Jacksonville St Gamecocks 2023 College Football Preview
June 10, 2023
Record – 9-2 (FCS)
ATS – N/A (FCS)
“Welcome to the Goodie Room.” <Rob Slolom; played by Bill Hader> <Tropic Thunder, 2008>
The Jacksonville St Gamecocks arrive in the BIG TIME this season after transferring from the ASUN Conference (FCS). They posted an impressive mark of 9-2 last year and won eight of those games by 16 points or more. They got their teeth kicked in when they played an FBS foe (Tulsa, L 54-17) so it’ll be interesting to see how quickly they adapt to the rise in class to C-USA. Thankfully, they have a veteran HC in Rich Rodriguez leading the way, so there’s definitely reason for optimism. Let’s go!
Jacksonville St Gamecocks 2023 Outlook
The COCKS did most of their damage on the ground last season (138 first downs rushing, 70 passing) and there’s no doubt that’ll be their preferred mode of travel in 2023. RICH ROD loves to run the football and they bring back a formidable RB duo in Anwar Lewis and Ron Wiggins who combined for over 1200 yards and 12 TDs in 2022. They also add a SPICY transfer from ULM (Mailk Jackson) and note that these guys will be running behind an OL that returns four starters. The THROW GAME is the major concern on offense given the loss of starting QB Zion Webb but the Jaguars managed to land QB Logan Smothers via transfer from Nebraska. We’ll keep tabs on how things look over the summer months and we’re at least mildly intrigued. The WR unit doesn’t look like anything special but it’s hard to say how things will turn out at this point. Don’t sleep on TE Sean Brown who averaged 18 YPC LY whilst finishing 2nd on the team in receiving yards.
We’re pretty sure that the offense will be able to do some damage, particularly vs the bottom-feeders of C-USA, but the defense is almost certainly going to struggle over the course of the season. It’s good to see that they boast an experienced line that includes a pair of DEs (J-ROCK Swain, Chris Hardie) that combined to register 10.5 sacks and 24 TFL in 2022. We’re not crazy about the LB unit on paper but at least the secondary has a pair of legit pieces in NB Kolbi Fuqua and aptly-named safety Austin Ambush. They don’t have a ton of size or depth in the stop unit so it’ll probably be up to the offense to carry the load this season.
The kicking game looks set with the return of PK Alen Karajic (13/16 FG LY) and punter Jack Dawson (42.1). We don’t expect much from the return units but you never know.
Overall – Ya, they’re moving up to FBS, but it’s not like the remodeled C-USA is the SEC West. There are a number of winnable games on the docket and only a few guaranteed massacres.
Potential ATS Trouble Spot – at New Mexico St (Nov 25)
This will be their 3rd road game in four to end the season and they’ll have to travel to the cool weather and the remote outpost located in Las Cruces. It’s possible that they’ve been worn down by this point so we can’t see ourselves backing the road team in this spot.
Season Win Total
Market consensus, June 10 <wide variety of prices in the market>
Over 4.5 +115
Under 4.5 -135
It’s hard to know how these guys will adjust to FBS play and their depth is certainly a concern. There’s enough talent on the roster to make us consider an ‘over’ but we’ll take a pass for now.
Win a bar bet with this tasty TRIVIA NUGGET. Jacksonville St is in ALABAMA and not in Florida.
Don’t underestimate the ability of Jacksonville St to dominate the CORNHOLE circuit. Two students took down the 2018 College Cornhole Doubles Championship. “It was a tight fit, but we jammed it in more often than not”, said one proud team member.
We cannot tell a lie. This team feels like a SURPRISE PACKAGE, particularly early in the season whilst the energy is high and the depth hasn’t been tested. It’s hard to call for more than four or five wins so we’ll focus on backing them on a week-to-week basis, as opposed to taking a stand on the season win total. GOOD LUCK, GAMECOCKS!