The University of Louisville is one of the most successful programs in NCAA history, and it is certainly no surprise that the Cardinals were so successful last season. However, the Cardinals’ recent history of injuries and personnel turnover have led to some questions. Here are 10 college football teams that are poised for a bounce back in 2022:
If the 2021 Huskers have anything to do with it, the upcoming season is all about avoiding a second consecutive losing season. The Huskers are a strong enough team to make the playoffs, but their 2022 defense needs to be better. They’ve lost some talent at the defensive backfield and must improve to reach their full potential. It’s time to move on and focus on the 2022 season, despite the lackluster finish in the current year.
The Huskers’ quarterback situation is far more promising than last year’s, as Casey Thompson, a former Texas quarterback, has agreed to take over for Scott Frost for five games. However, the new offensive coordinator has his work cut out for him. He’ll have to prove that the 2021 season wasn’t a fluke in order to get the job back. As a result, the Huskers’ quarterback situation has become more confusing and uncertain, with no clear leader to guide them.
In addition to returning to the College Football Playoff, several perennial national powers also struggled in 2020, and it’s important for them to prove that they can bounce back in 2021. Penn State, for example, opened with five straight losses, but won four of those games to earn some confidence for 2021. LSU struggled on both offense and defense last season, but did win a game against No. 6 Florida. Minnesota, Arizona State, Wisconsin, and Clemson all finished with mediocre seasons in 2020.
Last season’s season was not so impressive for the Tigers, but they finished with a six-game winning streak, which is the longest streak among ACC teams. The team also had a great freshman quarterback, D.J. Uiagalelei, who replaced Trevor Lawrence in the spring. However, he struggled with injuries and was held to a 55.6 percent completion rate. He was also limited by an ACL tear against North Carolina State, which slowed him down.
A number of teams had great seasons last season, but some were more talented than others. The Washington Huskies, for example, had a disastrous year in 2021. The offense only managed to put up 100 yards per game, with quarterbacks Sam Huard and Dylan Morris failing to complete more than 60 percent of their passes. With both of these players out of the picture, Michael Penix will likely take over as the starting quarterback for the Huskies. The Huskies also must replace six starters, including cornerbacks Kyle Gordon and Trent McDuffie.
Incarnate Word is a strong contender to make a jump in 2022. The Mustangs have an outstanding roster of returning and young players. The offensive line is arguably the most talented, and Taylor Grimes was the FCS’s best receiver last year. The running backs are well-balanced and can move the ball. The defense is solid. The Mustangs are led by junior Ryan Greenhagen, who is on pace to break his single-season tackle record.
Is the Texas Longhorns’ recruiting success helping them regain their reputation? The Texas fans are literally paying players to come to Austin, so if Texas can get these guys, everyone else will follow suit. The long-term benefit for Texas football is that it will force other schools to play the way Texas is playing. The Texas Longhorns are the right team to make that happen.
The Longhorns had a mediocre season last year, finishing 4-8 overall and 0-4 in Big 12 play. They blew a halftime lead to Oklahoma, which kicked off a six-game losing streak. They also lost to the Kansas Jayhawks and had to fight back from the brink of a seven-game skid. While the offense was mired by quarterback inconsistency, the Longhorns’ star running back Bijan Robinson finished with 1,100 yards and 11 touchdowns.