10 college football teams poised to bounce back in 2023

Who’s going to have a significantly better 2023 than 2022? There are a variety of groups throughout faculty soccer seeking to rebound from disappointing 2022 seasons. Listed here are 10 groups that we expect will present some vital year-over-year enchancment. They’re listed in alphabetical order.

Auburn (5-7 in 2022)

Hugh Freeze was employed to make Auburn aggressive straight away within the SEC West. And beat Alabama, after all. The previous Ole Miss coach has recruited nicely by the switch portal and will repair an offense that was in a funk throughout Bryan Harsin’s time as coach. Freeze can name performs with one of the best of them in faculty soccer and simply how nicely these performs work will rely upon the quarterback. Robby Ashford returns after speeding for 710 yards a season in the past and is competing with Michigan State switch Payton Thorne.

The SEC West and annual rivalry video games are a gauntlet, however the non-conference schedule features a journey to Cal and three video games that must be blowout wins. Throw in a sport at Vanderbilt and video games towards the Mississippi colleges at residence and a successful season is the expectation.

– Nick Bromberg

Boston Faculty (3-9)

There wasn’t a lot that went proper for Boston Faculty final fall. The Eagles noticed all-ACC offensive lineman Christian Mahogany go down with a season-ending knee damage in the course of the summer time. It was an indication of issues to come back for BC, which noticed its offensive line get decimated by accidents. The road struggled mightily in its efforts to guard Phil Jurkovec and open up lanes for a once-heralded speeding sport.

Now, with Mahogany again and some transfers becoming a member of a bunch that received plenty of expertise final fall, the road must be significantly better. Consequently, the offense ought to take nice strides even with Jurkovec leaving for Pitt and Zay Flowers off to the NFL. Ryan O’Keefe, a switch from UCF, is an enormous pickup at receiver.

BC additionally added a number of transfers within the secondary. Jeff Hafley, now in his fourth season at BC, is a defensive backs coach by commerce. If that group can emerge, the BC protection may be fairly stingy with a strong linebacker corps and an underrated group of cross rushers led by Donovan Ezeiruaku. Don’t be shocked if BC results in a bowl sport.

– Sam Cooper

Cal (4-8)

Cal hasn’t been to a bowl sport since 2019 and has a practical shot of getting again to the postseason. The offense has lengthy been a problem in Justin Wilcox’s tenure, and Jake Spavital is again because the staff’s offensive coordinator after a stint as Texas State’s head coach. The primary order of enterprise is determining if TCU switch Sam Jackson or NC State switch Ben Finley is the beginning quarterback. High quality QB play will go a good distance.

The offensive line brings again each starter, Jaydn Ott returns at working again and the receiver group is fairly deep. The protection gave up almost 28 factors per sport a season in the past and must also enhance. Cal’s luck in one-score video games additionally has to show round sooner or later. Six of the Bears’ eight losses in 2022 have been by a possession.

– Nick Bromberg

Colorado State (3-9)

Jay Norvell’s first season in Fort Collins was ugly. The Rams had one of many worst offenses in faculty soccer and failed to attain greater than 19 factors in a single sport all season.

However there’s plenty of purpose for optimism right here. Nevada was 3-9 in Norvell’s first season with the Wolf Pack and made a five-game leap in 12 months two. There might be the same leap ahead in Fort Collins. Clay Millen is again at quarterback after finishing over 70% of his passes in 10 video games, and the staff added former North Dakota State RB Kobe Johnson within the switch portal. Johnson rushed for almost 2,600 yards in his profession at NDSU. Tory Horton was by far CSU’s finest receiver in 2022 after following Norvell from Nevada and he’s again too.

Simply having a mean offense will probably be an enormous step ahead for the Rams. Getting improved offensive line play will probably be key. Don’t be shocked if CSU hangs with Colorado in Week 2.

– Nick Bromberg

Florida Atlantic (5-7)

Florida Atlantic had two 11-win seasons in Lane Kiffin’s three-year tenure as Owls head coach however couldn’t replicate that form of success below Willie Taggart. And although FAU is making the transfer from Convention USA to the American Athletic Convention, there are causes to consider the Owls may be fairly good in 12 months 1 below Tom Herman.

Herman will get a foul rap, however he did a good job at Texas going 32-18 in a four-year stretch. He additionally went 22-4 in two seasons at Houston. The man can coach and he represents an improve over Taggart. He additionally introduced in an previous good friend, Casey Thompson, to play quarterback. Herman recruited Thompson to Texas and Thompson additionally spent a season because the starter at Nebraska.

On prime of including Thompson, FAU returns its prime two working backs, three of its prime 4 receivers and three starters on the offensive line. There’s additionally loads of returning manufacturing on protection. FAU’s protection wasn’t nice final 12 months, but it surely’s a optimistic signal within the switch portal period that Herman has been in a position to retain so many gamers.

From a schedule perspective, FAU avoids Memphis and SMU and can play each UTSA and Tulane at residence. The Owls are a sneaky contender within the AAC.

– Sam Cooper

Former Texas coach Tom Herman is now at Florida Atlantic. (Mac Engel/Fort Value Star-Telegram/Tribune Information Service by way of Getty Photos)

Kentucky (7-6)

After successful 10 video games in 2021, Kentucky regressed to a 7-6 report in 2022 regardless of having star quarterback Will Levis again for his senior season. The most important difficulty for UK was the offensive line, however the Wildcats must be higher up entrance this 12 months based mostly on a couple of of the transfers added that can permit a couple of guys to slip again to their pure positions within the trenches.

Elsewhere on the offense, Kentucky introduced in quarterback Devin Leary from NC State. Leary was injured for a lot of the 2022 season, so it’s straightforward to neglect that he was the most effective QBs within the nation in 2021. Leary has plenty of expertise round him as Kentucky returns its prime three receivers and added Vanderbilt switch Ray Davis at working again. On prime of that, Liam Coen returns as offensive coordinator following a quick stint within the NFL.

Defensively, UK has a stellar entrance seven led by Deone Walker within the center, JJ Weaver off the sting and Trevin Wallace at linebacker. There are some questions within the secondary, but it surely’s a place of experience for head coach Mark Stoops.

Georgia is just too good for Kentucky to realistically compete for an SEC East title, however this can be a staff that may win 9 or 10 video games.

– Sam Cooper

Louisiana (6-7)

Louisiana went a mixed 34-5 in its ultimate 4 seasons below Billy Napier. Final offseason, Napier left for Florida and Michael Desormeaux was promoted to move coach. With so many veteran gamers shifting on, it could have been a rebuilding 12 months for the Ragin’ Cajuns even when Napier caught round but it surely was nonetheless shocking to see UL barely make a bowl sport.

Louisiana must be higher in 2023 regardless that it gained’t be the favourite within the Solar Belt West (each South Alabama and Troy look poised for robust seasons). Louisiana had some powerful luck final 12 months, going 0-4 in one-score video games. This 12 months, UL has one of many best schedules within the Solar Belt. The Cajuns keep away from App State, Coastal Carolina and James Madison — the projected prime three groups within the Solar Belt East within the convention’s preseason ballot.

There are some notable personnel losses, so it might be one other 12 months earlier than Louisiana is again in competition for a Solar Belt title. On the similar time, this appears like a staff that may win eight or 9 video games.

– Sam Cooper

Miami (5-7)

Miami’s first season below Mario Cristobal was a catastrophe however now the Hurricanes are flying below the radar and will have a pleasant bounce again season.

Final season, each of Cristobal’s coordinator hires failed spectacularly and all the promise Miami confirmed in 2021, significantly from quarterback Tyler Van Dyke, was nowhere to be discovered. Defensively, Miami gave up too many large performs and confirmed an absence of effort at occasions however there are causes to consider issues will probably be higher in 2023.

Van Dyke must be a significantly better slot in Shannon Dawson’s offense and there’s a much-improved offensive line and strong group of talent place gamers to work with. On the opposite facet, new defensive coordinator Lance Guidry has studs like Leonard Taylor and Akheem Mesidor up entrance, the most effective security duos within the nation and an underrated pickup at linebacker in Washington State switch Francisco Mauigoa.

Miami isn’t of the caliber of Clemson or Florida State within the ACC, but it surely gained’t be a shock to see the Hurricanes end within the prime 4 within the convention and play in a great bowl sport.

– Sam Cooper

BLACKSBURG, VA - OCTOBER 15: Quarterback Tyler Van Dyke #9 of the Miami Hurricanes throws a pass against the Virginia Tech Hokies at Lane Stadium on October 15, 2022 in Blacksburg, Virginia. (Photo by Ryan Hunt/Getty Images)

Miami and Tyler Van Dyke must be significantly better in 2023. (Picture by Ryan Hunt/Getty Photos)

Oklahoma (6-7)

The Sooners must be within the combine for the Large 12 title of their ultimate 12 months within the convention. There’s an excessive amount of expertise on the roster for a repeat of the 2022 disappointment.

Oklahoma nonetheless scored almost 33 factors per sport a season in the past and averaged 6.2 yards per play; there wasn’t an enormous drop-off after Lincoln Riley’s departure. The most important shock concerning the Sooners in 2022 was the protection. It gave up 30 factors per sport and mainly allowed the identical yards per play it did in 2021.

The protection ought to get loads higher in Brent Venables’ second season as head coach and transfers like LB Dasan McCullough and DL Hint Ford will make an instantaneous impression. With Dillon Gabriel again at QB and transfers like WR Brenan Thompson and OL Walter Rouse, the offense will probably be good once more too.

OU will not be competing for a playoff spot, but it surely additionally gained’t have back-to-back dropping seasons for the primary time since 1997 and 1998 — particularly with this straightforward of a schedule.

– Nick Bromberg

Texas A&M (5-7)

Issues need to get higher in Faculty Station in 2023, proper? In the event that they don’t, the drama will probably be off the charts. Bobby Petrino’s addition as offensive coordinator ought to imply a significant step ahead for an Aggie offense that’s been inconsistent at finest over the previous couple of seasons. However will he be the unique play caller or will Jimbo Fisher nonetheless make some selections?

Conner Weigman confirmed promise in 2022 and didn’t throw a single interception. The offense loses Devon Achane however WR Ainias Smith is again after a season-ending damage and WR Evan Stewart might be the most effective within the SEC. The protection returns six starters among the many entrance seven and that ought to assist a run protection that was gashed over and over a season in the past. A non-conference go to to Miami is hard and A&M additionally attracts a street journey to Tennessee. However there’s no excuse for this Aggie staff to not publish a successful season.

– Nick Bromberg

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