Mercer was close, so close, several times in its first Southern Conference season, but the Bears ended up with a 1-6 conference record.
Mercer should get a boost by this year’s freshman class and the six players who redshirted last year, along with continued work in the weight room from the returning players to get bigger and stronger.
Let’s take a look, yep in July, at a game-by-game prediction for the Bears’ season.
Sept. 5 at Austin Peay: The Governors went 1-11 in 2014 and gave up more than 40 points eight times. ... W.
Sept. 12 vs. Stetson: The Hatters and Bears will meet for the third straight year. The Bears have won the first two by a combined score of 90-14. ... W.
Sept. 19 at Tennessee Tech: The Golden Eagles have finished 5-7 each of the past two seasons. ... W.
Oct. 3 vs. Wofford: This was the one conference game last year that wasn’t close for the Bears as they were outclassed by the Terriers in the season finale. The Terriers lost a lot from last season’s team to graduation. ... W.
Oct. 10 at Western Carolina: The Catamounts won more games last year (seven) than they did in the four seasons previous seasons combined (six). ... L.
Oct. 17 vs. East Tennessee State: The Bucs are working their way back to the Southern Conference, but this won’t count as a conference game in their first year of play. ... W.
Oct. 24 vs. VMI: The Bears got their lone conference win last year at VMI and will make it 2-for-2. ... W.
Oct. 31 at The Citadel: Probably the most disappointing loss of 2014 came in a 28-26 defeat to The Citadel. Mark this one up as a revenge game. ... W.
Nov. 7 vs. Chattanooga: The Mocs were the class of the conference last year and only beat the Bears by seven. But Chattanooga looks like the class of the conference once again. ... L.
Nov. 14 at Furman: The Paladins lost nine of their final 10 games last year after edging the Bears. Another revenge game for Mercer. ... W.
Nov. 21 vs. Samford: Macon native Chris Hatcher has stepped into a terrific situation with the Bulldogs after Pat Sullivan stepped down. Usually, new head coaches don’t land with good teams, but he has done just that. There will be a large Samford/Hatcher contingent at Five Star Stadium for the season finale. ... L.
Final record: 8-3, 4-3.