Season Predictions from the 4th Street Sports Show Staff


Charlie Luttrell

QB Ty Keyes (#5) getting instruction from Head Coach Will Hall.

Nathan Lee, 4th Street Sports Journalist:

The Will Hall era continues this season with much more excitement and energy than years in the past. The main reason for this is because Southern Miss is starting a new beginning as they just joined the Sun Belt Conference over the summer. This has players and fans eager to see the new competition.

The coaching staff has ex- pressed the major changes in how much healthier they are now compared to last year with some experience on their side. After a 3-9 season last year, the Golden Eagles understand what adversity is and how to handle it better.

Looking towards the season, Southern Miss starts with a highly anticipated matchup against the Liberty Flames on September 3. This game is an immediate test for a team that wants to show what they have improved on over the offseason. I believe Southern Miss will start this season with an impressive, gritty win over the Flames to establish a standard early on. Southern Miss does not get it any easier as they will face a No. 16 ranked Miami Hurricanes the week after. While it would be a historic win, Southern Miss will not get it done in the Sun- shine State.

Southern Miss will then have a stretch of games against Northwestern State, Tulane, Troy, Arkansas State and Texas State. This is where the Golden Eagles will either make or break their season. I believe they can get out of this 5-game stretch with a 3-2 record with key wins over Northwestern State, Troy and Texas State.

Southern Miss then end the season with an even harder 5-game stretch against Louisiana, Georgia State, Coastal Carolina, South Alabama and ULM. I predict that the Eagles will lose three straight games then end the season on a 2-game winning streak heading to a possible bowl bid.

Prediction: 6-6 (4-4)

Jackson Howell, 4th Street Sports Journalist:

Despite going 3-9 in 2021, anticipation around campus for the upcoming football season could not be higher.

Southern Miss appears to have improved tremendously on offense going into the 2022 season, and the defense appears poised to build off of their strong 2021 campaign. While Southern Miss should certainly be a formidable team this sea- son, the question is how do they fare against their opponents?

Week 1’s contest against Liberty is certainly an uphill battle considering the Flames’ recent success. It will be played at The Rock, so Southern Miss will have the home-field advantage. If the Golden Eagles are able to pull off the upset, this could be a huge swing game for the rest of the season. It could be the difference between seven wins and four wins based on momentum.

One benefit of Southern Miss’ schedule is that they face seven teams – five in conference play – that had losing records in 2021. The bad news is that many across college football expect these teams to be much improved. Southern Miss has its most favorable portion of the schedule in a five-week stretch where they face Northwestern State, Tulane,

Troy, Arkansas State and Texas State – all had losing records in 2021. However, they follow that up by facing Louisiana, Georgia State and Coastal Carolina – all with successful seasons in 2021. They host South Alabama, which the Golden Eagles have had no success against in re- cent years, and travel to Louisiana-Monroe to end the season.

The schedule is about highs and lows for the Golden Eagles, and it will be intriguing to watch their first season in Sun Belt play. While their record may not reflect it, Southern Miss should be a strong, competitive team with a chance of going bowling.

Prediction: 5-7 (3-5 SBC)

Austin Lindsey, 4th Street Sports Director:

Though entering year two of the Will Hall era after a lackluster season with tons of injuries and failures on the offensive side of the ball, the frenzy of excitement for the season has increased ten-fold. The enthusiasm for the year is primarily due to Southern Miss joining the Sun Belt Conference over the summer and the great matchups Southern Miss will participate in in the coming future. The Sun Belt offers tons of talent and notable head coaches being respected nationally as a powerhouse on the group of five level. The skill and coaching philosophy step will be a significant adjustment for the Gold- en Eagles. Especially on the offensive end, which struggled mightily last season. Now, Will Hall has given the keys of the offense to Ty Keyes, Redshirt’s Freshman Quarterback. Since the spring, Hall has announced Keyes as the guy, but there is a lot of uncertainty on how the young QB will fare.

In appearing in just four games last season, Keyes got valuable experience. Though it came with many ups and downs, the QB seems ready to take this season by storm. Keyes has made strides through fall camp but has had some setbacks as
a young quarterback. For this season, the biggest question is the offense, will the offensive line protect, will the run game be improved, and will the pass- ing game be a factor? On the offensive line, the Golden Eagles bring back almost the same unit, which finished the season and improved toward the end of it. I think Southern Miss’ offensive line will improve due to the addition of offensive line coach Sam Gregg and his chemistry with ten plus years of experience with Coach Hall. On the other hand, there is the same unit of guys from the previous season. The question is how much they will have improved; I’m unsure of the answer. This season will be one of patience; there will be lows and highs.

Southern Miss could quickly start the season with a win versus Liberty but has to have ball security. There are a lot of scenarios that could play out this season. If off to a hot start against Liberty, this team will go far, but realistically Southern Miss starts the non-conference 2-2 or 1-3. I believe the Gold- en Eagles rattle off three wins on the conference schedule. The Golden Eagles will struggle against Sun Belt powerhouses Louisiana, Coastal Carolina, and Georgia State. In contrast, the rest of the matchups will be toss-ups depending on how the Golden Eagles secure the ball on critical drives. The defense will be the team’s backbone, but the offense has to keep their end of the bargain to keep them off the field.

Season Prediction: (4-8, 2-6)

Dima Mixon, 4th Street Sports Journalist:

Year number two of the Will Hall era presents no easy task for his Golden Eagles. After a crazy offseason, changing conferences and adding multiple SEC transfers to this roster, Hall is poised to get his squad ‘back to greatness’ as he likes. Hall is ready for the challenge with a defense that should be stronger than last season, saying something, and an offense that will at least have a QB, unlike last season. Southern Miss has a lot of challenging games on its schedule after moving to the Sun Belt Conference. Ty Keyes is the presumed starting quarterback for Southern Miss, and he will be joined in the back- field by third-year veteran Frank Gore Jr and a plethora of wide receivers and his disposal.

How much better does the offense have to be for Southern Miss to have a fighting chance to pull out some of these toss-up games? Because the reality is the defense, as in years past, will keep them in games, it will be up to Keyes and the offense to respond. This season I put four games on the for sure/likely loss category (Liberty, Miami, Louisiana, Coastal Carolina.) Five games in the tossup cate- gory (Tulane, Troy, Georgia St, South Alabama, UL-Monroe), Three games in the for sure win category (Arkansas St, Texas St,

Northwestern St.) Can Southern Miss take any of the tossup games? I think that they will get it done against Tulane, South Alabama and UL-Monroe, but drop the Troy and Georgia State games.

Prediction: (6-6, 4-4), a shot at a bowl game but nevertheless a step in the right direction in the Hall era.

Charlie Luttrell, 4th Street Sports Show Producer:

Last season did not go as planned under the first year of Will Hall’s leadership with a 3-9 finish and one of the most bizarre seasons at the quarter- back position, with over ten players attempting a pass for the Golden Eagles.

While the team suffered injuries and inconsistencies at offense, there were good notes to take from the season that Hall and his staff look to build on during Southern Miss’ in- augural season in the Sun Belt Conference.

One of those improvements is looking to maintain stability at quarterback. Freshman Ty Keyes showed promise in his couple of starts last season before suffering a season-end- ing injury and having him
back should be a huge plus for Southern Miss. The Golden Eagles have plenty of weapons at the skill positions and added more this season that shone in fall camp.

If there is any more stability from the QB position, then the offense should see more production than last year, but it will take a lot more than that to compete in the Sun Belt.

Everyone knows receiver Jason Brownlee and running back Frank Gore Jr. can play and their health will be key to the success of this offense. Receiver Jakarius Caston has also emerged as a budding star on the team and will look to garner more targets.

The offensive line allowed 44 sacks last season and their performance this year will determine whether the offense can operate at its full potential.

Defense was certainly the Golden Eagles’ strongest point last season under first-year defensive coordinator Austin Armstrong’s guidance, ranking No. 42 in the nation and No. 2 in first downs defense.

The Golden Eagles have plenty of returning starters on defense, and while the last scrim- mage raised questions about the unit, they showed promise throughout camp.

The question lies if the defense can generate more pressure and convert that into more sacks, in which they ranked to- wards the bottom of the C-USA last season.

That being said, defense can only take you so far. It kept Southern Miss in many games last season, but does not trans- late to winning games when your offense ranked near to the last in the nation in total offense.

Any improvement in offense should lead to a better season, but that is relying on that same top production from last year’s defense.

In a highly competitive conference and tough schedule, it is difficult to say with any ounce of certainty that Southern Miss can put a winning season together right away.

They have pieces and have added more to the equation, but can they figure it out be- fore their stretch of conference games?

Prediction 5-7