Teams & Conferences

2017 Prespring Rankings: No. 111 Florida Atlantic Owls

2017 Prespring Rankings: No. 111 Florida Atlantic Owls


The 2017 prespring college football rankings, taking the first look at the Florida Atlantic Owls


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No. 111: Florida Atlantic Owls

Florida Atlantic Owls Prespring Status

It’s going to be a fun new world while it lasts. How long will Lane Kiffin be in Boca Raton? Long enough to prove to the world that he can be a real, live head coach again and a real, live Power Five program. In the meantime, if he can turn the Owls into a Conference USA player, he’ll have done his job. With a program that went 3-9 last year, and hasn’t gone to a bowl game since 2008, generating a buzz is a really big deal. Kiffin might not have Alabama’s talent to work with, but there’s enough experience returning to potentially make it a good debut.

Florida Atlantic Owls Biggest Issue

Does the woeful defense have a pass rush? Kiffin is an offensive mind, but he’s first and foremost going to need to tinker with the defensive side that finished 124th in the nation. The main positives were up front, led by Trey Hendrickson who was one of the few guys who rocked with 9.5 sacks and 15 tackles for loss. He’s gone, along with Shalom Ogbonoda on the defensive interior. If the line isn’t night-and-day better, the Kiffin era will get off to a rocky start.

Florida Atlantic Owls Biggest Positive

Kiffin’s offense has no excuse not to rock right away. Devin Singletary had a huge freshman season, cranking up 1,016 yards and 12 touchdowns, to go along with Gregory Howell’s 833 yards and 13 scores. The passing game gets back 12 of the 13 pass catchers, Jason Driskel and Daniel Parr are already in place at quarterback, but controversial ex-Florida State Seminole De’Andre Johnson might be the star right away. With four starters returning to the offensive line, the potential is there to be explosive.

Really, Why Are The Florida Atlantic Owls Ranked Here?

Defense, defense, defense. Granted, there were a slew of really young players doing really young things for a D that got lit up by everyone – allowing 30 points or more in nine of the 12 games – and it’s going to need way too much work to hope for a massive turnaround. Maybe. The offense that was so effective at times on the ground could overcome the issues on the other side – at least that’s what Kiffin and Owl fans have to count on.