We will be better at quarterback, but we are talking about trading “they couldn’t start in the Southland Conference” for “they couldn’t start @ QB for a good SEC team.” One QB would probably not be the starter if he had stayed at SMU and the one right behind him might be the backup if he stayed at A&M. Meanwhile, most of the SEC teams we play have returning, successful SEC QB’s or a transfer who started, for a while, at last years NC. The two Mississippi’s might match us at QB but I don’t know that we are better. Maybe.
We lost half of our non-conference games last year. Should do better but will we sweep them like good SEC teams usually do? Maybe.
We are all excited because we got some talented freshmen for a change. We are talking about the 12th best recruiting class this year in the SEC and, at many positions they are good enough compared to past recruits to start (WR) or provide major backups (DE, Secondary and OL). Another way to look at this is that many of our returning players are so bad that we are excited that we got a way below average in the SEC bunch of recruits to replace them. That makes us better? Maybe. Better enough to beat SEC teams who beat us at recruiting last year and were way better than us at recruiting in the previous years? Probably not.
Once you get past the Mississippi schools, we are facing all either “already good or getting very close to being good” SEC programs. A good Mizzou team with lots of starters back lost a great QB and replaced him with the best transfer QB this year, one that started for a while at the NC. Our other east opponent is a surging Kentucky, at their place, who are way ahead of us in the rebuilding process. The rest of the SEC west will probably be in the top twenty in the nation.
We got a new and more exciting offense that will finally have the quality QB and, cross your fingers, OL to run it properly. We are talking about the same offense that 90% of the nation runs, mostly copied from Springdale High School, and running the same RPO that everybody else runs. Sure, they won a NC at Clemson with it but that was not because of better plays. They had top caliber players to run it. We don’t. We are talking a better offense than Arkansas last year but compared to most teams on our schedule running the same offense with lots better players, probably not better than any SEC school except maybe one or two in Mississippi.
Could we upset any of the non-Mississippi SEC schools? We are probably more likely to be upset by one of our non-conference opponents than we are to upset any SEC school not located in Mississippi.
So, I am making a very optimistic prediction that we will sweep our non-conference schedule, split with the state of Mississippi, go into our final game in LR with a chance to go bowling, and we will be soundly defeated by a loaded “compared to us” Mizzou team with lots of wannabe, used to be, and thought about being but didn’t chose to be … Razorbacks. Five wins would be a big improvement but it is still several steps below where we all want to be this season. JMVVVVVVHO.
Too much glass is half empty to me. If the players feel the same way, your prediction will be correct, but the opposite could be true too–if the players believe they can win, then we will see a much better outcome this year than anyone is predicting for us. The right mindset can do wonders.
Should win non-con games after that things get really tough for our Hogs, I think five wins will be our high water mark which would be a improvement from last season. I hear the coach speak each week and he’s up beat as a leader should be, but behind closed doors he has to be in turmoil trying to name a starting Qb. I’m beginning to believe if one the two transfer don’t start becoming impact players we will see a lot of JSJ this season and it will be understandable. Other than the great recruiting class CCM and staff brought in there’s really not a lot to hang your hat on up to this point. Not trying to be negative just calling it like I see it, the main thing is that we are still in the infancy period of the CCM era and time is on his side for now. WPS
Since this is the OP’s #1, I’m assuming this is the most important. I wouldn’t disagree, but I think this “maybe” seriously undervalues the capabilities of Hicks and Starkel and their value to this offense. I doubt many SEC HCs have two more accomplished and capable QBs. I think the Hogs are sitting quite good “at QB”.
On the other hand, I’m down for 5 wins, too…hoping some unforseen “good” develops for 6 (or more).
I just think we might be putting too many high expectations on this position. No doubt we would have won several games last year if either of these two had been our quarterback. Colorado State and Ole Miss for instance. But if either of these grad transfers had expected to start at their previous home, they would not be here. Now, compare that quality to most of the other team QB’s we will face. If our guys were at any of the SEC schools we play this year, the only places they MIGHT start, to me, are Ole Miss and MissState.
Nothing like starting the day with a little wee wee
In my Kool Aid. Thanks Hogmodo!. You are probably right, but I believe one or two of our non sippi school opponents will implode in internal turmoil, thus givivg us the path to a lower tier bowl game. I have to believe that or I might as well throw all my support to the Washington Huskies where my daughter goes to school, or the Aggies where my son will be in the band. Not gonna do it. I will keep hope alive! JSJ and GHG!
Hogmodo, I probably expect about the same result that you came up with, but disagree with much of the overall picture you painted for the season.
I value Starkel much more than you do. I don’t look at him as “couldn’t start on his old team”. I look at him as starting as a freshman for A&M in the SEC. The new coach coming in, and his philosophies, prevented him from starting as much or moreso than his abilities prevented him from starting.
I also value our “top of the class” recruits more than you, I believe. I don’t think there is a better tandem of “2 freshman WRs” in the SEC than Burks and Knox. I also believe we have the best freshman TE in the SEC this year.
My 2 biggest worries for this season are the OL and our coaching staff.
If I was forced at gunpoint to pick a number today for this season, it would be 4 wins. Mainly because of my #3 above.
Having said this, I believe we have a chance to win 6 or even more games if everything comes together. For that to happen, IMO, these things would have to happen:
Starkel must start no later than the 2nd game (our most likely SEC win).
We would have to have a “mostly” injury free year to our starters.
Our OL must gel into at least a mediocre, or just slightly less, SEC line.
Our key young players (Burks, Knox, Henry, Foucha, and Catalon) perform like SEC Soph starters.
Our experienced “should be” stars (Agim, Harris, Brown, Boyd, and O’Grady) perform at All SEC levels.
Our coaching staff must prove they are at least mid-level SEC coaches in all phases of the job. Personnel decisions, pre game preparations, in game decisions, play calling (both offense and defense), etc.
All this is just my mostly uneducated humble opinion. I sure hope we can look back on this season and be reminded of 1998!
I pretty much agree with most of your comments and sincerely hope you are right about Starkel. I assume Jimbo and his staff have good reasons to not play him versus their starter, but that does not mean he is not a good QB. Maybe far better than Jimbo realized but that may be my kool-aid kicking in. This season could get off to a great start with us winning the early non-con games, beating Ole Miss, and being undefeated when we play the Aggies. We could upset the Aggies and still lose all of the rest except the final non-con. That puts us in a bowl and, who knows, we might beat MissState too and go 7-5. That would be a huge season for this team, but that will take a lot of help from the Aggies and some spectacular play from our new guys. No injuries at any key position too. Long shot, but who knows? Crazier things have happened.
Starkel is better than you give him credit for being and the combination of him and Hicks is so much better than the combo that started last season. I am beginning to think he is going to be the starter against Portland State.
All-Americans? No. Good QBs? Definitely.
The overall recruiting class may have been ranked “low” in the SEC, but it was not nationally and it was a tremendous replenish job to begin the rebuild
There were 11 4-stars in the 2019 and then you added in Hicks, Starkel, Luke Jones, Sam Loy, Trelon Smith after signing day. You’ve also got some key players from their 2018 class who will have starting/key roles.
While I am sitting at 5 wins, they are going to be better and isn’t the goal - to get better each year?
Rome wasn’t built overnight, but it was torn down over the last 3-4 years.
The only thing I’m replying to is the recruit ranking. Ole Miss is ranked ahead of us if you combine the 19 class (this years freshmen) and the 20 class (this years recruits). They have a total of 53 recruits between those two classes. We currently have 41. However our average (higher the average, higher caliber the recruit) is higher than Ole Miss. we are actually ahead of Ole Miss, Miss St, KY, and Missouri (the bottom four SEC teams on our schedule). We are also ahead of the four non-conference teams.
Now I’m not saying we will win eight, I’ve said I believe we win four, but the recruiting rankings are better than you think. However, we have better young talent and those teams have better older talent. Will our younger talent be able to overcome the talent and experience of those other teams? We will find out, but I also believe that the better, younger talent will move us up the win column by the time they’re SR’s.
It sure is easy to feel that way, it is very early in the CCM era, but if he lays a egg in the conference this year by this time next year his seat will be cooking. If he can scratch out a Sec win all the staff will be able to step back and take a breath of relief. It will be very interesting to see how much improvement is made and in what areas. If there are areas that show little or no improvement this season I would expect to see some staff changes in those areas. Even with our great recruiting class we were ranked #12 in our conference and we were already behind most all the other programs in talent due to recruiting or just failed to coach up the talent once on campus. Long hard road ahead for our program but we have to continue to have hope and be patient. WPS
On recruiting-obviously its a VERY inexact science. we all know the rankings in conference, but I look at it this way-our young hogs are a quality SEC class, very close in ranking to everyone but the very top of the conference. we have several younguns who could be at Bama or Georgia or oklahoma or Texas, but they are on our campus.
the last few years, we have had very few athletes who weere SEC players, for whatever reason. but now we’ve probably more than doubled our “true SEC player” population. for instance, our WR’s, TE’s, TB and QB are all SEC players. parts of the DL, our LB, safetys are SEC players. maybe corners??? our punter and PK seem good .
so if our coaches are SEC ready, they have SEC players to use this year, unlike last year young, but at least with a chance. we HOPE our coaches are good enough to give us an advantage over Ole Mrs, Misstake, Mizzou A&M, Kentucky, LSU, etc.
OL…we are all holding our breath abd hoping, hoping, praying for this crew.
so I see us thrashing our 4 nonconference opponents. Feel sorry for Portland state, I think they are going to have a lot of frustration taken out on them. we should be close in the 4th quarter of Ole Mrs, Misstake, Kentucky, Mizzou and A&M. I say we pull out 2 of them, go 6-6, go win a bowl game.
I love them when they win and I love them when they lose…but a 6-win season would be borderline extraordinary. That being said, I’ll be disappointed if we’re not competitive in some games this year that we weren’t last year (MSU and Mizzou particularly). I’ll go out on a limb and say five wins, with a couple of close losses that could have gone either way. Against Bama, LSU, A&M and Auburn, I’ll consider it a moral victory if we’re within 10 at the end of the third quarter.