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2018

Southern Miss

College Football

Betting Preview

It’s been a solid first two years for Jay Hopson at Southern Miss, but making another bowl in Year 3 isn’t a given. With only 10 returning starters, the Golden Eagles have a lot of work to do if they want to compete in the conference again even if it’s only a year after they went 6-2. They’re at least expected to make a bowl with an over/under of 6.5 wins with +3200 odds to win C-USA at 5Dimes Sportsbook

USM may have its quarterback of the future in JUCO transfer Jack Abraham, but everything around him is a question. There’s also the chance Kwadra Griggs returns from injury and steals the gig after throwing for 16 touchdowns and only two picks last year. Either way, the line could be a problem with only two upperclassmen expected in the starting five with center possibly going to a freshman. The Eagles also lost their top two skill players so that won’t be easy to overcome from a group that averaged close to 30 points per game. Tez Parks (272 yards) and George Payne (496 yards in 2016) are expected to lead the backfield, but freshman Steven Anderson may steal some carries. Wide out is a little less certain with almost an entirely new group as Quez Watkins (337 yards), Jaylond Adams (219 yards) and Tim Jones (121 yards) are the top returnees. This group probably won’t completely fall off, but there are signs that it could struggle early.

The same goes for the defense that only returns three starters after allowing 24.5 points per game. The front six is where most of the experience is in the 4-2-5 with linebackers Racheem Boothe and Jeremy Sangster expected to be the top two tacklers after combining for nine sacks last year. There’s plenty of depth behind them and Paxton Schrimsher at the wolf position can be a playmaker, while seniors LaDarius Harris and Delmond Landry lead the line. The questions come in the secondary with a lack of experience at almost every position. The most experienced of the bunch is safety Picasso Nelson, who missed 2017 with injury. 

Southern Miss is in a bit of a rebuild, but is still slated for a bowl game and that’d be good enough for this team. The Eagles should win their first four home games with trips to Charlotte, UAB and UTEP possibly deciding their bowl fate. Outside of a couple difficult non-conference tests, the schedule is extremely favorable for them and may be one of the easiest in C-USA as they escape road games against most of the elite teams and the expected top teams in the East division. That’s the main reason the Eagles could be headed to a bowl. Otherwise, bringing in a new quarterback always has a few hiccups and behind a fresh offensive line with inexperience on defense, this team may let a few games slip away. Either way, a bowl game should be there and more than six wins is possible simply because of schedule.

 

2018 Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles Football Schedule

Sept. 1 vs. Jackson State

Sept. 8 vs. UL Monroe

Sept. 15 at Appalachian State

Sept. 22 vs. Rice

Sept. 29 at Auburn

Oct. 13 at North Texas

Oct. 20 vs. UTSA

Oct. 27 at Charlotte

Nov. 3 vs. Marshall

Nov. 10 at UAB

Nov. 17 vs. Louisiana Tech

Nov. 24 at UTEP

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