We’re only 53 days away from the start of the college football season and it’s time to set the expectations.
The Miami Hurricanes and Florida Gators are starting the year with new but veteran head coaches. It would be easy to say that these two programs should take a step back, but both programs still have two of the more elite quarterbacks in college football. Unlike most programs with new coaches, Miami and Florida have rosters that can still compete at pretty decent level.
With that being said, the expectations might not be what you think they should be for the Big 5.
Florida State on the other hand is a program that is entering year 3 under Mike Norvell. Unfortunately, the Noles finished under .500 for the 4th straight year. It would be foolish to believe that Norvell isn’t on the hot seat heading into 2022-2023 season.
Also, let’s not forget UCF and USF. UCF has separated itself from USF in terms of success on the field. The Knights are leaving the AAC and USF for the Big 12. USF on the other hand are looking to win more than 4 games in a season.
The UCF Knights are the winningest team in the state of Florida over the last decade. The Knights will be entering their last season in the American Athletic Conference before moving on to the Big 12.
The expectations for the Knights will be to finish strong on the field but secure some big-name recruits before they head to the Big 12. In 2021, the Knights finished with a 9-4 record in Guz Malzahn’s first year as head coach. Heading into 2022, the Knights are slated to contend for the AAC championship. Their biggest opponent will be Houston and Cincinnati; both teams are heading to the Big 12 as well.
Overall, the Knights bring back starting quarterback Mikey Keene and add Ole Miss transfer John Plumlee. The offense has no shortage of weapons, with leading receiver Ryan O’keefe and incoming Florida Gator transfer Kemore Gamble at the tight end position, the Knights should be able to push the ball down field. As for the running game, the Knights also return two of their leading rushers from last season. Isaiah Bowers and Johnny Richards both rushed for over 700 yards last season. When healthy, the Knights have the ability to be the most explosive offense in the AAC.
2022 Prediction: 11-1 AAC Championship birth
The Bulls are in an odd situation on and off the field. The Bulls have had a tough couple of years where they haven’t won more than 5 games in a season. Ultimately, the Bulls have been left behind by their biggest rival UCF.
Coach Jeff Scott is in a similar situation as FSU head coach Mike Norvell. Both were hired right before the Covid Pandemic shut everything down. Scott is not on the hot seat just yet, but some improvement will be expected this season.
USF brings in Baylor quarterback transfer Gerry Bohanon for his 5th year of college football. Bohanon is the favorite to win the starting job come fall camp. Bohanon accounted for 27 touchdowns in 2021 for the Bear. He also led the Bears over four huge wins over ranked opponents #4 Oklahoma, #14 Iowa State, #19 BYU, and #8 Ole Miss in the Allstate Sugar Bowl. The Bulls got a gift when Bohanon decided to transfer to USF.
With that being said, The Bulls will return a lot of experience from 2021. The question will be can that experience turn into wins. USF starts the season off against a good BYU program, Howard, Florida, and Louisville. Out of these 4 games I can see USF pulling a win against Howard and that’s it.
2022 Prediction: 2-10
The Gators are starting the year off with a new head coach and coaching staff. Because the Gators are one of the most notable programs in all of college football, the expectations will always be high.
Billy Napier comes in from Louisiana Ragin Cajuns where he led the Cajuns to three straight 10+ winning seasons. Coming to Gainesville with a 40-12 record as a head coach, Napier knows what it takes to win. Before he was the head coach at Louisiana, Napier was an assistant at Alabama and Clemson. His attention to details has been highlight almost everywhere he goes. This level of attention will be the foundation of build Florida back into a jugguernaut.
The Gators are too far off from competing in three straight New Year’s Six Bowl games We’re all wondering just how long it will take for Napier to bring Florida back to the level of Alabama and Georgia.
The Gators return redshirt sophomore quarterback Anthony Richardson. Richardson was an explosive back up for the Gators in 2021 and was favorited by many to start last year. Due to injuries, Richardson continued as a backup. This year he will lead an offense that does not have many scoring contributors from last season.
At running back, the Gators feature Louisiana transfer Montrell Johnson who rushed for 838 yards and 12 touchdowns as a freshman. Nay’Quan Wright is expected to start at running back, but due to injury Johnson might get the start over him. At wide receiver, the Gators are looking for a guy to step up. Napier went into the transfer portal and got Ricky Pearsall from Arizona State. The rest of the roster feature guys that have played little to no college ball in their careers.
Defensively, the Gators were better in 2021 that 2020. The best player on defense is along the d-line with Brenton Cox Jr. He will be essential in creating a pass rusher all season. The Florida secondary returns veteran and 3-year starter Trey Dean III, Sophomore Jason Marshall, and Rashad Torrence. With the addition of legendary cornerbacks coach Corey Raymond, the Gators secondary will see a boost in production and development.
2022 Prediction: 7-5
The Noles like USF have returning head coaches and quarterback play. The Noles are interesting because it has been so long since the Noles had a winning record. This is odd because the Noles continue to recruit fairly decent given the drop in on field production.
Last season, FSU started the year off with high expectations after a close loss to Notre Dame at home. That hype went away the following week when Jacksonville State and FCS program came into Doak Campbell Stadium and stunned the Noles. Their biggest win last year came against Miami, but it could backfire seeing that the Canes have hire one of the best coaches in the country.
With that being said, Mike Norvell returns starting quarterback Jordan Travis who showed huge leaps forward in 2021. Besides losing their leading rusher and star edge rushers from last season, the Noles return almost every impactful player from last year. Most of the games that were lost were fairly close.
FSU will have a veteran team next year that will be very difficult to beat. Jordan Travis will his top seven receivers from last season all returning. The Noles made some additions in the transfer portal that will have an immediate impact on the offense. It will be the defense that will ultimately determine how far this team goes in 2022.
2022 Predictions: 7-5
Honestly, there’s not one program in the country that constantly gain off-season hype like the Hurricanes. They have been social media kings for the better part of the decade but have shown nothing on the field. It can be very difficult to set expectations for Miami when all the buzz around the program can cloud what is actually happening.
Miami will have a new but veteran coaching staff coming in with former Oregon head coach and Miami alum Mario Cristobal. Cristobal has had great success in his coaching and playing career in college. Cristobal won a national title at Miami as a player. He also was an assistant at Alabama as well under Nick Saban before heading off to Oregon. He would later take over for Willie Taggart at Oregon after Taggart took the job at FSU.
As for the 2022 Miami Hurricanes, the Canes return a lot on offense and defense. The offense returns one of the best quarterbacks in the country, Tyler Van Dykes with a 3 to 4 headed monster in the back field. Miami added a few wide receivers on the outside, but again return a lot of talent that hasn’t been used.
The Canes are favorited in most of their games in 2022 with Texas A&M and Clemson being the only two games Miami is considered underdogs. The Canes will feature a veteran offensive line with a lot of depth.
The key to Miami’s success will be the mentality change. The Canes will only succeed in 2022 if they stop playing down to their competition. There’s too much talent on the field for them not to dominate week in and week out.
2022 Prediction: 10-2 or 9-3