Sunday, July 31, 2011

2011 USA South Predictions

As we are closing in on the start of the 2011 season, I wanted to post my predictions for the upcoming year. While last season I predicted Ferrum to finish in sixth place with a 4-6 record, I have a more positive outlook for 2011. The coaches of the USA South conference will hold their Media Day tomorrow at Christopher Newport, and will release their preseason poll. I am posting mine one day earlier.

Ferrum College Football Report
USA South
Predicted Order of Finish

8th Place- Greensboro College Pride

While I do believe this team will improve, I do not see a huge difference this season. Among the positives for the Pride is the fact that they were not hurt badly by graduation. They will again be solid in the secondary, and this will spell trouble for many of the passing teams. PR and WR,  Antwan Thorpe will be back this season. Thorpe was the 9th leading punt returner in the nation. I expect this team to show a marked improvement, but their special teams play may again be the bright spot. Their offensive and defensive struggles msy continue.

Record 1-9 (0-7 USA South)

           7th Place- Methodist University Monarchs

            The Monarchs had a tough 2010. After starting the season 2-2, Methodist started a six game losing streak, and never really contended. Much like Greensboro, look for Methodist to be strong against the pass, and to put up good numbers on special teams. With a new head coach Dave Everson, Methodist is a little tough to read. They were not hurt all that much from graduation, so this 7th place finish may be conservative, and may be selling them short. While there is room for improvement in many areas, I do not expect them to contend for the championship just yet.

 Record- 2-8 (1-6 USA South)

  6th Place- Maryville College Scots

   After closing their season with a win over Ferrum, Maryville will be looking to recapture that momentum this season. Graduation hit the Scots fairly hard as they lost 11 Seniors from last years roster. Notably they suffered several losses in the defensive backfield. Although they posted a strong effort in 2010, look for this year to be more of a rebuilding season.

Record- 3-7 ( 2-5 USA South)

      5th Place- Averett University Cougars     

After a fast start in 2010, Averett suffered too many injuries, and lost their final three games. Since that time they have lost 13 Seniors to graduation. This includes RB Jeremy Dixon, and QB Cody Ladutko. Linebacker Mario Hufman,  along with several offensive and defensive linemen. While there are many returning who saw significant playing time, I look for Averett to have an uphill climb. 

Record- 5-5 (4-6 USA South)   

       4th Place- Shenandoah University Hornets

       This will mark the Hornets final campaign as a member of the USA South. Next season will see them transition to the ODAC . As they embark on their final season in the conference, I look for them to have a successful run, but may hit a rough patch during their final three games. They have a majority slated to return, and the improvement they showed last season may well continue. Look for this team to pull a possible big upset. They well be in the mix for the championship, but I think it is more likely they finish outside the top three.

Record- 5-5 (3-4 USA South)

3rd Place- North Carolina Wesleyan College Bishops

There will be some sizable holes to fill in the Bishops roster for the upcoming season. While they lost only 12 to graduation, these 12 were made up of many high caliber players. While this team is deep, I do not look for them to be as dominate as they have been. They can win it all, but I see them coming up short.....just short.

Record 6-4 (5-2 USA South)

2nd Place- Ferrum College Panthers

This year look for the Panthers to be a threat to take the conference title. Offensively, Ferrum will be returning almost everyone from last year. Marcus Mayo will return for his Senior campaign, and his abilities will keep the defenses on their heels. Ferrum will be solid in the offensive backfield, as well as at receiver. The offensive line will have good experience returning, and I look for the rushing offensive unit to be one of the best in the country. It is the other side of the ball that concerns me as Ferrum has lost a lot of size and experience from last years defensive line. The linebacker position also has some question marks. The defensive secondary will need to show consistent performance and be able to limit the opponents passing game. If the defense can gel, and the team as a whole can avoid injuries, it may come down to the wire with the CNU @ Ferrum game determining the conference champion. I rank the Panthers 2nd, but know full well this team can win it all. They have a strong core of talent on the offense. Special Teams will decide at least one game this season, but their ability to perform on defense, will make the difference.

Record- 8-2 (6-1 USA South)

1st Place- Christopher Newport University Captains

The Captains have suffered most of their losses on the offensive and defensive lines of scrimmage. They do have people who can step in that gained valuable playing experience last year. Look for CNU to excel again at special teams , specifically punt returns with Kentel Noel returning for his sophomore season. I expect that CNU will have a very successful campaign early, but will likely fall to Salisbury (MD) in the non conference portion of the schedule.
Look for the conference champion to be decided late, and possibly the final week of the season. The Captains will have another title in their sights, but there will be  some teams capable of bumping them out of the race. While they are my prediction to win it all, I do not feel in any way that this is a foregone conclusion.

Record- 9-1 (7-0 USA South) 

No comments:

Post a Comment