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ESPN on the AAC and the Bulls


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Listed in the bottom half of conference, but "this might be the best bottom half of a conference the Group of 5 has produced".  So we got that going for us. :) 

 

College football offseason preview: American Athletic Conference, Part I

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USF

Head coach: Jeff Scott (first year)
2019: 4-8 (2-6), 103rd in SP+
2020 projection: 5-7 (3-5), 82nd
Five best returning players: LB Dwayne Boyles, NB Bentlee Sanders, FS Nick Roberts, LB Antonio Grier, RB Kelley Joiner Jr.

On the official USF depth chart, they put "BA" designations next to the names of all the players from the Tampa Bay area. By the end of the 2019 season, the starting quarterback (Jordan McCloud), two most efficient receivers (tight end Mitchell Wilcox and slot Bryce Miller), starting left tackle (Donovan Jennings), best overall blocker (William Atterbury), best pass-rusher (Greg Reaves), most active defensive tackle (Blake Green), top two cornerbacks (Mike Hampton and KJ Sails) and top nickelback (Bentlee Sanders) were all BAs.

Lord knows there is plenty of talent in the area, and what amounts to the University of the BA has rarely lacked for potential during its two decades of existence. Occasionally, things come together: The Bulls ranked second in offensive SP+ in 2016, and they have ranked 52nd or better six times in 15 years; on defense, they were top 15 in both 2006 and 2007, and they have been top 45 eight times.

USF's history is reasonably rich considering the short time span. The Bulls have won eight or more games 10 times in 20 FBS seasons; they briefly reached second in the AP poll in 2007 and finished ranked twice. Not bad. But an inability to get the offense and defense peaking at the same time holds them back. The 2016 team was dragged down by a No. 99 defense, allowing 101 points in its two losses. And while the 2019 defense bounced back a bit, the offense was devastatingly young and horrid. USF averaged 9.4 points per game in eight losses.

With Charlie Strong gone, Dabo Swinney disciple Jeff Scott takes over. What Scott's initial recruiting haul lacked in BAs (by my count, only two from the high school ranks), it offered quite a few potential instant-impact guys. Including what Strong had already arranged, Scott, 39, has thus far roped in nine transfers, including two QBs (UNC's Cade Fortin and Alcorn State's Noah Johnson) and two running backs (Oregon's Darrian Felix and South Carolina's Lavonte Valentine).

USF's 2020 season, assuming it happens, will be one of competition. McCloud-Fortin-Johnson could be an interesting QB battle -- Scott signed two well-touted freshmen too -- and there are plenty of options at RB and WR. Plus, a secondary that was both solid and sophomore-heavy last year is now junior-heavy. Scott and coordinators Charlie Weis Jr. (offense) and Glenn Spencer (defense) have tons of warm bodies to pit against each other.

The defense should be solid no matter what. Reaves is gone, but the Bulls have strong overall experience and depth, and players such as Sanders and linebacker Dwayne Boles are among the best in the AAC at their positions. The offense could take a while to sort out, especially without Wilcox and Atterbury. And depending on how said sorting goes, the schedule presents several different possibilities -- a 39% chance of finishing 4-8 or worse and a 14% chance of finishing 7-5 or better. There are lots of relative toss-ups here, and the potential win total is high if the offense overachieves its projections.

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Five best returning players: LB Dwayne Boyles, NB Bentlee Sanders, FS Nick Roberts, LB Antonio Grier, RB Kelley Joiner Jr.

ouch.

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53 minutes ago, brybull1970 said:

Suprised not see KJ as one of our 5 best returning players.

That was my first observation as well.

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Thanks G-d all of those people had the foresight to get us off of that pesky plateau. 

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1 hour ago, brybull1970 said:

Suprised not see KJ as one of our 5 best returning players.

He should been on that list.

So can't wait to get the stench of Strong off this program. 

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2 hours ago, brybull1970 said:

Suprised not see KJ as one of our 5 best returning players.

I actually think KJ is our best returning player or at least will be our best player on D this year.

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We are being under valued by a huge amount.  

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6 minutes ago, Rizman said:

We are being under valued by a huge amount.  

Not so sure, we have not provided much value over the past couple of years, we are what we are until we aren’t.

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3 hours ago, Friscobull said:

Not so sure, we have not provided much value over the past couple of years, we are what we are until we aren’t.

Id have to agree...yeah I do think Scott will get things turned around but 5-7 is likely about right...if we found a really good QB then maybe we do look much better.

 

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We should have went after a coach who's talent level was comparable to coach Frost.  Frost was able to turn around a losing team in one season (sarcasm intended).  

Bowl eligibility is the minimum expectation I have for this team this year (assuming there is a season).

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