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  1. The bar - CUSunBelt level competition - isn't that high. As posted before, we could win as many as six games. Many here highly overrate SMU Jesus' progress at SMU. With a very crappy team, we hung with them at their stadium until the fourth quarter. They are bad, and will spend 2016 getting their heads kicking in again. We're 50/50 here Bethune-Cookman is a very good FCS squad, but, still FCS. I do know that we played Portland State last year and were drummed. However, the 2015 squad lacked pride, had essentially zero inside leadership, and quit that game. I border on saying that they threw the game. I hate even thinking that. But.... The intensity should be better with the new coaching staff. I'd put our odds at 90/10 to win this one. Florida - Loss Rice is breaking in a new starting QB and some new OLs. Defense is experienced. Roadies. I'd give us 30/70 odds on that one due to their experience on defense. A QUARTER OF THE SEASON COMPLETED: 2-2 wouldn't be surprising to me, splitting the Rice and SMU games. I'll go ahead and say that 1-3 wouldn't kill me at this point if the SMU and Rice games are competitive to the wire...which they should be. Middle Tennessee returns only four starters on defense. All LBs will be new, as well as 3/4th of the secondary. They will be tough on offense, even though 2/3rds of the starting WR corp will be new. We're at home, and I give us 50/50 here. Marshall. Everyone wets the bed because of Marshall. However, Marshall lost their two leading receivers, their leading rusher, and six defensive starters - both interior linemen, the outside backers, and half of their secondary. Again, we play this one here. Marshall, despite the losses does bring back a good OL and what looks to be a great QB. I'd put us at 40/60 here. Army at West Point. You know what you are getting with Army - option running from a smallish team. They went 2-10 last year, defeating only Eastern Michigan and FCS Bucknell, and the Bucknell score was 21-14. This is a test of the new defensive coaches, for sure: how disciplined is the run defense. Army had only one player with double digit receptions last year, 16. Where Army is loaded is defense where they return nine starters. I give us 60/40 odds here. UTSA in San Antonio. I don't think very highly of UTSA. They are bad. They return only five on defense, losing half their secondary and starting DL as well as 2/3rds of the LB corp. OLs is replacing two starters and thin. Their QB situation isn't much better than ours. As with Army, even though on the road, I give us 60/40 odds of winning this one. TWO-THIRDS OF THE SEASON COMPLETED: I see us, at worse sitting a 3-5 going into the final month of the season, with a punchers chance of being 4-4. Outside of Florida, the competition isn't overwhelming...or, shouldn't be with a properly coached and motivated squad. Surprising either MTSU or Marshall would go a long way toward bolstering the players' belief in what the new coaching staff is doing. Louisiana Tech at home. Here is another, like Marshall where many people wet the bad. However, the Bulldogs return only three starters on defense. The right side of their OL must be replaced, as well as the starting QB, tight end, and Kenneth Dixon. Let's face facts, Dixon was, perhaps, the best player they've ever produced outside of Terry Bradshaw. He left school with nearly every rushing record in the books. He's gone, defense is rebuilding, and we're at home. I give us a 50/50 here...even though you chuckle. We should be coming home on a two game win streak going into this one. Western Kentucky, there. Outside of Florida, I think this is our toughest game even though the Hilltoppers are breaking in a new QB. They do so with the luxury of what will probably be the best OL in the conference, as well as the two of the three leading receivers, who combined for 149 catches, over 2400 yards, and 23 TDs. They also return a 1,000 rusher who contributed 27 receptions as well. Five starters return on defense. However, I think what they have on offense will be enough to keep us from having a shot here. I give us 20/80 here. Southern Miss in Denton. Guys, this is what I think will be the key game for us. Southern Miss will be replacing both OTs and one of their two 1,000 rushers, plus their top two WRs, who combined for 151 receptions, 2300+ yards, and 21 TDs. They have a heck of a QB, though, who is battle tested. They return 3/4sths of their secondary, half the LBs, but lose two DL starters from their 3-4 defense. Also, they have a new head coach whom they hired from Alcorn State - the first white coach at the TBC - Jay Hopson. He had been on Jeff Bowers' coaching staff back in the day. I give us only a 40/60 here; just have a bad feeling about it at this point. UTEP in El Paso. UTEP returns nine on offense and six on defense. We laugh at them, but at 5-7, they were a ball hair from being bowl eligible in 2015. It is likely that this game determines bowl eligibility for us or them. I really like their coach,Sean Kugler. He's got some question marks at QB,and loses 3/5ths of the secondary in the 4-2-5 TCU-like scheme they run. However, I don't see them as a push over. I see us as a 40/60 here. SEASON COMPLETE: We should be at least 5-7. Laugh now. It will only take one "upset" to get us bowl eligible. But, look...I'm not crazy either. To get to 5-7, this squad must bring the A game every game, every week. They must. There are a sh*t ton of questions about this the talent on this roster, especially breaking in a new OL and QB. DL is still perilously think and small. The 2016 thing is simply this, as it always seems to be for us: this group has to commit to one another to play above themselves. There can't be non-starting players shirking workouts, disregarding the playbooks, avoiding the film room, then yelling at coaches about not starting. That type of sh*t has got be 139% absent from the 2016 locker room...especially at the Leader position, QB. If the locker room lacks leadership again in 2016 and is in disarray, disregard everything I've predicted and mark us down at 1-11 or 0-12. The players have new coaching leadership. It's time for the experienced players on this team to put up or shut up, and start setting an example for the underclassmen. They need this on their t-shirts this year:
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