The Biggest Question Facing Every Team in Season 18

Ryan Moreland · August 22, 2023


By: Ryan Moreland (@ryanmoreland)

All across the country teams are gearing up for the start of the CFSL season. Coaches are fine-tuning gameplans and players are getting in their last-minute workouts to prepare for a successful season. During those moments the questions linger in the back of their minds. So what is the most pressing question facing your team? Let’s dive in.


What does Alabama have to do to win in the postseason?

Few teams have been as consistently good as Alabama. They have the best all-time winning percentage of any team with over 100 games under their belt. However, postseason success has eluded the Crimson Tide. Alabama has yet to play in a National Championship game, let alone win one. They are coming off a fantastic season last year and have done well to rebuild their roster in the offseason. Could this year be the year that Alabama makes a deep playoff run?


Can the Tigers get back to the way things were?

If you are newer to the CFSL you might think of Auburn as a middle-of-the-pack team. However, historically, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Only Notre Dame has made more title game appearances than the Tigers. AD Cole Mantell now enters his third season as the head man at Auburn. Can he be the guy that gets Auburn back to its winning ways?

Boise State

Toledo QB McKade Alber released the pass for a touchdown.

Have the Broncos finally found stability at quarterback?

Boise State is only two seasons removed from a National Championship appearance. However, there has been consistent turnover in key positions since then. This will be the third straight season that Boise State will be starting a new signal caller. This year they went and got McKade Alber in the portal. Alber is coming off a career season that was good enough to earn him the Offensive Player of the Year award. How long will Alber call Idaho home?

Bowling Green

Can Bowling Green win the MAC?

This may seem simple, but Bowling Green has been the most consistently good MAC team since they returned, but they haven’t won the conference since Season 9. Bowling Green finished second to Eastern Michigan following Season 16. Then they looked like the team to beat all season long last year before falling to NIU and Toledo late in the season. Can they jump this final hurdle?


Did Clemson do enough in the offseason?

Clemson had an interesting year last year. Yes, they did go 4-4 on the season, but their only win over a playoff team was beating Northern Illinois in the season opener. Even with that, coming into the season it felt like Clemson wasn’t too far away from something special. However, the Tigers have had kind of a quiet off-season. Is this enough to push Clemson into the playoffs?

Eastern Michigan

Can the Eagles live up to the hype?

This offseason the Eagles have put together one of the best recruiting classes in the history of the MAC. This has led many to call them the team to beat in the CFSL’s third conference. The hype is real in Ypsilanti. Now, can reach the lofty expectations the league has put on them?


Florida WR JT Cass Jr celebrated in the endzone after the touchdown.

Can the Gators build off of last year?

A season ago the Florida Gators were the team that shocked the nation. Coming off a ho-hum Season 16 expectations were low (even after a stellar offseason). In Season 17, Florida proved they belong in the contenders’ category. Rebuilding a program is one thing. Maintaining that success is another. Can Vennom and company build on their success last year and be a contender yet again?

Florida State

How far can Zeus Claydon take the Seminoles?

Great defense? Check. Weapons all over the offense? Check. The quarterback to lead them to greatness? We will see. This Florida State roster (on paper) looks like one of the very best in the CFSL, but the big question is just how good their freshman quarterback can be. The CFSL has seen freshman QBs have stellar runs. Will Claydon be the next great young QB or will he be the anchor that holds the Seminoles back?


Georgia LB Kirby Sierra broke on the outside to make the pick and return for six.

What does life after Kirby Sierra look like?

The Bulldogs lost Kirby Sierra in the portal and if you have been around the last two seasons, you know just how big of a loss this is. Sierra had over 100 tackles in each season with the Bulldogs. Now, Georgia did have MLB Colt Lawerence already on the squad, but can he will the massive shoes left empty in the heart of his defense?


Can the Illini get over the hump?

Illinois came into the league in Season 15 and it has been a bumpy ride for them ever since. They have gone 11-16 over that time and have yet to post a winning record. However, things are changing in Champaign. Illinois filled the few spots they needed to and look poised for a breakout season. Could this be the year that Illinois puts pressure on the top teams?

Kent State

Is Recca the guy that can right the ship?

The return of the MAC has been an exciting time in the CFSL. The return of Kent State, however, has been mediocre. The Golden Flashes have won a total of four games in the last two seasons and have finished fifth in the MAC both times. Enter Ryan Recca. The new head coach will look to bring this program back into contention in the MAC (and maybe even further). Just how good can this new coach be?


Kentucky WR BrySon Homan caught the ball at the back of the endzone for the score.

Does Kentucky have what it takes to compete with the best?

The Wildcats had a bit of a championship hangover last season. In all fairness, they had a brutally hard schedule. However, they also struggled against teams everyone expected them to beat. As the season wore on the Cats did get better. They got into the playoffs and beat UNC before losing to Oklahoma State for the second time that year. So can Kentucky get back to what made them unbeatable in Season 16 or are they just the best second-tier team in the CFSL?


Can Miami make the final step?

The Hurricanes have been at the cusp of greatness for the last few seasons. There is no question that they have been one of the best teams in the league, but they just haven’t been able to win late in the postseason. Could this be the year Miami takes the next step or could the championship window possibly be closing?


Michigan CB Tyler Scally stepped up to make the one-handed interception.

Is this finally the year?

No team in the CFSL has more wins without having a CFSL National Championship than Michigan. This historic program has been great but doesn’t have much history of greatness in the postseason. That is, until last season. The Wolverines were one game away from their first National Championship. However, the team’s first trip to the natty left them wanting. Now can they get back and claim their first title?

North Carolina

Is North Carolina a contender?

Last season was a breakout year for the Tar Heels. Sure, the season didn’t end the way they wanted it to, but they finished great. The only teams that bettered them in the SEC standings were Alabama, Miami, Florida, and Florida State. This could also be known as the SEC contenders. North Carolina was just (and I mean just) outside of that group. Can this year be the year they cement themselves in the SEC contender category?

Northern Illinois

Northern Illinois HB Dustin Roller threw a stiff arm on his way to the endzone.

Can lightning strike twice?

One of (if not the) best stories of last season was the rise of NIU. Many (myself included) had written them off after a slow start. Then they ran through the MAC beating the best the conference had to offer and earned a trip to the playoffs. The Huskies return a lot of key pieces, like QB Terry Olliff and HB Dustin Roller. Can they be the first MAC team to win the conference in back-to-back years?

Notre Dame

What can we expect from Notre Dame under Dustin Hall?

There is a new AD in South Bend and that, of course, will lead to plenty of changes. The Irish pulled in a stacked recruiting class and look poised to make some noise. So can Hall lead them back to their winning ways or will the new challenge prove to be too much?


How does Ohio bust out of the middle of the MAC?

The Bobcats have had plenty of success in the CFSL (just ask Florida). But since the MAC has been reintroduced they have been solid without being great. They have finished 3rd and 4th in the MAC in the last two seasons, respectively. They enter this season with a new coach, a bunch of new faces, and a renewed vigor to make noise in the MAC (and perhaps beyond). Their Week One match-up against Ohio State is a must-watch. How far can this team go?

Ohio State

Ohio State FB Corbin Archer punched the ball into the endzone.

Was last year a one-off or a trend for the future in Columbus?

Ohio State is one of the few schools that have played in every CFSL season. Last season they went 2-6, which is the second-worst season they have ever had. Now, the Buckeyes have been a historically great team, but now and then they have an off-year. Normally, those seasons tend to be followed up by the Buckeyes getting quickly back to dominance. Is that going to be the same or could this down spell linger?


Can Vinny Mixon get the Sooners a conference title?

There is a new sheriff in Norman and he is looking to do what no Oklahoma AD has ever done; win a conference title. Now this might come as quite a shock if you didn’t know. The Sooners came into the CFSL in Season 10 and have been competitive in basically every season since (let’s ignore triple option year). Yet, they have to win a conference title. Oklahoma did well to bring in talented, new players after the switch at AD. Can they now make a run for the B1G?

Oklahoma State

Can the Cowboys keep the dynasty alive?

Oklahoma State has had one of the best runs of any team in CFSL history. They are the first team in CFSL history to make three straight title game appearances and won two of those. The Pokes entered this offseason after losing some fantastic players in key positions. They have filled those holes, but will it be enough? Can they possibly get back to the National Championship?


Oregon WR Phillip Allen made the open grab on the outside for the deep touchdown.

Can Oregon land enough late recruits to spark a decent season?

Look, I am not going to talk trash on this team. They had a rough season last year and as of right now, they have a small roster. Not saying it lacks talent, but it lacks depth. That is a serious issue that I know the staff in Eugene are working hard to correct. Can they get it done?


When will we see the breakout season?

Whether it is good, bad, or indifferent, Pittsburgh will likely always be compared with the teams they came into the CFSL with (Illinois, UNC, and Georgia). The Tar Heels are fresh off a breakout season. Georgia has kind of had two different breakout seasons (depending on how you look at it). Illinois feels like they are on the brink of their breakout season. So, when will we see the Panthers have theirs? Some think this year could be it.


Texas QB Avery Ware released the deep ball to the outside.

Is this the year?

Last season was the year until it wasn’t. And that is the theme of Texas football in the CFSL (and in real life) for the last several seasons. However, (at the risk of sounding like a delusional Longhorns fan) this could be the year. AD Justin Duke is no longer new to leading a Power Two program. He and his team come back this season with more experience and more talent. So, could this really be the year?


Is Sam Dobbins a good replacement for McKade Alber?

Anytime you lose a reigning Offensive Player of the Year a lot of your off-season focus is going to be on replacing him. Well, they became the second straight team to successfully “trade” for Sam Dobbins. Now, I am not throwing shade at Dobbins. He had a fantastic freshman year. However, the so-so sophomore season leaves us with some doubt. Can Dobbins get back to his freshman form and lead this Toledo team to success?

West Virginia

West Virginia WR Cait Graziano mossed the corner for a big gain.

Is the hype deserved?

The hype train has been parked on Morgantown for much of the off-season (and for good reason). The Mountaineers entered the off-season with very few needs. They checked all of those boxes and got a new infusion of talent. But having a good team on paper and winning games are two different things. Can the Mountaineers live up to the hype?


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