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Topic: ELA 130 Team Countdown

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ELA

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Re: ELA 130 Team Countdown
« Reply #28 on: March 07, 2018, 12:13:33 PM »
117. UL Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns
#7 in Sun Belt
If there is a team to watch this year to fulfill the "Fun Belt" moniker, it's probably the Ragin' Cajuns.  Start by returning 8 starters, including the quarterback, and four players who earned all Sun Belt honors as only freshmen or sophomores last season, and combine that with a defense that graduated 8 players from a lousy defense that finished last or second to last in scoring defense, total defense and rushing defense, and you have a recipe for a lot of games where scoring 40 won't be enough.  Even with the departures, its' hard to imagine the defense being any worse, so can the offense get enough better to get UL Lafayette back into a bowl?  Considering the number of freshmen and sophomores that started last year on that side of the ball, which put up middle of the conference numbers, the answer should be yes.  It won't be the responsibility of Mark Hudspeth, who guided the program to its greatest heights, with 4 straight bowls from 2011-14, the first four in program history, finishing in the top 3 of the Sun Belt every year, while winning a conference title.  However he had finished no higher than 5th over the past three years, and NCAA violations led to vacating several of those early wins.  Same as last time, they hired an offensive assistant coaching under a top Power 5 offensive mind.  The plucked Hudspeth out from under Dan Mullen at Mississippi State, and this time it's Billy Napier, who was coaching under Todd Graham at Arizona State.  Napier is a fast riser, spending only one season as offensive coordinator in Tempe, after previously being the WR coach under Saban at Alabama.  At least Hudspeth, before joining Mullen was the head coach at Division II North Alabama, reaching the Division II Elite 8 five times in his final 6 seasons.  Napier has never been a head coach.  Considering his background, he offseason task is getting the passing game up to speed with the running game.  Jordan Davis returns, and played the most last year, but UL Lafayette returns two other quarterbacks who saw plenty of action last year, Andre Nunez and Levi Lewis.  Nunez looked like he might be the best passer, but Davis' 347 rushing yards was 2nd on the whole team, so he brings more to the table.  With a new coach though, whoever wins probably won't be based much on how they looked last year.  Whoever it is, is going to be counted on to put up points relentlessly.

Key Players
RBTrey Ragas, Sophomore
TEChase Rogers, Sophomore
GKevin Dotson, Junior
-
DEJoe Dillon, Junior
LBJacques Boudreaux, Junior
SCorey Turner, Senior

Brutus Buckeye

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Re: ELA 130 Team Countdown
« Reply #29 on: March 07, 2018, 02:10:11 PM »
Man, the Sunbelt is basically an FCS all star league at this point. The only teams I can think of that aren't FCS/1AA call ups are stAte and the Ragin Cajuns. And I'm not even sure that they didn't have a brief stint in the FCS before joining the Big West back in the 90s.

Of course there are FCS call ups that jumped the Sunbelt and went straight to CUSA. There are others (WKU) who used the Sunbelt as a stepping stone to CUSA.

Hell, how many current CUSA teams have been 1A/FBS since the 78 split? Rice, obviously, and UTep. Southern Miss, Tulsa and Tulane, iirc. Pretty sure the entire East Division are FCS call ups.
« Last Edit: March 07, 2018, 02:14:51 PM by Brutus Buckeye »
1919, 20, 21, 28, 29, 31, 34, 35, 36, 37, 42, 44
WWH: 1952, 54, 55, 57, 58, 60, 61, 62, 63, 65, 67, 68, 70, 72, 74, 75
1979, 81, 82, 84, 87, 94, 98
2001, 02, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17

ELA

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Re: ELA 130 Team Countdown
« Reply #30 on: March 08, 2018, 12:24:19 PM »
116. Bowling Green Falcons
#11 in MAC
After losing his first 8 FBS games as coach of Bowling Green in 2016, a 3 game winning streak to end the year was supposed to be a catalyst for better things in 2017.  A 2-10 season that included a loss to FCS South Dakota didn't really bear that out.  The problem was a defense that gave up over 500 yards per game.  The Falcons lost 5 games where they scored at least 28 points.  So while only 3 players from the defense graduated, that's not necessarily a good thing.  Inexperience wasn't the issue, it was mostly juniors, they just weren't any good.  So out is Perry Eliano, and in comes Ohio royalty, Carl Pelini.  Pelini has MAC experience, as DL coach under Frank Solich at Ohio from 2005-07, but this will be the first time he has coordinated a defense without the oversight of brother Bo.  Carl was DC under Bo at Nebraska from 2008-11 and at Youngstown State the last three years.  The hope on offense comes from a full offseason of Jarret Doege being the unquestioned #1.  At this time last year quarterback was supposed to be a strength, as James Morgan took his lumps as a freshman, but showed a ton of promise too.  It simply never materialized, completing under 45% of his passes in 4 of his first 6 games, before getting benched for Doege.  Over those final 4 games as starter, Doege completed 63% of his passes, threw for over 250 yards three times, and had a 11 to 2 TD to interception ratio.  None of that matters without a total defensive overhaul, and asking Pelini to do that in one season is a tall task.  Just to make things even tougher, Bowling Green opens at Oregon; then they face Maryland, with healthy quarterbacks, and get to face Georgia Tech's triple option before September is even over.  It all starts up front, where Bowling Green gave up 5.6 ypc, generated the fewest sacks in the MAC, and had the worst 3rd down defense.  There is a lack of toughness that maybe Pelini can instill while he waits to upgrade the talent.  In the meantime, Bowling Green may play a lot of games that remind Mike Jinks of his days coaching high school football in Texas.

Key Players
RBAndrew Clair, Sophomore
WRScott Miller, Senior
KJake Suder, Senior
-
DEDavid Konowalski, Senior
LBBrandon Harris, Senior
SFred Garth, Senior

Brutus Buckeye

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Re: ELA 130 Team Countdown
« Reply #31 on: March 08, 2018, 12:52:03 PM »
I prognosticate that the Golden Flashes will be the first Ohio team to find their way onto this list.
You throw a pretty mean curve ball my friend. 
Kent had the same record as BG and lost the head to head 44-16, coming off of a bye week. At home. 
1919, 20, 21, 28, 29, 31, 34, 35, 36, 37, 42, 44
WWH: 1952, 54, 55, 57, 58, 60, 61, 62, 63, 65, 67, 68, 70, 72, 74, 75
1979, 81, 82, 84, 87, 94, 98
2001, 02, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17

ELA

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Re: ELA 130 Team Countdown
« Reply #32 on: March 08, 2018, 01:35:17 PM »
You won't be waiting too long.  They both suck.

CatsbyAZ

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Re: ELA 130 Team Countdown
« Reply #33 on: March 08, 2018, 05:56:24 PM »
Man, the Sunbelt is basically an FCS all star league at this point. The only teams I can think of that aren't FCS/1AA call ups are stAte and the Ragin Cajuns. And I'm not even sure that they didn't have a brief stint in the FCS before joining the Big West back in the 90s.

Of course there are FCS call ups that jumped the Sunbelt and went straight to CUSA. There are others (WKU) who used the Sunbelt as a stepping stone to CUSA.

Hell, how many current CUSA teams have been 1A/FBS since the 78 split? Rice, obviously, and UTep. Southern Miss, Tulsa and Tulane, iirc. Pretty sure the entire East Division are FCS call ups.


If you're one of these call ups your best bet when it comes to recruiting is to go Juco and wait in the wings for the inevitable transfers to drop from the bigger SEC/ACC schools. Surprised there's not often a more obvious effort for smaller programs to position themselves for players they know will transfer because of grades, arrests, too many QBs signed. I remember a few years back Jacksonville St had a DL built from SEC non-quals and P5 programs that paid them to play cupcake couldn't run on them.

ELA

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Re: ELA 130 Team Countdown
« Reply #34 on: March 09, 2018, 10:33:56 AM »
115. Kent State Golden Flashes
#10 in MAC
The rebuilding at Kent State is going to be a long process, but you could do a lot worse than a defensive star like Jim Jones to build around.  Jones grew up is the shadows of Doak Campbell Stadium, but never drew any high major offers.  He was the only player in the MAC to register top 6 in the conference in both tackles and sacks, a weapon against both the run and the pass.  No offense to reigning MAC Defensive Player of the Year, Sutton Smith from Northern Illinois, who was a sack machine, but I think Jones is the best defensive player in the MAC entering 2018.  The Golden Flashes weren't terrible on defense last year, but they couldn't get off the field.  They improve there, the numbers should improve drastically.  They only surrendered 8 more yards per game than Buffalo, but gave up 11 more points per game, because they allowed 50 touchdowns to only 39.  They allowed opponents to convert a MAC worst 10 of 15 4th down conversions, and surrendered touchdowns on 69.3% of red zone trips, 3rd worst in the MAC.  But putting too much on the defense is ignoring the glaring problem, the offense.  Kent State had the worst offense in the MAC, mainly because they couldn't throw the ball at all.  Their 122.7 passing ypg was worst in the MAC by over 40 ypg.  11 of 12 schools (including Kent State) ran for more yards per game than Kent State threw for.  Only Rutgers threw for fewer yards per game among non triple-option schools.  A lot of that is on the offensive line.  Only Minnesota threw the ball less among non triple-option teams, yet Kent State was sacked 46 times, 3rd most in the FBS.  That's nearly impossible to fathom.  Golden Flashes quarterbacks were sacked on 16.8% of their dropbacks, worst in FBS by nearly 3%, and worst among non triple option teams by 5.5%.  It's no wonder Kent State went in the complete opposite direction with this coaching hire.  Sean Lewis, at 31, is the new youngest coach in the FBS.  Just 5 years ago he was an FCS position coach.  He's spent the last 4 years coaching under Dino Babers, the last 3 as Offensive Coordinator, first at Bowling Green, then at Syracuse.  Kent State is hoping to harness the same offensive firepower that Babers and Lewis won back to back Division titles with in their two years in the MAC, including the 2015 MAC Championship.  Kent State returns 10 starters of offense, but it remains to be seen if that's a good thing or not.

Key Players
QBGeorge Bollas, Senior
RBJustin Rankin, Junior
WRTrey Harrell, Junior
-
LBJim Jones, Senior
SMandela Lawrence-Burke, Junior
PDerek Adams, Junior

Brutus Buckeye

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Re: ELA 130 Team Countdown
« Reply #35 on: March 09, 2018, 11:07:29 AM »
Tuesday Night MACtion just isn't gonna be the same, without Jon Cunningham suplexing everything in sight.











« Last Edit: March 09, 2018, 11:09:34 AM by Brutus Buckeye »
1919, 20, 21, 28, 29, 31, 34, 35, 36, 37, 42, 44
WWH: 1952, 54, 55, 57, 58, 60, 61, 62, 63, 65, 67, 68, 70, 72, 74, 75
1979, 81, 82, 84, 87, 94, 98
2001, 02, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17

ELA

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Re: ELA 130 Team Countdown
« Reply #36 on: March 10, 2018, 01:37:29 PM »
114. Old Domininon Monarchs
#9 in Conference USA
To be perfectly honest, of all of the recent programs to transition into the FBS, Old Dominion was the one that I thought had the best chance for success.  They had an established basketball program that had made 7 NCAA tournament appearances over the past two decades prior to their jump.  While the program was just re-created in 2009, in their only two seasons of FCS competition where they were postseason eligible, they finished ranked in the top 10, and reached a Sweet 16 and an Elite 8.  The jump to FBS hasn’t been nearly as seamless as I would have assumed.  While it hasn’t been nearly a disaster, they followed what I thought was going to be their breakout 2016 season with a 5-7 clunker in 2017.  Bobby Wilder was retained, but without serious progress this year, I’d expect the school to go in another direction.  With the state of Conference USA right now, there’s no reason this program shouldn’t be near the top.  The biggest part of the problem is they have yet to find a suitable quarterback, since Taylor Heinecke graduated following the 2014 season.  Shuler Bentley was supposed to seize the job as a freshman, after choosing Old Dominion over an offer from Cincinnati, and greyshirt offers from Clemson, Duke and Auburn.  He was mediocre as a freshman, benched as a sophomore, and transferred to Murray State.  David Washington took over, and while he didn’t make mistakes, he wasn’t shouldering the load either.  Last year they started with Blake LaRussa, and after three mediocre games, went to true freshman Steven Williams, who was actually worse, but somehow got to keep the job for the rest of the season.  The improvement is going to come in the trenches.  The Monarchs return a pair of All-Conference players both on the offensive line, and in the defensive front seven, among 4 returning offensive line starters and 6 of the front 7 starters returning.  That should help a defense that gave up over 200 yards per game, and an offense that was far too mediocre running the ball for having Ray Lawry getting the carries.

Key Players
WRIsaiah Harper, Senior
TIsaac Weaver, Junior
CNick Clarke, Senior
-
DEOshane Ximines, Senior
DTMiles Fox, Senior
LBMarvin Branch, Senior

113. UL Monroe Warhawks
#6 in Sun Belt
What is seemingly a trend down here in the dregs of college football is one side of the ball being absolutely putrid.  There aren’t a ton of teams that are just pretty bad universally.  A lot of these teams are actually pretty good on one side of the ball, and for UL Monroe, it’s the offense.  The Warhawks were second to Arkansas State among Sun Belt teams in both scoring offense and total offense.  They weren’t just good, they were balanced, 4th in rushing offense, 3rd in passing offense.  They allowed the 3rd fewest sacks.  They committed the third fewest penalties, while drawing the most.  Their special teams were good to great across the board.  So how did they do in their bowl game?  Well.  That’s the thing, they were 4-8.  How bad must a defense be to be good everywhere else, and still go 4-8 in the Sun Belt?  Arguably worst in the FBS bad.  They surrendered 41 ppg and 532 ypg.  As balanced as the offense was, the defensive crapiness was just as balanced, with the Sun Belt’s worst passing defense paired with the second worst run defense.  The offense was #17 in S&P+, while the defense was dead last in the FBS at #129.  It starts with finding a more tenable rotation on the line.  UL Monroe tried to roll last year with a starting lineman who weighed 220 pounds.  Alabama doesn’t even look at the film of LINEBACKERS in high school who weigh that little.  David Griffith is the one legitmate player on that side of the ball, but without anyone in front of him he’s not playing in space nearly enough.  On offense the go to pair is R.J. Turner and Marcus Green, who is also a major threat on special teams, with 4 special teams touchdowns a year ago.  An early 2018 depth chart I saw didn’t have Turner listed, but I also can’t find anything saying he left the team.

Key Players
QBCaleb Evans, Junior
WRR.J. Turner, Junior
WRMarcus Green, Senior
-
LBDavid Griffith, Senior
CBCorey Straughter, Sophomore
SWesley Thompson, Senior



847badgerfan

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Re: ELA 130 Team Countdown
« Reply #37 on: March 10, 2018, 02:18:23 PM »
I need to brush up on who is in the FBS these days.
U RAH RAH! WIS CON SIN!

CatsbyAZ

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Re: ELA 130 Team Countdown
« Reply #38 on: March 10, 2018, 04:11:11 PM »
114. Old Domininon Monarchs
#9 in Conference USA
To be perfectly honest, of all of the recent programs to transition into the FBS, Old Dominion was the one that I thought had the best chance for success.  They had an established basketball program that had made 7 NCAA tournament appearances over the past two decades prior to their jump.  While the program was just re-created in 2009, in their only two seasons of FCS competition where they were postseason eligible, they finished ranked in the top 10, and reached a Sweet 16 and an Elite 8.  The jump to FBS hasn’t been nearly as seamless as I would have assumed.  While it hasn’t been nearly a disaster, they followed what I thought was going to be their breakout 2016 season with a 5-7 clunker in 2017.



QB
WR
WR
LB
CB
S
ELA, completely agree with you on ODU shoulda/woulda having the better footing when transition up to FBS. Coaching was stable, Norfolk/VaBeach (Tidewater Area) is great for high school football talent, and they are able to schedule home-&-homes with bigger regional names like VA Tech, UNC, & NCSt.
Several overlooked setbacks are:
-There's just not a lot of local fan support given how transient the Tidewater Area is, mostly driven by the area's heavy Navy operations.
-The stadium is more like a high school stadium and until a new one is built and capacity doubled (from 21k to at least 40k), I don't see how more game day interest can be drawn. It's a densely populated urban campus so any new plans for a stadium will have to consider outer areas in an already overcrowded area with surprisingly bad traffic.
-With Liberty already FBS & James Madison U (which has a great stadium) already planning on moving up to FBS the Mid-Atlantic region is already saturated with smaller FBS programs all competing against established smaller names like East Carolina & Marshall.

ELA

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Re: ELA 130 Team Countdown
« Reply #39 on: March 10, 2018, 04:18:49 PM »
Didn't realize JMU was considering moving up.  Until they go to a 12 or 16 team tourney with all conference champs invited, I don't get it.  As a fan, I'd be pissed.  I'd rather be a good FCS program than a Group of 5 program.

As an aside, the ODU font color looks different on my PC than on mobile.  Odd.  It's grey there, gold on here.

847badgerfan

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Re: ELA 130 Team Countdown
« Reply #40 on: March 10, 2018, 05:26:54 PM »
It's really (past) time for the P5 to just move on and be its own thing - or just blow up and start over somehow.
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ELA

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Re: ELA 130 Team Countdown
« Reply #41 on: March 10, 2018, 06:37:24 PM »
It's really (past) time for the P5 to just move on and be its own thing - or just blow up and start over somehow.
I think it's coming.  Like I said, absent going to a 12 or 16 team tourney, with auto bids, what's the point of being in the Group of 5?
Granted I think my bowl model would at least help.

 

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