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Athlon: A pre-spring ranking of every FBS college football team for 2019
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WesternBlazer Offline
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Exclamation Athlon: A pre-spring ranking of every FBS college football team for 2019

UAB #77

UAB 2019 Schedule

2019 FBS NonConference

47. Tennessee
The Volunteers should be better in coach Jeremy Pruitt’s second year, especially with an improved staff and a standout recruiting class to bolster the depth and talent across the roster. Improved play along the offensive line and continued development by quarterback Jarrett Guarantano under new play-caller Jim Chaney will be crucial for Tennessee’s offense to improve off last year’s scoring average (22.8 ppg). New defensive coordinator Derrick Ansley needs to identify a couple of difference-makers in the trenches, but the secondary should be a strength with Alontae Taylor, Bryce Thompson and Nigel Warrior back in 2019.
118. Akron
New coach Tom Arth is an Ohio native and was the head coach at Division III John Carroll from 2013-16, compiling a 40-8 record during his tenure with the Blue Streaks. The 37-year-old coach could have his hands full in year one. The Zips return promising quarterback Kato Nelson and standout safety Alvin Davis, but All-MAC lineman Jamal Davis, cornerback Kyron Brown, and linebacker Ulysees Gilbert have finished their eligibility.
124. South Alabama
College Football Rankings: South AlabamaThe Jaguars were clearly in rebuild mode under first-year coach Steve Campbell in 2018. Improving on last season’s three-win mark will require a quarterback to emerge from a battle that features Cephus Johnson and junior college recruit Tylan Morton. Running back Tra Minter is back, but the offense will miss receiver Jamarius Way. South Alabama’s defense ranked last in the Sun Belt by giving up 38.8 points a contest and near the bottom in yards per play (6.7). Tackle Tyree Turner is one of the Sun Belt’s top returning linemen, but the Jaguars have to get better versus the run.


73. Marshall
Coach Doc Holliday’s team has to patch a few holes on defense, but there’s a lot to like about this team for 2019. Quarterback Isaiah Green showed flashes of potential as a redshirt freshman last fall, while the ground game is in good hands with the return of Tyler King and Brenden Knox. Green’s go-to receiver (Tyre Brady) must be replaced. Linebacker Chase Hancock, safety Malik Gant and nose tackle Ryan Bee join Brady as key departures from last year’s 9-4 squad.
74. North Texas
As long as the Mean Green can keep Mason Fine upright in the pocket, this team will have a chance to win the Conference USA title in 2019. Fine is one of the top Group of 5 players and is helped by the return of DeAndre Torrey at running back, along with Rico Bussey, Jaelon Darden and Michael Lawrence at receiver. Coach Seth Littrell’s defense will have to replace both starting cornerbacks, linebackers E.J. Ejiya and Brandon Gardner, along with end Roderick Young.

77. UAB
Coach Bill Clark has to replace several key contributors from last year’s Conference USA title-winning team, but don’t expect the Blazers to slip too far in the West Division pecking order. Quarterback Tyler Johnston and running back Spencer Brown are back to build on last year’s offensive improvement, while Conference USA’s No. 1 defense can lean on lineman Garrett Marino, linebacker Fitzgerald Mofor and cornerback Brontae Harris to ease the transition this offseason.

84. Southern Miss
Southern Miss was trending up at the end of 2018, as coach Jay Hopson’s team won four out of its last six games, with the two defeats coming by three points. The Golden Eagles are a small step behind the top of the division, but a bowl game should be within reach in ’19. Quarterback Jack Abraham and running back Trivenskey Mosley are back to lead the way on offense, but uncertainty surrounds the status of receiver Quez Watkins. Despite a couple of key defenders out of eligibility, the defense should rank near the top of the conference once again.
86. Louisiana Tech
Quarterback J’Mar Smith has been solid over the last two years as the starter, but coach Skip Holtz needs more from his senior signal-caller for the Bulldogs to win the C-USA West Division in 2019. Smith seems poised to take a step forward, especially with a solid offensive line in place, along with the return of go-to target Adrian Hardy at receiver. Holtz’s biggest concern has to reside on defense, where three starters – including the NCAA’s all-time sack leader in Jaylon Ferguson – have departed.

87. FIU
After winning 17 games over the last two seasons and claiming a bowl victory over Toledo in 2018, the next step for coach Butch Davis’ team is to win the C-USA East title. The Panthers appear to have the pieces in place to do just that in 2019. Quarterback James Morgan returns, along with most of his supporting cast from an offense that averaged 34.6 points a game last fall. FIU’s defense will have a new play-caller after Brent Guy stepped away from the team. Despite losing a key contributor at every level, this unit should still rank near the top of C-USA in 2019.
95. FAU
A turnover margin of minus-seven, along with losses in close games (four by eight points or less), hindered Lane Kiffin’s team from making a run at back-to-back Conference USA titles. The Owls have a few glaring concerns going into 2019, as running backs Devin Singletary and Kerrith Whyte and receiver Jovon Durante left early for the NFL. The line has to be rebuilt, and the defense loses a key contributor at every level. The development of quarterback Chris Robison (12 TDs to 12 INTs) will be crucial for this team’s hopes of a rebound.
101. Middle Tennessee
Life after Brent Stockstill for the Blue Raiders officially begins this spring. Replacing the four-year starter isn’t going to be easy. Junior college recruit Randall Johnson, freshman Chance Nolan and Asher O’Hara are slated to battle for the starting job under center this offseason. The good news for the new quarterback? The supporting cast is isn’t bare, as Chaton Mobley at running back and Ty Lee at receiver are back in 2019. The defense is set to lose nine of its top 17 tacklers from last fall. A restocked defense and a new quarterback will determine just how high this team climbs this season.
111. WKU
The Hilltoppers are just two years removed from a Conference USA title. How fast can new coach Tyson Helton get this program back into contention? Jump-starting an offense that managed only 21.1 points a game in 2018 is a good starting point, and the arrival of Arkansas graduate transfer Ty Storey adds competition to a quarterback room already featuring Steven Duncan, Davis Shanley and Kevaris Thomas. The winner of the quarterback battle will have some pieces to work with at the skill positions, including running back Joshua Samuel and receiver Lucky Jackson. The defense must replace three out of its top five tacklers after Ben Holt chose to transfer to Purdue.

112. Old Dominion
After winning 10 games in 2016, the Monarchs have only claimed nine over the last two seasons. New defensive coordinator David Blackwell is tasked with improving a unit that has allowed over 30 points a game in four out of the last five seasons. Quarterback Blake LaRussa passed on his senior year, but Steven Williams is back after a redshirt season, and junior college (and former Michigan State quarterback) Messiah deWeaver will compete for the job. The winner of the quarterback battle will have to navigate a revamped receiving corps after the top three statistical options from last year completed their eligibility. Standout end Oshane Ximines will be missed.

113. Charlotte
This program has a lot of untapped potential, and new coach Will Healy should help the 49ers move forward in Conference USA over the next few seasons. An offense that averaged only 21.7 points a game last fall will have to retool up front and needs to find more production under center. Running back Benny LeMay (1,243 yards) should be the focal point for Healy in 2019. Linebacker Juwan Foggie leaves big shoes to fill, but the defense could be one of the better groups in C-USA thanks to the return of end Alex Highsmith and safety Ben DeLuca.
119. UTSA
College Football Rankings: UTSAAfter back-to-back seasons of six victories, UTSA fell to 3-9 in coach Frank Wilson’s third year at the helm. Wilson hopes a change at coordinator (Al Borges out, Jeff Kastl in) will jump-start an offense that averaged only 14.2 points a game in 2018. The return of Frank Harris from injury, along with the arrival of former LSU and junior college recruit Lowell Narcisse will add some much-needed competition to the quarterback room. UTSA’s defense led C-USA in fewest points allowed (17.0) in 2017 but fell to 31.2 a game in ’18. Getting this unit back on track will require finding a replacement for standout linebacker Josiah Tauaefa, who left early for the NFL.
127. UTEP
College Football Rankings: UTEPThe Miners only won a single contest in coach Dana Dimel’s first season, but a closer look at the results shows this team made more strides than its record would suggest. Dimel’s team still has a long ways to go on both sides of the ball, especially since both units ranked near the bottom of Conference USA. Getting more consistency out of the quarterbacks, minimizing the mistakes (-17 turnover margin), and shoring up the run defense are top spring priorities for this coaching staff.
130. Rice
College Football Rankings: RiceMike Bloomgren’s debut at Rice ended on a high note, as the Owls knocked off Old Dominion 27-13 in the season finale. Rice is a ways off from contending, but more small signs of progress should be within reach in 2019. The staff will be counting on young players like running back Juma Otoviano, linebackers Antonio Montero and Treshawn Chamberlain, and safety Prudy Calderon to lead the way this season.


66. Troy
Similar to fellow first-year coach Eli Drinkwitz at Appalachian State, new Troy coach Chip Lindsey inherits a relatively stocked cupboard from the previous staff. Kaleb Barker returns from missing the second half of 2018 due to a knee injury to compete with Sawyer Smith at quarterback. In Barker and Smith, the Trojans have two capable options under center, along with 1,000-yard rusher B.J. Smith. The defense doesn’t lose a ton of players, but the ones that are leaving Troy – linebackers Tron Folsom and Hunter Reese, nose guard Trevon Sanders and defensive backs Blace Brown and Cedarius Rookard – won’t be easy to replace.
(This post was last modified: 03-06-2019 08:51 PM by WesternBlazer.)
03-06-2019 08:12 PM
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Posts: 8,218
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Post: #2
RE: Athlon: A pre-spring ranking of every FBS college football team for 2019
it is getting better every year i THINK
2 YEARS ago WE WERE 130
WHAT ABOUT last year
(This post was last modified: 03-07-2019 09:17 AM by UABFRENCHY.)
03-07-2019 09:16 AM
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WesternBlazer Offline
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RE: Athlon: A pre-spring ranking of every FBS college football team for 2019
The conference, though, is pretty weak with 7 teams 100+. Our schedule includes 7 teams 100+(5 CUSA and 2 Non-Conference). Our schedule sets us up to win in 2019 as long as we take care of business...
03-07-2019 02:13 PM
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Post: #4
RE: Athlon: A pre-spring ranking of every FBS college football team for 2019
UAB has 2 well timed off Saturdays -- Sept. 14 between Akron and USA and Oct 26 between ODU and Tenn. We should not have a problem with physical exhaustion during this season.
03-07-2019 07:55 PM
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