Who can have a significantly better 2023 than 2022? There are a variety of groups in school soccer seeking to bounce again from disappointing 2022 seasons. Listed below are 10 groups that we predict will present some notable enchancment year-over-year. They’re listed in alphabetical order.
Auburn (5-7 in 2022)
Hugh Freese was employed to make Auburn instantly aggressive within the SEC West. And beat Alabama, in fact. The previous Ole Miss coach has been recruiting effectively by way of the switch portal and should repair an offense that was significantly in a state of funk throughout Bryan Harsin’s tenure as coach. Freeze can name performs with one of the best of all of them in school soccer and the way effectively these performs work will rely upon the quarterback. Robbie Ashford returns after speeding for 710 yards a season in the past and is competing with Payton Thorne, a Michigan State switch.
The SEC West and annual rivalry video games are a problem, however the non-conference schedule features a journey to Cal and three must-win video games. Throwing in video games at Vanderbilt and video games in opposition to Mississippi colleges at dwelling and a successful season is the expectation.
Boston Faculty (3-9)
There wasn’t a lot that went effectively at Boston Faculty final fall. The Eagles noticed ACC offensive lineman Christian Mahogany go down with a season-ending knee damage over the summer time. It was an indication of issues to return for BC, which has seen its offensive line decimated by accidents. The road struggled mightily in its efforts to guard Phil Jurkovec and open up lanes for the as soon as heralded speeding sport.
Now, with Mahogany again and some transfers becoming a member of a bunch that obtained lots of expertise final fall, the streak needs to be significantly better. Because of this, the offense has to make strides even with Jurkovich leaving Pete and Z. Flowers for the NFL. Ryan O’Keefe, a switch from UCF, is a superb pickup at receiver.
BC additionally added a number of turnovers within the minors. Jeff Hafley, now in his fourth season at BC, is a defensive coach by commerce. If this group can pull by way of, BC’s protection may very well be fairly stingy with a stable fullback squad and a bunch of go attackers led by Donovan Eziruaku. Do not be shocked if you find yourself in a bowl sport.
– Sam Cooper
Cal has not been to a bowl sport since 2019 and has a sensible shot at returning to the postseason. Offense had all the time been a problem beneath Justin Wilcox’s tenure and Jake Spavital returned because the workforce’s offensive coordinator after a stint as head coach of Texas. The primary order of enterprise is to see if TCU switch Sam Jackson or NC State switch Ben Finley is the beginning quarterback. High quality QB play will go a great distance.
The offensive line returns each begin, Jaydn Ott runs again and the receiver set could be very deep. The protection gave up practically 28 factors per sport a season in the past and may get higher too. Cale’s luck in one-result video games must also flip round sooner or later. Six of the Bears’ eight losses in 2022 have been by possession.
Colorado State (3-9)
Jay Norvell’s first season at Fort Collins was ugly. The Rams had one of many worst offenses in school soccer and failed to attain greater than 19 factors in a single sport all season.
However there are many causes for optimism right here. Nevada was 3-9 in Norville’s first season with the Wolf Pack and made the soar to 5 video games the second 12 months. There may very well be an identical leap ahead in Fort Collins. Clay Millen returned to quarterback after finishing over 70% of his passes in 10 video games and the workforce added former North Dakota State Kobe Johnson within the switch gate. Johnson rushed for practically 2,600 yards in his NDSU profession. Torrey Horton was CSU’s MVP receiver in 2022 after following Norville of Nevada and in addition working again.
Simply having a center offense could be an enormous step ahead for the Rams. Getting an improved offensive line play can be key. Do not be shocked if CSU hangs up with Colorado in Week 2.
Florida Atlantic (5-7)
Florida Atlantic had two 11-win seasons in Lane Kiffin’s three-year tenure as Owls coach, however couldn’t replicate that sort of success beneath Willie Taggart. And despite the fact that FAU is making the transition from Convention USA to American Athletic Convention, there are causes to consider the Owls may do an excellent first 12 months beneath Tom Hermann.
Hermann obtained a foul rap, however he did a good job at Texas going 32-18 in a four-year interval. He additionally went 22-4 in two seasons in Houston. The man may prepare and be an improve on Taggart. He additionally introduced in an outdated pal, Casey Thompson, to play quarterback. Herman Thompson was assigned to Texas and Thompson additionally spent a season as a starter at Nebraska.
On high of including Thompson, FAU is fielding two first returns, three high 4 receivers and three starters on the offensive line. There may be additionally lots of copy within the subject of protection. FAU’s protection wasn’t nice final 12 months, but it surely was a constructive signal within the switch gate period, as Herrmann has managed to retain a number of gamers.
From a schedule perspective, FAU avoids Memphis and SMU and can play each UTSA and Tulane at dwelling. Owls are a sneaky competitor in AAC.
– Sam Cooper
After successful 10 video games in 2021, Kentucky fell to a 7-6 report in 2022 regardless of the return of star quarterback Will Levis for his senior season. The most important downside for the UK has been the offensive line, however the Wildcats needs to be higher up entrance this 12 months based mostly on a couple of added transfers that may permit a couple of gamers to slide again to their pure positions within the trenches.
Elsewhere on offense, Kentucky introduced in quarterback Devin Leary from NC State. Leary was injured for a lot of the 2022 season, so it is simple to neglect he was the most effective QBs within the nation in 2021. Leary has lots of expertise round him as Kentucky introduced again its high three receivers and added Vanderbilt switch Ray Davis at working again. Moreover, Liam Coen returns as offensive coordinator after a brief stint within the NFL.
Defensively, the UK have a entrance seven led by Deone Walker at centre, JJ Weaver on the edge and Trevin Wallace at full again. There are some questions within the secondary, but it surely’s an knowledgeable place for coach Mark Stoops.
Georgia is just too good for Kentucky to realistically compete for the SEC East title, however this workforce can win 9 or 10 video games.
– Sam Cooper
Louisiana has gone 34-5 mixed within the final 4 seasons beneath Billy Napier. For the newest season, Napier left for Florida and Michael Desormeaux was promoted to go coach. With so many veteran gamers nonetheless going, it might have been a rebuilding 12 months for the Ragin’ Cajuns even when Napier had caught round however it might nonetheless have been a shock to see UL barely making a ball sport.
Louisiana ought to do higher in 2023 despite the fact that it will not be a favourite within the Solar Belt West (South Alabama and Troy appear poised for sturdy seasons). Louisiana had some powerful luck final 12 months, going 0-4 in a single-point sport. This 12 months, UL has one of many best schedules within the Solar Belt. Cajuns keep away from App State, Coastal Carolina, and James Madison — the highest three projected groups within the Solar Belt East within the preseason convention ballot.
There may be some notable human toll, so it could be one other 12 months earlier than Louisiana returns to competition for the Solar Belt title. On the similar time, this seems like a workforce that may win eight or 9 video games.
– Sam Cooper
Miami’s first season beneath Mario Cristobal was a catastrophe, however the Hurricanes are actually flying beneath the radar and will come again with an excellent season.
Final season, each of Cristobal’s coordinators failed spectacularly and the entire promise Miami has proven in 2021, significantly from quarterback Tyler Van Dyke, is nowhere to be discovered. Defensively, Miami gave up loads of massive performs and confirmed a scarcity of effort at instances, however there are causes to consider issues can be higher in 2023.
Van Dyck needs to be a greater slot in Shannon Dawson’s assault, there’s a a lot improved offensive line and a powerful group of talent place gamers to work with. Then again, freshman defensive coordinator Lance Guidry has nails like Leonard Taylor and Achim Messidor up entrance, the most effective security duos within the nation and a pickup at linebacker in Washington State switch Francisco Mawegua.
Miami is not of the caliber of Clemson or Florida State within the ACC, but it surely would not be shocking to see the Hurricanes end within the high 4 within the convention and play in a good bowl sport.
– Sam Cooper
The Sooners needs to be within the combine for a Huge 12 title of their remaining 12 months within the convention. There may be an excessive amount of expertise on the checklist to repeat the frustration in 2022.
Oklahoma nonetheless scored practically 33 factors per sport preseason and averaged 6.2 yards per sport; There was no important decline after the departure of Lincoln Riley. The most important upset in regards to the Sooners in 2022 was the protection. I misplaced 30 factors per sport and allowed mainly the identical yardage per sport as I did in 2021.
The protection ought to enhance quite a bit in Brent Venables’ second season as head coach, and transfers like LB Dasan McCullough and DL Hint Ford can be of quick impression. With Dillon Gabriel returning as QB and transfers like WR Brenan Thompson and OL Walter Rouse, the offense can be good once more, too.
OU might not be in competition for a playoff spot, but it surely additionally will not have consecutive shedding seasons for the primary time since 1997 and 1998—particularly with such a straightforward schedule.
Texas A&M (5-7)
Issues ought to get higher at Faculty Station in 2023, proper? If they do not, the drama can be off the charts. The addition of Bobby Petrino as offensive coordinator ought to imply an enormous step ahead for an Aggie offense that has been inconsistent at finest over the previous few seasons. However will he be the play’s unique caller, or will Jimbo Fisher nonetheless make some selections?
Conner Wegman confirmed promise in 2022 and did not decide up an interception. The offense is lacking Devon Achan however WR Ainias Smith is again after a season ending damage and WR Evan Stewart may very well be the most effective gamers within the SEC. The protection brings again six starters among the many ahead seven and this could assist a run protection that was broken time and again a season in the past. Visiting Miami with out a convention is hard, and A&M is plotting a street journey to Tennessee. However there isn’t a excuse for this Aggie workforce for not posting a profitable season.