Preview 2018: Previewing and looking ahead to the Arkansas State Red Wolves season with what you need to know.
Preview 2018: Arkansas State Red Wolves
– What You Need To Know: Offense | Defense
– Top Players, Key Game, Fun Stats
– What Will Happen & Win Total Prediction
– Recruiting Class Analysis | Schedule Analysis
– Arkansas State Previews 2017 | 2016 | 2015
Win-or-bust isn’t a bad place to be.
Of course, it’s not like Arkansas State is Alabama, Clemson, or Ohio State in terms of going into a season thinking the whole exercise will be a total waste of time without finishing it up with a trophy ceremony and lots of confetti, but at least there’s the expectation of something special on the horizon.
This isn’t the Sun Belt’s best team – at least it doesn’t seem that way going into the season – but Appalachian State and Troy are in the East in the new world of two divisions and a championship game.
For a program coming off of seven straight winning seasons, being in a division with four other programs that struggled and stunk last season is everything it could ask for.
And it could’ve all been so different. Flash back to the end of September 2016 when ASU was 0-4 with a blowout loss to a mediocre Utah State team and an ugly home gaffe against Central Arkansas as part of the resume.
Head coach Blake Anderson was on all the “hot seat” lists as the head of a program used to winning Sun Belt titles, and then came the turnaround, going 15-6 since then with a Sun Belt championship, two bowl appearances, and the honor of currently being the last team to beat UCF.
And now, everything is on track to be amazing, get back to another bowl, and at least play for the Sun Belt title.
QB Justice Hansen is back with a good group of skill guys around him to be the Sun Belt Offensive Player of the Year. The high-powered offense that came up with almost 100 more points than the 2016 version should make another leap up if the turnovers slow down.
A slew of the top stars from the defensive side are gone, but the pass rush will still be terrific, and the ball-hawking D should make up for a few problems with some big plays of its own.
The kicking game should be among the Sun Belt’s best – punter Cody Grace and kicker Sawyer Williams will be all-stars – and Anderson has proven he can keep the program on a winning track.
It all adds up to an appearance in the conference championship.
At least, it had better.