Location: Long Beach, CA
Conference: Big West
Last Year’s Record: 15-15
Why they’ll make it: After finishing in a tie for second last season, the 49ers are looking to take that next step. With three of their top four scorers returning, including sophomores Larry Anderson and T.J. Robinson, they are far and away the most talented team in the conference. Couple that with one of the best recruiting classes among mid-majors and this looks like it’ll be a banner season for the 49ers in the Big West.
Why they won’t make it: With seven underclassmen and two junior college transfers, this is a very young team. Normally, quality mid-majors are experienced teams, but that’s not the case here. Stephan Gilling is still there, but this team will rely heavily on sophomores and freshmen. They’re talented, but they haven’t proven themselves on this level. If there’s a chink in the armor for the 49ers, it’s youth.