Can Don Brown make UMass football competitive this season?

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STATESBORO, GA – OCTOBER 17: Cam Roberson #23 of the University of Massachusetts Minutemen moves the ball against the Georgia Southern Eagles on October 17, 2020, at Allen E. Paulson Stadium in Statesboro, Georgia. (Photo by Chris Thelen/Getty Images)

Can UMass get close to .500 this season?

The Minutemen need the quarterback to click this season. Merriweather is an excellent offensive piece, but his solid play would be in vain if they can’t figure out QB1. The defense only improves if the transfers play at or above their ceiling. You will see a different product on the field for UMass football, maybe not in the win column.

Game 1: at Tulane (W)- One of three pillow fights for the Minutemen. They get halfway to doubling their win total from last season with a win behind a big game from Merriweather.
Game 2: at Toledo (L)- Coach Brown experiences his first blowout to MAC title contender Toledo at the Glass Bowl.
Game 3: vs Stony Brook (W)- UMass’ home opener against FCS Stony Brook. Cool mascot (The Seawolves, FYI) but not a good team.
Game 4: at Temple (L)- This is a toss-up game. This game comes down to how well UMass plays quarterback. If they are struggling, they lose.
Game 5: at Eastern Michigan (L)- Playing four road games in five weeks catches up with UMass, and they go down on the steel gray field in Ypsilanti.
Game 6: vs Liberty (L)- The Flames begin the post-Malik Willis era but have the better roster.
Game 7: vs. Buffalo (W)- If the transfers for the Minutemen are playing well, this is their upset game.
Game 8: vs New Mexico State (W)- The Aggies could be the only team in FBS worse than UMass. Minutemen win here.
Game 9: at UConn (W)- Okay, New Mexico State might not be the only team in FBS worse than UMass. Two straight against UConn.
Game 10: at Arkansas State (L)- The Redwolves find themselves in a rebound season in year two under Butch Jones. UMass loses a close one.
Game 11: at Texas A&M (L)- The Minutemen take the check and enjoy the experience of playing in a stadium 90% larger than their home field. Maybe they keep the Aggies under 60.
Game 12:  vs. Army (L)- UMass doesn’t have the depth to throw at Army’s option. Minutemen fall in its home finale.

Prediction: 5-7

This record seems like a fool’s hope of a first season under new head coach Don Brown. However, coach Brown will reset the culture, and UMass will look better. The schedule shakes out well for UMass. They play three 10-loss teams this season, and UMass beat UConn last season. Stony Brook is an average FCS program.

UMass’ transfers should be enough to out-talent the Seawolves. Temple was 3-9 and not looking any better, and Buffalo was 4-8. Both of those games are toss-ups. UMass’ season will come down to how well the transfers and the quarterback play.

 

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