I trusted Troy in the late 2000s. I trusted Larry Blakeney and his roster to deliver seven, eight, or nine wins on a yearly basis regardless of departures or perceived holes. The trust evaporated in Blakeney's final years but returned after Neal Brown's sensational 2016 season, his second as head coach. And, once again, the trust is gone after a rocky first season for head coach Chip Lindsey.
The individual pieces are omnipresent for a return to bowl eligibility and flirtation for second place in the Sun Belt East. Without any glaring issues on Lindsey and Ryan Pugh's offense and 71 percent of production returning on defense, including junior linebacker Carlton Martial, on paper, Troy should be good. Unfortunately, I don't trust defensive coordinator Brandon Hall after a total collapse in 2019, and I don't trust the Trojans to avoid playing down to less talented teams, as they did against Coastal Carolina and Georgia State last year.
It's staggering the defense was so helpless given they had decent pressure and opportunity numbers, including a 7-percent sack rate, 3-percent interception rate, and 1.5 takeaways per game. When Troy wasn't forcing mistakes, they couldn't stop anyone, allowing 6.3 yards per play (5.7 in 2019), 0.498 points per play (0.321 in 2019), and a 47.5-percent conversion rate on third downs (39.9 in 2019).
Similarly to UNLV, I wish Troy, ranked 109th in the HERO Sports Preseason College Football Rankings, was better equipped to handle a fun non-conference schedule. The NC State game, one of the best novelty games in the country this year, is a rare home Power Five game for the Trojans and the Sun Belt and would be a hell of a lot more fun with a more consistent team.
|Sept. 5||vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff||Win (1-0)|
|Sept. 12||at UMass||Win (2-0)|
|Sept. 19||vs. NC State||Loss (2-1)|
|Oct. 3||at South Alabama||Win (2-2)|
|Oct. 8||vs. Texas State||Win (3-2)|
|Oct. 17||vs. UL Monroe||Win (4-2)|
|Oct. 24||vs. Georgia State||Win (5-2)|
|Oct. 31||at Arkansas State||Loss (5-3)|
|Nov. 7||at Georgia Southern||Loss (5-4)|
|Nov. 14||vs. Coastal Carolina||Win (6-4)|
|Nov. 21||at Troy||Loss (6-5)|
|Nov. 28||at App State||Loss (6-6)|