Printz sports writers predict 2012 season
Published: Thursday, September 13, 2012
Updated: Thursday, September 13, 2012 01:09
Prediction: 7-5 (6-2 C-USA), 1st in C-USA East
Offensive MVP: WR Tracey Lampley, Sr.
Defensive MVP: BAN Jamie Collins, Sr.
Although the Golden Eagles got out of the gate with a rough loss to Nebraska, they have had an off-week to regroup. On Sept. 15, Southern Miss will play the East Carolina Pirates for the first home game. Although ECU will have their sights set on revenge after last year’s blowout, Southern Miss should not lose their first game at home. After winning at Western Kentucky, Southern Miss will likely lose three consecutive games: Louisville, Boise State and Central Florida. Southern Miss will then go on to win against Marshall, Rice and UAB before losing on the road at SMU. The Eagles will wrap up their regular season with two wins over UTEP and Memphis.
The Eagles should qualify for the Conference USA championship game since UCF is banned from postseason play this season. Look for the Eagles to play Houston or Tulsa.
Although there are hurdles to overcome - a new starting quarterback, a young defense, an unproven head coach - there is still plenty of leadership on the team to keep the winning season streak alive.
Overall Record: 8-4
Conference USA record: 6-2
Offensive MVP: Anthony Alford, QB
Defensive MVP: Dylan Reda, LB
The Golden Eagles did not waste any time with patsies early on, opening the season against Nebraska at Lincoln. The result was not favorable for the Eagles; the Cornhuskers backfield tandem of Heisman hopefuls Taylor Martinez and Rex Burkhead cut through the Eagles’ defense to open the season.
Southern Miss follows Nebraska with what is expected to be a much needed bye week. The Eagles will take advantage of this by outscoring the Pirates of East Carolina, following with a win against Western Kentucky on the road.
Week five will bring another tough task when Louisville visits the Rock to try their luck. The home crowd will propel the Eagles past the Cardinals.
The next two weeks spell trouble, though, when Boise State comes to town and edges the Eagles, who will then travel to UCF and drop a game on the road in Conference USA play.
Needing a win, the Eagles will answer the call. In mid-season form with retribution on their minds, Southern Miss will revenge last season’s losses to Marshall and UAB, sandwiching a key conference win on the road at Rice.
Unfortunately, the three-game winning streak will end at the hands of SMU in Dallas.
Pass-happy UTEP will roll into Hattiesburg in week 12, and the Eagles will give the Minors a beating before finishing the season with a big win on the road at Memphis.
The Eagles could easily find themselves in the C-USA championship game at the end of the season with an 8-4 record -- a huge success on the heels of a season in which they lost one of the most storied offensive players in the history of the school, Austin Davis.
Overall Record: 8-4
Conference USA Record: 6-2
Offensive MVP: Desmond Johnson, RB
Defensive MVP: Jamie Collins, Ban.
While last year’s squad set a new school record in wins with an overall mark of 12-2, this year’s team will struggle early in the season to fill the vacancies left by the departures of quarterback Austin Davis to the NFL and head coach Larry Fedora to North Carolina.
The Golden Eagles will rebound from the loss to Nebraska in their home and conference opener with a win over East Carolina before earning their first road victory of the season against Western Kentucky. Southern Miss will fall in a close game to No. 25 Louisville the following week, but look for the Eagles to pull a signature upset over No. 24 Boise State.