Greg McElroy identified three college football programs poised for “significant improvement” in 2022.
On ESPN’s Always College Football podcast, the analyst tabbed Tennessee, Louisville, and Nebraska as teams on the rise. Yet he noted some obstacles each school must overcome.
Although concerned about their ineffective third-down defense, McElroy likes the Volunteers’ chances of securing consecutive winning seasons for the first time since 2015 and 2016.
He praised their “stout” group of wide receivers and believes the defense can replace important departing players such as defensive lineman Matthew Butler, whom he called one of last season’s “unsung heroes.”
Next up, he tagged Louisville as a team that’s building recruiting momentum. He said the Cardinals must “learn how to finish,” pointing to three winnable games they squandered last season.
McElroy highlighted defensive tackle Jermayne Lole, a transfer from Arizona State, as a major difference-maker for Lousiville’s defense in 2022.
Finally, he sees Nebraska improving in Scott Frost’s fifth season as head coach. As McElroy noted, he’s not alone.
“I think this team is poised after what they did last year to take a step forward,” McElroy said. “This team felt better than 3-9 last year and Vegas already has their win total at 7.5, so what does that tell you? It tells you that Vegas clearly thinks they’re going to be pretty good or at least quite a bit better, so I am bullish on Nebraska.”
Texas transfer Casey Thompson could ignite the Cornhuskers’ offense, but McElroy said the offensive line remains “a huge question mark.” He’s also not sure if Thompson is a significant enough upgrade over Adrian Martinez to turn the tides.
Will these teams enjoy more success in 2022?