bring some leadership to the line. Of these three players, whichever one is the least mobile is likely to get kicked inside and join Connor McGovern, a true sophomore at center or guard. No matter what happens, they will have to start someone who is relatively inexperienced. Zach Simpson was the backup center last season but they have two interesting true freshmen this season who could earn a starting spot in C.J. Thorpe and Michael Miranda. Both were four star recruits and on ESPN’s 300 list with Thorpe grading out higher and the more likely of the two to avoid a redshirt. James Franklin doesn’t seem like the type of coach to rush players but if Thorpe or Miranda can prove themselves to be qualified out of camp, then it makes the most sense to have them start gaining experience their first year on campus.
  • After this season, the offensive line will have more turnover than they did this year, with both Andrew Nelson and Brendan Mahon graduating, and the potential to lose Ryan Bates to the NFL if that is an option for him. There is plenty of depth behind their starters and getting these players playing time throughout this season will be key to future success.

Defensive Line

POS # Name Yr 2016 Tackles 2016 TFL 2016 Sacks 2016 FF
DE 19 Torrence Brown RS Jr 33 6.0 0.5 2
DE 48 Shareef Miller RS So 22 5.0 1.5 1
DE 97 Ryan Buchholz RS So 16 4.0 2.0 0
DE 34 Shane Simmons RS Fr
DE Daniel Gibson RS Fr
DE 18 Shaka Toney RS Fr
DE 99 Yetur Matos Fr
DE Damion Barber Fr
DT 52 Curtis Cothran RS Jr 29 7.0 1.0 0
DT 41 Parker Cothren RS Jr 18 3.0 1.5 0
DT 30 Kevin Givens RS So 27 7.5 5.0 0
DT 54 Robert Windsor RS So 23 1.5 1.0 0
DT 56 Tyrell Chavis Sr 12 1.5 0.5 0
DT 42 Ellison Jordan RS Fr
DT 55 Antonio Shelton RS Fr
DT 53 Fred Hansard Fr
DT 92 Corey Bolds Fr
  • On the defensive line, the Nittany Lions lost both of their starting ends to the NFL – Garrett Sickels to the Colts and Evan Schwan to the Giants. Replacing their combined 12 sacks last season won’t be easy, but they have plenty of depth to make it a possibility. Torrence Brown and Shareef Miller both played quite a bit last season with success, and Ryan Buchholz saw time at both the end and at defensive tackle. All three of them will likely play quite a bit in 2017, plus Penn State has three red shirt freshmen who should see the field and two true freshmen who are likely to be redshirted. The most exciting player with the potential to play this season has to be Shane Simmons, the 14th overall player in ESPN’s 2016 recruiting class. He was recruited by all of the major programs and Penn State landing him was a huge haul. Since arriving on campus, Simmons has added 23 pounds, giving him a much more competitive weight of 250 pounds this season. Based on what has been written about Simmons, he has the potential to be truly special and could be among the next wave of elite Penn State pass rushers. Of the newcomers this season, Yetur Matos is someone to be excited about even though he will likely be redshirted this year. He was a four star recruit out of Virginia this year with the potential to be in their line rotation next season.
  • Both projected starting defensive tackles this season, Curtis Cothran and Parker Cothren, are returners from last season. Having these two in the interior will go a long way towards combatting the loss of Sickels and Schwan. Penn State also has three other tackles on the depth chart that played last season and figure to get significant playing time this season. Ellison Jordan is a redshirt freshman who has the chance to be an impact player this season and was a four star recruit out of high school and was listed on ESPN’s 300 list in 2016. They also have two interesting true freshmen on campus this year in Fred Hansard and Corey Bolds, both four star recruits out of New Jersey, a state Penn State has always succeeded in recruiting. Both players are likely to follow tradition for the program and redshirt their first year before seeing playing time as redshirt freshmen.

Linebackers

# Name Yr 2016 Tackles/TFL 2016 Sacks/FFs 2016 INTs
40 Jason Cabinda Sr 80/4.0 1.0/0 0
43 Manny Bowen Jr 67/8.5 2.0/0 0
33 Jake Cooper Jr 15/0.0 0/0 0
7 Koa Farmer RS Jr 29/4.5 3.0/1 0
6 Cam Brown So 33/1.5 0.5/0 0
47 Brandon Smith Sr 54/3.5 0.5/0 2
25 Berlin Faison-Walden Fr
9 Jarvis Miller RS So 5/0.0 0/0 0
36 Jan Johnson RS So 11/0.0 0/0 0
13 Ellis Brooks Fr
44 Brailyn Franklin Fr
  • Penn State has struggled with recruiting at the linebacker position in recent seasons and they have had problems at establishing depth in the area as well. This goes against the history of the program, which has been known as “Linebacker U” for decades. They return two starters for the three spots, including Jason Cabinda, who chose to return for his senior season after a very good junior year in which he was injured at various times. He will be the quarterback of the defense and is a very good tackler at inside linebacker. They also return Manny Bowen, who started last season and had eight and a half tackles for loss last year. The third linebacker slot is open and there are five players who played last season who could compete for the position. Koa Farmer or Brandon Smith are two of the most likely candidates for the opening as they both played quite a bit last season and are upper classmen.
  • The Nittany Lions will have three new freshmen this year with Ellis Brooks being the most exciting of the newcomers. He was a four star recruit out of high school and had offers from some of the best programs in the country. There is always the chance that he doesn’t redshirt this season and pushes his way into the linebacker rotation. Penn State needs to get more of a pass rush from the linebackers this season with the turnover taking place on the defensive line and if Brooks can bring that, he has a strong chance to play.

Cornerbacks

# Name Yr 2016 Tackles 2016 INTs
29 John Reid Jr 35 1
15 Grant Haley Sr 39 0
21 Amani Oruwariye RS Jr 23 1
1 Christian Campbell RS Jr 31 1
38 Lamont Wade Fr
17 Garrett Taylor RS So 2 0
14 Zech McPhearson RS Fr
27 T.J. Johnson RS Fr
20 Jabari Butler Jr
3 Donovan Johnson Fr
5 Tariq Castro-Fields Fr
24 D.J. Brown Fr
  • Penn State is going to have to rely on unproven players at cornerback this season after a knee injury in spring practice is going to force John Reid to miss all of this season. Reid is a junior, with the potential to medically redshirt, and was expected to be a big contributor in the secondary. They still have senior cornerback Grant Haley returning this season but he will have to step up and play a larger role with the injury to Reid. They do have Amani Oruwariye, Christian Campbell, and Garrett Taylor who all played last season and will be expected to take on a bigger role this year.
  • They also have a series of freshmen, both redshirt and true, who are exciting and have the potential to be impact players this season. Zech McPhearson and T.J. Johnson are both redshirt freshmen who are likely to get into the rotation, especially late in games or in cases of injury. The most exciting freshman is by far Lamont Wade, one of the top recruits in the country this past fall, who played running back and cornerback in high school. He is supremely athletic and could have an immediate impact as a true freshman. He was unlikely to redshirt this year even if John Reid was healthy, but with him gone, Wade is likely to either be in the rotation, or even start as a slot corner.

Safeties

# Name Yr 2016 Tackles 2016 INTs
2 Marcus Allen Sr 110 0
4 Nick Scott RS Jr 8 0
28 Troy Apke Sr 28 1
23 Ayron Monroe RS Jr 12 0
26 Jonathan Sutherland Fr
  • At the safety positions, the Nittany Lions lost Malik Golden to graduation and he was a key contributor to their defense last season. They do have Marcus Allen still, who is a senior this season and was important to last year’s team. They also have Nick Scott, Troy Apke, and Ayron Monroe who all played last season. Scott or Apke figure to be the replacement for Golden as they have had the most playing experience in their careers. They also have true freshman Jonathan Sutherland on their roster for the first time and he was heavily recruited as a four star safety in high school. I think he is guaranteed to redshirt this season as a result of how experienced their safeties are already. After this season Marcus Allen and Troy Apke will both be gone and Nick Scott and Ayron Monroe will both be seniors next year if both return. That means that the Nittany Lions are going to have to recruit heavily for this position group or look to move one or two of their cornerbacks to safety to fill the position. They do currently have two safeties committed to their 2018 recruiting class and both are four star recruits on ESPN’s 300 list. If both end up signing with Penn State, it would greatly increase the team’s depth and be vital to the long-term success of the team.

Special Teams

POS # Name Yr XPM/XPA FGM/FGA
K 95 Tyler Davis RS Sr 62/62 22/24
K 90 Alex Barbir RS Fr
K 97 Carson Landis Fr
POS # Name Yr # of Punts AVG
P 93 Blake Gilliken So 61 42.8
P 92 Daniel Pasquariello Sr 2 37.5
  • Penn State’s kicking and punting group is in good shape with Tyler Davis returning as their kicker and Blake Gilliken returning as punter. Davis was perfect on extra point attempts last season and missed just two field goals all year. He seems like a candidate to be a finalist for the Lou Groza Award as the nation’s best kicker this season. Davis is a redshirt senior this season but they have two kickers below him on the depth chart and another one committed to their 2018 class. At punter, Blake Gilliken was pretty good last season, averaging nearly 43 yards per punt and he was just a freshman last year. As a sophomore this year, he should be even better and has the potential to give the team an advantage over other teams.
  • Penn State did lose kickoff specialist Joey Julius this offseason to a long-term eating disorder but replacing him shouldn’t be too difficult.

2017 Schedule and Analysis

Week 1 – 9/2 12:00pm  Vs Akron Zips

  • 2016 Record: 5-7 (3-5 in the MAC); failed to quality for a bowl game
  • Last Meeting: 2014 – Penn State won 21-3
  • Penn State’s rebuilt secondary will be tested right out of the gate in 2017 by an Akron team that has shown an ability to throw the ball for success in recent seasons. If the Zips’ starting quarterback from last season Tommy Woodson can return from injury after suffering from a serious shoulder injury last year, they could give the Nittany Lions fits. Penn State’s young corners will get the opportunity to get their feet wet and still have the chance to come out on top given their athleticism. Akron doesn’t have a good run offense so the loss of Garrett Sickels and Evan Schwan at defensive end shouldn’t hurt too much early on. On offense, the Nittany Lions should be able to move the ball with ease against the Zips. Their defense regressed badly from the top 20 unit they had in 2015 and couldn’t stop offenses last season. I see Saquon Barkley going off in this game and a 200-yard performance isn’t out of the question. Trace McSorley should be able to build chemistry with his receivers in this game and utilizing the deep ball will be a possibility in this game.
  • Prediction: Penn State will be favored heavily in this one and should win by at least three touchdowns. (1-0)

Week 2 – 9/9 3:30pm  Vs Pittsburgh Panthers

  • 2016 Record: 8-5 (5-3 in the ACC); Lost to Northwestern 31-24 in the Pinstripe Bowl
  • Last Meeting: 2016 – Pitt won 42-39
  • Penn State will be looking for revenge in this matchup after dropping a heartbreaker at Pitt last season, 42-39. If the Nittany Lions had won that game they pretty much were guaranteed to be in the College Football Playoffs last season after going on to win the Big Ten Conference. This isn’t the same Pitt team that Penn State lost to last season as the Panthers lost their starting quarterback, running back, plus their front seven on defense this offseason. Quarterback Nathan Peterman was a two year starter for Pitt and they will turn to a graduate transfer to lead the team. They also lost James Connor to the NFL Draft after last season but they have the depth in place to be able to replace his production. I think that the biggest advantage Penn State will have in this game is that Pitt lost offensive coordinator Matt Canada to LSU. With this game coming so early in the season, Penn State’s front seven could have a field day with the roster turnover on the Panthers’ offense. On offense, I don’t think Penn State will have too much trouble moving the ball against Pitt’s new defense. This is another game in which Barkley could run wild and see himself take an early lead in Heisman consideration. A lot has changed since these teams met last season – Penn State figured out its identity on offense and Pitt’s roster is wildly different. This year, the game will be in Happy Valley and Pitt will still be working in a new offensive coordinator with many new weapons, giving the Nittany Lions the advantage.
  • Prediction: Penn State gets revenge in this game, beating Pitt by two touchdowns. (2-0)

Week 3 – 9/16 7:30pm  Vs Georgia State Panthers

  • 2016 Record: 3-9 (2-6 in the Sun Belt); failed to qualify for a bowl game
  • Last Meeting: Never Played Before
  • 2017 will mark Georgia State’s seventh year with a football program. It will also be the first meeting between the two teams. The Panthers have a new head coach this season in Shawn Elliott who is an offensive guy. That is good news for the team as they were one of the worst offenses in college football last season. It doesn’t seem likely that they will have their offense in order at the start of the season and will rely on their defense to lead the team this year. Playing Georgia State could help make Penn State’s defense look a lot better than they actually are. While I think that Penn State won’t have a problem moving the ball or scoring against the Panthers, Georgia State will likely present them with the toughest challenge defensively that they will face to this point in the season. Last season, their defense was good enough to not give up a single play of more than 50 yards, something that seems difficult to believe. I think that Georgia State could keep this one close until halftime, but ultimately Penn State’s superior talent and athleticism will succeed.
  • Prediction: Penn State will win this game by at least two touchdowns. (3-0)

Week 4 – 9/23 TBA at Iowa Hawkeyes

  • 2016 Record: 8-5 (6-3 in the Big Ten); Lost to Florida 30-3 in the Outback Bowl
  • Last Meeting: 2016 – Penn State won 41-14
  • Penn State’s Big Ten opener is not going to be easy for the Nittany Lions. They beat up on the Hawkeyes in last year’s meeting at Beaver Stadium and a trip to Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City is rough and there will be a desire for revenge in this year’s matchup. Iowa may have the best offensive line in the nation and they have senior running back Akrum Wadley to lead them. Head coach Kirk Ferentz turned over his coaching staff and hired new offensive coordinator, Brian Ferentz, who will look to change the team’s offense from the short route passing game to one that wants to attempts to move the ball in bigger chunks. The Hawkeyes will have to trust a new quarterback this year now that C.J. Beathard has graduated and they have no proven players at wide receiver. I think that once again Penn State’s secondary should have a fairly easy time against Iowa. Iowa’s defense should be quite good with a very good linebacker group and a fairly stout line. Their secondary has to replace three of its players from last year’s team and could have fits with Penn State’s exciting passing game.
  • Prediction: Trace McSorley could have a very big game in this one and the athleticism in the Nittany Lions’ secondary won’t make life easy for Iowa. Penn State wins this game by 10 points. (4-0)

Week 5 – 9/30 TBA Vs Indiana

  • 2016 Record: 6-7 (4-5 in the Big Ten); Lost to Utah 26-24 in the Foster Farms Bowls
  • Last Meeting: 2016 – Penn State won 45-31
  • Indiana kept their game with Penn State last season fairly close and they finished the year with a record of 6-7, earning a berth to the Foster Farms Bowl in the process. That solid finish didn’t ensure head coach Kevin Wilson his job and they replaced him with defensive coordinator Tom Allen. This is largely the result of the very good defense the Hoosiers fielded last season after a great improvement over 2015’s team. Their defense could be the first team this season that could slow down Penn State’s offense, both in the air and on the ground. Offensively, Indiana is athletic but unlikely to be a prolific one. They will have to work in a new offensive system and either turn to a new quarterback or keep Richard Lagow at the helm and he threw 17 interceptions last season. New offensive coordinator Mike DeBord should be able to get more out of this group than they did last year as DeBord had success last season in the same position at Tennessee. Even if Indiana has improved over last season, this year’s matchup is in Happy Valley and that won’t be easy at all.
  • Prediction: Penn State wins this game easily, as Penn State’s defense proves to be too much for Indiana’s inexperienced offense. (5-0)

Week 6 – 10/07 12:00pm at Northwestern

  • 2016 Record: 7-6 (5-4 in the Big Ten); Defeated Pittsburgh 31-24 in the Pinstripe Bowl
  • Last Meeting: 2015 – Northwestern won 23-21
  • A road trip to Evanston will be one of Penn State’s most difficult games this season. It occurs immediately prior to their bye week so it could be a grind to have fresh players. Northwestern will be the most athletic team the Nittany Lions face in the early portion of their schedule and it shows up on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. The Wildcats returns a two year starter at quarterback and a really talented running back. They also seem to have plenty of talent at wide receiver that could give Penn State’s secondary problems. The biggest question mark to Northwestern’s offense will be whether their line can come together. They developed into a solid run blocking line towards the end of last season but gave up far too many sacks last year. If that doesn’t change before their game against Penn State, the Nittany Lions’ pass rushers could have a field day. The Wildcats’ defensive line and secondary are both really good with lots of depth but are one giant question mark at linebacker. This could give Penn State a big advantage in the short passing game and tight end Mike Gesicki could have a big game. I see this game as one of three potential losses for Penn State this season, but still see their talent at the skill positions as being too much for Northwestern. This could easily be one of Northwestern’s better teams in recent seasons and a run for them to a Big Ten West title isn’t out of the question.
  • Prediction: Penn State wins this game by a touchdown (6-0)

Week 7 – Bye Week

Week 8 – 10/21 TBA Vs Michigan

  • 2016 Record: 10-3 (7-2 in the Big Ten); Lost to Florida State 33-32 in the Orange Bowl
  • Last Meeting: 2016 – Michigan won 49-10
  • So far during Jim Harbaugh’s tenure as head coach, Michigan has failed to live up to expectations and hype, especially considering the high level recruiting they have done in recent years. Their roster has gone through a lot of turnover from last season to this one, with just six starters returning in total and only one on defense. They do return their starting quarterback from last season, Wilton Speight, and have an experienced running back group. In contrast, they have to break in an all-new group of receivers and their offensive line could be an issue against upper level pass rushers. Their defense, as I mentioned above, almost entirely new. They lose major playmakers Jabrill Peppers, Taco Charlton, Jourdan Lewis, and Chris Wormley. Having recruited the way they have in recent years, Michigan is set up to handle this type of loss and many of the players they will turn to as starters this season played some last year. Last season when Michigan and Penn State played, the Nittany Lions still hadn’t figured out their offense in the same way that they did at the end of the year. In fact, after their loss to the Wolverines, Penn State didn’t lose another game until the Rose Bowl against USC. They got beat handedly against Michigan and there is no way that their coaching staff or returning players will let that happen again, plus this year’s game will be in State College, which makes a big difference. I think that Penn State’s defense will have the upper hand against Michigan’s offense, especially with the Wolverines’ unproven line. In the matchup of Penn State’s offense vs Michigan’s defense, it could end up being a wash with all of the athleticism on both sides of the ball. Saquon Barkley should still be able to breakthrough, however, as he will be the best back Michigan’s defense will see up to that point in the season. I see this either as a low-scoring affair that comes down to a field goal or one that Penn State runs away with. The atmosphere in Beaver Stadium will be electric for this as the game has the chance to be a primetime one with a lot on the line for both teams.
  • Prediction: Penn State wins this in a close game but Saquon Barkley makes all the difference and has a Heisman moment. (7-0)

Week 9 – 10/28 3:30pm at Ohio State

  • 2016 Record: 11-2 (8-1 in the Big Ten); Lost to Clemson 31-0 in the CFP Semifinals
  • Last Meeting: 2017 – Penn State won 24-21
  • The Big Ten East could very well come down to this matchup. Last year, in Happy Valley, Penn State stunned Ohio State when the Buckeyes were the number two team in the nation. This year, the game takes place in Columbus, with Penn State coming off a home game against Michigan and Ohio State a bye week. That doesn’t mean this game will be easy for the Buckeyes as they have to replace three of their biggest targets in the passing game who totaled more than 130 receptions between them, one of which is Curtis Samuel. They also have to replace three of their four starters in the secondary and are reworking their offensive line. The Buckeyes had to find a new offensive coordinator this offseason after Luke Fickell departed to take the head coaching job at Cincinnati. They replaced Fickell with former Indiana head coach Kevin Wilson, who is an electric offensive mind. The Buckeyes have to hope that Wilson can bring some spark back to Ohio State after their defense was sluggish towards the end of last year. One area this can happen is through a resurgence from quarterback J.T. Barrett, whose completion percentage was below 62 last season. I think his bounceback year, plus the ability to replace Samuel with Mike Weber, a 1,000 yard rusher last season, will give Penn State’s defense fits, especially their young secondary. Even if they can keep Weber in check, it still means that Barrett could potentially pick apart their corners and safeties. On defense, having to replace all of their departed players is not going to be easy and I think Penn State’s offense can find success against the young Buckeyes’ secondary. If this game were either in Happy Valley, or if Penn State weren’t coming off a game against Michigan while Ohio State has a bye week the week before, I think I’d like Penn State’s chances a bit more. But with the circumstances being what they are, there is quite a lot going against the Nittany Lions.
  • Prediction: Penn State loses a nail biter in this one as the freshness of the Buckeyes is just too much to overcome. (7-1)

Week 10 – 11/4 TBA at Michigan State

  • 2016 Record: 3-9 (1-8 in the Big Ten); Failed to qualify for a bowl game
  • Last Meeting: 2016 – Penn State won 45-12
  • There is a lot of bad blood in this rivalry, and after three consecutive losses to Michigan State (including a blowout in 2015), Penn State was able to exorcise some demons in 2016 by winning 45-12. Michigan State will be looking for revenge in this game but I don’t think they have the talent to make it a reality. They have a very young offense, especially at quarterback and receivers, but have a very good running back in LJ Scott and should have a talented offensive line. They are also very unproven on defense and Penn State could run wild against them with their up-tempo, high-flying offense. Michigan State isn’t likely to be as bad as they were last year, but I doubt that they give the Nittany Lions much of a problem in this game.
  • Prediction: Penn State could blow this game open and run away with (8-1)

Week 11 – 11/11 12:00pm Vs Rutgers

  • 2016 Record: 2-10 (0-9 in the Big Ten); Failed to qualify for a bowl game
  • Last Meeting: 2016 – Penn State won 39-0
  • Rutgers should be an improved team in 2017 after returning 13 starters from last year’s team. That could either be good or bad as they weren’t a good team last season, but the experience has to be beneficial nonetheless. They bring in former Minnesota head coach Jerry Kill to be their new offensive coordinator, which should be an improvement for the team. There are still likely to have problems putting points up, something that should certainly be the case against Penn State in State College, and their defense was bottom ten in the nation last season. They do have experience on that side of the ball with their linebackers and secondary all returning, but they are still unlikely to keep this one close.
  • Prediction: Shouldn’t be a shutout like it was last season, but I don’t think the final margin will be within three touchdowns. Penn State win. (9-1)

Week 12 – 11/18 TBA Vs Nebraska

  • 2016 Record: 9-4 (6-3 in the Big Ten); Lost to Tennessee 38-24 in the Motor City Bowl)
  • Last Meeting: 2013 – Nebraska won 23-20
  • Penn State hasn’t beaten Nebraska since the Cornhuskers joined the Big Ten but also haven’t played them since 2013. This year seems like the time that losing streak will be broken. Nebraska starts the season with a new defensive coordinator, new quarterback, new running back, and unproven receivers. They do have an experienced defense, especially on the back end, but their defensive line and linebackers are relatively inexperienced. Penn State’s pass rush and front seven could wreak havoc on Nebraska’s inexperienced offense and their run game led by Saquon Barkley could go off on a young front seven. Barkley could certainly approach 200 rushing yards in this game and the fact that this is in State College makes the Nittany Lions a big favorite.
  • Prediction: Penn State wins this by at least two touchdowns. (10-1)

Week 13 – 11/25 TBA at Maryland

  • 2016 Record: 6-7 (3-6 in the Big Ten); Lost to Boston College 36-30 in the Quick Lane Bowl
  • Last Meeting: 2016 – Penn State won 38-14
  • Maryland’s offense could be good this season and, at the very least, will be exciting with how fast they will go. The Terps could give Penn State’s defense some issues, especially if the Nittany Lions have any depth issues at linebacker or in the secondary. Maryland also has two good running backs and a number of wide receivers who can stretch the field, making life difficult on Penn State’s young secondary. Any chance at staying competitive in this game likely stops at Maryland’s defense, which is young and just not very good. They have converted players throughout this side of the ball and likely won’t be able to stop Penn State’s run or passing game. Even though this is a road game for Penn State, they could run away with it.
  • Prediction: Penn State wins this by at least three touchdowns. (11-1)

*All stats and information came from Land Of 10, Sports-Reference, Go PSU Sports, and Athlon Sports

Jacksonville Jaguars Season Preview

2016 Jaguars

AFC South Finished 4th in Division

Failed to make the playoffs

Overall Record: 3-13

(2-4 in the division)

Draft Position: 4th
Head Coach: Doug Marrone (2017) GM: David Caldwell (2013)

2016 Rankings

 
Yards/Game
Points/Game
Passing Yards/Game
Rushing Yards/Game
   
Offense 23rd 25th 20th 22nd TDs –

26th

 
Defense 6th 25th 5th 19th Sacks –

T-19th

INTs –

32nd

Outgoing Players

POS Player 2017 Team Contract
RB Denard Robinson Free Agent  
RB Joe Banyard Buffalo Bills 1 year, $690,000
WR Rashad Lawrence Free Agent  
WR Tony Washington New England Patriots 1 year, $540,000
T Kelvin Beachum New York Jets 3 years, $24 million
G/T Luke Joeckel Seattle Seahawks 1 year, $8 million
DT Sen’Derrick Marks Free Agent  
DE Tyson Alualu Pittsburgh Steelers 2 years, $6 million
DE Jared Odrick Free Agent  
DE Roy Miller Kansas City Chiefs  1 year, $1.4 million
DT Jordan Hill Detroit Lions 1 year, $855,000
LB Dan Skuta Chicago Bears  
LB Marcus Rush Kansas City Chiefs 1 year, $465,000
S Johnathan Cyprien Tennessee Titans 4 years, $25 million
CB Prince Amukamara Chicago Bears 1 year, $7 million
CB Davon House Green Bay Packers 1 year, $2.8 million

Draft Results

RD Pick POS Player College
1 4 RB Leonard Fournette LSU
2 34 T Cam Robinson Alabama
3 68 DE Dawuane Smoot Illinois
4 110 WR Dede Wrestbrook Oklahoma
5 148 LB Blair Brown Ohio
7 222 CB Jalen Myrick Minnesota
7 240 FB Marquez Williams Miami

Incoming Free Agents

POS Player 2016 Team                        Contract
WR Bryan Walters Seattle Seahawks 2 years, $1.865 million
TE Michal Rivera Oakland Raiders 2 years, $3.25 million
G/T Earl Watford Arizona Cardinals 2 years, $5 million
DE Calais Campbell Arizona Cardinals 4 years, $60 million
DE Malliciah Goodman Atlanta Falcons  
DT Stefan Charles Detroit Lions 2 years, $4 million
LB Lerentee McCray Buffalo Bills 1 year, $2 million
LB Josh McNary Indianapolis Colts  
LB Audie Cole Minnesota Vikings 2 years, $2.6 million
CB A.J. Bouye Houston Texans 5 years, $67.5 million
S Barry Church Dallas Cowboys 4 years, $26 million

2017 Roster

Quarterbacks

# Name Age Acquired 2016 Passing Yds 2016 TDs/INTs
5 Blake Bortles 25 Drafted 1st RD 2014 3,905 23/16
7 Chad Henne 32 Free Agent (MIA) 2012
10 Brandon Allen 25 Drafted 6th RD 2016

Running Backs

# Name Age Acquired 2016 Rushing Yards 2016 Rushing TDs
27 Leonard Fournette 22 Drafted 1st RD 2017 843 (NCAA) 8 (NCAA)
24 T.J. Yeldon 23 Drafted 2nd RD 2015 465 1
33 Chris Ivory 29 Free Agent (NYJ) 2016 439 3
30 Corey Grant 25 Undrafted FA 2015 164 1

Wide Receivers

# Name Age Acquired 2016 Rec. Yards 2016 Rec. TDs
15 Allen Robinson 24 Drafted 2nd RD 2014 883 6
11 Marquise Lee 25 Drafted 2nd RD 2014 851 3
88 Allen Hurns 25 Undrafted FA 2014 477 3
12 Dede Westbrook 23 Drafted 4th RD 2017 1,524 (NCAA) 17 (NCAA)
17 Arrelious Benn 29 Free Agent (PHI) 2015 116 1

Tight Ends

# Name Age Acquired 2016 Rec. Yards 2016 Rec. TDs
89 Mercedes Lewis 33 Drafted 1st RD 2006 169 1
83 Ben Koyack 24 Drafted 7th RD 2015 161 1
81 Mychal Rivera 27 Free Agent (OAK) 192 1

Offensive Line

POS # Name Age                 Acquired
LT 74 Cam Robinson 21 Drafted 2nd RD 2017
LG 77 Patrick Omameh 27 Free Agent (CHI) 2016
C 65 Brandon Linder 25 Drafted 3rd RD 2014
RG 60 A.J. Cann 25 Drafted 3rd RD 2015
RT 78 Jeremy Parnell 31 Free Agent (DAL) 2015

Special Teams

POS # Name Age Acquired
K 2 Jason Myers 26 Undrafted FA 2015
P 3 Brad Nortman 28 Free Agent (CAR) 2016
LS 46 Carson Tinker 27 Undrafted FA 2013

Defensive Line

POS # Name Age Acquired 2016 Tackles 2016 Sacks
DE 56 Dante Fowler Jr. 23 Drafted 1st RD 2015 23 4.0
DT 95 Abry Jones 26 Undrafted FA 2013 26 0
DT 90 Malik Jackson 27 Free Agent (DEN) 2016 29 6.5
DE 93 Calais Campbell 31 Free Agent (ARI) 2017 34 8.0

Linebackers

POS # Name Age Acquired 2016 Tackles/Sacks 2016 INTS/FF
OLB 51 Paul Posluszny 32 Free Agent (BUF) 2011 97/1.5 1/0
MLB 44 Myles Jack 22 Drafted 2nd RD 2016 16/0.5 0/0
OLB 50 Telvin Smith 26 Drafted 5th RD 2014 98/1.0 2/0

Secondary

POS # Name Age Acquired 2016 Tackles 2016 INTs
CB 21 A.J. Bouye 26 Free Agent (HOU) 2017 48 1
FS 39 Tashaun Gipson 27 Free Agent (CLE) 2016 34 1
SS 42 Barry Church 29 Free Agent (DAL) 2017 61 2
CB 20 Jalen Ramsey 22 Drafted 1st RD 2016 55 2

2017 Schedule and Predictions

WK Date Opponent My Prediction
1 9/10 @ Houston Texans L
2 9/17 Vs Tennessee Titans W
3 9/24 Vs Baltimore Ravens W
4 10/1 @ New York Jets W
5 10/8 @ Pittsburgh Steelers L
6 10/15 Vs Los Angeles Rams W
7 10/22 @ Indianapolis Colts L
8 Bye Week  
9 11/5 Vs Cincinnati Bengals W
10 11/12 Vs Los Angeles Chargers L
11 11/19 @ Cleveland Browns W
12 11/26 @ Arizona Cardinals L
13 12/3 Vs Indianapolis Colts W
14 12/10 Vs Seattle Seahawks L
15 12/17 Vs Houston Texans L
16 12/24 @ San Francisco 49ers W
17 12/31 @ Tennessee Titans L

Season Outlook

  • Offense
    • Blake Bortles has to finally take a step forward and become a quarterback that was worthy of being selected third overall three years ago.  He has also struggled with throwing interceptions, and did so again last season, but took big steps back in other areas last year as well.  His passing yards dropped by over 500 yards from 2015 to last season and his average yards per game dipped below 250.  For the Jaguars to take another step towards making the playoffs, Bortles has to cut down on his interceptions and increase his production.
    • I think that the team needs to seriously consider going to Chad  Henne or even Brandon Allen to start the season given how poor Bortles has been and how well Henne and Allen have played so far this preseason.
    • The Jags running back situation has to be one of the best in the league considering they are adding Leonard Fournette to the mix. Fournette was probably ready to play in the NFL after his freshman season at LSU but stayed for two more seasons.  He only played in seven games last season but will be fully healthy when the season starts.  Of the running backs at the top of the draft board this year, Fournette was certainly the most well-rounded of them. He should be an immediate boost to the Jaguars offense and help take some of the strain off the passing game.
    • I like Jacksonville’s wide receiver group as much as I like their running backs. Allen Robinson should be a 1,000 yard receiver every season and Marqise Lee and Allen Hurns are very good numbers two and three options.  They also used a fourth round pick on Dede Westbrook, who had over 1,500 receiving yards and 17 touchdowns last season at Oklahoma.  Even though the BIG 12 doesn’t have the best secondaries or defenses in general, anyone who watched college football last season will recognize how good he was.  If Westbrook can put some weight on his frame and can work on his route running, he can be a solid NFL receiver and give Bortles or whomever is their quarterback another good option.
    • Jacksonville’s offensive line took major strides last season and it should be as good, if not better, this season.  They took Cam Robinson out of Alabama with a second round pick.  In his three seasons with the Crimson Tide, he made every start at left tackle and was successful against the tenacious pass rushes of the SEC. If he can work on some of the deficiencies that were pointed out at the Combine, Robinson should be able to anchor the Jaguars offensive line for years to come.
  • Defense
    • I find it really hard to not be excited about the Jaguars defense. Their line consists of second year Dante Fowler Jr, who had four sacks in limited time last season, Malik Jackson’s six and half sacks, and free agent acquisition Calais Campbell with his eight sacks. This line is going to give opposing offensive lines fits all season long.
    • At linebacker, they have two of the better tacklers in the NFL in Paul Posluszny and Telvin Smith, plus Myles Jack, who is electric and capable of so much.
    • Their secondary has been rebuilt this offseason with free agent acquisitions of A.J. Bouye and Barry Church.  These two should help a secondary that struggled so much against the pass last season. It also helps that Jalen Ramsey will be entering his second season after a very successful rookie year in which he started all 16 games.
  • Overall Thoughts
    • With the further development of their young players on defense, the Jaguars have the chance to be really solid.  I think that the additions of Bouye and Church will go a long way to stopping the pass and keeping the ball out of the end zone.
    • On offense, their draft picks should make a big difference.  I really like what they have done on their offensive line with the addition of Cam Robinson.  I think that taking Leonard Fournette with their first round pick was very smart because it will help take some stress of their quarterback.  That will, in turn, potentially allow their receivers to be more productive.
    • I believe that this could finally be the season in which the Jaguars turn the page and stop being the laughing stock of the division. Their schedule isn’t terrible apart from games against Pittsburgh, Arizona, and Seattle.  In their division, I think that they will lose both games against the Texans and split their series with the Titans and Colts.  I predict that they will finish with an 8-8 record.
  • Biggest Question Mark this Season
    • Is it time to consider the fact that Blake Bortles isn’t an NFL quarterback and turning to someone else could be smart?

*All stats and information come from Wikipedia, Roster Resource, Pro-Football Reference, Sports Reference, ESPN, NFL, Spotrac, and my previous blog