North Dakota State returns 18 starters from a team that has won 28 of 30 games the last two years and claimed back-to-back Football Championship Subdivision titles.
Coach Craig Bohl started this year’s campaign with a history lesson.
Elon is 0-5 in their previous five FBS contests, with the closest result coming in a 41-27 defeat at the hands of Duke University in 2010.
Unlike the National Football League, college football does not have preseason games. There are no exhibitions to get game experience without worrying about a win-loss record. However, the setup of NCAA Division I football permits the next best thing for big-name teams.
The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga ran 763 plays on offense last football season. Quarterback Jacob Huesman ran the ball, threw it or caught it on 459 of them. Terrell Robinson, the Mocs’ other run-throw-catch triple threat, was involved in 136 plays.
When the 25th-ranked Mocs open their season Thursday against UT-Martin at Finley Stadium, those two again will be heavily involved in making the offense go. But they should have a lot more help under new offensive coordinator Jeff Durden.
Winning isn’t always everything. For McNeese State, winning this weekend’s season opener isn’t expected but it sure would be a plus.
Like last year, the Cowboys will begin this campaign with a game against a Football Bowl Subdivision foe. McNeese will travel to Tampa where it will play South Florida Saturday evening, one year after opening with a victory over Middle Tennessee State.
Nov. 18, 2012 will not be remembered fondly by Rob Ambrose. That was the day the Towson football coach’s worst fears were confirmed when the NCAA selection committee did not invite the program to the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs despite the Tigers finishing with a 7-4 record and a share of the Colonial Athletic Association title.
Limited tickets for the 2014 NCAA Division I Football Championship game go on sale Wednesday.
Penn football coach Al Bagnoli would rather not have his team be the favorite to win the Ivy League this season. The 22-year veteran of the Franklin Field sidelines doesn’t like the increased spotlight or expectations, and he has enough of both to deal with already.
But if a place atop the preseason poll comes with fifth-year senior starters at quarterback and running back, as well as a new generation of leaders on defense, he’ll bear the burden.
By any measure, Dustin Wharton’s sophomore season with the Georgetown football team in 2011 was a resounding success. The former safety seamlessly moved to linebacker, flourished with 104 tackles, the third-most in the Patriot League, and was voted all-conference.
One season later, in 2012, Coach Kevin Kelly and defensive coordinator Rob Sgarlata figured they could extract even more from Wharton given his rare combination of strength and speed at the FCS level. Not only had he set teen division world records in several power-lifting events before his sophomore season, but Wharton also ran the 40-yard dash in 4.5 seconds.
University of Maine football coach Jack Cosgrove quipped that it was getting “a little bit lonely” up in the north during football season in the Football Championship Subdivision.
But Cosgrove and University of New Hampshire football coach Sean McDonnell both expressed their pleasure with the addition of New York schools Stony Brook and Albany to the Colonial Athletic Association. They start league play beginning this fall, while the University of Rhode Island subsequently decided to remain in the conference.
The schedule. It’s the biggest ally this fall for a VMI football program that has won only nine of 44 games the past four years.
A menu that includes home dates with a pair of Division II schools — Glenville State and North Greenville — and a pair of eminently winnable home games against fellow FCS foes Robert Morris and Bucknell has the Keydets flowing with optimism heading into their final season in the Big South.
Certainly, the Big South has been nothing but big trouble for VMI football. Since joining the league in 2003, the Keydets are 11-38 in conference play.
That said, VMI would like to deliver a parting shot or two before packing up and filing to the Southern Conference next summer.
Coming off a disappointing 2-9 season in 2012, the Weber State Wildcats’ football program is trying to make the leap back to being one of the top teams in the Big Sky Conference.
In 2008, former head coach Ron McBride led the Wildcats to a 10-4 overall record, a 7-1 record in conference play, which is the best single-season record in school history, and a first-round playoff victory.
Since McBride’s departure from the ’Cats in 2011, Weber State has amassed just a 7-15 record overall and has failed to even qualify for the playoffs.
At one point earlier this summer, Tennessee State University football coach Rod Reed moved his team’s practice to the TSU indoor facility and asked the building manager to turn off the air conditioning to make it hot.
With early-season games scheduled in locales like Memphis and Tallahassee, Fla., Reed knew the Tigers would be facing some miserably hot weather — and since Mother Nature wasn’t providing the proper conditions for his team to prepare, he decided to take matters into his own hands.
As the face of Northern Arizona football entering 2013, Zach Bauman is learning to match his attitude to that of his team. So far this fall, that hasn’t been difficult.
Consider: last season NAU went 8-3, won eight consecutive games for the first time since 1958 and beat a Football Bowl Subdivision opponent for the first time since 1987. Still, the Lumberjacks missed the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs after losing their final two games.
James Madison’s football team, ranked 15th in the FCS Coaches Poll, kicks off its season at home on Saturday, August 31 against Central Connecticut State. The Dukes are coming off a 7-4 season where they finished 5-3 in the Colonial Athletic Association, but as always, winning the national title is the goal.
As it usually is with most teams, there are concerns, but if some young kids can quickly find a contributing role to go with the senior stars, it could be a special season in Harrisonburg.
This summer, Samford junior safety Jaquiski Tartt had to get off Twitter.
He kept seeing the attention that goes along with the star-studded season he had. Every time a preseason All-America, all-conference or watch list for defensive backs came out, the Mobile native was on it. Instead of continuing to notice and let it get to his head, Tartt looked the other direction.