5 hot topics for Southern and SWAC football teams at media day in Birmingham

5 hot topics for Southern and SWAC football teams at media day in Birmingham
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The Southwestern Athletic Conference kicks off its third season as a 12-team league Tuesday in Birmingham, Alabama, with several questions floating around.

Southern coach Eric Dooley will attend with Harold Blood, who won the starting quarterback job during spring practice, and leading tackler Jalan Campbell ready to meet the media and represent the Jaguars.

It won’t be quite as loud or boisterous without former Jackson State coach Deion Sanders, but the SWAC will still have plenty of interesting stories. 

Here are the top five topics:

1. Can Southern repeat as West champs after claiming into 2022 title?

It’s almost hard to remember that the Jaguars won the SWAC West title after a head-scratching early-season loss to Texas Southern and two blowout losses to Jackson State, including one in the championship game. Late-season losses by Prairie View and Texas Southern allowed Southern to slip into the title game, but that’s three runner-up finishes in the past five seasons. That’s not the standard for Jaguar Nation, which expects championships. Southern hasn’t won a conference title since 2013, and that’s why Dooley has been frantically beating the bushes for talent at all positions, even into the summer.

2. How will the Jaguars offense react with new starting quarterback?

Harold Blood won the job in the spring, but Dooley was still looking to upgrade the position, getting a commitment from former Central Arkansas quarterback Clifton McDowell (who flipped to Montana week later). Dooley is confident Blood is the man to take the reins in 2023. He completed 15 of 29 passes with two touchdowns and one interception in spot duty last season. Blood has an accurate arm and good running skills but lacks experience, but he exuded confidence during the spring. He beat out transfers Noah Bodden and Dylan Mehrotra for the right to step in for BeSean McCray, whose struggles down the stretch made for a rough finish to the season.

3. Does Andrew Body make Texas Southern the team to beat in the West?

There’s no quarterback question at Texas Southern. Andrew Body nearly took his team to its first division title since the 2010 SWAC championship season, but an injury knocked him out of a late-season loss to Alabama A&M, just when the Tigers were about to put the game away. Body, a junior with two years of starting experience, is certainly the best quarterback in the West Division, and that means a lot. Coach Clarence McKinney has brought him along slowly. This could be his year to break out.

4. Does Jackson State take a tumble without Deion?

The SWAC’s weekly coaches conference won’t be the same without Neon Deion pontificating via Zoom. He had a big impact, even if he didn’t win the Celebration Bowl in two tries, and now he has hopped over to Colorado, leaving T.C. Taylor to try and retain the momentum at JSU. Deion took several coaches and players with him, including his son and SWAC offensive MVP Shedeur Sanders. Taylor will have some rebuilding to do. He lost 28 players to the portal but has brought in 29, including LSU linebacker Philip Webb, Oregon RB Seven McGee and a pair of Southern players, DB Joshua Short and PK Luke Jackson. Only 12 remain from the team that went to the Celebration Bowl, but it’s J-State, and the Tigers will always be a tough out.

5. Will Florida A&M make its move in third year of SWAC membership?

Florida A&M is hoping a recent brush with discipline isn’t a harbinger for a disastrous season, but the Rattlers seem primed to make their move after three consecutive nine-win seasons. A full-team suspension for filming an unauthorized rap video in their facility was lifted Monday, and there may be some more penalties to come. That aside, A&M has its quarterback, Jeremy Moussa. The Vanderbilt transfer is back again after throwing for 2,732 yards and 21 TDs last season. He lost his favorite receiver, Xavier Smith, but Moussa is the type of player who makes others better. The Rattlers also lost All-SWAC defensive player Isaiah Land, but talent abounds in Tallahassee. Since joining the SWAC, FAMU is 14-2 against the league, its only losses to Jackson State. The Rattlers get a shot at revenge early in the Orange Blossom Classic on Sept. 3.

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About Mary Weyand 11096 Articles
Mary founded Scoop Tour with an aim to bring relevant and unaltered news to the general public with a specific view point for each story catered by the team. She is a proficient journalist who holds a reputable portfolio with proficiency in content analysis and research. With ample knowledge about the Automobile industry, she also contributes her knowledge for the Automobile section of the website.

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