2017 Football Preview – C-USA – Hilltoppers
Looking for 2017 Western Kentucky Hilltoppers predictions? The Hilltoppers had a very successful 2016 season. They finished the season with an 11-3 record and first place in the C-USA East division, which gave them a spot in the Conference USA Championship game. In that game they beat Louisina Tech by a final score of 58-44.
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- 2017-18 College Football Preview – Western Kentucky Hilltoppers
- Head Coach: Mike Sanford Jr.
- 2016 Record: 11-3
- Western Kentucky Hilltoppers to win the 2017 FBS Championship: +35000
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But this off season was filled with lots of change for the Hilltoppers. Head Coach Jeff Brohm left for Purdue, and he was replaced by Mike Sanford Jr.
Even though this is Sanford’s first year leading the ship, the expectations are still high. So will the Hilltoppers be able to live up to those expectations?
2017 Western Kentucky Hilltoppers Predictions: Team Strengths
Sustainability at Quarterback: The biggest strength of this team is that their start quarterback from last year is back for his senior year.
Mike White was a star last year for the Hilltoppers. He finished the season averaging over 311 yards thrown for per game and added 37 touchdowns. He also did a really good job of limiting turnovers only throwing seven interceptions on the year.
His stats could have even been better, if the Hilltoppers wouldn’t have blown out so many teams last year. He sat out a few full second halves of games last year, and if he wouldn’t have done that, his stats would have been higher.
The other good thing for him is he won’t have to learn a completely new system. Mike Sanford Jr. was the offensive coordinator last year, so even though he might throw in some new wrinkles now that he is the head coach, most of the plays and how they are called should be the same.
Strong Defense up Front: Last year the strength of the defense was against the rush, and the big boys up front were the reason for that.
They allowed only 97 rushing yards per game, and helped lead a defense that was ranked 41st in the Nation. Although they have lost some of the guys up front from last year, a lot of young guys got a lot of talent playing time last year, especially in blowouts.
That should help them this year in replacing the guys up front who are gone, and although they might not be as good as last year, the defense should be solid and in the top 60 overall in the country.
2017 Western Kentucky Hilltoppers Predictions: Team Weaknesses
Who’s Out Wide?: As good as the quarterback play was last year, the quarterback can only be as good as his receivers, and that could prove to be an issue this year.
Taywan Taylor and Nicholas Norris, who combined for 174 catches for 2,048 yards and 31 touchdowns both graduated, and someone is going to have to step up in that department.
They do have some super fast kick returners who are also receivers, but they haven’t shown much catching the ball yet. So although they have guys who could step up, they still probably won’t be able to make up for all the lost production.
High Expectations: One of the other big things that could turn out to be a weakness for this team is the high expectations that are placed on this team.
Year in and year out this team is expected to win the Conference USA title now, and with a first year head coach leading the ship that is a ton of expectations.
Western Kentucky Hilltoppers Prediction: 11-1
The Western Kentucky does have a bath to a perfect season this year, although it would be quite the challenge. Their power five games are against Illinois and Vanderbilt. Now the Vanderbilt game might be more of a stretch, but I think that the Hilltoppers will be favored against Illinois.
In the conference schedule they should be favored in every game, and I think they will come out on top in everyone of those games. The only loss I see for this team is against Vanderbilt, so they will finish with an 11-1 record and the Champions of the conference once again.
2017 Western Kentucky Hilltoppers Football Schedule
- 9/2/17 7:00 PM ET EKY
- 9/9/17 8:00 PM ET @ILL
- 9/16/17 7:00 PM ET LT
- 9/23/17 7:00 PM ET BALL
- 10/7/17 8:00 PM ET @UTEP
- 10/14/17 4:30 PM ET CHAR
- 10/20/17 TBD @ODU
- 10/28/17 4:30 PM ET FAU
- 11/4/17 TBD @VAN
- 11/11/17 TBD @MRSH
- 11/17/17 9:00 PM ET MTU
- 11/25/17 TBD @FIU
What do you think about our 2017 Western Kentucky Hilltoppers predictions? Please leave us a comment below telling us how you think they’ll do in 2017!
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