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Home / Articles / Jeff’s 2023-24 Sun Belt Conference Football Spotlight Team

Jeff’s 2023-24 Sun Belt Conference Football Spotlight Team


By: Jeff Hochman
Date: Jul 20, 2023
   
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South Alabama Jaguars Over 7.5 (-130)

South Alabama Jaguars Under 7.5 (+105)

South Alabama Sun Belt Conference Champions (+330)



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The South Alabama football team has been steadily improving in recent seasons, and there are several compelling reasons to believe they have a strong chance of surpassing their season win total of 7.5 in the upcoming 2023 College Football season. Fresh off their best season in school history, the Jags are among the most experienced teams with 18 returning starters. They have four challenging road games but only have to play back-to-back road games one time. Kane Wommack was a tremendous head coach hire, improving the Jaguars' win total from five in 2021 to last year's 10-win team. South Alabama has improved its win total every season since winning just two games in 2019.


South Alabama was on track to make it to the Sun Belt Conference championship game in 2022, but a loss to Old Dominion in the season's final week prevented that from happening. However, there is good news for the team this season as they are ranked No. 8 in Returning Production. Over the past two seasons, South Alabama has consistently improved its offense and defense, which is impressive. Their scoring has increased by 11 points, and their offense has gained an additional 65 yards per game. They have made strides on defense by reducing opponent scoring by 6 points and limiting yardage gained by 104 yards. These statistics demonstrate the team's dedication to improving their overall performance.


The Jaguars boast a roster with promising talent across multiple positions. Their offense is led by an experienced quarterback who has shown great potential, supported by a solid offensive line and skillful playmakers at wide receiver and running back positions. On defense, they have a mixture of seasoned veterans and talented young players who have continued to develop their skills. This depth and talent bode well for the team's chances of exceeding expectations. South Alabama was ranked in the top 40 in two key stats last season—No. 38 in yards per game (417) and No. 30 in yards against (347.8). Special Teams have been the Jaguars' strength, ranking No. 29 out of 131 FBS teams in 2022. More of the same this upcoming season!


Carter Bradley has showcased his exceptional skills as a quarterback, making significant contributions to Toledo's offense for an impressive span of four years. Last season, he finally secured the highly coveted No. 1 position for the Jaguars. With his exceptional performance, Bradley was the perfect match for the team's offensive tactics. During his excellent season, he showcased his outstanding throwing skills by amassing 3,334 passing yards and delivering 28 touchdown passes. Although Bradley's strength lies in his precise passing abilities and decision-making on the field, he is not recognized for his running game. Instead, he depends on his arm strength and accuracy to effectively lead the offense. Nevertheless, it's important to note that Bradley encountered a few obstacles throughout the season despite his outstanding accomplishments. He threw 12 interceptions over various games, half of which were not his fault.


When it comes to veteran quarterbacks in the conference, Bradley is widely regarded as one of the most reliable options out there. With his wealth of experience and knowledge of the game, he brings a sense of stability and composure to the team's offense. Moreover, with the return of their top two receivers, Devin Volsin and Collin Lacy, his ability to make big plays down the field is further enhanced. The chemistry that exists between the quarterback and these exceptionally talented receivers is undoubtedly a critical factor that holds the potential to ignite explosive offensive performances.


Regarding the defensive side of the game, both the defensive line and the secondary are genuinely formidable. One standout player who consistently dominates regardless of where he lines up is Yam Banks, whose sheer power and skill make him a force of nature on the field. Additionally, Jaden Volsin brings his exceptional talents as an all-Sun Belt caliber safety, ensuring that opposing offenses face a constant challenge. Adding to their strength is Marquise Robinson, whose unique abilities make him one of the league's finest corners. With such talented individuals anchoring both the front line and backfield, this team's defense is undoubtedly a formidable force to be reckoned with. The Jaguars had the 28th-best defensive line at Football Outsiders last season. This defense and special teams unit will be outstanding.


For several reasons, betting on South Alabama to win over 7.5 games can be an intelligent choice. The team has consistently improved over the past few seasons, indicating a positive trajectory. Additionally, they have a relatively favorable schedule, with several winnable matchups against weaker opponents. Furthermore, South Alabama has a strong coaching staff and talented players who have the potential to exceed expectations in the third year of Kane Wommack’s system. Considering these factors, betting on South Alabama to surpass 7.5 wins seems wise for those looking to capitalize on this relatively low win total. I would be shocked if South Alabama doesn’t cobble together at least eight wins, as my projections are at 9.1 wins.


My Selections: South Alabama Jaguars Over 7.5 (-130) & South Alabama to Win Sun Belt (+330)


Follow Jeff on Twitter @ JHSPORTSLINE
 


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