Storied College Football Programs That Will Struggle In 2017

Posted by Eric Williams on Tuesday,May 23, 2017 3:45, EST in

The 2017 college football season may still be months away from getting started, but a handful of ‘storied’ football programs look like they could be in for a season’s worth of struggles for a variety of different reasons.

Thanks to some expert insight, you’re going to find out just who those teams are and why they could potentially struggle this coming season. With Spring college football betting action still taking place all over the nation, let’s get busy.

A Closer Look At The Storied College Football Programs That Will Struggle In 2017

 

 

Nebraska Cornhuskers

Why They’ll Struggle

Any time a college football team loses a longtime starter at quarterback, there’s cause for concern. Nebraska will have a new tarter under center this year with longtime starter Tommie Frazier graduating.

Head coach Mike Riley is in Year 2, but it might as well be his first year with all the change that likely lies ahead for the Cornhuskers, not to mention their difficult schedule which features road dates at Oregon and Penn State and home dates against Wisconsin and Ohio State.

The Good News Is…

Tulane transfer Tanner Lee has experience after throwing 612 passes with the Green Wave, so that’s a good thing, even if no one knows how the the step up in competition will affect Lee.

What to Expect in 2017

Nebraska opens up with games against Arkansas State, Oregon, Northern Illinois, Rutgers and Illinois in September, so they’re probably looking at one loss in the first month if that.

Florida Gators

Florida Gators

Why They’ll Struggle

First and foremost, the Gators will also have a new starting quarterback in freshman Felipe Franks, not to mention the fact that Florida has question marks at several spots on the offensive line. The Gators also have a difficult schedule that features matchups against elite teams like Michigan (in their opener), LSU and Florida State.

The Good News Is…

Florida ranked a stupendous sixth nationally in points allowed (16.8 ppg) and despite the fact that they had a whopping seven players drafted in this year’s NFL Draft, the Gators will likely have another powerful defense under McElwain’s leadership as they seek to bag their third straight SEC East crown.

What to Expect in 2017

Right now, I’m thinking Florida will be very similar to last season with a very impressive defense, but mediocre offense after averaging just 23.9 points per game last season to rank 107th nationally in scoring. Just like any first-time starter, expect Franks to have his share of struggles, especially against some of the more talented defenses he’ll face in the SEC this coming season.

Michigan State

Why They’ll Struggle

Michigan State went backwards in a big way last season by winning a stunning three games after reaching the four-team College Football Playoff one year earlier. Now, the Spartans have all sorts of issues going on as they get set for 2017.

Michigan State will have a new starter at quarterback in Brian Lewerke and although he showed some potential in four games last season before breaking his leg, he’s still fairly inexperienced and could struggle because of that fact alone. The defense also looks like it could struggle particularly early on after losing gifted defensive lineman Malik McDowell among several starters and the offensive line needs to replace three starters.

The Good News Is…

Running backs LJ Scott, Gerald Holmes and Madre London are all talented runners that will take some pressure off of Lewerke in his first year as the full-time starter and the Spartans look rock-solid at linebacker.

What to Expect in 2017

Michigan State has a tough schedule in 2017 that features home dates against Iowa, Notre Dame and Penn State and road dates against Michigan and Ohio State. Five losses at the very least sound about right for the Spartans in 2017.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Why They’ll Struggle

Just like every other team on this list, Notre Dame will have a new starting quarterback in 2017, most likely, gifted recruit Brandon Wimbush. Expect Wimbush to have the same struggles that any first-time starting quarterback does. Not only that, but the Irish need to rebuild a defense that gave up 27.8 points per game to rank 62nd nationally in points allowed. Last but not least, the Irish need to improve on special teams in a big way after finished the 2016 season ranked an uninspiring 96th in opponent kick returns and 123rd in opponent punt returns. Combine all of this with the fact that the Irish have a much tougher schedule than they did a year ago and it’s easy to see why they could struggle in 2017.

The Good News Is…

Brian Kelly has made some sweeping changes in hiring a new defensive coordinator in Mike Elko and a new linebackers coach in Clark Lea while also hiring a new offensive coordinator in Chip Long from Memphis and new quarterback coach in former Irish signal caller Tommy Rees.

What to Expect in 2017

Notre Dame hosts Georgia, USC and NC State in what looks like their most challenging home dates while hitting the road to take on Michigan State, North Carolina, Miami and Stanford. While I’m not expecting the Irish to go 4-8 again this coming season, seven or eight wins at most look about right.