Central Arkansas (5-4) is a familiar foe to the Texas Four after sharing the Southland Conference with them since moving up to D-I in 2007.
The Bears won SLC championships in 2017 and 2019.
Having played last fall, but not in the spring, the Bears return 20 starters, and they also get back some former starters from injuries.
Quarterback Breylin Smith has one of the best wide receiver duos in the FCS with Tyler Hudson (50 receptions, 845 yards, 7 TDs) and Lujuan Winningham (37 receptions, 522 yards, 12 TDs). The strength of the defense is a veteran D-line, led by defensive end Logan Jessup; linebacker Dre Matthews devours the leftovers. The outstanding special teams cannot be overlooked, either.
WR Tyler Hudson: Posted more than 1,800 yards and 20 touchdowns in his first two seasons.
QB Breylin Smith: Completed 56% of his passes for 1,861 yards, 19 TDs and 10 interceptions.
WR Lujuan Winningham: Had 33 receptions for 429 yards and nine touchdowns last fall.
Key Game: September 25 vs. Sam Houston
Worst Case: Central Arkansas starts slow out of the gate and get punished by Arkansas State, Missouri State, and Sam, putting them 1-3 going into most of their conference play and putting them behind the 8 ball all year.
Best Case: The experience from playing last fall pays off with a major upset of Arkansas State, Missouri State and/or Sam, and the Bears carry that momentum all the way to the Challenge title and the FCS Playoffs.
Rob Butler is a lifelong Texas A&M football fan – his family is full of A&M graduates. He graduated from Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas with two degrees – a BBA in Finance and an MBA. His hobbies include jogging and reading books pertaining to college football.