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10 groups poised to take a step again in 2022

10 groups poised to take a step again in 2022

Earlier this week we took a take a look at some groups that we thought would get back to their winning ways in 2022. Now it is time to reveal who we predict might underachieve in 2022. Listed here are 10 faculty soccer groups that we predict might have worse seasons in 2022 than they did in 2021.

Arizona State (8-5 in 2021)

ASU is a program in tumult coming into the 2022 season. An NCAA investigation for recruiting violations looms over this system and 5 coaches have left, together with defensive coordinator Antonio Pierce. The Solar Devils return simply seven starters from final season’s group that went 3-4 down the stretch. Former Florida QB Emory Jones is ready to exchange Jayden Daniels and ASU might want to discover some receivers for him to throw to.

Andre Johnson had 12 receptions in 2021 and he’s the group’s main returning receiver. Main tackler Kyle Soelle is again however there are simply three different starters again alongside him on a protection that was underrated in 2021. How will issues be completely different with out Pierce?

It may very well be an extended 12 months in Tempe and perhaps the ultimate one for Herm Edwards’ because the Solar Devils’ coach.

– Nick Bromberg

Baylor (12-2)

The Massive 12 seems vast open on the prime in 2022 and there’s no cause to assume that Baylor gained’t be within the combine once more. However it is a group that additionally seems worse than it was a 12 months in the past. Blake Shapen is ready to be the group’s beginning quarterback after profitable the job within the spring. He’ll have a variety of new ability place expertise round him. Baylor misplaced its prime three rushers and prime three receivers within the offseason. Changing Abram Smith and Tyquan Thornton is essential. Ben Sims is the one returning participant on the roster who had greater than 10 catches in 2021.

Three of the highest 4 tacklers are additionally gone from the protection together with Jalen Pitre and Terrel Bernard. Dave Aranda’s protection ought to be excellent once more, however with video games at BYU, Oklahoma and Texas, we’re undecided Baylor will get to 10 wins this season.

– Nick Bromberg

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ARLINGTON, TEXAS - DECEMBER 31: Head coach Luke Fickell of the Cincinnati Bearcats stands on the sidelines during the game against the Alabama Crimson Tide at AT&T Stadium on December 31, 2021 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images)

Cincinnati begins the 2022 season with a sport at Arkansas. (Picture by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Photos)

Cincinnati (13-1)

How do the Bearcats observe up a School Soccer Playoff berth in 2022? The sequel might want to occur with out a variety of key components from that group that was undefeated till a semifinal loss to Alabama. The largest alternative comes at quarterback the place both Evan Prater or Ben Bryant is in line to take over for Desmond Ridder. Ridder accounted for 36 whole touchdowns in 2021. Bryant comes over from Jap Michigan and Prater served as Ridder’s backup.

The Bearcats additionally want to exchange RB Jerome Ford and his 1,300 speeding yards and 19 touchdowns and main receiver Alec Pierce. The highest three tacklers are additionally gone from the protection together with cornerbacks Coby Bryant and Sauce Gardner. Cincinnati ought to be good in 2022, however it’s additionally simple to see how the Bearcats are underdogs at Arkansas to begin the season. If Cincinnati will get a win in Fayetteville, then it will be very simple to begin dreaming about one other New 12 months’s Six bowl look.

– Nick Bromberg

Kentucky (10-3)

Final season marked the second time in 4 seasons that Kentucky gained 10 video games. Earlier than that, UK had solely reached double-digit wins twice — in 1950 and 1977. Evidently, Mark Stoops is doing a incredible job and the Wildcats ought to be bowl-bound as soon as once more in 2022. However getting again within the 9-or-10-win vary feels lofty.

Will Levis is getting loads of NFL hype, however how will he fare with out do-it-all receiver Wan’Dale Robinson and offensive coordinator Liam Coen? Levis is a bruising runner and had some good moments as a passer late final season, however this current infatuation from NFL draftniks is overshadowing how poorly he performed at occasions in 2021.

Coming into 2022, Kentucky has to exchange most of its offensive line and vast receiver is the largest query mark on the roster. That’s so much on the shoulders of Levis and the protection, which misplaced its prime three linemen. And with video games like Ole Miss, Florida and Tennessee all on the highway, this feels extra like a 7-5 season.

– Sam Cooper

Louisiana (13-1)

The Ragin’ Cajuns are nonetheless the presumptive favorites within the Solar Belt West however look primed to not be as dominant as they had been in 2021 after ending the season on a 13-game win streak. Michael Desormeaux takes over as head coach with Billy Napier at Florida and QB Levi Lewis must be changed, too. Chandler Fields is the presumptive starter and the group’s prime three receivers from 2021 return. However the protection has to exchange its prime three tacklers and main sacker Chauncey Manac.

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A Nov. 19 sport vs. Florida State is an enchanting late-season non-conference matchup. Louisiana’s solely lack of 2021 got here in opposition to Texas. If Louisiana is best than we predict they’re in 2022, then a win over Florida State is not going to be a lot of a shock.

– Nick Bromberg

ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 30: Michigan State Spartans head coach Mel Tucker and players stream on to the field before the Chick-fil-a Peach Bowl between the Michigan State Spartans and the Pitt Panthers on December 30,2021, at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, GA. (Photo by Chris McDill/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Mel Tucker’s Michigan State was one of many shock groups of 2021. Will they keep on the prime of the Massive Ten in 2022? (Picture by Chris McDill/Icon Sportswire by way of Getty Photos)

Michigan State (11-2)

Michigan State got here out of nowhere to have an 11-2 season in 2021. It was 12 months 2 underneath Mel Tucker, and to name a 12 months like that “forward of schedule” for a program with a brand new coach could be placing it evenly. Anticipating one other season with double-digit victories doesn’t appear very reasonable.

The Spartans hit a house run final season by including operating again switch Kenneth Walker III (1.636 yards, 18 TDs) and they’ll once more depend on an array of portal additions on either side of the ball in 2022. Walker’s large play means was an enormous difference-maker on an in any other case common offense. Will the workers’s portal scouting make an enormous distinction but once more?

In 2021, MSU was 4-0 in one-score video games regardless of having one of many worst move defenses within the nation. That’ll be powerful to copy in 2022. MSU performs Michigan and Penn State on the highway, has a difficult early-season highway journey to Washington and drew Minnesota and Wisconsin as two of its cross-division matchups. That’s a variety of powerful video games, and doesn’t even embrace the house sport vs. Ohio State.

– Sam Cooper

Oklahoma State (12-2)

Oklahoma State went 12-2 final 12 months, beating Notre Dame within the Fiesta Bowl and coming inches away from a Massive 12 championship and attainable School Soccer Playoff berth. For many of Mike Gundy’s time in Stillwater, Oklahoma State’s energy has been offense. Final 12 months, it was protection. The architect of that protection, Jim Knowles, left for Ohio State and lots of the Cowboys’ prime defensive gamers — significantly at linebacker and within the secondary — have moved on.

If the protection takes an anticipated step again, can the offense make up some floor? Spencer Sanders is what he’s at this level in his profession. He’s a quarterback who could make some spotlight reel performs, however he turns the ball over manner an excessive amount of. Tay Martin, Sanders’ prime goal (by far), is now within the NFL. So are 1,200-yard rusher Jaylen Warren and Josh Sills, the group’s prime offensive deal with. Can Sanders decide up the slack? This group goes to wish to attain extra factors to contend for the Massive 12 title once more, however Sanders’ monitor document doesn’t encourage a variety of confidence that he’ll considerably enhance.

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– Sam Cooper

PITTSBURGH, PA - OCTOBER 30: Kenny Pickett #8 of the Pittsburgh Panthers and head coach Pat Narduzzi take the field before the game against the Miami Hurricanes at Heinz Field on October 30, 2021 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)

With Kenny Pickett now enjoying within the NFL in Pittsburgh, are the Panthers primed for a step again in 2022? (Picture by Justin Berl/Getty Photos)

Pittsburgh (11-3)

There’s nonetheless so much to love about Pitt on the heels of profitable the ACC title. The complete offensive line is again and the protection ought to be one of many ACC’s greatest. However the two largest stars from the 2021 group — QB Kenny Pickett and WR Jordan Addison — are not with this system. Pickett was a first-round decide whereas Addison transferred to USC. These two thrived in Mark Whipple’s pass-happy offense, main Pitt to its greatest season in a long time.

And never solely are Pickett and Addison gone, Whipple left too. He and head coach Pat Narduzzi didn’t see eye-to-eye — Narduzzi has made that abundantly clear — and Whipple left for Nebraska. Though the passing sport was pivotal in his group’s success a 12 months in the past, Narduzzi needs to run the ball extra and introduced in Frank Cignetti Jr. from Boston School to implement a extra balanced offense. Even with ex-USC QB Kedon Slovis transferring in, it’s arduous to not undertaking a drop-off in offensive explosiveness for the Panthers in 2022. Don’t be shocked in the event that they fade again into the center of the pack within the ACC.

– Sam Cooper

UTSA (12-2)

UTSA was top-of-the-line tales of the 2021 season. The Roadrunners, who solely started enjoying faculty soccer in 2011, put collectively a 12-win season. UTSA began the 12 months 11-0, gained Convention USA and had simply one of the best season in program historical past. Within the course of, UTSA went a exceptional 6-0 in one-score video games. That’s not one thing to simply replicate and even prime, particularly with workhorse operating again Honest McCormick transferring on to the NFL. McCormick ran the ball 299 occasions, the second-most within the nation, for 1,479 yards and 15 touchdowns. On prime of that, offensive coordinator Barry Lunney Jr. left UTSA for Illinois.

Regardless of these departures, this could nonetheless be one of many higher groups in C-USA, which is down to simply 11 members (UTSA is headed to the AAC in 2023). There are not any extra divisions, so the highest two groups will compete for the convention title. Count on UTSA to be in that blend, however the issue of the non-conference schedule goes to take among the magic out of the equation. With Houston, Military and Texas in Weeks 1-3, the Roadrunners gained’t be undefeated for lengthy.

– Sam Cooper

Wake Forest (11-3)

The Demon Deacons ought to be stable as soon as once more in 2022 although it’s arduous to see them repeating the 11-win marketing campaign from a 12 months in the past. Wake Forest gained the ACC Atlantic because of Clemson’s struggles and it’s arduous to see the Tigers lacking out on the ACC title sport for a second consecutive season. The protection additionally wants to exchange gamers like Luke Masterson and Luiji Vilain after amassing 38 sacks in 2021. The schedule is doable; Clemson performs in Winston-Salem and the 2 hardest highway video games are at Louisville and NC State. Pencil us in for eight wins for Wake Forest this season because the Demon Deacons ought to proceed their run of stable soccer underneath Dave Clawson.

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– Nick Bromberg

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