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5 Teams That Could Take a Step Back

Owen Pappoe Auburn

Owen Pappoe Auburn

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]One team got me thinking of this category and that was North Carolina and Mack Brown. While I love Brown as a coach and what he’s done for the game, the setback last year for the Heels was scary as we all know he’s on the back nine of his coaching career. Is North Carolina in danger of taking a huge step back? Yep. And so are the rest of these teams if they aren’t careful.

SEC:

Auburn

This obvious choice here, especially as LSU has already hit rock bottom so to speak. We all know about the turmoil happening around the Auburn program and Bryan Harsin seems in way over his head. Between the mass exodus of players and coaches and the issues surrounding the team's culture, it's a recipe for disaster. Don't be surprised if the administration is looking for a new head coach within the next nine months and this hire could set them back five years or more.

Big Ten:

Penn State

No one is questioning James Franklin's prowess as a recruiter, but we haven't seen it translate on the field recently. The Nittany Lions are .500 over the last two seasons and have a losing conference record in that timespan. Add in that they're losing their three best players from last year's squad (Rasheed Walker, Jahan Dotson, and Arnold Ebiketie) to the draft and you have to worry a bit. Meanwhile Ohio State continues to be the standard of excellence in the conference, Michigan proved it can win the big one and Michigan State has vaulted over Penn State under Mel Tucker. The Nittany Lions could either surprise everyone this season with Sean Clifford and company or head far backwards.

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ACC:

North Carolina

There's been a serious talent drain in Chapel Hill, especially on the offensive side of the ball where the Tar Heels have lost basically all of their major contributors (save for WR Josh Downs) from their big 2020 season after Sam Howell declared for the draft. The bigger question though is how much longer does Mack Brown want to stick around and try to rebuild the program yet again? He's already 70-years-old, his legacy is set and does he really want to invest the amount of time it's going to take to make the Tar Heels truly competitive again?

Big 12:

TCU

You could make a strong argument here for Iowa State as well, considering how much talent it is losing, but TCU is still my pick. Yes, the Horned Frogs have been in decline for the past couple of seasons but I really think they could bottom out this year. Sonny Dykes was a questionable hire at best and they've lost a lot of talent on both sides of the ball, most notably Zach Evans. The last few seasons of the Gary Patterson era were definitely not vintage years but with all of these factors, I expect this team to fall even further over the next couple of years.

Pac-12:

Arizona State

Similar to Auburn, there have been a lot of issues going on behind the scenes in Tempe. But Herm Edwards has managed to keep the ship afloat so far. However, losing both Jayden Daniels and DeaMonte Traynanum to the portal is a massive blow for the offense and there aren't necessarily the guys in place behind them to pick up the pieces and compete in the Pac-12 South. With Utah's continued success, UCLA's resurgence, and the arrival of Lincoln Riley and his cadre of Oklahoma players at USC, things could get ugly for the Sun Devils.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]