It was a very successful season for USA in 2016 as the Jags made their second bowl game in program history. However, it will feel like a year that got away as the Jags only went 6-7 after beating Mississippi State and San Diego State early. In 2017, the opportunities will be there for the Jags to spring another upset.
South Alabama 2017 Schedule
|September 2nd||at Ole Miss|
|September 9th||vs. Oklahoma State|
|September 16th||vs. Alabama A&M|
|September 23rd||vs. Idaho|
|September 30th||at Louisiana Tech|
|October 11th||at Troy|
|October 21st||vs. ULM|
|October 26th||at Georgia State|
|November 4th||vs. UL Lafayette|
|November 11th||vs. Arkansas State|
|November 18th||at Georgia Southern|
|December 2nd||at New Mexico State|
Are the Jags Still Giant Killers?
One of the surprise storylines of the Sun Belt season last year was USA’s shocking upsets against both Mississippi State and San Diego State. In 2017, the Jags will get a chance to pull off some shockers again. In the opener, USA travels to Oxford to take on an Ole Miss team that will be playing for no postseason in 2017. Then they host Oklahoma State in week two at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. The Pokes should be a preseason College Football Playoff darkhorse in many publications. Pull a win here in one of these two and we may need to start calling Joey Jones the giant slayer.
Battle for the Belt
In what is perhaps the greatest trophy in all of college football, the two Alabama Sun Belt schools will be playing for a heavyweight championship belt. The Trojans went down and stole one from USA in Mobile last year as the Jags blew a double-digit lead. Expectations are extremely high for the Trojans, so nothing could be sweeter for USA than to pull of the upset of their hated rival.
Plenty of Exposure
One thing the Jags won’t be short on this season is exposure. With two weeknight ESPN games announced today, USA could make a name for themselves on television against Troy and Georgia State. Add in the fact the Jags take on two college football heavyweights to start the season and a few wins could give Joey Jones’s program a wave of momentum.
One thing South Alabama has been under Joey Jones is consistently inconsistent as Bill C. pointed out in his USA preview. The main goal for the Jags this year will be to stay sharp during conference play. The schedule isn’t terribly difficult for USA as they avoid Appalachian State and get Arkansas State at home. South Alabama has shown the potential, now we’ll see if they can keep it for a sustained period.