2018 Southern Miss Golden Eagles College Football Preview

by | Aug 9, 2018 | NCAA Football


Southern Miss Golden Eagles
M.M. Roberts Stadium
36,000 Seat Stadium
Sports Executive Momentum Turf
Hattiesburg, Mississippi

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Southern Miss Golden Eagles

Last year, you could flip a coin with the Southern Miss Golden Eagles and try to figure out which team would show up on a weekly basis. The team was unstable all season, going 8-5 on the year and losing to the Florida State Seminoles in the Independence Bowl.

This year, with the exception of the one game against Auburn Tigers, the Golden Eagles have a very favorable schedule and are capable of winning every game in front of them. On paper, it is easy to say but winning those games will consist of staying healthy and keeping their quarterback upright.

Let’s take a look at the 2018 Southern Miss Golden Eagles!

Southern Miss Golden Eagles Coaching

Jay Hopson is in his third year as Head Coach of the Southern Miss Golden Eagles. Hopson has posted back to back winnings seasons in Southern Miss, going 7-6 in 2016 and 8-5 in 2017.

Hopson took the Southern Miss Golden Eagles to a Bowl Game in each of his first two seasons, going 1-1 in the two years in the postseason. Hopson and the Golden Eagles won the 2016 New Orleans Bowl, beating UL-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns 28-21 and losing to the Florida State Seminoles in last year’s Independence Bowl by the score of 42-13.

Hopson has posted a 15-11 record while at Southern Miss and an overall Head Coaching record of 47-28, split between Southern Miss and Alcorn State. His record in the postseason Bowl Games is 1-2 and will look to once again improve his record for the third consecutive year at Southern Miss.

Hopson is a defensive oriented Head Coach that has been a part of some of the bigger programs in the NCAA. Hopson was the Defensive Coordinator at Southern Miss, Memphis, Ole Miss, and served in various defensive coaching positions with Michigan, Marshall, LSU and Florida.

Shannon Dawson is back for his 3rd season Offensive Coordinator. Dawson is known for running a high octane offense and putting up tons of yardage in each and every game.

Tony Pecoraro is no longer with the team and his Defensive Coordinator position will now be split between first-year coaches, Tim Billings and Derek Nicholson. With a pair of new Defensive Coordinators, it is expected that there will be some growing pains in Southern Miss at defense this year.

Southern Miss Golden Eagles Offense

Southern Miss will return 5 starters from 2017. The Golden Eagles always seem to put up one of the more potent offenses in the country and they could struggle this year with duplicating their recent form.

Last year, the Golden Eagles split time between two quarterbacks and this year, it is anyone's guess once again who the starter will be this year. Kwadra Griggs probably holds the slight edge but Jack Abraham will be eager to get in there and get some playing time. Last season Griggs went 5-3 on the year and dealt with various injuries throughout the year.

Running Back Ito Smith has moved on to the NFL and now, three seniors will be competing for time in the backfield to replace Smith. Tez Parks, T’Rod Daniels and George Payne all have experience and none of the three really seem to be standing out above the others. Payne is a 6th-year player who has sat out the past two seasons with injury.

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Southern Miss Golden Eagles Defense

The Golden Eagles will return just 4 starters from 2017 on defense. In addition to losing 7 of their starters, they also lost their Defensive Coordinator, Tony Pecoraro, who left the team to take over the Defensive Coordinator position with FAU.

The secondary in Southern Miss is going to be a complete mess! They have lost all 5 of their starters from 2017 and the reality is there isn’t much depth left, other than Picasso Nelson Jr and Rachaun Mitchell.

The team does not have a single starter on the defense this year that will have an interception under their belt. They will need to grow up very fast and develop the unit that will only return one guy.

2018 Southern Miss Golden Eagles Schedule

  • September 1 Jackson State Tigers
  • September 8 ULM Warhawks
  • September 15 @ Appalachian State Mountaineers
  • September 22 Rice Owls
  • September 29 @ Auburn Tigers
  • October 6 Bye Week
  • October 13 @ North Texas Mean Green
  • October 20 UTSA Roadrunners
  • October 27 @ Charlotte 49’ers
  • November 3 Marshall Thundering Herd
  • November 10 @ UAB Blazers
  • November 17 LA Tech Bulldogs
  • November 24 @ UTEP Miners
  • December 1 Conference USA Championship Game (If Applicable)

2018 Predictions and Betting Outlook for Southern Miss Golden Eagles

This team will either be really good or really bad. Their lack of returners and experience is scary but their schedule is very favorable so it sort makes me bounce back and forth with how I think they will do. At the end of the day, I am going to lean with the Golden Eagles repeating their 8 win performance from 2017.

We ranked them 6th in the 2018 Conference USA Power Rankings, mainly because of the ease of their schedule. They get the benefit of playing the likes of Jackson State and all 3 of the bottom ranking teams in Conference USA.

With that being known, we will recommend playing Southern Miss over the regular season win total of 6.5 games. I think this team, even with their struggles, will surpass 7 wins and eclipse the mark of 6.5 games.  

That is the only wager we will recommend for Southern Miss this year.  They are a +3200 underdog to win the Conference USA Championship and all thought they will have a very favorable schedule when they get to the championship game, they would struggle.

Don’t forget to check out our NCAA College Football Betting Guide to stay up to date on all of the happenings in College Football throughout the 2018 Season.

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