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Orlando Sentinel ranks So. Miss Football 24 spots ahead of UK

In case you missed it, Southern Miss is awfully good. The Orlando Sentinel, in a series where they’re ranking the top 128 college football programs in the nation in reverse order, pegged the Golden Eagles at #55 in the nation, three spots ahead of West Virginia at #58 and only one spot lower than South Carolina at #54. Here’s the kicker: they ranked Kentucky #79–a whole 24 spots higher

Back in April, our own Freddie Maggard took an in-depth look at the Golden Eagles, highlighting the return of offensive stars and the addition of Shannon Dawson as OC. Yesterday, the Sentinel pointed to the same strengths as justification for Southern Miss’s relatively high ranking:

“Southern Miss joins Clemson as the only two FBS schools to return a 4,000-yard passer and 1,000-yard rushed during the 2016 season. Mullens has shown no signs of slowing down and was named co-winner of the Air It Out Quarterback Challenge at the Manning Passing Academy.

Despite the Golden Eagles’ recent problems adapting to coaching changes, Hopson inherits some solid ingredients and Southern Miss should remain competitive in Conference USA…

Strengths: QB Nick Mullens played a big role in Southern Miss’ resurgence and returns to lead the offense during the 2016 season. Mullens was the first Golden Eagle to be named C-USA Offensive Player of the Year. He ranked second in the league in yards (4,476) and touchdown passes (38), both school records, while tying for fourth nationally in touchdown passes.

Junior RB Ito Smith rushed for 1,088 yards and eight touchdowns last season. He delivered 139.5 all-purpose yards per contest and should pair well with Mullens again this season.

Weaknesses: Hopson previously coached at Alcorn State and was a former assistant coach at Southern Miss, mentoring elite defenses. Southern Miss could use the help strengthening its pass defense after ranking No. 70 last season in passing yards allowed per game (227.6).

While the offense returns some strong playmakers, the Golden Eagles lose their top two receiving threats from the 2015 season. WR Casey Martin and WR Michael Thomas accounted for 2,316 receiving yards last season. The offense also has to offset the departure of two starting offensive linemen.”

Lets hope the players and coaches can turn this into hype fodder for the Cats’ home opener on September 3rd. I think our secondary should be strong enough to stymie Mullens, but it looks like we’ll have to prove it come September to earn our due respect. For now, let the haters be our motivators.

Article written by Austin Horn

Follow him on Twitter @Lilbighorn23KSR

12 Comments for Orlando Sentinel ranks So. Miss Football 24 spots ahead of UK

  1. Linda Schnitz
    7:28 pm July 3, 2016 Permalink

    I am not too worried because we got Stoops

  2. Patches
    8:03 pm July 3, 2016 Permalink

    Cats lose to Southern Miss and Stoops seat gets red hot real fast. Do not care what the rankings are a Sun Belt team should never beat an SEC team even if it is a poor UK. Stoops better take this real serious or he will be playing in a half empty stadium.

    • Crushgroove
      9:08 am July 4, 2016 Permalink

      Yeah! You tell ’em, Patches! UK only loses to C-USA teams in the NCAA basketball tourney and that’s it!

    • UK Big Board Update
      10:26 am July 4, 2016 Permalink

      Patches is aka The Rest of the story

    • UK Big Board Update
      10:27 am July 4, 2016 Permalink

      That should tell you all you need to know…..

  3. TomColt
    11:04 pm July 3, 2016 Permalink

    FYI — Southern Miss is in Conference USA, although admittedly, there’s not a lot of difference.

  4. UK Fan In Nashville
    9:50 am July 4, 2016 Permalink

    I’m not too worried. They have Shannon Dawson. We should be good.

    • dshwildcats
      10:09 am July 4, 2016 Permalink

      UK Fan In Nashville,

      Hopefully Dawson will call a game like he did at Vandy last year! Lol!! You need one yard to pick up a 1st Down at midfield right before the end of the half, and you call a “Go” route down the left sideline!

  5. dshwildcats
    10:00 am July 4, 2016 Permalink

    The lack of respect from the national media shouldn’t come as any surprise. Until this team learns how to close the deal, we will continue to be an afterthought when it comes to the national media. Last season, Kentucky let golden opportunities to beat Florida and Auburn slip through their fingers. This team was very fortunate to beat EKU (I felt they deserved to lose that game). Traveling down to Nashville to watch the Vandy debacle about made me sick! I’ve witnessed many losses to Vandy over the years, but that one may have been the most frustrating one I’ve ever sat through.

    Then you lose a 17 point halftime lead to Louisville in the season finale. Louisville was a good team, but nothing spectacular. The Cards were lucky to beat Boston College and Wake Forest in consecutive weeks, two teams that won six games combined, so it’s not like you were playing ‘Bama! The fact that Josh Forrest, and later DJ Eliot, admitted that they really didn’t spend too much time preparing for Lamar Jackson was just salt on the wound!

    Our players and coaching staff had better not be overlooking this Southern Miss team! The Southern Miss program has been taking on SEC opponents for years now. They won’t be the least bit intimidated by coming into Commonwealth Stadium. I’m sure Shannon Dawson will be chomping at the bit to show Stoops he screwed up by getting rid of him. If we come out and play like we did against Eastern and Vandy, we’ll start the season off with a loss, at home.

  6. goldblackattack
    6:24 pm July 4, 2016 Permalink

    Ummm Patches You need to brush up on your college football knowledge. Southern Miss is in C-USA not the Sunbelt.C-USA is even printed on the Jersey of Nick Mullens in the picture above smh And KU’s secondary may indeed be very competitive in this game but they will not “Stymie” Nick Mullens. Here is to a great and injury free opening game for both clubs. SMTTT !

    • UK Big Board Update
      8:34 am July 5, 2016 Permalink

      Patches is a god damned idiot……

  7. Howdy Doody
    1:45 pm July 6, 2016 Permalink

    UK is NOT A SEC Football team at this point…ANY conference can beat us with Stoops current Troops.
    lose this one and it ‘s all over but the crying.