Rhode Island has reason to be optimistic heading into the 2011 season. Despite finishing 5-6 (4-4 CAA) last season, the Rams return a veteran group of players on offense, including a solid offensive line, and weapons across the running back and wide receiver position. Although the defense has been decimated by graduation, Rams head coach Joe Trainer has a talented group of players ready to contribute.
Wake Forest is coming off a brutal season, as the Demon Deacons lost nine in a row at one point, finishing the season 3-9, including 1-7 in the ACC. Seven times, Wake Forest allowed 30 points or more, as it finished 110th in the NCAA in points against (35.8). Worse yet, the offense struggled, scoring just 22.8 points per game. But there is optimism in Winston-Salem heading into the upcoming season, with a maturing nucleus of stars.
Syracuse enjoyed one of its best years in recent memory on defense, as the Orange held opponents to 19.3 points a game, good with 17th in the NCAA. But much of that unit from last year is gone, as the Orange will have to replace more than half of its starters. Still, Marrone has some experience to work with.