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South Alabama

College Football

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South Alabama was all over the place last year from an opening win at Mississippi State and another upset against San Diego State to Sun Belt losses against both Louisiana schools. With only 12 returning starters, the Jaguars will be a hard team to back even with quarterback Dallas Davis still around. This team has potential, but turning that into wins isn’t a guarantee as seen last year.

Davis missed spring practices due to shoulder surgery, so that’s an immediate worry, although it’s not like he was great last season with 11 TDs and 12 picks. Cole Garvin could be just as good after a couple nice performances as a freshman. The line will be the key part to getting this offense more consistency after the group averaged just 25.4 points per game and 145 rushing yards. Three starters return up front and Miami transfer Tyler Grimsley could be a nice addition, as well. Xavier Johnson (831 yards, 10 TDs) is expected to work with juco transfer Tywun Walters out of the backfield. If the running game doesn’t improve, the offense probably won’t unless Davis takes a jump. He loses all of his top receivers from a year ago with his top returning wide out being Jordan McCray (7 receptions) and tight end Maaseiah Francis (18 receptions) the top receiver.

Most of the hope for the Jags comes on the defensive end with improvement expected after allowing 27 points per contest. They’ll return with the same 4-2-5 scheme that led to 215 rushing yards allowed every game. But there is optimism with a lot of seniors up front, most of them having missed extended time last season because of injury. And because of those injuries, there should be more depth. The secondary will remain the strong suit having finished top 10 in the country in yards allowed per game at 174.6. Safety Jeremy Reaves is one of the best in the conference and there’s loads of experience around him.

It’s hard to see South Alabama getting another SEC upset win early on and three non-conference losses could be in the cards after winning all non-conference games a year ago (in regular season). That’ll be the main worry for this team reaching a bowl, although a workable road schedule could help the Jaguars in getting to five wins in conference play. Winning home games against Louisiana and ASU would be huge with both coming back-to-back in early November.

If the Jags were consistent, they’d be one of the best in the conference, but that’s not the case. They have +2200 odds to win the Sun Belt (at 5Dimes Sportsbook), which places them tied in seventh, about the same as last year. Yet with a decent conference schedule, South Alabama wouldn’t be a bad spot to take a long shot for the conference title. That said, even with an improved offensive line and more talent on the defensive side, the Jaguars have an over/under of four wins.  


2017 South Alabama Jaguars Football Schedule

Sept. 2 at Ole Miss
Sept. 8 vs. Oklahoma State
Sept. 16 vs. Alabama A&M
Sept. 23 vs. Idaho

Sept. 30 at Louisiana Tech
Oct. 11 at Troy

Oct. 21 vs. UL Monroe
Oct. 26 at Georgia State

Nov. 4 vs. Louisiana Lafayette
Nov. 11 vs. Arkansas State
Nov. 18 at Georgia Southern
Dec. 2 at New Mexico State

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