Kane Wommack and his staff will take on an interesting schedule in their first season leading the South Alabama football program. The 12-game slate features six home games and six games on the road. The four non-conference opponents are Tennessee, Bowling Green, Southern Miss and Alcorn State, with home Sun Belt Conference games against Louisiana, Georgia Southern, Arkansas State and Coastal Carolina, while facing Appalachian State, Troy, Texas State and Louisiana-Monroe on the road. Those opponents were a combined 55-62 last year. (Alcorn State did not play last fall or this spring, which was the original plan.) Here’s a quick look at each of the opponents:
Saturday, Sept. 4 vs. Southern Miss: The Jags topped USM last season, leading the Golden Eagles’ head coach to resign. Will Hall is USM’s new head coach. He takes over a program that was 3-7 last year. USA leads the all-time series 1-0.
Saturday, Sept. 11 at Bowling Green: The Falcons played a reduced — and winless — schedule last year, finishing 0-5. The teams have faced each other only once, that coming in the 2014 Camellia Bowl in Montgomery with Bowling Green getting the win in the Jags’ first bowl appearance.
Saturday, Sept. 18 vs. Alcorn St.: The Braves did not play last season and also canceled the spring schedule of games that were planned. As such, they will be a bit rusty. This will be the first-ever meeting between the two teams.
Saturday, Oct. 2 vs. Louisiana: The Ragin’ Cajuns are coming off a 10-1 season and have lots of returning starters. USA is 2-7 all-time against Louisiana, which is expected to contend for the Sun Belt title.
Saturday, Oct. 9 at Texas St.: The all-time record stands at 3-3 between the two schools, including a home victory for the Jags over the Bobcats last year. Texas State finished last season with a 2-10 record.
Thursday, Oct. 14 vs. Ga. Southern: South Alabama (0-7) has never defeated the Eagles, who posted an 8-5 record a year ago and once again had their way against the Jagas. Will the streak continue?
Saturday, Oct. 23 at UL-Monroe: Terry Bowden takes over as head coach and he hired Rich Rodriguez as his offensive coordinator. They have a heavy task as the Warhawks were 0-10 last year, though they hold a 4-3 advantage over South Alabama.
Saturday, Oct. 30 vs. Arkansas St.: This one may get testy. South Alabama first took offensive coordinator Major Applewhite away from new head coach Butch Jones, then took transfer QB Jake Bentley, too. ASU leads the series 3-6 but they were just 4-7 last year.
Saturday, Nov. 6 at Troy: The first of a tough, three-game road swing for the Jags is its annual “Battle for the Belt” rivalry against the Trojans. Troy was 5-6 a year ago under head coach Chip Lindsey and is 6-3 all-time against the Jags. Last year, Troy shut out the Jags in the season finale.
Saturday, Nov. 13 at App State: Appalachian State has been a top contender in the Sun Belt since joining the league. The Jags are just 1-3 against the Mountaineers who were 9-3 last year. South Alabama didn’t play App State last season.
Saturday, Nov. 20 at Tennessee: The Vols struggled last year when some predicted a strong season. As a result, both head coach Jeremy Pruitt and AD Phillip Fulmer lost their jobs. Enter new head coach Josh Heupel from UCF. The Jags are 0-1 all-time against Tennessee.
Saturday, Nov. 27 vs. Coastal Carolina: The Sun Belt champs from a year ago enjoyed a stellar season finishing 11-1, including a win over the Jags. The teams have one win each in the all-time series and Coastal is expected to be strong again this year.
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