Central Arkansas Bears
Location: Conway, AR
Coach: Nathan Brown (0-0) 1st Year at Central Arkansas
Stadium: Estes Stadium (Capacity: 10,000)
124th: Division I
2017 In A Sentence: For the second straight season, Central Arkansas made the FCS playoffs under head coach Steve Campbell, but after the season Campbell left the Bear program to take over the reins at South Alabama.
Biggest Shoes to Fill: The Bears wave goodbye to QB Hayden Hildebrand, the 2017 Southland Offensive Player of the year. UCA fans will miss the consistency he brought the position, completing 2/3rds of his passes for 3,129 yards and 29 TDs, averaging more than 260 yards per game.
Key Player: All eyes will be on the offense, but the guys that will be carrying the Bears through the early going are DE Chris Terrell and DT Eric Jackson, two Floridians that have wreaked havoc on Southland offenses last year, combining for 38 1/2 tackles for loss and an amazing 22 sacks. The defense will need to continue their consistency as the offense under a new quarterback finds its way.
Fearless Prediction: The Bears have too much talent to fall very far in the Southland race, but so much rides on their new quarterback and new head coach, Nathan Brown. Two early September tests with Southeastern Louisiana and Sam Houston State may determine the trajectory of the Bears season.