Monday, July 31, 2017

PAC-12 2017 Projections

The conference is trying to keep up with the powers in the power five, and overall, it is not working. Washington did make the playoffs last season, but they were seriously outclassed. The Huskies figure to make another run this season, but can they escape the USC Trojans for the conference title, those same Trojans that beat them in Seattle last season?

1. Washington: The Huskies broke through and won the PAC-12 last season, but fell short in the national semifinal. What's important to note is that despite some serious losses on defense, the offense returns mostly intact. Look for the Huskies to win the North and push for another playoff birth.

2. Washington State: The Cougars are at the end of an open window period to steal a conference title game birth this season, as this is their final ride with Luke Falk at QB. Despite that, Mike Leach has done an amazing job with this program, and sustainability looks rock solid.

3. Stanford: It's so hard to bet against David Shaw and the Cardinal, but with Christian McCaffrey gone, and an unstable QB situation ongoing, Stanford looks to be a step or two behind the Huskies and Cougars for now, but that is a small window.

4. Oregon: Willie Taggart comes on board in the midst of a turbulent period for the Ducks. The defense has been in tatters, and there is nowhere to go but up for that side of the ball. The young talent on offense, however, keeps this team alive in year one.

5. California: Justin Wilcox is going to have to change an all offense, no defense culture at Cal, and balancing out this roster will be a huge challenge early.

6. Oregon State: Gary Anderson's Beavers showed signs of lie last season, but there is not enough life around to get out of the North cellar just yet. Thomas Tyner will be an interesting story at RB. I can tell you one thing. The Beavers are more promising than Arizona.

1. USC: It seems as if resurgence happened the minute the football was handed over to Sam Darnold at QB. There were some major losses, and the roster is not yet perfect, but even an imperfect USC team is better than most others.

2. Colorado: The buffaloes may be just as good as they were a year ago, even with Montez taking over at QB. Look for the Buffs to make another major push in the South, but can they get by the Trojans?

3. Utah: The Utes always seem to have just enough in the tank to survive, but never enough to truly thrive. They need health in the backfield on offense, and they need to find another running threat with the departure of Joe Williams.

4. UCLA: Last year was a train wreck for the Bruins. The offense was awful, and the defense wore out early. Josh Rosen looked like he lost his ability. The bad news is that I have not seen enough change on offense in terms of athletes to make me think that Jedd Fisch will have any more luck in his first go as OC.

5. Arizona State: I have been saying that Todd Graham was overrated for years now. It seems as if others have caught on. His roster is devoid of any major talent on defense, and the Sun Devils look like a team that is no longer responding to his style of coaching.

6. Arizona: Rich Rodriguez does not have a QB. He does not have much of an offense. Was this a guy who was worth a major contract extension before last season? The Wildcats may be the worst team in the conference.

Mountain West 2017 Projections

The overall projection of the league is dragged down by the perceived weakness in the West Division. The issue is that the perception is very real, and there are only two spots in the West that are guaranteed. The Mountain is incredibly strong, but can it carry the league as a while?

1. San Diego State: The run game and a stiff defense will be the primary catalysts once again, and with the West being severely down, the Aztecs should have no trouble riding the legs of Penny and Washington in the backfield to another conference title game birth.

2. Hawaii: Dru Brown emerged in the funky "mix it up" offense that Nick Rolovich rolled out last season, and Hawaii jumped big time. Rolo still sees the Warriors as being well short of where he wants them, and is driven to get to the top.

3. UNLV: This is a big year for Tony Sanchez and the Rebels. It may be bowl bid or bust in year three, as a new AD is in town. Recruiting has shown major gains, but now it all needs to translate into improved play.

4. Nevada: Jay Norvell comes on board after Brian Polian could not get it done in Reno. Norvell has been an assistant so long that one wonders why this is his first gig, and why did it take so long? Those are not comforting questions.

5. San Jose State: Brian Brennan returns home after formerly working as a Co-OC in San Jose. He has his hands full with an apathetic fan base, and a local media group that does not even want to cover the program on any real level.

6. Fresno State: The Bulldogs took the retread approach with Jeff Tedford to try to fix the burning dumpster fire that Tim DeRuyter left behind. There are no quick fixes for this once proud program.

1. Boise State: If the Broncos can mirror the intensity of their head coach, they should be able to go a long way in 2017. Last season's falling short of a conference title still resonates in a nuclear way, and the Broncos have to hold off Wyoming and Colorado State in what should be one of the tougher divisions in G5 football.

2. Wyoming: Josh Allen is a top five NFL draft pick prospect, and is doing everything right, on and off of the field. Andrew Winguard returns to lead what should be an improving defensive unit. The Cowboys look primed to make another run at a conference title in 2017.

3. Colorado State: The Rams open a brand new on campus stadium, and QB Nick Stevens is stoked to get things rolling in front of what he hopes is a rowdy and raucous student section. The Rams and head coach Mike Bobo may have just enough going this season to energize them to push to the top of the division.

4. New Mexico: After sharing the division title in 2016, the Lobos have major question marks on defense heading into the season. If the defense falters, and gives up a ton of points, can the triple option offense afford to get into shootouts on the field?

5. Air Force: The Falcons have a ton of questions on defense, and lost more stars than an imploding galaxy. Look for a fall back for at least this season.

6. Utah State: The Aggies have been in a slide for two seasons now, and the slide looks to continue. Matt Wells has got to find some answers, but I am not sure there are any immediate answers available.

MAC 2017 Projections

The MAC has some opportunities available now that PJ Fleck has left Western Michigan for greener pastures. Still, the power players are still the power players, and Ohio will still likely rule the rosst in the East. Who will take over in the West?

1. Ohio: Frank Solich returns the Bobcats to the top of the East heap, but could be getting pushed by a resurgent Miami team. The Pistol is gone on offense. Will the Bobcats be able to hold together and hold off the RedHawks?

2. Miami (Ohio): The RedHawks had a terrible start last season, but got on a red hot streak in conference play, and nearly beat SEC team Mississippi State. With QB play calmed down, Miami appears ready to make a play for the division.

3. Bowling Green: The Falcons are top three in the division only because the division overall is fairly weak aftet the top two spots. Mike Jinks is still trying to get a groove with this roster, and he may find it fairly challenging to get the Falcons over the top this year.

4. Akron: Picked last by some, I do not see the Zips as being worse than the bottom two that I have selected. They do lose offensive mega-weapon Jerome Lane, and injuries mounted last season. IF they can stay healthy and find another weapon or two on offense, this team will be better than many project.

5. Kent State: I ma not certain how Paul Haynes held onto his job after last season, but if all goes the way I see it going, he won't after the next. I would place him as a candidate for one of the first fired in 2017.

6. Buffalo: Lance Leipold hardly ever lost at Wisconsin-Whitewater. Now he can hardly ever win here. The Bulls will have to give it all they have to stay out of the division cellar in 2017.

1. Toledo: The Rockets got PJ Fleck out of their way, and now they have an open door to the West title with Logan Woodside, one of the best QBs in FBS football, running the show on offense.

2. Western Michigan: Fleck may have moved on, and a new QB and star WR must be found, but there is still talent around in Bronco camp. WMU may not win the West, but they aren't falling very far.

3. Central Michigan: John Bonagamo is slowly building a winner at CMU, and the Chippewas appear ready to climb another rung of the West ladder in 2017.

4. Northern Illinois: Rod Carey took a ton of heat last season when the Huskies came up short. He needs consistency and health at the QB position, and if those things can be found, the Huskies may leap as many as two spots above this.

5. Eastern Michigan: Some people project EMU fading back this season, but I do not see that as an option. Chris Creighton did a remarkable job last season in getting this team to their first bowl game since they were known as the Hurons, and there is enough talent left over to go bowling once again.

6. Ball State: Mike Neu is in year two, and we should probably be happy to just sit back and let this team develop for one more season before expecting anything serious, like a bowl bid.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Conference USA 2017 Projections

Western Kentucky and Louisiana Tech have been the central powers in Conference USA football for some time now, but there are changes afoot on the East side at Western Kentucky, where Jeff Brohm is gone, and Mike Sanford, Jr. takes over. Louisiana Tech is still in fine shape to take the West, which is the weaker side of the league. Are there challengers ready to take over the top of the heap on either side?

1. Middle Tennessee: If there is going to be any shot at stealing the top of the East, this is the year. The Blue Raiders are loaded on offense, and if they can find any defense at all, this could be a big season coming up.

2. Western Kentucky: The Hilltoppers have been running things in the East for a bit, but this looks like the shakiest change they have yet faced. Sanford comes from completely outside the hierarchy, and that is a different look for them. I expect some adjustment issues, so slipping back just a bit may be something that is in store.

3. Old Dominion: The Monarchs really turned a corner in FBS football and in the league last season. ODU will have the misfortune of having to deal with a QB battle in camp, and that could create some ripples in the offense. Still, it would be hard to completely discount this team.

4. Marshall: I just cannot allow myself to think that after several years of success, that Doc Holliday will let this program crash long term. Last season was a disaster as far as things go in Huntington, so look for a rebound year in 2017.

5. FIU: Butch Davis takes over at a program that has known success in the past. He has to fix some issues that have gotten this program off track, and needs to provide some stability in both recruiting and dealing with the in house stuff. Just look for improvements in year one.

6. FAU: Lane Kiffin is the new coach at FAU, but how long does he stay. There have already been rumors swirling around how long he will be around, and he has not exactly been a rousing success at USC and Tennessee. If rumors persist, he will find it hard to improve this program.

7. Charlotte: There will be some decent players coming back, but the 49ers lost some serious talent from a team that won just four games last season. This program is still trying to find an identity, and it will be another learning process in 2017.

1. Louisiana Tech: Losing Higgins, Taylor, and Henderson in the passing game hurts, but the Bulldogs have talented replacements lined up, and should have enough in the tank this fall to win yet another West title.

2. Southern Mississippi: Last season was a completely mixed bag for the Eagles, who now lose QB Nick Mullins. Still, Ito Smith and Allenzae Staggers both return, and that should ease the transition. Still, it's hard to see how they beat Louisiana Tech on the road, and steal the division title.

3. UTSA: Roadrunners turned a corner and made a bowl game last season, but can they keep up the momentum in year two under Frank Wilson? Dalton Sturn's development at QB will be key on offense.

4. North Texas: The Mean Green won just five games last season, but Seth Littrell has this team growing, and seeing another bowl birth would not be a shock.

5. Rice: There is some experience back on the O line, but the rest of the offense has to be prepared to make a jump. There has been zero consistency under David Bailiff, so it's very hard to gauge how good or bad this team could be.

6. UTEP: The Miners are young, and young hardly ever means winning on this level. The loss of Aaron Jones will hurt the offense, but other pieces are coming back. It will be all about growth.

7. UAB: There are new facilities coming, and that is a good thing after a two year disappearance that was completely based in stupidity. Bill Clark stuck around, and that was a massive win all in and of itself.

Big 12 2017 Projections

The Big 12 had a serious down year last fall, and now the mission is to get back to a place where a conference like the AAC is not overtaking them in terms of conference power rankings. The good news is all at the top, as the top three teams in the league could all end up being top ten programs. Here are my projections for the Big 12 in 2017:

Big 12
1. Oklahoma: The Sooners lost some serious talent on offense, and also have a new head coach. It would be popular to take the easy road and pick the Sooners lower, but I don't do anything that's popular. Ask Nebraska fan.

2. Oklahoma State: The Cowboys are the popular choice to win the Big 12, and they very well still may. They return a massive amount of talent in QB Mason Rudolph, WR James Washington, and RB Justice Hill. That could be a recipe for a conference title if the Sooners slip in year one under Lincoln Riley.

3. West Virginia: Just because I have them 3rd here, does not mean that I don't believe that the Mountaineers can win the Big 12, because I do. Will Grier is a custom fit at QB for this offense, and the Mountaineers are being slept on by too many people.

4. Kansas State: The Bill Snyder days are winding down, and the coach is doing some of his best work in just getting to eight wins with some of these rosters. He has a team, once again, that is more guts than glitz, but he does his best work with that.

5. TCU: Gary Patterson has never allowed the Frogs to stay down too long. Stability at the QB position is paramount here, and the Frogs may not have that right now, which is why one more season in the middle may be in the offing.

6. Texas: I know that Tom Herman wants everyone to believe that he can turn Texas into national champs all in one season, but that will not happen. Again, the Longhorns need some stability and consistency this fall, and finding that should be success enough.

7. Baylor: Matt Ruhle takes over, and now we get to see just how damaged this program is after all of the drama from last season. The issues are ongoing in many ways, so it will be up to Ruhle and his staff to hold this team together, and start to build on the ruins.

8. Iowa State: The Cyclones were so very close to being a bowl team last season, but they kept on failing in tight games, and that is the next step. If they can flip the script in some close games this season, they could finish higher than this.

9. Texas Tech: The Red Raiders have no clue as to how to play defense on any level, so don't expect too much at this point. If the Red Raiders fail on defense once again, Kliff Kingsbury needs to be shown the door. Personally, I would have already have pulled the plug.

10. Kansas: The recruiting class was once again ranked dead last in the league, and they have just kicked their best offensive player off of the team. The David Beaty era has been an abject failure, as he has not upgraded recruiting heading into year three. It's time to move on from this mess.

Big 10 2017 Projections

The power in the Big 10 is certainly still stacked in the East, but Wisconsin is still strong enough in the West to make waves for any team in the league. Look out for Minnesota as well, as the Gophers begin the PJ Fleck era. How will everything stack up in the Big 10 overall, and who are the players to watch this season?


1. Ohio State: Losing to Penn State was a surprise last season, and it looks like ti can come down to the Buckeyes and Nittany Lions once again. JT Barrett looks for a classic swan song.

2. Penn State: It's so hard picking between Penn State and Ohio State, and this could be a push to the end once again. With Trace McSorley and Saquon Barkley in the backfield, Penn State should be a top six club nationally.

3. Michigan: There were so many losses after last season for the WOlverines that it is hard to see them keeping pace with the two favorites in the division. It may be a bit of a step back season in Ann Arbor.

4. Maryland: DJ Durkin has the Terps playing more inspired football, and some believe that they could be the most improved team in the Power 5 in 2017. Will those hopes translate to actual play?

5. Michigan State: Things bottomed out in East Lansing last season, and they still won't be back fully in 2017. Still, the Spartans should be contending for a lower tier bowl this fall.

6. Indiana: The Hoosiers finally turned a corner last season, and then fired Kevin Wilson. Tom Allen takes over, but he doesn't have a clue on offense.

7. Rutgers: It doesn't get much worse than last season. Improvements are expected, but this will still be the worst team in the Big 10.

1. Wisconsin: The Badgers are in good shape to pull off the West title again, and return to the conference title game once again. There will be a couple of teams pushing them, but the Badgers look solid.

2. Minnesota: Row the Boat moves to the land of 10,000 lakes, and immediately upgrades what was already a strong Gopher roster. Minnesota may not be able to take Wisconsin, but they will be solid.

3. Northwestern: Clayton Thorson and Justin Jackson are back on offense, and if there is a dark horse to surprise us and steal the West, they may be it.

4. Nebraska: The Huskers are still trying to find an identity in the Big 10, and they are no better than the 8th best team in the league in 2017.

5. Iowa: Iowa will have to depend on the run game and defense once again, as the QB situation seems to be a mess once again.

6. Purdue: Jeff Brohm is custom made for the Purdue job, but the roster needs some help. Give him a couple of seasons, but the offense, at least, should improve.

7. Illinois: Lovie Smith has brought zero new energy to the Illini, and seems as if he doesn't even want to be there anymore. As of this moment, I see no end in sight to the dark times.

Atlantic Coast Conference 2017 Projections and Players to Watch

The ACC comes into 2017 with the reigning national champ, and the reigning Heisman Trophy winner. Does that make the ACC the best team in FBS football? I am not even certain why that is even a conversation, being that there is never a best of all time, or a current best, but a collection of amazing programs and talent across the nation. What I will say is that the conference is on a run of success, despite, like the SEC, having an entire division that has basically fallen irrelevant in the national conversation. HOw will both sides stack up towards the inevitable clash in the ACC title game this season? Here are my takes:

1. Florida State: The Noles are fully loaded, and a season opener could be a preview of a college football playoff game, win or lose. Look for this team to reestablish themselves on the ACC throne.

2. Louisville: With Lamar Jackson back, the Cardinals seem to be the only team primed to challenge FSU in the conference race. It's really too bad that they are in the same division.

3. Clemson: You cannot lose what the Tigers lost on both sides of the football and win this league again, and chasing another title seems ludicrous. Still, Clemson will refill their losses and will be chasing another league title soon.

4. NC State: If the Wolfpack were in the Coastal Division, I'd peg them as the favorite. This division is brutal, and NC State will be looking to keep pace with Ryan Finley back at QB.

5. Boston College: Steve Addazio has to win this season, or he is gone. The Eagles can play defense with anyone, but the offense anchors them down once again.

6. Syracuse: The Orange are the opposite of BC in the Atlantic. The offense can run with anyone, but can the defense get off the ground?

7. Wake Forest: Another team that relies on defense will be needing to replace several starters, and has a new coordinator. Last season felt like a fluke.

1. Georgia Tech: Division is wide open, but it feels like this could be a solid year for the Yellow Jackets, who would still be a 5th place team in the Atlantic.

2. Miami: The Canes are in need of a QB, but so is just about everyone else in the Coastal in 2017. Mark Richt has a few to choose from on the roster.

3. Virginia Tech: If everyone comes back, the Hokies challenge Florida State for an ACC title. They don't and they don't.

4. North Carolina: Even at 4th in this division, a bowl is no lock. Brandon Harris, formerly of LSU, is the so-called savior at QB. I have a bad feeling about this.

5. Pittsburgh: A rash of suspensions and dismissals have me concerned now. Thought the defense would be strong enough to carry the day, but there are holes everywhere.

6. Duke: Daniel Jones learned a ton as a freshman at QB, but he is still just a sophomore, and Thomas Sirk transferred to East Carolina. It may be another struggle.

7. Virginia: It's year two of the Mendenhall project, and we are nowhere near rebuilt. The Cavaliers, once again, will have to concentrate most weeks to keep their heads above water.

ALL-ACC Pre-Season Team

QB-Lamar Jackson, Louisville
QB-DeAndre Francois, Florida State
RB-Mark Walton, Miami
RB-Jon Hillman, Boston College
RB-Dedrick Mills, Georgia Tech
WR-Jester Weah, Pittsburgh
WR-Ahmonn Richards, Miami
WR-Cam Phillips, Virginia Tech
WR-Stephen Louis, NC State
TE-Cam Serigne, Wake Forest
TE-Tommy Sweeney, Boston College
OL-Nick Linder, Miami
OL-Tyrone Crowder, Clemson
OL-Mitch Hyatt, Clemson
OL-Brian O'Neill, Pittsburgh
OL-Geron Christian, Louisville
OL-Alec Eberle, Florida State
OL-Wyatt Teller, Virginia Tech
OL-Bentley Spain, North Carolina
OL-Sean Pollard, Clemson
OL-Cam Dillard, North Carolina
PK-Blanton Creque, Louisville

DL-Harold Landry, Boston College
DL-Bradley Chubb, NC State
DL-Duke Ejiofor, Wake Forest
DL-Christian Wilkins, Clemson
DL-Andrew Brown, Virginia
DL-Clelin Farrell, Clemson
DL-Darian Roseboro, NC State
DL-Joe Jackson, Miami
LB-Tremaine Edmunds, Virginia Tech
LB-Airius Moore, NC State
LB-Kendell Joseph, Clemson
LB-Ben Humphreys, Duke
LB-Micah Kaiser, Virginia
LB-Andre Smith, North Carolina
LB-Cole Holcomb, North Carolina
LB-Andrew Motuapuaka, Virginia Tech
DB-Tarvarus McFadden, Florida State
DB-Jessie Bates, Wake Forest
DB-Jaire Alexander, Louiville
DB-Lance Austin, Georgia Tech
DB-Greg Stroman, Virginia Tech
DB-Avonte Maddox, Pittsburgh
DB-Quin Blanding, Virginia
DB-Donnie Miles, North Carolina
P-Mason King, Louiville

American Athletic Conference Football: 2017 FBS Projections

With the season now less than a month away, here are my projections for every conference in FBS, FCS, and Division 2 College Football, starting with the American Athletic Conference. The AAC had a banner season in 2017, and in some way, the league can be just as good, or better in certain ways in 2017. Here are my 2017 projections for the conference from top to bottom, including a look at my All-AAC team: READ MORE

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Power Rated Podcast: Episode 2

Scott Bilo and Keith Harding discuss Day 2 of the Mountain West Media Summit, with info about Josh Allen, Bryan Harsin, Wyoming football, and much more. LISTEN HERE

Boise State's Bryan Harsin at Mountain West Media Day

Bryan Harsin was on the podium in the writers room, and was the most in demand in a room consisting of three coaches, and he did not disappoint. Listen in as he talks, at length, about the Bronco program....LISTEN HERE

Wyoming's Craig Bohl At Mountain West Media Summit

Craig Bohl addressed the media for over 30 minutes at Mountain West Media Day. Listen in as he talks about Josh Allen, the Mountain West standing in the College Football Playoffs, and more!...LISTEN HERE

Wyoming QB Josh Allen Highlight Reel

If you don't believe in Wyoming Cowboys QB Josh Allen, this reel may make you a believer. Thanks to GM6ix Productions for this video...READ MORE

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Power Rated Podcast: Episode 1

The new "Power Rated Podcast: Episode 1" has been posted. Join Scott Bilo and Keith Harding of the Bilo College Football Report" as they report live from The Mountain West Football Media Summit at the Cosmopolitan Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. We converse about the state of the Power 5 vs. the Group of 5, crumbling cable TV and newspaper revenues, and more!

Mountain West Football Media Summit: Day One, Update 1

<h2>Mountain West Football Media Summit 2017</h2>
The Mountain West Media Summit got underway this morning at the Cosmopolitan Resort and Casino in Las Vegas this morning. The event kicked off with a Coaches Round Table for the West Division coaches from San Diego State, UNLV, Hawaii, Fresno State, Nevada, and San Jose State. That event was followed up by the Leadership Conference with Commish Craig Thompson. Here's what we have learned thus far...READ MORE

Monday, July 24, 2017 Launches Tuesday!, our latest venture into sports media, will officially launch this Tuesday, July, 25, 2017! There will be 19 major features on our free and subscription platforms combined to start the season, with more information and features coming as we grow. Here is our official lineup for the launch this week:

Free Platform

Coaches on the Hot Seat
Our weekly feature on the status of coaches around the nation who are in struggle mode will continue for the 2017 season! This weekly article covers which coaches are feeling the heat, and have to get it turned around, and fast.

Coaches Swimming in the Dead Pool
This weekly article features coaches who we are calling done. Their time is coming to an end rapidly, and the writing is on the wall that the coaches on this list will be fired sooner than later. There is almost no escaping the Dead Pool.

PRS FBS Rankings
Our formulaic rankings that we have released since 2005. The first rankings are released the Tuesday after the first week of full scheduled games, and then releases every Monday thereafter until the national championship game.

PRS FCS Rankings
The same ranking system used for FBS football, used for FCS football. First rankings are released the Monday after week one, and continue until the last week of the regular season, as a full playoff takes place to decide the national title.

PRS Division 2 Rankings
The same system as used for FCS football. Released the Monday after week one, and continues until the end of the regular season, when playoffs commence.

FBS Pass/Fail Reports
Our weekly breakdown of our performance index from weekly games. Which teams passed the weekly test, and which teams failed, sometimes even in winning.

News Updates
News is breaking every day in the world of college football. We will round it up and provide it to you in one place, all for free!

Pre-Season and Post-Season All-Bilo Picks
Our annual All-American and All-Conference picks from each division of college football.

Feature Articles
When big news happens, you can depend on us for full commentary and editorial work on those happenings, such as the Hugh Freeze resignation, the Ole Miss disciplinary hearings, and every other thing that is controversial in college football!

The Power Rated Podcast
Hosted every week by Scott Bilo, the founder and lead writer/editor for The Bilo College Football Report and! Guests and commentary of weekly happenings in the world of college football on all levels! Also here every radio guest spot that Scott appears on on multiple ESPN Radio affiliates, Sirius Radio Affiliates, etc.


NFL Draft Prospectus
Our annual draft guide covering every position available annually, with all of the top players scouted, and some smaller players as well. We cover the pre and post draft breakdowns, with commentary on every player and every pick!

Weekly FBS Picks: Money Line and Against the Spread
Strictly for entertainment purposes, you will receive my money line and spread picks for every FBS game played, every single week. The top ten games with commentary on the picks! We do not take wagers, but will try to help you along with your picks every week!

Weekly Straight Up FCS and Division 2
I pick every FCS and D2 game, every single week! Again, this is for entertainment purposes only!

My Personal Point Spreads
Again, for entertainment purposes only! Since 1985, I have posted my own personal point spreads for FBS, FCS, D2 football. This is my gut feeling on which way games will go every week. My spreads often vary greatly from the Vegas books, so you are getting my true take on every single game in the nation.

Point Spread Movers and Shakers
We look at wildly moving spreads from day to day, as posted by the Vegas sports books!

Weekly Depth Chart Updates
Depth chart changes with injury updates for every major game weekly!

Expanded material to come! Subscribe now at $20 per year, and get locked in for life at that rate! The early subscriber gets the loyalty bonus of never having to pay more than new subscribers!

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Bilo's 2017 College Football Previews: U Mass Minutemen

U Mass Minutemen
I continue to be perplexed as to why U Mass stays in FBS football, when they are so obviously such a bad fit for it. They do not have the facilities (and let's not get started on driving to Foxborough), and they don't have a conference home. Nobody really wants to be an independent, except for Notre Dame, and there is not one conference clamoring for U Mass. How much longer can this program flail away in this current status, especially when they are averaging two wins per season over the last five years?

What To Be Excited About: Offense
Andrew Ford, who started his career at Virginia Tech (wouldn't they love to have him now?), passed for 2665 yards last season, and tossed 26 TD passes to 14 INTs. He completed 60.8% of his passes, while averaging 242.3 yards passing per game.

Top target Adam Breneman is back at TE after catching 70 passes for 808 yards and eight scores last fall. He is a field stretching TE, and is an absolute NFL prospect at the position. He averaged 5.8 receptions per game last season. Andy Isabella also returns at WR after catching 62 passes last season. RS freshman Brennon Dingle looked very good in the spring game, and will be pushing for reps.

Marquis Young is back after leading the Minutemen in rushing last fall. He ran for 898 yards and four scores while averaging 16.5 carries per game.

What To Be Concerned About: Offense
The line returns just two starters in Tackles Raquan Thomas and Jack Driscoll. The entire interior line must be replaced, and two of the potential replacements are just sophomores. With Thomas and Driscoll, there could be as many as four sophomores starting on the line at any time.

Depth at receiver is not great, as nobody outside of Isabella and Breneman caught more than 20 passes last fall. Finding targets will be tough, and that is only if Ford has enough time to get the ball up field with such a young line in front of him.

The run game, despite the return of Young, needs a massive lift after averaging just 99.5 yards per game last season. As a team, the Minutemen averaged just 3.26 yards per carry in 2016.

What To Be Excited About: Defense
Two starters return on the line in DE Sha-Ki Hollness and NT Ali Ali-Musa. They combined for 11.5 TFLs last fall, and should form a foundation for a defensive unit that desperately needs an identity. Junior Joe Previte will start at DT, while Da'Sean Downey starts at DE as the Minutemen move to a standard 4-3 set. Downey moves to the line from OLB, and could add a solid pass rush off the edge after finishing with 8.5 TFLs last fall.

Steve Casali returns at LB, and finished with eight TFLs last season. He will slide into the ZIP spot after leading the team with 105 tackles last season. He will be joined by returning starter Tedrick Lowery, who who collected 37 tackles, but played in just eight games last fall. Shane Huber will come off of the bench to start this season at MLB.

Logan Laurent will handle both PK and P duties this fall, and connected on 7/9 attempts last season on limited tries, and averaged 41.65 yards per punt.

What To Be Concerned About: Defense
U Mass finished just 120th in the nation in pass efficiency defense last season, so the secondary is under siege. Isaiah Rodgers is back at CB, while Lee Moses is back at Safety. Rodgers finished with seven PBUs last season, while Moses finished with six. Two new starters will be introduced in Jackson Porter at CB, and Charan Singh at Safety. With an updated depth chart, Moses could actually move to safety, relegating Porter to the bench. Singh could be challenged by Patrick Amara, and Jesse Monteiro could enter the picture at Safety? Confused yet? Good.

2017 Schedule
8/26 Hawaii, 9/2 at Coastal Carolina, 9/9 Old Dominion, 9/16 at Temple, 9/23 at Tennessee, 9/30 Ohio, 10/14 at South Florida, 10/21 Georgia Southern, 10/28 Appalachian State, 11/4 at Mississippi State, 11/11 Maine at Boston, 11/18 at BYU

Final Overview
Let's not hack at the steak here. This program is simply biding time until they run out of options in FBS football. The reality is that this program is not built for this level of football, nor was it ever. Tat said, it's very hard to see how the Minutemen are going to be any better this season than last. The only game on this schedule that I can see U Mass being favored to win is probably the finale against Maine at Fenway Park in Boston. It could be another long season in Amherst.

Bilo's 2017 College Football Previews: Army Cadets (Black Knights)

Army Cadets (Black Knights)
Army turned a major corner under head coach Jeff Monken last season, and won eight games, including a Heart of Dallas Bowl victory over North Texas, which was revenge for a loss to UNT earlier in the year. Army also beat Navy last year, snapping a massive drought. Will Army have enough talent returning to make another solid run in 2017?

What To Be Excited About: Offense
Ahmad Bradshaw is back at QB for his senior season after passing for 703 yards and rushing for 826 yards and eight scores. He averaged 4.46 yards per carry in the triple option attack. He is hardly what I would call an accomplished passer, but in this offense, that is all back burner stuff.

FB Andy Davidson returns after leading the Black Knights with 961 yards and 12 scores. He is the power back that makes everything run in this offense. Jordan Asberry also returns after rushing for 421 yards, and averaged 7.31 yards per carry last season at Slotback. Darnell Woolfolk also returns after rushing for 600 yards, and Kell Walker returns after averaging 6.52 yards per carry. Army will have the deepest stable of backs of anyone in the nation, with many of the backs returning having massive game breaking ability.

Christian Poe returns at WR for when Army does go on the pass, and averaged 13.3 yards per reception last season. Jeff Ejekem averaged 12.22 yards per catch, and also returns.

Four starters return on the line, which is a solid foundation for any running game. Rick Kurz is back at LT, Bryce Holland is at Center, Mike Houghton starts at RG, while Brett Toth is back at RT. Senior Josh Boylan is expected to start at LG.

What To Be Concerned About: Offense
Blake Wilson is back at PK, but he had a rough go in 2016, as he hit just 4/8 FG attempts all season. He also missed three PAT attempts.

Depth at receiver will not be god this fall, as there is literally limited to zero experience or production among the reserves. The top two reserves had two receptions combined last fall.

What To Be Excited About: Defense
On shocking thing about Army last fall was how good their defense was. They allowed just 19.8 points per game on the season, which was a full eight point per game improvement over 2015.

Alex Aukerman is the star of the defense, and returns at LB after leading the team with 15 TFLs in 2016. He added 7.5 sacks, 59 tackles, and a pair of QB hurries. Kenneth Brinson also returns to the fold, and finished with 45 tackles last fall, with a solid 7.5 TFLs to go with his stat line. The Black Knights do have to find two new starters, but they were deep last season. Scott Washle will likely start at MIKE, and James Nachtigal, a junior, will likely start at WILL.

Three starters return in the secondary in CBs Elijah Riley and Marcus Hyatt, and Safety Rhyan England. Riley and Hyatt combined for seven PBUs last season, while England finished with 53 tackles. This unit allowed just 170 yards passing per game last fall. James Gibson will likely be the starter at the open Safety spot as a junior.

What To Be Concerned About: Defense
There will be some work to do in fall camp on the line, where only NT Andrew McLean returns as a starter from last season. He finished with just one TFL last fall. John Volt returns at DE, but finihsed with just 6.5 TFLs. Ray Wright, a junior, is expected to claim the open DT spot.

The Punter position was anything but good last season. JD Mote returns, but averaged just 36.27 yards per try, which was onle of the worst numbers in the nation.

2017 Schedule
9/1 Fordham, 9/9 Buffalo, 9/16 at Ohio State, 9/23 at Tulane, 9/30 UTEP, 10/7 at Rice, 10/14 Eastern Michigan, 10/21 Temple, 11/4 at Air Force, 11/11 Duke, 11/18 at North Texas, 12/9 Navy at Philadelphia

Final Overview
Monken turned a major corner in year three with Army, which is exactly on time according to my curve for any new coach in just about any program. The good news is that it looks sustainable at this point, with more than enough talent on hand to make another run at the eight win mark this season. There a re a few tough dates (Ohio State in unwinnable), but this team has a real chance to be one of the great teams in Army football history. A return to a bowl game is more than possible, and it should be a better landing spot than the Heart of Dallas Bowl. Look for another big season for Army football.

Bilo's 2017 College Football Previews: Brigham Young Cougars

BYU Cougars
Kalani Sitake is heading into year two of his term as BYU head coach, and despite some things going up and down at the QB position, the Coougars could be called a success last season after winning nine games. Sitake did not walk into a typical empty cupboard as a new head coach sometimes does, and there is some serious talent coming back this season, although there are losses as well. Still, it will be interesting to see how the Cougars come back in year two under Sitake, and try to emulate and surpass the success of last season.

What To Be Excited About: Offense
Tanner Mangum finally gets to gt out from the shadow of Taysom Hill, and quite frankly, that should have happened last season when it was painfully obvious that Hill was a shadow of his former self. Mangum was the hero of two seasons ago at QB, and now, this is fully his show. Mangum completed 22/33 passes last fall, and showed that he really is the guy to run this offense. In 2015, he passed for 3377 yards and 23 TDs, so we all know what he can do.

Jamaal Williams is gone as the all-time leading rusher for BYU, and Squally Canada is slated to start, but look out for RS freshman Ula Tolutau, who originally signed with Wisconsin before going on his two year Morman mission. He is a big, bruising back that could carry the load for this run game.

Four starters return on the line for the Cougars in LT Thomas Shoaf, LG Keyan Norman, CTejan Koroma, and RG Tuni Kanuch. Junior Austin Hoyt is projected to start at RT as we head into fall camp, with RS freshman Kieffer Longson listed as his backup.

Rhett Almond was solid at PK last season, as he hit 17/21 FG attempts on the season, for an 81% success rate. Look for more production from him this fall.

What To Be Concerned About: Offense
There is some concern in the receiver corps after BYU lost their top three receivers from 2016. Jonah Trinnaman, who caught 28 passes last season, is now the group leader. Talon Shumway projects as the number two, but caught just three passes in seven games last fall. Aleva Hifo also figures into the mix after an 11 catch season. Akile Davis and Micah Simon, both sophomores, could figure in as well. TE Moroni Laulu-Pututau looms large at TE, as much is expected of him, but he has to fend off Tanner Balderee for the job.

Johnny Linehan returns at Punter after averaging 42.46 yards per punt last season.

What To Be Excited About: Defense
The LB spot should be rock solid this fall with the return of Fred Warner, Butch Pau'u, and Francis Bernard. Warner led the team with 86 tackles, while Pau'u was right behind him with 83. Bernard was third on the team with 79 total tackles. The group also combined for 23 total TFLs last fall, with Warner providing 10.5 of them.

The secondary looks to be in good shape with the return of three starters from the bowl game win over Wyoming. Troy Warner and Dayan Ghanwoloku both return at CB, while MicahHannemann will be back at Safety. Warner finished with seven PBUs, while Hannemann finished with five. Ghanwoloku finished with three INTs as well. Senior Matt Hadley is projected to win the open Safety job, but Zayne Anderson and Tanner Jacobson are both in the mix as well.

What To Be Concerned About: Defense
The line is a serious question mark entering fall camp, as the Cougars are looking at all new starters up front this fall. Corbin Kaufusi and Trajan Pili project as the starters at DE, while Handsome Tanielu also could figure in, possibly as a starter or as a rotation end. The Cougars are looking at Kesni Tausinga at DT, while Tevita Mo'unga could start at NG. Depth may be thin.

2017 Schedule
8/26 Portland State, 9/2 LSU at Houston, 9/9 Utah, 9/16 Wisconsin, 9/29 at Utah State, 10/6 Boise State, 10/14 at Mississippi State, 10/21 at East Carolina, 10/28 San Jose State, 11/4 at Fresno State, 11/10 at UNLV, 11/18 U Mass, 11/25 at Hawaii

Final Overview
The Cougars certainly are a talented bunch as we enter the 2017 season. The front end of the schedule is loaded, but most of those early games are completely winnable for BYU, and when you look at the watered down back end of the schedule, there is no reason to expect that with this 13 game schedule, the Cougars would not be able to make a run at nine or ten wins this fall. Sitake has another talent rich environment to work in, and this could be a very nice ride for the Cougars. Look for big things.

Bilo's 2017 College Football Previews: Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Nobody accepts 4-8 seasons at Notre Dame, and because that is where this team ended up last fall, Brian Kelly is squarely in the firing line if the ship does not turn completely around in 2017. The Irish are turning up the tempo on offense under OC Chip Long, and Mike Eiko's defense will be under heavy scrutiny. Do the Irish have enough gas in the tank under this staff to make the complete turnaround and return to the lofty heights that are expected every season?

What To Be Excited About: Offense
Josh Adams returns to the tea as he led them in rushing last season as a sophomore. If Notre Dame wants to win and win now, a switch to a more balanced approach with Brown getting 18-20 carries per game would probably be more the way to do it. He rushed for 933 yards and five scores while averaging 5.91 yards per carry last fall.

The receiving group should be one of the best that Kelly has had at Notre Dame. Equanimeous St. Brown is the leader of the group, as he caught 58 passes last fall, or 20 more than anyone else. He went for 957 yards and nine scores, while averaging 16.57 yards per grab. He has the size and strength to match up well on the outside. Myles Boykin and Chase Underpool are projected as starters as well, but CJ Sanders and Kevin Stepherson will challenge for time as well. Look for Alize Mack to have a breakout season at TE after returning from an eligibility issue last fall with academics.

The line is loaded with talent, as four starters return in LT Mike McGlinchey, LG Quentin Nelson, C Sam Mustipher, and RG Alex Bars. McGlinchey and Nelson are All-America candidates.

Justin Yoon returns at PK, and hit 13/17 FG attempts last season.

What To Be Concerned About: Offense
All reports are good on Brandon Wimbush at QB, but the junior is all hype right now. He had a solid spring, but all eyes will be on the undersized QB with the golden arm as we head into the opener. If he can deliver on his promise, the season should go well, if not, the Irish are in trouble. We've seen this hype before, and sometimes it does not pay off. Here's hoping that it does.

What To Be Excited About: Defense
Jerry Tillery returns to lead a talented front line. The DT finished with a solid 37 tackles last fall, but will be joined by three new starters. Daelin Hayes and Jay Hayes will start at DE, while Jonathon Bonner lines up next to Tillery at DT. There is depth behind them as well, for a change, so the Irish could load as many as eight linemen into the rotation this fall.

LB is solid as well, as Drue Tranquill and Nyles Morgan both return. Greer Martini was a solid rotational backer who finished last season with 7.5 TFLs, and will return as well. Morgan led the team with 90 tackles last fall, while Tranquill was good for 79. Martini finished with 55 tackles. Depth looks to be decent.

The CB position is stocked well coming into fall camp. Julian Love will return to start, but will need to show major improvements if he is to help out with the rest of the secondary, which is in fluid motion as far as potential starters are concerned.

Tyler Newsome is back at Punter, and has one of the better legs in college football. He averaged 43.36 yards per punt last season, and punted just shy of five times per game.

What To Be Concerned About: Defense
While there are plenty of bodies to rotate on the line, experience is limited, and potential is what is high. Notre Dame gets athletes, but they have to come together as a unit now to prevent themselves from allowing over 182 yards rushing per game again.

The secondary is a mess outside of Love. The CB position is loaded with talented young players, but they are, as I said, young. The Safety spots are up for grabs, and nobody quite knows right now who will line up opposite Love at CB. This is a situation that bears watching when the Irish head into camp in a couple weeks.

2017 Schedule
9/2 Temple, 9/9 Georgia, 9/16 at Boston College, 9/23 at Michigan State, 9/30 Miami (Ohio), 10/7 at North Carolina, 10/21 USC, 10/28 NC State, 11/4 Wake Forest, 11/11 at Miami, 11/18 Navy, 11/25 at Stanford

Final Overview
There are pieces in place to ensure that Notre Dame does not repeat a season in which they win just four games and do not go bowling. That is basically the apocalypse as it pertains to football in South Bend. It was as ugly as it could be last season, and a repeat would surely mean that Kelly does not last the season as coach. He flirted with some other jobs last off-season, and that did not go over well with the administration or fan base. All eyes are on him this fall, and if the changes and tinkering do not work, this is going to get bad.

Bilo's 2017 College Football Previews: Troy Trojans

Troy Trojans
Neal Brown took Troy from a four win team in his first season, to a 10 win team in year two. He is ahead of the progression curve as it sits now for the Trojans, and it could get even better in year three. Brown returns his best weapons on offense, and the defense has talent at all three levels. Could this be the year that the Trojans make a move and win the Sun Belt title overall?

What To Be Excited About: Offense
Brandon Silvers returns at QB, and could be one of the better trigger men in the nation this fall. He passed for 3180 yards and 23 TDs against 12 INTs. He also managed to complete 63.7% of his passes, and may be poised to have his best season yet. He also added four more scores on the ground, but expect him to stay within the pocket this season and let it fly.

Jordan Chunn is also back at RB after rushing for 16 TDs last season for the Trojans. He rushed for 1288 yards, but is also capable of eclipsing that total in 2017. Teams really keyed in on him last fall, but with an active passing game that could be improved over last season, they may not be able to key on him nearly as much this season. Look for Memphis transfer Jamarius Henderson to give Chunn a credible partner in the run game that he did not have a year ago.

All three starting receivers and the starting TE will return this season for Troy. Emanuel Thompson, Tevaris McCormick, and DeAndre Douglas all return at WR, while Gabe Hill is back at TE. Thompson caught 80 passes last season, while Douglas caught 60. McCormick caught 35 passes, while fourth receiver John Johnson, who is also back, added another 24 receptions. The overall depth chart goes 11 deep at receiver this fall, making this one of the deepest receiving groups anywhere in FBS football.

What To Be Concerned About: Offense
Only one starter returns on the line in LG Steven Rowzee. Antonio Garcia, arguably the best lineman in Troy history, is off to the NFL, and that unit of last season allowed the fewest sacks in FBS football. That is a ton of talent to replace, but there is talent to be found. THe issue is getting it all to gel before the season starts at Boise State on 9/2.

The PK position will be looking for a new starter a swell for the Trojans, as Ryan Kay has departed after an 18 FG effort in 2016. RS junior Bratcher Underwood is the leading candidate there.

What To Be Excited About: Defense
Despite some major departures, the Trojans should be very good up the middle on the line, as both NG Travon Sanders and DT Jamal Stadom will return. Stadom finished with 9.5 TFLs and will try to be the guy to replace the production of the departed Sun Belt Defensive POY in Rashad Dillard.

The secondary should be solid, especially against the deep ball, as both Safeties return in Kris Weatherspoon and Cedarius Rookard. NB Tyquan Russell also returns. Weatherspoon and Rookard combined for 12 PBUs at Safety last fall, while combining for 104 tackles. Russell finished with 36 tackles while primarily covering the Slot. CB Kamryn Melton also returns for his senior season after finishing last fall with eight PBUs. Blace Brown returns at CB as well after leading the team with six INTs. Rookard and Melton combined for another five INTs last fall.

What To Be Concerned About: Defense
There could be some issues at LB for the Trojans in 2017. They are completely hitting reset there with Sam Lebbie looking like the lock at the BAN position. AJ Smiley could move to the SPEAR position and battle Tyquan Russell there, with Zo Bridges moving to the MLB spot. This will all have to be ironed out in fall camp.

The Punter will be new as well, as Ryan Kay departs. RS freshman Tyler Sumpter has the inside track there.

2017 Schedule
9/2 at Boise State, 9/9 Alabama State, 9/16 at New Mexico State, 9/23 Akron, 9/30 at LSU, 01/11 South Alabama, 10/21 at Georgia State, 10/28 Georgia Southern, 11/2 Idaho, 11/11 at Coastal Carolina, 11/24 Texas State, 12/2 at Arkansas State

Final Overview
Despite some questions on defense, especially at DE and LB, the Trojans will likely have enough talent to really push hard and deliver that Sun Belt title under Neal Brown this season. The Boise State trip in the opener will be very tough, and they also get LSU later in the season, but the rest of the schedule is manageable, so I would not be shocked to see the Trojans make another major run at double digit victories, or close to that. Another bowl is a lock right now, and then the issue will be retaining Brown, because if this season goes like I think it will, there will be some schools that will be trying to pluck him away. It should be a fun ride this season.

Bilo's 2017 College Football Previews: Texas State Bobcats

Texas State Bobcats
Everett Withers came from a strong run at James Madison to take over a program that Dennis Franchione never got off the ground, and he had a tough go of it in year one, as the Bobcats finished with just two wins. Withers, the former Ohio State assistant, has the pedigree to win, but this roster is in just year two of a complete rebuild, and it's very tough to see how long it will take to get competitive. After getting blown out on a regular basis last fall, this team has to find some confidence, and just learn how to best compete with talent that just is not entirely up to par across the board. That process is in place, but nothing gets built in one year.

What To Be Excited About: Offense
The passing game should receive a boost this season, as all three starting receivers return in Tyler Watts, Elijah King, and TE Gabe Schrade. King is the best of the bunch, as he averaged 16.43 yards per catch last fall. Thurman Morbley returns as well to give the Bobcats a solid receiving corps. Now they just need someone to get them the football on a consistent basis.

Three starters return on the line, including both Tackles in Tristan Mizerak and Jacob Rowland, and Aaron Brewer at Center.

Marcus Ripley did not get a ton of work in, but he took advantage of what opportunity he had by hitting 5/6 FG attempts. He will return to handle the PK job as a sophomore.

What To Be Concerned About: Offense
The run game was absolutely abysmal last season, as the Bobcats averaged just 82.42 yards rushing per game as a team. Stedman Mayberry, the starter last season, is rapidly falling down the depth chart, as RS freshman Robert Brown and sophomore Anthony Taylor are currently running ahead of him on the two deep.

The Bobcats are handing over the QB position to Mississippi State transfer Damian Williams, who comes in with a ton of promise. The staff seems excited about him, but he has to transfer that potential into real game ability, and he had all of two career starts at Mississippi State before the transfer. There's reason for excitement, but until we see what he can do in a game for the Bobcats, there is reason for concern as well.

The line, while blessed with three returning starters, will be very young overall, as four underclassmen could be handling starting duties on opening day against Memphis. That combination normally does not work out very well.

What To be Excited About: Defense
The LB spot could be a strength in 2017, as three starters return in the 3-4 set. Bryan London, one of the best players in the Sun Belt, is back after a 141 tackle effort that also saw him lead the team in TFLs with 8.5. Gabe Loyd, who finished with 102 tackles, also returns this fall. Frankie Griffin finished with 46 tackles as a sophomore, and returns to start as well.

What To Be Concerned About: Defense
Ishmael Davis is the lone returning starter that seems a lock to retain his job on the line this season after finishing with 6.5 TFLs from his DE spot in 2017. Jordan Mittie, who was the starter at NT to end last season, is being pushed at NT by Sami Awad and Gjemar Daniels, and Mittie could end up moving to DE where would battle Dean Taylor for a starting spot.

The secondary is in complete rebuild mode, as all four starters will be new this fall. Anthony J Taylor and Jashon Woddy are expected to lock down the CB jobs, while AJ Krawczyk and Quinn Tiggs are projected to start at the Safety spots. There is limited, at best, experience with this group, and depth will be non-existent.

James Sherman is expected to grab the starting Punter job this fall, but punted just three times last season, to unimpressive results.

2017 Schedule
9/2 Houston Baptist, 9/9 at Colorado, 9/16 Appalachian State, 9/23 UTSA, 9/30 at Wyoming, 10/7 UL-Monroe, 10/12 at UL-Lafayette, 10/28 at Coastal Carolina, 11/4 New Mexico State, 11/11 Georgia State, 11/18 at Arkansas State, 11/24 at Troy

Final Overview
Patience is the key here for the Bobcat faithful, who have a very active fan base. There is enough talent in the recruiting base to eventually build this program up, but it will take some serious time, and anything less than five years to get it done is just asking too much at this point. Withers certainly has his hands full, and the schedule maker did this team no favors by starting this season off with Colorado, Appalachian State early, and a trip to Wyoming to end the month of September. The "rivalry" game with UTSA returns, and that should be a lot of fun for the fans. All in all, I expect another rough year in San Marcos, but we will be looking for signs of development and growth.

Bilo's 2017 College Football Previews: South Alabama Jaguars

South Alabama Jaguars
It was a strange ride for the Jags in 2016, as they opened the season with a win over Mississippi State, but followed it with losses to Georgia Southern at home, and to ULL on the road. They beat San Diego State, but lost to ULM. USA did just enough to skate into the Arizona Bowl, but were no match for Air Force, and after the long strange trip that the season was, the Jags finished just 6-7. Will they be able to show enough consistency to overcome the ups and downs and challenge for a spot in the top half of the Sun Belt?

What To Be Excited About: Offense
With several losses on offense, the best returning player will be RB Xavier Johnson. He is a very good back in a not so great overall rushing attack that was less than able last season. Johnson led the team with 831 yards rushing and 10 scores, while averaging 5.51 yards per carry. If South Alabama wants to get into a consistent groove in 2017, they hand him the rock as much as he can handle it. JC transfer Tywun Walters is expected to give the Jags an inside punch as well in combo with Johnson.

Three starters return on the line in LT Noah Fisher, C Harrison Louden, and RG Dominic Esposito. Head coach Joey Jones went on and on during the off season about how much more physical this team should be coming out of spring ball, and if that is the case, running the ball with Johnson would be that much more certain.

What To Be Concerned About: Offense
Dallas Davis was not healthy at the end of last season, and it hurt the team's ability to get into a flow. He also did not produce enough when he was healthy. He returns after tossing just 11 TDs to 12 INTs last season, while completing just 56.7% of his passes. As he heads into his third season as the starter, it's time to produce.

The receiving corps is questionable heading into the season, as the Jags are trying to replace three starters. Quinton Lane and Sa'Morry Collier, both seniors, will try to fill the gap, and should be joined by sophomore Jordan McCray. The top four receivers from last season, including JOsh Magee and super TE Gerald Everett, are all gone.

The kicking game was inconsistent, as were most other spots on the field for the Jags last season. Gavin Patterson hit just 10/16 FG attempts on the season, and will be back to try to improve on those numbers.

What To Be Excited About: Defense
Despite missing three of five starters in the secondary as we head to fall camp, the secondary is still expected to be the strength of the defense after the Jags allowed just 174.6 yards passing per game last fall. Neiko Robinson and Jeremy Reeves both return at Safety, while junior CB Jalen Thompson has some serious potential. Reeves finished with seven PBUs last fall, and picked off three passes, while Thompson led the team with four INTs. Robinson finished with 64 tackles.

What To Be Concerned About: Defense
The line played sloppy last season, and only DT Tyree Turner returns as a starter. The front seven was primarily responsible for allowing 215 yards rushing per game last season. If that is to improve, the new starters will have to step up and shore up the issues that plagued this unit last fall.

Darrell Songy is the lone returning starter at LB, and he led the team with 100 tackles last season. He added 7.5 TFLs. He will have to bring sophomore to bring a new starter along quickly, but the group fighting for the open job is big, and mostly young.

The Punting game will suffer the loss of Brandon McKee, who averaged over 44 yards per punt last season. Corliss Waitman will take over the job, but in 17 punts last season, he was mostly unimpressive.

2017 Schedule
9/2 at Ole Miss, 9/8 Oklahoma State, 9/16 Alabama A&M, 9/23 Idaho, 9/30 at Louisiana Tech, 10/11 at Troy, 10/21 UL-Monroe, 10/26 at Georgia State, 11/4 UL-Lafayette, 11/11 Arkansas State, 11/18 at Georgia Southern, 12/2 at new Mexico State

Final Overview
South Alabama seems like a program constantly in flux. Just when they have certain pieces together, the rest of the puzzle is incomplete. It has been that way for some time now, and Joey Jones has got to do something to bring some kind of roster and production consistencies to light here. They are not a bad program, but not a solid one either. If the Jags cannot get over the hump this season in conference play, it may be time to think about new blood to run things. The early schedule is brutal, with games against Oklahoma State and Ole Miss, and with an emerging team in Idaho to open conference play coming two weeks after that. Ole Miss provides an opportunity, as the program is in shell shock over the strange situation with the staff. Overall, this could be merely an average year for USA until they show that they can consistently compete from week to week.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Bilo's 2017 College Football Previews: New Mexico State Aggies

New Mexico State Aggies
Doug Martin marches into his fifth season as head coach at NMSU with just a 10-38 record, and the Aggies have not won as many as four games since 2011. It would serve to say that with a relatively new AD, everything rides on this season for Martin, as the Aggies have been removed from the Sun Belt conference after the 2017 season. The Aggies will play as an independent next season, even though there were options on the FCS level, much as Idaho found. This program cannot sustain long term as an independent, and if they are to find a home, finding a way to win now would prove prudent. The problem is, I am not sure that this team can win now at all.

What To Be Excited About: Offense
Tyler Rogers is not a perfect QB, but he is a good QB for this football team. He passed for 2603 yards and 16 scores, but the drawbacks are a 55.4% completion rate and 12 INTs. Still, he is the best hope the program has of getting it done in 2017.

Larry Rose III is a rock solid back, and may be one of the best in the nation that not many people know about. His major issue this season is that he must stay healthy, as he missed three games last season. He still managed to rush for 865 yards per game, average 96.11 yards per game, and 5.44 yards per carry last season. He rushed for 1651 yards in 2015, when he was last completely healthy.

Parker Davidson was very good at times at PK last season as a sophomore, hitting 15/19 FG attempts. He returns for his junior season to give the Aggies a much needed scoring option.

What To Be Concerned About: Offense
There are a lot of different projections about the starting receivers based on both two and three receiver sets. The problem is that there were really no stand out options in the receiving corps last season, and so there should be battles across the board for starting jobs. There could be as many as five different receivers battling for two or three spots betweenGregory Hogan, Johnathon Boone, Isaiah Lottie, Jaleel Scott, and Josh Aganon.

The line could also be an issue, as just two starters return in LT Sage Doxtater and RG Desmond Candielarie. As many as three seniors could find starting jobs, but depth could be a major issue.

What To Be Excited About: Defense
Three starters are back on the line in DE Jassavia Reese, DT Kourtland Busby, and DT Roy Lopez. Stody Bradley is also back at DE. Busby will be challenged by sophomore Darius Anderson, but this kind of challenge may only provide more depth as the season wears on.

The secondary added a ton of depth with some JC infusions, but four starters also return, and this weakness of last season could now be a strength. Shamad Lomax and DeMarcus Owens have an edge to start at CB, but Jared Phipps could have something to say about one of those spots. Jacob Nwangwa and Jaden Wright are likely to start at the Safety spots.

Payton Thiesler had a solid effort last season at Punter, as he averaged 41.58 yards per punt.

What To Be Concerned About: Defense
The LB unit may have some issues this fall, as only one returning starter is back in junior Terrill Hanks. Hanks is a good one, as he led the team with 12.5 TFLs, and finished with 103 tackles. He will be surrounded by new starters. Leon McQuaker and Javahn Ferguson are projected to be the new starters, but Shane Jackson and Dalton Harrington could make a move in fall camp on McQuaker's spot.

2017 Schedule
8/31 at Arizona State, 9/9 at New Mexico, 9/16 Troy, 9/23 UTEP, 9/30 at Arkansas, 10/7 at Appalachian State, 10/14 at Georgia Southern, 10/28 Arkansas State, 11/4 at Texas State, 11/18 at UL-Lafayette, 11/25 Idaho, 12/2 South Alabama

Final Overview
There are a ton of issues for Martin to deal with in fall camp, but this could be one of his better teams that he has had, but that could all be relative when the season is done. I don't see many games on this schedule where the Aggies could be favored, and that is a huge problem. Martin has just ten wins in four years, and if that trend continues this season, he could be gone.

Bilo's 2017 College Football Previews: Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks

Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks
Matt Viator is in year two of a complete strip down and rebuild of this program, and in my opinion, finishing 4-8 in year one was a pretty good showing for this football team. At this point, it's all about building talent and moving in the right direction, and year two will be ab out staying competitive in close games, and trying to push for a bowl game. While the schedule early may seem a road block to that goal, what can we really expect of this team come conference time in 2017?

What To Be Excited About: Offense
Marcus Green caught 36 passes to lead the team last season, and three of the top four receivers all return, which should stabilize the passing game to a degree, depending on who wins the QB battle in camp. Xavier Brown got in some starts last season, and returns, and the third spot projects to D'Marius Gillespie. RJ turner also returns and could push Gillespie out of some playing time. Turner and Brown are major deep ball threats.

What To be Concerned About: Offense
There could be questions at the QB position as we head into fall camp. Garrett Smith, who started a chunk of games, but was never spectacular last season, missed spring football with an apparent knee injury suffered in season. Caleb Evans got the starting reps during spring, and showed more command of the offense, and could wind up the starter by opening day. This figures to be a battle in camp that could push right into the opener.

RB is another spot that is unsettled heading into camp. Ben Luckett was the starter last season, but again, an injury in spring ball derailed him, and he also did not show a ton of flash during the season last year. He could be pushed out by Alabama transfer Derrick Gore. RS sophomore Austin Vaughn is expected to push for playing time as well.

Three sophomores could end up starting on the line this fall, and could take up from Center to Right Tackle. Devin Jackson and Eastwood Thomas did both get starts as freshmen, but this unit has to start to come together when it comes to run blocking for this team to succeed.

Craig Ford did not get a ton of opportunities, but he came up short of the 70% success mark when he hit just 9/13 FG attempts.

What To Be Excited About: Defense
The entire starting line returns on defense for the Warhawks in 2017. Caleb Tucker and Shaquille Warren take up the DE spots, while Tyler Johnson and Jaylon Veasey both return inside.

Both LBs return as well in Chase Day and Devin Griffith. These two combined for 22 TFLs last season, and are one of the most active duos in FBS football among LBs. Cortez Sisco, Jr. comes off the bench, and could probably start elsewhere.

Three starters return in the secondary in CB Juwan Offrey, DB Marcus Hubbard, and S Wesley Thompson. The hope is with 60% of the starting lineup coming back in the secondary, that this unit can show major signs of development and improvement over the group that allowed 22 TD passes a year ago. JJ Dallas and Collin Turner both figure in at CB and Safety. Look for Jarrell Brown to also figure in at CB during camp, as will Logan Latin at BUCK (DB) and Nick Ingram at FS. IN any event, this could be one of the deeper units that ULM has had in a long time.

What To Be Concerned About: Defense
The Warhawks have to reboot at Punter, as Dayton Balvanz has departed. Junior Harrison Helm may get first crack at replacing him after transferring from SE Louisiana.

2017 Schedule
8/31 at Memphis, 9/9 at Florida State, 9/16 Southern Mississippi, 9/23 at UL-Lafayette, 9/30 Coastal Carolina, 10/7 at Texas State, 10/14 Georgia State, 10/21 at South Alabama, 10/28 at Idaho, 11/4 Appalachian State, 11/18 at Auburn, 11/25 Arkansas State

Final Overview
Matt Viator was a perfect choice to coach ULM, despite the fact that he went just 4-8 in year one. What we are looking for with this program is development and improvement, and a move into the right realm looking forward. The tools are in place, and the program brought in just enough JC help to mix solidly with young talent on hand. The record could actually take a step back this season, as the schedule is pure hell, but I would like to see how this team fights in those tough games, and from that, we will know where the Warhawks are headed.

Bilo's 2017 College Football Previews: Idaho Vandals

Idaho Vandals
The final season of FBS football is set to commence for the Vandals, and the shame of it is that this is happening right when the Vandals are becoming interesting in the Sun Belt. Idaho finished with nine wins last season, by far one of their most successful seasons as an FBS (1-A) program.Paul Petrino has the Vandals ready to charge once again, and this team will try to challenge for a conference title on their way out the door. Can they upstage everyone as they leave the group?

What To Be Excited About: Offense
Matt Linehan returns as a senior, and will close out his career at Idaho as a four year starter. He has evolved into a solid passer, as he passed for 3184 yards and 19 TDs last season. He averaged 244.9 yards passing per game, and added another four scores on the ground.

The receiving unit does suffer the loss of their two leading receivers, who were both TEs, but the group is decent enough to carry the day this fall. Reuben Mwelha caught 16 passes last season, and steps into a starting role, but Alfonso Ununwor and Jacob Shannon both return as well, and they combined for 67 receptions last season.

The Vandals have a solid combo pack coming back at RB this fall in Aaron Duckworth and Isaiah Saunders. The two combined to rush for 1403 yards last season, and scored 14 times.

What To Be Concerned About: Offense
Four starters on the line will be sophomores or freshmen, and the entire second unit will be composed of the same. Experience and depth will basically be non-existent. One name to watch, however, is Jordan Ross, a senior, who still is hanging in among the youngsters.

Austin Rehkow is gone at PK, and that is a huge hole to replace, as he has been probably the best PK/P combo kicker in the nation over the last four seasons.

What To Be Excited About: Defense
The return of Aikeem Coleman at DE is a huge gain for the Vandals in 2017, as he led the team with 11 TFLs last fall.

A very talented group of LBs returns for the Vandals this fall in Kaden Elliss, Tony Lashley, and and Ed Hall. Lashley led the tea in tackles with 105 last fall, while Hall and Elliss combined for 136 tackles. This unit also combined for 20 TFLs last season, and may be one of the top LB units in the west this season, as far as overall production goes.

What To Be Concerned About: Defense
Other than Coleman coming back at DE, the line is void of any real play makers in DT Zach Cable and NT Arie Anderson. Again, depth is severely limited.

The secondary is in rebuild mode this season, as FS Armond Hawkins, a senior, is the lone returning starter, and he finished with just three PBUs last season. Dorian Clark and Lloyd Hightower project as the starters at CB, while Jordan Grabaki is projecting to win the SS spot.

Rehkow also affects the Punting game, as he was one of the best in the nation the last three years running. He actually posted his worst year by far last fall, averaging 41.64 yards per punt.

2017 Schedule
8/31 Sacramento State, 9/9 UNLV, 9/16 at Western Michigan. 9/23 at South Alabama, 10/7 UL-Lafayette, 10/14 Appalachian State, 10/21 at Missouri, 10/28 UL-Monroe, 11/2 at Troy, 11/18 Coastal Carolina, 11/25 at New Mexico State, 12/2 at Georgia State

Final Overview
Idaho was one of the most shocking teams in the nation last season, as after a 2-3 start, they finished the season by winning seven of their final eight games, including a huge bowl win over Colorado State in Boise. This will be their final go in FBS football, as they slide back to the FCS and Big Sky Conference next fall, but this program will be entering their old home moving in a rock solid direction, and could even be in a position to compete for a Big Sky title right away in 2018. This season, the Vadals may have just enough on offense, and to some degree on defense, to make a Sun Belt run before they check out after the season. I see another bowl on the horizon.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Hugh Freeze Resigns at Ole Miss Amid Escort Scandal

The last straw was finally located in Oxford, and after piles of allegations over the course of the last few years, Ole Miss was finally forced to provide an ultimatum to head football coach Hugh Freeze, quit or be fired. The reasoning was not the 21 plus allegations, including lack of institutional control charge. The final shot to the proverbial skull was the fact that phone records could be traced from a university provided cell phone belonging to Freeze to a Tampa, Florida based escort service, a number that was mentioned in a lawsuit brought upon the university and Freeze by former head coach Houston Nutt.

Nutt is suing Freeze and Ole Miss for slander among other things, as Freeze, solid scumbag this he is, tried to throw Nutt and his staff under the bus for some, or many of the allegations brought against the school from the NCAA. Nutt has to feel very vindicated this evening, as it was his lawyer that found the phone number connection in a records gathering effort for the lawsuit. It was the lawyer for Nutt who told Ole Miss that their team had damaging information that could potentially be very embarrassing to the university should it get out. Ole Miss played chicken, and they lost.

Let me paint a picture for you. Houston Nutt has a wife, Jill, of 25 years. He has three daughters. He has tried to throw a former coaching staff under the bus for massive improprieties, and now, as a father of those three daughters, Freeze is tied to a prostitution service. Whether or not those services were rendered to him personally, or were a tool to be used to lure recruits, has not yet been sorted out, but what father of a daughter, much less three, can possibly engage in this type of behavior, and better yet, go to SEC media days and tout how he and his staff are "trying to do that right thing", and then go on a 16 minute filibuster-like rant during his time on the podium at said media days to avoid having to talk about this case? How could he then complain how for yet another year, he had to attend an SEC media event, and not talk about his players because of this scandal or that? He brought it all on himself, his program, and the school, and the school was too morally bankrupt to eliminate this liability until he involved them in something more amoral than just breaking a few rules. Let that all sink in for a moment, because the corruption of it all is stunning, to say the least.

Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter stated that after a conversation with Freeze and AD Ross Bjork, that Freeze stated that there has been a "pattern of personal conduct inconsistent with the standard of expectations for the leader of our football team." That sounds like a man caught, but does it not also sound like a man falling on his sword for the "greater good"? This has been ongoing for some time, and someone is going to try to tell us that these people had no idea? They are trying to ignore all of the facts and say that this was a character flaw issue in his personal life, because that was part of the statement tonight, but it goes so much deeper than that. It's so convenient to me that they would have stood by him just two weeks ago amid all of the other chargers, but suddenly this was too much? It just does not make any sense on its own merit.

The simple fact at this point is this. The university now had a smoking gun being used against them. They could deny everything else. They could throw anyone under the bus they so chose to, because there is no risk in that. This was a different thing altogether. It had the fingerprints of Freeze all over it, and this was something that could not be swept away. Ole Miss may have been in trouble before, but this is a whole new level of hell unleashed, and if the NCAA allows them to skate on this because they say that they solved the issue by firing Freeze, the NCAA itself should be disbanded. The NCAA does not need to double down now. They need to go all in and quadruple down on this thing.

What befuddles me the most is that this happens at all. With Baylor and their sexual assault issues, with stories from years past where student "tutors" ended up as being play things tossed to the wolves at Tennessee and Missouri, at Louisville where an assistant takes the fall for the head basketball coach by arranging sex parties between players and prostitutes in the basketball dorm, these things always get out. Always. Many programs have been brought to their knees by these gaps in character and moral judgement. So the question begs, why do coaches still think that this is a behavior that could ever be acceptable  in any way, and why do schools continue to retain said coaches? Why was it not enough for Ole Miss to fire Freeze in the midst of a 21 violation report, but a sex scandal was the final straw?

Freeze is an amoral piece of garbage. I say that with all sincerity. He is a pathetic excuse for a coach, a man, a leader of men, a father, and a husband. He should be banned from coaching for life. He blatantly has tried to cover up his own misdeeds by blaming it on another coach. The university joined him in doing so, but now they are to be looked at under a much larger microscope, as both Vitter and Bjork are now engaging in an act of throwing Freeze down as the fall guy for everything that is wrong with the program, in order to make themselves look compliant. It's the oldest trick in the book, and the NCAA should not allow them to get away with it, nor should the state of Mississippi.

AD Ross Bjork called this a "sad" and "unexpected" day for Ole Miss, but how is that remotely possible? How unexpected could the downfall of Freeze have been, no matter how the fall came about? Bjork himself should have been the instrument of the demise of Freeze, and he is completely complicit in that he allowed it to get to this, and Vitter is complicit in that he allowed Bjork to allow it to get to this. There is only one solution now. The entire administration must go in the wake of this. There are no exceptions, and nobody should be safe from this. There needs to be a clean sweep of the Ole Miss administration, and it needs to happen now, so that the reputation of the university can get on the mend, and for the school to become a model of the actual "right way of doing things", and not the Freeze version of the right way of doing things. Simply put, there was a pattern of this activity going all the way back to January of 2016, and that is only what the university will acknowledge. Someone knew what was going on, and nobody did a thing to stop it.

I may be naive in my take here, but at the end of the day, a football coach is more than a football coach. He is a leader of young men. Young men come to their campus at an impressionable time in their lives, many being many miles from home for the first time. A head coach and his staff have to be responsible for these young men, and they have to teach them through the process of being football players how to play not just the game of football and succeed, but how to be professional and decent human beings once the game is over. I do not think that this is too much to be asked, and when coaches are being paid unspeakable amounts of money to run these programs, it should be damned well expected.

The University of Mississippi has failed here. That is the long and short of it. They allowed a coach to walk around and spout his beliefs and his Godliness when they full well knew that it was all an act. His tacit denials of any portion of wrongdoing at SEC media day last week is a complete and utter example of how the university enabled Freeze and his behaviors. As long as this team continued to win on any level, the MO was deny, deny, deny, and act completely shocked at the severity of allegations. I guess that approach did not work very well. In the end, in football, W stands for winning, not for whores, whether they be administrators who turn a blind eye for the glory of winning a game, or for those who work for escort services.

Bilo's 2017 College Football Preview: Georgia State Panthers

Georgia State Panthers
Georgia State is starting over this fall, as Trent Miles finally ran out of time with the Panthers as coach. Shawn Elliott, the offensive line coach from South Carolina, is the new man in charge, but has a limited sample size to see what he can do. He did not succeed during his time as interim head coach for the Gamecocks, but that was a tricky situation after a mid-season resignation. He will get every chance to move this team forward, but the roster he inherits is not exactly built to succeed right away. The Panthers will move into Turner Field, but can they make themselves interesting enough to fill the seats?

What To Be Excited About: Offense
The line should have experience in 2017, as four upperclassmen are slated to start. LG Davis Moore, RG Alex Stoehr, and RT Sebastian Willer are all seniors. C Gabe Mobley will start as a junior.

What To Be Concerned About: Offense
The QB position is up i the air as we head into fall camp. Last year's starter, Conner Manning, returns after passing for 2684 yards, but he ha slipped to second string on the most recent depth chart posted just days ago behind the backup last year, Aaron Winchester. Winchester passed for 271 yards in limited duty last fall. This battle is going to continue through fall camp.

The run game was one of the worst in the nation last season, as the Panthers averaged just over 87 yards per game on the ground. Kyler Neal is the returning starter, but ran for just 314 yards on just 75 carries.

Todd Boyd returns at WR and caught 33 passes last season, but averaged just a shade over 10 yards per catch last season. He will try to replace the departed Robert Davis, who was amazing for the Panthers during his career, but that is a large order. The rest of the projected starting lineup lacks experience and depth.

The LT spot could be up in the air, as sophomore Hunter Atkinson is projected to start. He could be pushed in camp by Chris Sibilia, but he is just a freshman.

Neither PK made a mark last fall, so the Panthers are starting over with freshman Barry Brown

What To Be Excited About: Defense
Mackendy Cheridor has a shot to become a leader on defense as the DE ranked second on the team in TFLs with six. The major issue is that he will not have much  help up front.

Michael Shaw is a potential star at OLB after leading the team last season with 12 TFLs. He finished with 76 tackles overall. Trey Payne returns as a senior, and finished with 65 tackles last fall.

What To Be Concerned About: Defense
Other than Cheridor, this is not the most talented defensive line in the Sun Belt.Marterius Allen is slated to start at DE opposite Cheridor, and Julien Laurent starts at NT, but they bring very little to the pass rush game.

Shaw and Payne are all alone at LB. Ed Curney and Niemus Bryant have virtually no experience in game settings, and the entirety of depth at the LB position is nill.

The secondary is a mess as well, as the Panthers projected starters did very little last season. BJ Clay is listed in the second unit as of last week, and is the most experienced returning player with five PBUs last season.

Brandon Wright is back as the Punter, but did little to impress last fall, averaging just 39.84 yards per punt.

2017 Schedule
8/31 Tennessee State, 9/16 at Penn State, 9/23 at Charlotte, 9/30 Memphis, 10/7 at Coastal Carolina, 10/14 at UL-Monroe, 10/21 Troy. 10/26 South Alabama, 11/4 at Georgia Southern, 11/11 at Texas State, 11/25 Appalachian State, 12/2 Idaho

Final Overview
The Panthers very well may end up being the worst team in the Sun Belt this fall. The roster is a bit of a mess, there is almost zero star power on offense, and the defense is only marginally better. Trent Miles was never exactly the right guy for the job, and the talent level has been spotty under his direction, save for Robert Davis at WR, who is now gone. It may take a couple of years to get this machine running, and it may even take longer. Don't expect much of anything this season.

Bilo's 2017 College Football Previews: Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns

Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin Cajuns
The Ragin' Cajuns won three of their final four games last season to secure a bowl bid, where they lost to Southern Miss, 28-21. In case you have not noticed, as of late, the Mark Hudspeth era is not going very well. I would say that he is on the hot seat, but he seems to be the cat with nine lives, although he is running out of them. After a 6-7 finish in 2016, another such season in 2017 may see him really struggle to keep his job.
What To Be Excited About: Offense
There is not much to be excited about offensively for this football team in 2017. We will star at the Tackle spots, where they have two seniors pegged to start in D'Aquin Withrow and Grant Horst. Christian Cederquest may push for time as a junior at LG, while Adrian Goodacre may do the same at RG.

The PK game may be in good hands as well, as Stevie Artigue returns after connecting on 19/24 FG attempts in 2016.

What To Be Concerned About: Offense
The QB situation was not great last season with LSU transfer Anthony Jennings at the controls, and he is now gone. The projected starter is Jordan Davis, a RS junior who attempted all of three passes last season, and that was in a bad QB group. The only other legitimate answer is sophomore Dion Ray, who attempted one pass last season.

The run game took a big hit in losing Elijah McGuire to graduation. They move on to Darius Hoggins, who carried just 51 times last fall. The good news is that he does possess some explosiveness, as he averaged 5.51 yards per carry. Jordan wright is also back after a 62 yard season, but is more of a plodding kind of back.

The passing game takes an even bigger hit, as experience coming back is not great. Keenan Barnes and Ja'Marcus Bradley are back after combining for 52 receptions last fall, but the experience and talent level drops way off after that, and there is limited to no depth available.

The interior line could be a mess, with three sophomores set to start. There are some upperclassmen behind them, but they provide little in the way of big game experience.

What To Be Excited About: Defense
The front line should provide some punch and pressure this fall with the return of DE Joe Dillon, DT Taboris Lee, and NT Kevon Perry. Dillon led the team with 12.5 TFLs last season, while Lee and Perry combined for 11.5. This group may form the foundation and leadership for the entire defense this fall.

The Safety position should be adequate this fall, but not when it comes to pass coverage. Travis Crawford and Tracy Walker both return, and combined for 132 tackles, but they only combined for five PBUs on the season.

Steven Coutts will be a huge help at Punter after averaging over 44 yards per punt as a sophomore last season.

Jarvis Jeffries, TJ Posey, and Terik Miller all are projected to start, but not one of these players had as many as 20 tackles last fall. Depth will be a huge issue here as well.

The Cajuns were probably one of the worst ball hawking teams in the nation last fall at the CB or NB positions. Damar'ren Mitchell, Troy McCollum, and Levarious Varnado are all starting, but combined for just five total PBUs as a unit, and the team allowed 249.89 yards passing per game.

2017 Schedule
9/2 SE Louisiana, 9/9 at Tulsa, 9/16 at Texas A&M, 9/23 UL-Monroe, 10/7 at Idaho, 10/12 Texas State, 10/19 Arkansas State, 11/4 at South Alabama, 11/11 at Ole Miss, 11/18 New Mexico State, 11/25 Georgia Southern, 12/2 at Appalachian State

Final Overview
There is no way that I can see this football team finishing with a winning record, much less can I see them making a run at a conference title. I have seen this team projected as high as fourth in the Sun Belt standings, but I think even that is an over reach. Hudspeth once was a shining coaching prospect, but the shine is wearing off, and not much is working. I see this as maybe being a four win football team this fall.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Bilo's 2017 College Football Previews: Georgia Southern Eagles

Georgia Southern Eagles
A 5-7 record for the Eagles is never an acceptable thing, and such was the case last season. Tyson Summers comes into the season on a both of a hot seat, as the only thing that works in this program is winning. The Eagles always do well when they run the football and play effective defense. The problem they had last season is that they allowed just as many points per game as they scored, and that is a major problem that needs to be rectified. Do they have the tools to do so this fall?

What To Be Excited About: Offense
Myles Campbell led the team with 42 receptions last season, and will return to give the Eagles a dependable weapon in the passing game.

Four starters return on the line. Ryan Northrup (LG), Jeremiah Culbreth (C), Curtis Rainey (RG), and Drew Wilson (RT) all return, which will help the run game, which will need some help this fall.

What To Be Concerned About: Offense
The QB situation will need to sort out in fall camp, as the Eagles attempt to replace the departed Kevin Ellison. Seth Shuman played a bit last fall, but was not a successful passer, completing just 47.2% of his pass attempts, while tossing just one TD to three INTs. He carried eight times for 39 yards in limited action. Shai Werts is a solid runner, but his passing game is suspect as well.

The Eagles, who will be returning to a power option run game this fall, will need to find some new backs to carry the load. Wesley Fields and LA Ramsby are slated to start. Ramsby ran for eight scores, while Fields averaged 5.23 yards per carry.

Malik Henry is slated to be the second starting receiver, but caught just two passes last season, as did starting TE Ross Alexander.

The PK position is in a reboot, and sophomore Tyler Bass is slated to win the job.

What To Be Excited About: Defense
Not much. There are several holes to fill, and not much coming back to fill them with. FS Joshua Moon is back after picking up 72 tackles last season, but he is not much in pass defense.

What To Be Concerned About: Defense
There are issues everywhere. The line has some production issues, as DE Logan Hunt and DT Darrius Sapp return after combining for just five TFLs between them last fall. JB Kouassi is expected to start at the open DE spot, while Chris Washington steps in at NT. Depth is a major issue.

Chris DeLaRosa has potential at LB, but must prove that he can stay healthy after missing the final five games of last season. If he can, then this position gets upgraded immediately. The major problem after his health is that he has two new starters flanking him in Jacorey Belvin and Brandon Holley.

CB Jessie Liptrot is back at CB after an underwhelming freshman season. He was in way over his head a year ago. Sean Freeman is projected to start next to him as a junior. Jay Bowdry returns at SS, but again, did not do much as a freshman last fall.

Punter Matt Flynn is back, but averaged just 39 yards per punt last season.

2017 Schedule
9/2 at Auburn, 9/9 New Hampshire, 9/23 at Indiana, 10/4 Arkansas State, 10/14 New Mexico State, 10/21 at U Mass, 10/28 at Troy, 11/4 Georgia State, 11/9 at Appalachian State, 11/18 South Alabama, 11/25 at UL-Lafayette, 12/2 at Coastal Carolina

Final Overview
If Tyson Summers was in trouble after just one season as head coach, nobody is going to like what may happen this season. There just are not enough pieces to fix what ailed the program, and Summers already virtually wiped out his offensive staff after year one. That's not a great start. The one thing that the Eagles do have is a solid offensive line, and that is probably the best place to start for a rebuild, which is basically what this is at this point.