Monday, August 2, 2010

2010 USA South Predictions

With kickoff just over the horizon, and the USA South Media Day tomorrow, I thought I would go ahead and post what I believe will be the finishing order to the USA South for this season. With concerns over several positions, I look for the Panthers to be in rebuilding mode. Media Day participants will reveal their predictions at tomorrow's event. Thought I would get mine out just ahead of them.

Ferrum College Football Report
USA South
Predicted Order of Finish

8th place- Methodist University- The Monarchs are coming off of another disappointing season, and have lost a good number of starters from the '09 team. A team in transition, Methodist is preparing to begin the final season of Head Coach Jim Sypult's 18 year career. He has announced his resignation after the 2010 season. While they showed a lot of ability in 2009, I look for this to be a season with similar results.

Prediction -1-9 (0-7 conference)

7th place- Maryville College- Last year was a season of streaks for the Scots. After having lost their first two games, Maryville reeled off three straight wins, only to follow that up with three straight losses. The season's highlight came as the Scots upset Christopher Newport 21-14 on the road.
I look for Maryville to improve as the season goes on, but expect that they will struggle early. Having lost many of their key personnel to graduation look for Maryville again to be a force, but possibly too late to contend for the conference crown.

Prediction- 2-8 (1-6 conference)

6th place- Ferrum College- Many question marks dominate the ledger going into the 2010 season. Ferrum's quarterback position will be filled by someone with no playing time from last year, and there will be three major losses on the offensive line. No returning linebackers, (Stinson did see a good amount of playing time, and will return) and an unproven defensive secondary. While I understand that there has been success in recruiting, and I look for this to be a re-building year, I do not see all things as gloom and doom. The Panthers will have, as usual, a strong corps of running backs, and are looking forward to having their entire defensive line back. Special teams should also be strong for Ferrum.
If things gel early, and the quarterback is able to command the offense, Ferrum can contend.
Pass defense will be a key. The early games will be strong indicators as Ferrum has a tough road in it's first four games.

Prediction- 4-6 (3-4 conference)

5th place- Greensboro College-The Pride was, to me the surprise of the conference last season. Finishing with a 6-4 record, they showed huge improvement over years past. With victories over Washington and Lee, Maryville, and Ferrum, the Pride turned a lot of heads. Look for less success this year as graduation hit them hard. I do expect them to be fundamentally sound, and with an upset or two, they could be in the mix at the end.

Prediction- 4-6 (3-4 conference)

4th place- Shenandoah University- This prediction may surprise many, but I see this team as this years dark horse. With a 1-9 record from last year, the Hornets have nowhere to go but up. Look for them to pick up some key wins and build on an '09 season that saw their average margin of defeat at a low 3.6 points. They were far better than a 1-9 team. Their successful off season recruiting campaign will only add to this teams viability.

Prediction- 5-5 (4-3 conference)

3rd place- Averett University- The Cougars were another surprise last season. Predicted to finish fifth last year, Averett really was a solid team that caught me and a lot of others off guard. Look for graduation to leave some holes to fill, and while they should contend, I expect them to finish just out of the running.

Prediction-7-3 (4-3 conference)

2nd place- Christopher Newport University-While this team is a usual favorite, this year may be a little different as they no longer have the services of running back Tunde Ogun. Ogun was the workhorse for the Captains, and his shoes will likely be filled by Corey Legister. Look for a slow start, and a strong finish for CNU. Injuries, that took a toll on their team last year, must be avoided for the Captains to win it all.

Prediction- 6-4 (5-2 conference)

1st place- North Carolina Wesleyan College- The defending USA South Champions took the conference title handily last year, and while they have suffered sizable losses due to graduation, they are well equipped to fill the voids. This team is stacked with talent, and should do well against both conference and non conference opponents. I expect the Bishops to again represent the USA South in the NCAA playoffs.

Prediction- 8-2 (7-0 conference)

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