After starting the season 1-1, UAB faces a huge game at home against Coastal Carolina this weekend, which could define the season.
I hate to get all dramatic two games into a season, but this weekend’s game against Coastal Carolina could define 2017 for UAB.
Even though I still think we could have beaten Ball State and been 2-0, a lot of people thought that might be a loss coming into the season. But I think most of us who had UAB winning five or six games this year had Coastal Carolina as a win.
That’s why this weekend’s game at home against the Chanticleers is vital for this 2017 team. If they can’t beat one of the worst teams in the worst conference, then you have to redefine your expectations for 2017.
To be fair, I don’t agree with the notion that Coastal Carolina is one of the worst teams in the Sun Belt. By the end of the season I think they’ll probably be ranked in the upper half of that conference. CBS Sports currently has them ranked as the 96th best team in the country — 24 spots ahead of where they have UAB ranked.
But the fact remains, if UAB wants to be taken seriously in 2017, they have to win a game like this at home. If they can beat Coastal Carolina, as I think they will, that should put the rest of college football on notice that this team is capable of winning every game they play.
UAB had a chance to do that last weekend on the road against Ball State, but they have another chance here against Coastal.
Here are the rankings according to that CBS poll for every team left on UAB’s schedule:
North Texas – 108
La Tech – 78
Middle Tennessee – 63
Charlotte – 127
Southern Miss – 75
Rice – 107
UTSA – 53
Florida – 31
UTEP – 129
If UAB can’t beat Coastal Carolina this weekend, that schedule starts to look a lot tougher for the Blazers the rest of the way. Plus, a loss adds even more pressure on them as they head on the road to North Texas for their first conference game in what should be a winnable game.
I think fans, the team, and college football as a whole will have a lot more confidence in this team with a win on Saturday.
Calling game three of a season — even a 12-game football season — a must-win is not fair to a team that hasn’t played in two years, but a win would certainly go a long way.
We do have to keep in mind that these guys have two games under their belt together and will get better as the season goes on, but you hate to see them waste opportunities to win these winnable games.
If UAB can win this weekend then I think we’re still looking at a team that can win five, six or even seven games this year. But if they lose, it gets a lot harder to find those wins the rest of the way.
Again, this team is still learning to play together and I don’t think a loss in the third game of the year will doom their season, but a win in this situation would be huge.
If you’ve read my preview this week then you know I think UAB will win this game, and should win fairly easily, which I think puts them right back on track to make a bowl game this year.
At least Sports Illustrated still believes in this team as they have us making the R + L Carriers New Orleans Bowl.
At this point I still think UAB beats Coastal, North Texas, Charlotte, Rice and UTEP, which would give them six wins. There isn’t much room for error, which is why this weekend’s game is so important if you thought UAB was going to be a bowl team this year.
Regardless, I’m still just excited that we get to watch UAB football and discuss these things. And hopefully we can all breathe a big sigh of relief after a UAB win on Saturday.