19 for ’19: 19 key offseason topics: No. 6. Which five teams have the potential to become major surprises?
19 for ’19 Offseason Topics
19: Best Teams To Not Make CFP
18: Teams That Will Rebound Big
17: Every Power 5 Team’s Letdown Game
16. Top 5 Instant Impact New Head Coaches
15. 2nd Year Coaches Who’ll Be Better
14. Power 5 Hot Seat Coach Rankings
13. Key Transfers You Forgot About
12. Five Big Power 5 Upset Alerts
11. Great Players About To Go Nuclear
10. Group of 5 Teams In New Year’s Six Chase
9. Power 5 Sleeper Teams
8. Most Interesting Quarterback Battles
7. Power 5 Potential Disappointments
They’re the teams we don’t see coming.
Who had Kentucky doing much of anything last year?
Absolutely no one thought Pitt was going to win the ACC Coastal, and who besides Pat Fitzgerald picked Northwestern to win the Big Ten West?
These teams probably won’t win their respective conferences – or even a division title – but they’ll almost certainly be better than the predictions.
And the Power Five programs that could and should be the biggest surprises are …
Lamar Jackson glossed over a whole lot of issues for a few years, but he wasn’t the reason why the defense fell off the map last season.
The Cardinal D was the worst in the nation at stopping offenses on third downs, the offensive line was non-existent, and everyone who wanted to run the ball had few problems coming up with massive gashes.
Really, how bad was the defense?
It allowed 51 points or more seven times and six times in the last seven games.
It’s not fair to say the team quit. The back part of the schedule – at Clemson, at Syracuse, NC State and Kentucky – was big bag of nasty. In all, the Cardinals played nine bowl teams, Florida State, four teams that finished with ten wins or more, and Alabama and Clemson.
But there’s hope for a bounceback season for a program that won eight games or more for five straight years before 2018. There’s a whole lot of experience coming back, there’s a breath of fresh air with new head coach Scott Satterfield, and the schedule is … tough. It’s not going to be easy, but the Cardinals won’t be a pushover.
There’s still a question about the talent level and whether or not it can rise up and produce, but at least Satterfield and the new staff have options to play around with.
Starting out against Notre Dame won’t help, but Eastern Kentucky and at WKU follow. Playing at Florida State, at Miami, at NC State, at Kentucky, and Clemson will keep this from being an amazing season, but expect a four-win improvement to get to a bowl game again after missing out for the first time since 2009.