The Lane Train is the preparing to leave the Boca Raton station for another season, and the first stop will be Columbus Ohio where the Ohio State Buckeyes are waiting for the Florida Atlantic Owls.
The Buckeyes are a tough task to start the season; however, I predict the season to be better than last. Coincidently I predicted previous season would be better than last. Lane Kiffin had me sold in year one. FAU was 3-9 for three straight seasons, Kiffin opened up 1-3 before exploding to win his previous ten in his first year.
Kiffin’s second season was a bit shocking as FAU fell to 5-7 moreover star running back Devin Singletary has taken his talents to the NFL. The offense is where to start specifically in the replacement of Singletary, and Kiffin is who runs the offense.
Transfer BJ Emmons will be given his chance to fill the big cleats left behind by Singletary. The offense starts with Emmons. He can end up being the best or one of the top three running backs in Conference USA. The running back position is less experienced from seasons past; however, the Buckeyes as the opener can erase that excuse immediately.
After all of the noise quieted down regarding the quarterback position, Chris Robison is the expected to be the starter. Kiffin will have seven starters back on offense Robinson will have the support from the sideline and around him on the field despite losing Singletary. Kiffin continues to improve the offensive line making it possibly the best in the conference an added plus for Robison.
The wide receivers for the owls since the Lane Train arrived in Boca have been impressive. It remains the same going into this season. Tight End Harrison Bryant is the standout in the core. The senior will show how this is an experienced unit with Tavaris Harrison leading the way and John Mitchell gaining momentum from the last five games played last season.
On the defensive side, last season the Owls struggled. They allowed 390 yards per game and 22.7 points per game with ten starters returning under a new defensive coordinator. They deserve a slight pass losing star linebacker Al-Shaair mid-year. Another new defensive coordinator is on campus, the fourth coordinator for the Owls in four years. The Owls can only improve from last year if worse; it will be a long season.
Singletary is gone; however, the Owls schedule is more manageable. They host Marshall and FIU with the expectation of improving from last season. The Owls should finish first in the east in a battle with FIU to contend for the CUSA crown.