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Replacing UAB: South Alabama Faces a Tougher Road in 2015

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Taking a look at how the Blazers' absence is affecting those they intended to play in the future.

Cody Clements will suit up for South Alabama in 2015.
Cody Clements will suit up for South Alabama in 2015.
Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports

UAB dropping football had a huge impact on many lives. Outside of Birmingham, the decision by Ray Watts and Co. had an effect on another university inside the state. South Alabama had UAB on the schedule and had to scramble to find a replacement.

The Jaguars not only had to schedule a tougher opponent in San Diego State, they have to travel to San Diego a week after visiting Lincoln, NE to take on the Cornhuskers. On top of that, N.C. State invades South Alabama a week later; so the Jags have three really tough games in a row.

Oh, what could have been!

USA had three straight games scheduled inside the state early in the season. They had UAB, then N.C. State in Mobile, then a short trip to Troy. Those three games were followed by a bye week, giving them extra time to prepare for a home game against Arkansas State.

Now USA has to play three teams from larger conferences that finished 2014 with a record of 24-15 combined. SDSU finished 7-6 after a one-point Poinsettia Bowl loss to Navy, but they did win 5 of their last 8 and their other two losses in that stretch were on the road against Boise and Fresno.

The Aztecs lose only 8 senior starters from their 2014 team (4 on offense, 4 on defense) so they are certainly on an upward trend. Not only does South Alabama have to travel halfway across the country instead of playing in their own state, now they have a much tougher challenge against SDSU.

Did I mention they play at Nebraska the week before?

USA has seven UAB transfers on their team, including Cody Clements and D.J. Vinson; so the Jags do benefit somewhat from UAB's demise. UAB coaches Richard Jones and Bryant Vincent also joined the South Alabama staff, so the Jaguars will have even more of a UAB flair in 2015.

South Alabama has six games at home in 2015 and they had two more in-state games against UAB and Troy. Now instead of playing just four out of state games, they have five - and SDSU is over 1,900 miles away.

The Jaguars had a great chance to get off to a good start and they have a few winnable games in the middle of their schedule. The problem is, USA finishes the season at Georgia Southern and at home against Appalachian State. If they lose to all three of N.C. State, SDSU, and Nebraska, those last two games could be a tough road to get to seven wins. Arkansas State and ULL are two tough games in the middle of USA's schedule, but they are both played in Mobile.

UAB giveth with the seven players and the two coaches, but UAB taketh as far as the schedule goes. 2015 was setting up for South Alabama to have a pretty nice year, but it became a little more difficult after UAB dropped football.