The newspaper released its post-spring rankings on Tuesday, slotting FAU at No. 17. That’s up four spots from the No. 21 ranking the Owls held before spring practices.
“Lane Kiffin plus offense plus Twitter equals what should be another fun year for FAU,” USA Today wrote as the reasoning for the No. 17 ranking.
USA Today did not provide the reasoning behind the four-spot boost.
“The Owls get another full spring, summer and fall camp to delve even deeper into Kiffin’s offense, which should worry the rest of Conference USA,” the paper wrote as FAU’s best asset.
FAU scorched Conference USA last season with an undefeated conference run to its first C-USA championship. FAU claimed the Boca Raton Bowl trophy to cap the season, giving the Owls 10 consecutive wins entering the offseason.
Curiously, USA Today elected not to include Devin Singletary as FAU’s best asset. The rising junior led the nation with 32 rushing touchdowns en route to a program record 1,920 yards. Perhaps that’s because the newspaper views FAU as more than a one-dimensional team.
If spring practice showed anything, it was that first-year defensive coordinator Tony Pecoraro’s unit is well ahead of the offensive side of the ball. Of course, that was also the case last spring but the offense found traction a couple games into the season and proved nearly unstoppable.
USA Today also elected to overlook that FAU’s quarterback position remains unsettled. Oklahoma transfer Chris Robison, a redshirt freshman, outplayed former Florida St. quarterback De’Andre Johnson, a redshirt junior, in the spring game, but not by a wide enough margin that Kiffin was willing to declare Robison the starter.
As he continues his recovery from blood clots in his right arm, Johnson estimated following the spring game that his throwing arm only possessed about 80 percent of the strength it had prior to the issue. He projected all the zip on his passes would return by the start of fall camp.
USA Today kept Clemson in the top spot and Alabama at No. 2 in its post-spring poll. At No. 10, Miami is the only other Florida school in USA Today’s Top 25 ranking. FAU is the only Conference USA team to make the rankings.
As important as a Top 25-ranking would be for FAU to begin the season – undefeated UCF likely would have qualified for the NCAA Playoffs had the Knights started last season ranked and continued to move forward with each win – it should be noted that this USA Today ranking will have little bearing on the first USA Today ranking of the 2018 season.
USA Today college football writer Paul Myerberg created this ranking. During the season, USA Today conducts and publishes the more esteemed football coaches’ poll, which along with the AP writers’ poll, comprise the two most prestigious polls.