Teams & Conferences

2017 Prespring Rankings: No. 91 Old Dominion Monarchs

2017 Prespring Rankings: No. 91 Old Dominion Monarchs


The 2017 prespring college football rankings, taking the first look at the Old Dominion Monarchs


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No. 91: Old Dominion Monarchs

Old Dominion Monarchs Prespring Status

In one of last season’s most pleasant surprises, Old Dominion made the big move up in the Conference USA world with a wonderful 10-3 record complete with its first ever bowl win. Okay, so UTSA was the best win before beating Eastern Michigan in the Popeye’s Bahamas Bowl, but whatever – ten wins are ten wins. But against the three strong teams on the slate – Appalachian State, NC State and Western Kentucky – the Monarch defense was blown up.

Head coach Bobby Wilder has put the pieces together to keep the production going, but was it all for real, or did ODU simply benefit from being a good team against a schedule full of bad teams? To take that next step up and be a part of the Conference USA title chase – and get into the championship – the D has to be better against the good teams, and the O has to find a replacement for …

Old Dominion Monarchs Biggest Issue

David Washington. He did it all for the offense last season, running for over 200 yards, throwing for 2,836 with 31 scores, and best of all for what the offense wanted, he only threw five picks. His improvement, and his stinginess with the ball, turned out to be the key to the boost to a ten-win campaign.

But now the Monarchs have to find the right guy, with sophomore-to-be Blake LaRussa the first option, returning after hitting just 14-of-24 passes for 140 yards and a pick in his time last year. Shuler Bentley – South Carolina QB Jake Bentley’s brother – is transferring, opening up the race a bit more for Drayton Arnold and JUCO transfer Jordan Hoy. There are some big shoes to fill. It won’t help the new guy to not have leading receiver Zach Pascal around.

Old Dominion Monarchs Biggest Positive

The running game that averaged close to 200 yards per game might be without Washington, but it gets back Ray Lawry and Jeremy Cox, who combined for 1,987 yards and 24 touchdowns. With four starters returning on the line – losing right guard Troy Butler – the experience isn’t a problem up front, and the pass protection should be solid, too, after allowing just 19 sacks.

Really, Why Are The Old Dominion Monarchs Ranked Here?

Again, what happens when the Monarchs play teams that are actually good at this whole college football thing? The defense might have seven starters returning, but it has to show it can play at a high enough level week-in-and-week-out with North Carolina and Virginia Tech up early on the slate? What happens if teams like Marshall and FIU aren’t so awful and if Middle Tennessee is better? ODU, though, should be good enough to go bowling again.