Sunday, July 12, 2015

College Football Preview 2015: Sun Belt

The landscape of the Sun Belt has changed considerably during the age of expansion and movement in college football, however, in some ways, it seems that the Sun Belt has benefited somewhat when most folks thought that this league would suffer the most. Indeed, it would be interesting to see how good Western Kentucky could be in this league format, however, the entrance of Georgia Southern, Appalachian State, and South Alabama has breathed an interesting new wind of change to the conference. Georgia Southern was the darling of the conference last season, even if they fell out of a bowl bid because of an archaic set of transition rules. The Eagles finished 8-0 in conference play last fall, and really had Georgia Tech and NC State up against the ropes. Willie Fritz is one of the best coaches in the country that most people don't know about outside of insider and conference circles, so I expect the Eagles to keep on flying under his direction. Appalachian State is in prime shape to steal the belt this season with a huge load of starters returning, Arkansas State will be a tough out, and there's always the ever tough Ragin' Cajuns to concern yourselves with. One note to mention, look for Troy to have a seriously improved football team now that the stale leadership of Larry Blakeney has moved on and former OC Neal Brown comes home to roost.

Projected Order of Finish
1. Appalachian State
2. Georgia Southern
3. Arkansas State
4. Louisiana-Lafayette
5. Texas State
6. Troy
7. UL-Monroe
8. South Alabama
9. New Mexico State
10. Georgia State
11. Idaho

All Conference Team
QB-Fredi Knighton, Arkansas State
QB-Tyler Jones, Texas State
QB-Taylor Lamb, Appalachian State
RB-Matt Breida, Georgia Southern
RB-Marcus Cox, Appalachian State
RB-Larry Rose III, New Mexico State
RB-Elijah McGuire, UL-Lafayette
WR-Teldrick Morgan, New Mexico State
WR-Donovan Harden, Georgia State
WR-Rashon Ceasar, UL-Monroe
WR-Ajalon Holley, UL-Monroe
TE-Joel Ruiz, Georgia State

DL-Ronald Blair, Appalachian State
DL-Gerrand Johnson, UL-Monroe
DLLorenzo Jackson, UL-Monroe
DL-Ja'Von Rolland-Jones, Arkansas State
LB-Michael Johnson, UL-Monroe
LB-Marc Millan, Idaho
LB-Rodney Butler, New Mexico State
LB-Derek Ibekwe, New Mexico State
DB-David Mims II, Texas State
DB-Doug Middleton, Appalachian State
DB-Trey Caldwell, UL-Monroe
DB-Montres Kitchens, Troy

PK-Aleem Sunanon-South Alabama
P-Austin Rehkow, Idaho
KR-Derek Keaton, Georgia Southern
PR-Blaise Taylor, Arkansas State

Team Previews

Appalachian State Mountaineers
2014 Record: 7-5
2015 Projected Record: 9-3
Head Coach: Scott Satterfield (11-13, 3rd season)

The Good News: Ten starters return to the offense, a unit that averaged 35.7 points per game last fall. QB Taylor Lamb is a preseason all league pick after passing for 2381 yards last season with 17 TDs. Marcus Cox is another all league pick after rushing for 1415 yards and a whopping 19 scores on the year. There should be excellent balance between run and pass, which should help make this offense explosive after piling up 461 yards per game last fall. All three starting receivers also return in Malachfi Jones, Bobo Beathard, and Simms McElfresh. All three will be seniors this fall. The best news of all on offense will be the return of four starters on the line in RT Beau Nunn, OGs Parker Collins and Colby Gossett, and Center Jesse Chapman. TE Barrett Burns also returns to top everything off.
The news is solid on defense as well, with ten starters returning to a unit that finished first in the conference in total defense last fall, giving up 347.5 total yards per game, including only 195.5 yards passing in an era of pass happy offenses. All three starters are back on the line in ends Ronald Blair and Olawale Dada, and NT Tyson Fernandez. Nathaniel Norwood will also see time at DE, as should Thomas Bronson in a deep rotation. Kennan Gilchrist, Eric Boggs, and John Law also all return at LB. Latrell Gibbs is back in that strong secondary at CB, and both Doug Middleton and AJ Howard return at Safety. Expect junior Alex Gray to get some time at Safety as well, with sophomore Treyon Garrett pushing for playing time as well.
Bentlee Crithcer is back at Punter after averaging 40.7 yards per punt last fall, but may give up PK duties.
The Bad News: There is seriously not much to pick apart about this football team in 2015. The schedule is a bit tough in September with road games at Clemson and Old Dominion, but the Mountaineers should win the game at ODU, and will roll over Howard in the opener.
The depth on the O line should be a bit thin, so the starters must stay healthy. Three freshmen are listed on the current depth chart on the second unit.
On defense, the open CB job may go to sophomore Brandon Pinckney, so he will have to grow quickly into the role.
The PK game may be a mess, as Zach Matics hit just one of five FGs last season.
The Overview: There have been some recent road bumps in this once dominant program, but this is the year where Scott Satterfield can pull this unit out of the fog. ASU has every chance and should have every expectation of rolling up a shot at a conference title. Nobody returns as much starting talent as they do, and that is going to be their driving factor.
First Game: 9/5 Howard

Georgia Southern Eagles
2014 Record: 9-3
2015 Projected Record: 8-4
Head Coach: Willie Fritz (9-3, 2nd season)

The Good News: Despite severe losses on offense to graduation, the Eagles return a key to their offensive success in All League RB Matt Breida. Breida rushed for 1485 yards and 17 scores last fall on 171 carries, and could be an even more central cog in the machine in 2015. Another huge key is the return of QB Kevin Ellison, who should really start to blossom into a more traditional QB role in 2015 after coming along out of the triple option last fall. BJ Johnson's return at WR should be helpful as well, as he should break out this season after catching 23 passes last year. LG Darien Foreman is a key returnee as well.
The anchor unit on defense could be the line, where three starters return in Ends Bernard Dawson and Lonnie Richardson, and NT Jay Ellison. Antwione Williams returns at LB after racking up 66 tackles last fall, and should be the leader in the middle of the field. Antonio Glover and Matt Dobson return at S, which should help the Eagles shore up what was an iffy at best pass D a year ago.
The Bad News: Graduation hit the offense hard after last season, and just four starters return. Four new starters must be found on the line, and replacing those bodies will be key early in the season. Depth could be a major issue even after that happens, as three freshmen figure into the rotation.
The Eagles run a 4-2-5 set on defense, and must find a new starter at LB. DeShawntee Gallon looks like the man, however Ken Butler and Chris Delarosa are battling for playing time there as well. Both Corners need to be replaced, as does the NB, so there is work to do in fall camp.
The PK spot is up for grabs between Younghoe Koo and Alex Hanks, and the punting game is wide open as well with Ryan Nowicki leading heading into camp.
The Overview: I may be overvaluing this team heading into the fall, but where they have value is in the schedule, which is really manageable. Games against West Virginia and Western Michigan in the first two weeks will tell a tale, but nobody saw them coming last fall. A quick start could jump the Eagles into t nice spot in the conference race, and the Eagles could soar again. Never doubt the ability of Willie Fritz.
First Game: 9/5 at West Virginia

Arkansas State Red Wolves
2014 Record: 7-6
2015 Projected Record: 8-4
Head Coach: Blake Anderson (7-6, 2nd season)

The Good News: The Red Wolves have a coach coming back for another season. Seriously, in Jonesboro, that's the only good news you need these days. After coaches like Gus Malzahn and Bryan Harsin all bolted, amongst others, for bigger jobs, just having stability on the coaching staff means everything right now.
The offense should be highly explosive this season, as the Wolves return nine starters in a unit that averaged 36.7 points per game and 421.2 yards per game in 2014. Fredi Knighton passed for 3277 yards and 24 TDs last fall, and is the best returning QB in the conference statistically speaking. Michael Gordon returns at RB and provides amazing balance to the offense after managing 1100 yards and 13 scores last fall. All three starters return at WR as well in JD McKissic, Tres Houston, and Dijon Paschal. Houston was the best of the group last fall, catching 53 passes for 685 yards. Both tackles return in Jamar Clark and Colton Jackson, while Center Devin Modie rounds out the returning starters on the line. Starting TE Darion Griswold is back as well.
The line should be decent on the edge with the return of Ends Chris Stone and all league pick Ja'Von Rolland-Jones, and LB Xavier Woodson. The man with the best name in college football will anchor the secondary in Safety Money Hunter.
Luke Ferguson is back at Punter after averaging 41 yards per punt, but will likely give up PK duties. Blaise Taylor is an all league pick when it comes to returning punts, averaging over eight yards per return.
The Bad News: The offense is mostly set, however both OGs must be replaced. Senior Steven Stevens and sophomore Daniel Keith are the leaders heading into camp, and experience is thin after that.
The defense is going to be an adventure this fall, as only four starters return. The interior line must be replaced, as must the second starting LB spot in the 4-2-5 defense. Sophomore Chuks Ota and senior Robert Mondie are the likely candidates to start, with Waylon Roberson and Jack Swalley giving chase. Quanterio Heath and Sterling Wright are battling for the open LB spot. Four of five starters must be replaced in the secondary as well, including both CB spots and two of three safety spots.
Luke Ferguson was a mess as PK last fall, so there is a wide open competition going on heading into fall camp.
The Overview: The offense alone should be enough to keep the Wolves in the conference race in 2015, but the defense is bare, and that unit was already largely not good after giving up 30.5 points per game last fall (90th nationally) and giving up 205 yards per game on the ground (103rd). How fast any semblance of a unit can come together will be a huge key in how good ASU can be heading into the season. The first month is brutal with USC, Missouri, and Toledo all on the slate, with Missouri State being the only outright winnable game on the board in September.
First Game: 9/5 at USC

UL-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns
2014 Record: 9-4
2015 Projected Record: 8-4
Head Coach: Mark Hudspeth (36-16, 5th season)

The Good News: Mark Hudspeth is still in Lafayette, and that's the best thing going. HIs name has come up for a few different jobs, but he has shown a loyalty and commitment to the school, and now enters his fifth season on the job.
The anchor on offense will be the line, where three starters return in LG Mykhael Quave, RG Donovan Williams, and RT Octravian Anderson. All League pick RB Elijah McGuire shold more than be able to run behind that unit after rushing for 1264 yards and 14 scores last fall. McGuire is also a weapon in the receiving game, as he caught 45 passes 468 yards to add to his totals of offense. Al Riles is the lone returning starter at WR.
The Cajuns are all set at Safety with the return of TJ Worthy and Tracy Walker. Dominique Tovell returns at LB after racking up 76 tackles last fall.
The Bad News: This is one of Hudspeth's thinnest returning units in his tenure at the school. Brooks Haack is likely the starter at QB, but he attempted just 23 passes last fall. Two of three starters must be replaced at WR, and a new TE, LT, and C must all be found in camp. Depth is an issue across the board, as six underclassmen are listed on the second team.
The front seven is loaded with new faces, as only one starter returns. All four starters on the line are gone, two are gone at LB, and both CB jobs are open as well.
The news is no better in the kicking game, with a pair of freshmen slated to grab the PK and P jobs.
The Overview: Hudspeth has endured in the Sun Belt, and has won nine games in each of his previous four seasons. He may take a bit of a step back this season as the Cajuns reload, but we're still talking about a Hudspeth coached team here. Much like Fritz, it's more than hard to bet against this guy and this program. It would not surprise me to see ULL right in the mix once again, however I would not expect it straight out the gate.
First Game: 9/5 at Kentucky

Texas State Bobcats
2014 Record: 7-5
2015 Projected Record: 6-6
Head Coach: Dennis Franchione (36-34, 7th season)

The Good News: Tyler Jones is back at QB and is a preseason all league pick after passing for 2670 yards and 22 scores to just seven picks. Jones should be in good shape in 2015 in passing to an experienced group of WRs in Jafus Gaines, CJ Best, and Brandon Smith. Best led the group with 37 receptions in 2014, so the Cats will need to see some improvement there, but with another season under their belts, that should be expected. Robert Lowe returns at RB, so there should be enough weapons to compete. The line returns three starters in LT Adrian Bellard, RG Felix Romero, and RT Ryan Melton.
The Bobcats are all set up the middle of the front seven, as NT Dallas McCarty and DT Mershad Dillon both return, as does MLB Trey McGowan, who recorded 80 tackles last fall. Jeff Banks, a sophomore, and senior Rusmin Nikocevic are leading candidates to start at DE, while Stephen Smith and freshman Camyron Brown are the leaders at the SLB and WLB spots. Damani Alexander is back at ROVER and all league pick David Mims II is back at CB.
The Bad News: The receiving corps returns  in bulk, but they need to step up, as CJ Best is the best of the bunch after catching just 37 passes. The middle of the line could be questionable with holes at LG and C, and finding a new starter at TE will help that group as a whole.
Defensively, the Bobcats were a bit of a mess last fall, and gave up over 200 yards per game. With questions on the edge of the line and at OLB, the Cats will be hard pressed to find a way to stop the bleeding there. Half of the secondary must also be replaced, and so it will be difficult to move up from a ranking of 99th in total defense.
The other issue is a kicking game which needs new starters at both PK and P after the loss of Will Johnson, and finding return artists that can actually spark that area of the game.
The Overview: When will the Bobcats actually break through mediocrity and rise to compete in this league? Every season, the Bobcats have floated to the middle. Eventually, this program will have to break through. Is Franchione the guy that can inspire this team to rise up? Considering his record here is just two games above .500 after six seasons, I am beginning to think not. Expect nothing more than another season in the middle. Anything better than that is a success.
First Game: 9/5 at Florida State

Troy Trojans
2014 Record: 3-9
2015 Projected Record: 5-7
Head Coach: Neal Brown (1st season)

The Good News: The Trojans really needed to move on from legendary coach Larry Blakeney, and that has been evident for a few years now. They finally made the move, and Blakeney retired under pressure. Troy should see immediate dividends from the change, as new blood is needed to reboot the program. Neal Brown was a perfect choice, after a push for UAB's Bill Clark fell short.
Brandon Silvers, a sophomore, showed promise at times as a freshman last fall. He passed for 1836 yards and 11 scores, while tossing just three picks. Look for a breakthrough season. All three starters are back at WR in Teddy Ruben, KD Edenfield, and Bryan Holmes. Add TE Tommy Blevins, and the potential of this unit is sky high.
The line should be the anchor of the defense in 2015, as three starters return in Ends Jamal Stadum and Tyler Roberts, and DT Lonnie Gosha. Safety should be an area of strength as well with the return of both all league pick Montres Kitchens and JaQuadrian Lewis.
Ryan Kay hit 10 of 14 FGs last season, but could be pushed in camp, which I feel is a mistake.
The Bad News: The Trojans need that breakthrough at QB, and will likely get it, but the Trojans passed for just 198.8 yards per game last season. The Trojans were a better rushing team, but really could use one of their two primary backs to step up and be the guy. Brandon Burks led all rushers with 584 yards, but that's just not enough. Jordan Chunn will be back as well. The Trojans also must find three new starters on the line.
Defensively, Troy must replace six starters, including every starting LB spot. William Lloyd and Justin Lucas could step into those jobs. Both CBs must be replaced, with Darrin Reddick and Jalen Roundtree leading the pack heading into camp. Lamarcus Farmer and Rod Adams are both looking for a shot to start at Safety.
Ryan Kay is likely to return at Punter, but averaged just under 40 yards per punt last fall. Special teams as a whole seems up in the air.
The Overview: Troy needed a change in direction, and while Brown is a blast from the past as the former OC here, and so he has familiarity without being a stale part of the former staff. Brown is an innovator, and so offense should never be a problem while he is in charge. The defense needs to be rebooted altogether after ranking 107th in total defense in 2014. Troy should welcome veteran DC Vic Koenning, who should really get a jump on building a unit that could end up being pretty good in a couple of seasons. With all that said, I think Troy could be a surprise team this fall, and should steal a couple of wins they may not have otherwise seen in seasons past.
First Game: 9/5 at NC State

Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks
2014 Record: 4-8
2015 Projected Record: 4-9
Head Coach: Todd Berry (27-34, 6th season)

The Good News: Whomever ULM decides on to start at QB will at least have two top notch receivers to toss the ball to next fall in Ajalen Holley and Rashon Ceasar, both all league picks to start the season. The line should be decent as well, returning three starters in LG Frank Sutton, C Colby Mitchell, and RT Chase Regian.
The defense, like last season, could be a serious strength, especially up front, where several preseason all league picks exist. NT Gerrand Johnson and DE LOrenzo Jackson are both back on the line, while Michael Johnson and Hunter Kissinger are both back at LB. Johnson racked up 93 tackles, and Johnson picked up eight sacks. The secondary is fairly impressive heading into the fall as well, with four of five starters coming back. Both CBs are back in Lenzy Pipkins and Trey Caldwell, while Justin Backus and Mitch Lane are both back at Safety.
The Bad News: There are more questions than answers on offense, and Berry himself is taking over as OC. That's probably not the best idea moving forward, but it's what is happening.
The Hawks will have to figure out the QB spot first, with as many as three players competing into the fall. ULM also could not run the ball to save their lives last season, and so will have to find some balance, and a RB that can step into the job. In short, the Hawks could be offensively offensive this fall.
If the defense has one deficiency, it is stopping the run, where they gave up 183.3 yards rushing per game a year ago.
The Kicking game is also in reboot mode, with a pair of freshmen trying to acquire the jobs.
The Overview: Berry is seven games under .500 coming into his 6th season at the school, and he's showing a desperation move by taking over as OC. Berry has never been a big winner at any of his previous stops, so the heat has to be on at this point. ULM just has too many serious issues on offense to believe that they can win this season, so we could be in for a bit of trouble with this football team.
The First Game: 9/5 at Georgia

South Alabama Jaguars
2014 Record: 6-7
2015 Projected Record: 4-8
Head Coach: Joey Jones (37-28, 7th season)

The Good News: There isn't much this season as far as depth and experience. USA will be depending on several UAB transfers after the Blazers shut down for what only turned out to be a year. Bryant Vincent is coming back to USA as the OC after having a previous stint at USA as QB coach. Cody Clements will likely step in at QB, DJ Vinson at WR, and Cameron Blankenship (RG) should all step in and start, but transfers are always an iffy proposition. Joseph Scelfo and Chris May both return on the line, while Danny Woodson II starts at WR.
Only two starters return on defense, and both are safeties in Roman Buchanan and Antonio Carter.
Aleem Sunanon is back after hitting 15 of 18 FGs last fall, and is an all league pick. Brandon McKee returns at Punter after averaging over 42 yards per punt last season, so at least there are answers in the kicking game.
The Bad News: Only five total starters return for the Jags (3 on offense, 2 on defense) and they are depending way too much on transfers from UAB, a middling at best program, and other schools as well. Transfers, as a whole, don't always work out, and that could be a problem as the Jags are trying to mix in too many elements to work out too well. This team as a whole needs time to gel, and it could be a sloppy process.
The Overview: Joey Jones is an excellent coach, and there's no doubt about that. What he is facing this fall is a monumental task of trying to reboot almost an entire starting lineup on both sides of the ball with players who are either inexperienced in the game, or inexperienced in the program.I don't care who you are, that's not the best recipe by far. Everyone talks about how much talent these guys have, but this is just too much to ask, and if they were that talented, maybe UAB would have been better than they were. There are too many questions for me to believe in the Jags for 2015.
The First Game: 9/5 Gardner-Webb

New Mexico State Aggies
2014 Record: 2-10
2015 Projected Record: 3-9
Head Coach: Doug Martin (4-20, 3rd season)

The Good News: Larry Rose III is back at RB, and is an all league pick heading into the season after rushing for 1102 yards and nine scores. He should be a focal point of this offense, especially with QB Tyler Rogers' propensity to give the football to the other team. Teldrick Morgan is the premier receiver coming back after catching 75 balls for 903 yards last fall to go with his seven TDs. The line is in decent shape with three starters returning in LT Houston Clemente, LG Isaiah Folesa-Lutui, and RG Thomas McGwire.
The Aggies return two starters at DE in Stody Bradley and Brandon Agomuo, but the real strength is at LB, where NMSU returns all three starters in Rodney Butler, Derek Ibekwe, and Dalton Herrington. Butler and Ibekwe are both all league picks, with Butler grabbing 119 tackles last fall. The entire secondary returns in CBs Lewis Hill and Winston Rose, and Safeties Jalen Wright and Kawe Johnson. That secondary ranked 6th in the nation against the pass last fall, giving up just 174.5 yards per pass.
The Bad News: Rogers was one of the worst offenders in college football last season when it came to turning over the ball. He tossed an abysmal 23 picks last fall to just 18 TDs, so he has some work to do. Throwing the ball away at that rate is a huge reason why this football team can't find a way to win. Despite the return of Morgan, the Aggies need to find two starters at WR to compliment him.
As great as the Aggies were against the pass, they were equally as awful against the run, ranking just 125th nationally against the run, giving up 309.9 yards per game. There are too many decent players up front, and enough talent to find an answer to that problem this fall. The first order of business will have to be to find two new starters at DT, which could help.
The kicking game was a mess last fall, and so answers need to be found there as well.
The Overview: NMSU will not be the worst team in the Sun Belt. That's a positive to start. Think about this fact...I have been following and writing about college football for 35 years as of this season. I can only remember one season in that time when this program finished over .500, and that was a 6-5 season under Tony Samuel. Several of those early years were when the Aggies were a 1-AA program playing in the Missouri Valley Conference. This program has flailed around forever, and there is no sign that anything is about to change. It's a shame that 3-9 this season would be a success.
First Game: 9/5 at Florida

Georgia State Panthers
2014 Record: 1-11
2015 Projected Record: 2-10
Head Coach: Trent Miles (1-23, 3rd season)

The Good News: Nick Arbuckle is back at QB after passing for 3283 yards and 23 TDs, but he has to cut down on the turnovers after tossing 17 picks last fall. He's trying to do too much on his own, but only because he basically has to. Donovan Harden is back after catching 60 passes last fall for 885 yards and seven scores, and is an all league pick. Robert Davis also returns at WR as well, so hopefully that will be enough to cut down o the mistakes. TE Joel Ruiz, another all league pick, returns as well.
The defense returns 10 starters, including all three on the defensive line. Tevin Jones and Shawayne Lawrence return at DE, while Jalen Lawrence is back at DT. The word is, however, that all three could be pushed in camp. Joseph Peterson is back at LB, and is likely the best player on the defense after recording 97 tackles. Bruce Dukes and Chandon Sullivan each return at CB, and Marcus Caffey could push for playing time as well. Tarris Batiste and Nate Simon both return at Safety to round out the unit.
Will Lutz will return after hitting seven of eight FGs last fall, and he will likely handle punting duties as well.
The Bad News: Where does one start when this program has never beaten an FBS opponent. Not only that, but their only win in 2014 was against Abilene Christian, and they only won by a single point late in the game (yeah, I watched it). Arbuckle is promising, but those INT numbers were much too high. The run game is a joke after averaging just 96 yards per game, and the Panthers only scored 22.7 points.
The Panthers were decent against the pass (19th nationally), but everyone ran like crazy against them to a tune of 303.4 yards per game (124th). GSU gave up 43.3 points per game, and gave up 34 points or more ten times. The talent level is largely perceived as just awful, and at best walk on quality.
The Overview: Well, there's no place to go but up. The best thing I can say is that they may not be the worst team in the league in 2015. That's about all that I can say on a positive note. I find it a huge mistake that this program elevated to FBS football They are poorly set up for it, and they are also becoming a bit transient, as when the Georgia Dome comes down ( a place that they should not be playing in anyway), they may end up at Turner Field, which won't be much better. They get scant at best support, and winning has been non existent. Trent Miles likely won't see a season four.
First Game: 9/4 Charlotte

Idaho Vandals
2014 Record: 1-10
2015 Projected Record: 1-11
Head Coach: Paul Petrino (2-21, 3rd season)

The Good News: We'll go with the strength of the unit, which is the line. The line returns four starters in 2015, including LT Jordan Rose, LG Dallas Sandberg, C Steven Matlock, and RT Mason Woods. TE Deon Watson returns at TE as well after catching 37 balls last fall for 343 yards.
On defense, two starters return on the line in DE Quinton Bradley and NT Ryan Edwards. OLB Marc Millan is back as well after recording 102 tackles, and is the heart of this defense. CB Jayshawn Jordan is the lone returnee in the secondary.
Austin Rehkow is back at PK and P. HIs strength is in Punting the football, and it would be good if he could simply concentrate on that, He averaged a booming 47.75 yards per punt last fall, and is probably the best Punter in the nation.
The Bad News: There's just so much bad news. The state of this program is just awful. Matt Linehan was just terrible most of last fall, and despite passing for 2540 yards, he threw for only 11 TDs, and was picked a miserable 18 times. There is no real answer in the run game as well, after the Vandals rushed for only 141.9 yards per game (93rd nationally). They need three new starters at WR as well.
On defense, the Vandals just had no answers last season, and Millan seems to be the only true weapon they have. They ranked 112th in scoring D, 119th against the run, and 112th in total defense. Petrino is really against it with this team.
The Overview: The Vandals made a huge mistake when the old WAC folded up shop. They should have joined their basketball program, and went back to their old home, the Big Sky and FCS football. The reality is that this program simply cannot compete at the FBS level, as they have always struggled to maintain a respectable program. Idaho is a mess, and if there is a fix, I surely don't know what it is.
First Game: 9/3 Ohio

Next: Independents

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