Author Topic: 5 under-the-radar #FCS teams as preseason Top 25 szn is nearly here  (Read 462 times)

Offline nwotsgnuoy

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Youngstown State

YSU may not get one preseason Top 25 vote. Which is fair, considering the Penguins went 3-7 last year. And rising in the MVFC standings won’t be easy with the likes of NDSU, SDSU, Missouri State, and SIU, plus recent playoff teams UND, USD, and UNI. But this team looks poised to finish above .500 in 2022 and possibly hit that seven-win mark to be on the playoff bubble.

A 3-7 record in 2021 won’t open many eyes. However, those three wins came against playoff teams (UIW, Missouri State, and SIU). YSU also had two three-point losses to WIU and UND in an inconsistent season. While the record may not show it as much, the overall improvements from the spring (1-6 overall) to the fall were visible. Now in Doug Phillips’ third season as head coach, the potential is there in 2022 to grab more voters’ attention.

QB Demeatric Crenshaw showed promise in 2021 (791 yards pa$$ing, 6 TDs, 5 INT; 599 yards rushing, 7 TDs) and was named the MVFC Freshman of the Year. Jaleel McLaughlin is a top returning RB in the FCS, rushing for 1,139 yards and 12 TDs last year. Top touchdowns (8) receiver Bryce Oliver is also back. If YSU wants to take this next step, though, revamping its defense after being one of the worst in the FCS (35.4 PPG) is a must.

YSU is one of the more storied programs in the FCS. The tradition, facilities, and internal support are there. Even though there hasn’t been momentum to get the program turned around beside one playoff appearance in the last 15 years that ended in a national championship loss, and even though the Valley is the toughest conference in the FCS, there’s no reason YSU shouldn’t be a more competitive program. This fall looks promising for the Penguins to take a step in that direction.

Offline Wick250

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This may sound crazy, but I am also expecting a winning record next season.  Just look at our schedule. We played all four teams that we are facing at home either during the Covid winter or the traditional fall season. Beat South Dakota in the winter, beat Southern Illinois in the fall, would have beaten Indiana State had Crenshaw not been knocked out in the first quarter, and blew a 10 point lead in the fourth quarter to North Dakota. All of those games are "winnable."

On the road this fall, we get Western Illinois who will have a new coach and lost that quarterback that torched us in the second half last season.  We should win that game. Illinois State, who we have not played since before the pandemic, really struggled. That road loss is likely but not automatic.  Same with Missouri State whom we defeated last fall. A win there is not likely but certainly possible.

Six home wins and one on the road. Or five home wins and two on the road. If Phillips is the guy, this is a reasonable expectation.