Sunday, July 29, 2012

2012 USA South Predictions

As kickoff of the 2012 season  grows closer, I will again post my predictions for the USA South finishing order. Before I do that, here is how I did in 2011.

My predicted order of finish last season was :

1  CNU
2  Ferrum
3  N.C. Wesleyan
4  Shenandoah
5  Averett
6  Maryville
7  Methodist
8  Greensboro

The actual order of finish was

1   CNU
2   Ferrum
3   Shenandoah
4   Maryville
5   Averett
6   Methodist
7   N.C. Wesleyan
8   Greensboro

So I got a few prediction correct, but this year, it really is going to prove difficult to predict the order of finish. Here are some things to ponder...

1 New team in the conference, and one familiar face has left.
2 Greensboro has a new coach
3 Maryville has a new coach
4 Ferrum and Methodist each have coaches in their second year.

These factors alone can make it difficult to predict who will finish where, but I anticipate many teams being close to equal. Parity will be very evident this year, and these predictions could be far off the mark. I am making these predictions one day ahead of the USA South Media Day and Coaches Poll, so without further ado, here is how I see them finishing up the season.

Ferrum College Football Report
2012 USA South Conference
Predicted Order of Finish

8th Place-   Greensboro College Pride

The Pride had some really positive moments in 2011, but unfortunately, these did not translate into wins. This season, long time assistant, Bill Young takes over the program with the departure of coach Randy Hunt. Coach Young has been with the Pride program since it began, and is looking to help his team "get better everyday".

Greensboro, coming off of an 0-10 season must focus on improving, but the hill they have to climb will take some time. I expect that the loss of 17 Seniors,will make that hill even steeper. I anticipate that the Pride will improve, albeit slightly.

Predicted Record-1-9 (0-7)

7th Place- Averett University Cougars

Averett struggled to a 3-7 mark last year, and will lose 12 from last year's roster. I look for more of the same this year, as this team is young for the most part and still developing, Given the parity in the conference this year, Averett will likely wind up on the short end of the score far too often. It will not be an easy season for the Cougars as both offense and defense will not yet be where they want to be. Look for this team to get better in the coming years, but this season will be a long one.

Predicted Record: 2-8 (1-7)

6th Place- LaGrange College Panthers

The newest member of the conference comes to the USA South, having finished last season as an independent, with a 4-6 record. Their victories came over N.C. Wesleyan, Maryville, Ave Maria, and The Apprentice School.

Graduation will hurt the Panthers, as they lost 16 Seniors. The losses will affect both the offensive and defensive lines, linebackers, D-backs, running backs, and receivers.
It's difficult to gauge their abilities, but I would imagine they will have struggles their first year in the conference.

Predicted Record- 3-7 (2-5)

5th Place-   Methodist University Monarchs

The Monarchs showed the conference that they will soon be a force to be reckoned with. While they only had three wins, Methodist gave clear indications of a team on the upswing.  They defeated Guilford,  N.C. Wesleyan, and Greensboro, while losing to Maryville by 2, and to Emory and Henry, and Averett by 7...and the Averett game was an overtime loss.

The defensive line looks to be where the Monarchs will have the most holes left by graduation, but this may not even be all that bad. This is a team that can surprise some people this year, and may well finish higher than 5th.

Predicted Record: 4-6 (3-4)

4th Place-  North Carolina Wesleyan College Battling Bishops

By comparison to recent seasons, last year was one that Coach Mark Henninger would probably just as soon forget. The Bishops finished an uncharacteristic 2-8 in 2011, which kept them out of the cellar, but just barely. It is difficult to say how much better this team will be this year, but you can count on  improvement. Look for the Bishops to be anchored on defense by Dwayne Hollis, and Taz Foster, These two standouts from last season will be back to do their part to get the Bishops in the win column.
Offensively, Wesleyan was far less productive than they had been the previous year. I would expect this to be a focus for this season, and I think there will be some  improvement. This team could be in the running at seasons end, but I see them on the outside looking in.

Predicted Record  4-6 (3-4)

3rd Place- Maryville College Scots

With a new coach, many teams will face uncertainties. In the case of the Scots, I look for them to pick up where they left off. After an 0-4 start, they won four of their next 5. They lost their finale to CNU, but the mid season turnaround was something to behold. Making things more difficult, may be the departure of Quarterback Melvin Burston. Burston, who had strong numbers last season, has transferred to Webber International University, an NAIA school.  I had Burston tagged as a possible USA South Offensive Player of the Year. This is a big loss for the Scots.
Under the direction of first year head coach Mike Rader, I look for Maryville to be very strong, right out of the gate. They will likely run a wide open no huddle offense, and will not be afraid to throw the ball. If the defense can come together and improve, look for Maryville to in the running for the post season as the season progresses.

Predicted Record: 7-3 (5-2)

2nd Place- Ferrum College Panthers
While the loss of Marcus Mayo would, on the surface seem to pose a problem, I look for Tim Reynolds to take the starting position under center and be a very effective leader.With the exception of Dontavious Gilbert, the offense is somewhat thin on experience in the backfield, as well as on the line. This unit will gel, and become one of if not the best in the conference. A fast start is imperative. If Ferrum can get the kinks worked out before the Emory and Henry game, and get a win against the Wasps, then I believe they could be 4-0 when travelling to Newport News to take on the Captains.
On the defensive side of the ball, Ferrum loses two from last years roster. (LB and DB). Look for the defense to be stellar. They will be strong against the run, and I believe will post impressive numbers. The Panthers will be a solid football team, just a little lite on offensive experience.
Predicted Record: 8-2 (6-1)

1st Place- Christopher Newport University Captains
Consistent- That is the story of this team. They are the perennial favorite almost every year, and rightfully so. They have a very strong program. Last year they were unbeaten in the conference, and were the USA South representative in the playoffs.
I look for a very similar result this year, but there are more teams this year in the conference that can make a legitimate run at them. I think any of the predicted 2nd -5th place teams, have the chance to knock the Captains off of their throne, but it will not be easy, CNU did not lose many to graduation, so the core of last years team will be back. If they stay healthy, and do not get overconfident, they will likely get the AQ. The chances of them not repeating is moderate at best, but to be sure, they are the team everyone will be gunning for.

Predicted Record: 8-2 (7-0)

No comments:

Post a Comment