Monday, August 31, 2015

College Football 2015 Week One: Games of the Week

Welcome to the first full week of the 2015 College Football season. Every week, we will take a look at the best possible matchups in the upcoming slate of games, and discuss what their impacts could potentially be for the teams involved in both FBS and FCS football.
Of course, last weekend was the official kickoff of the FCS slate with the amazing FCS Kickoff Classic, where the Montana Grizzlies overcame a 14.5 point spread as the dog and upset four time champ North Dakota State. If this week's slate can even get close to matching that great game, then we're in for quite a ride.
Here are our games of the week:


TCU at Minnesota
Sure, TCU blasted Minnesota in Fort Worth last fall, but the Gophers are a better team heading into the 2015 season, and have a real shot at winning the Big Ten West. That being the case, TCU has to come into Minneapolis and crush the Gophers once again, because the rest of their non-con slate is weak as vanilla pudding.
Our Pick: TCU

Villanova at U Conn
Here is our first real shot at what would be an FCS upset win over an FBS opponent. The Huskies are absolutely one of the worst teams in the country right now, and the Wildcats are an FCS power looking for a title run. Look out for the upset in East Hartford.
Our Pick: Villanova

Western Kentucky at Vanderbilt
Vandy was supposed to clean up on Temple last season in their opener, and the Hilltoppers are a much better football team than Temple was then. Look for WKU to go to the air quicky with 2014 leading passer Brandon Doughty leading the Toppers to an upset over an SEC team on the road and cement their path to a double digit win season.
Our Pick: Western Kentucky

Michigan at Utah
It's the debut of the Jim Harbaugh show at Ann Arbor, but a road opener awaits in hostile Salt Lake City. The Utes handled the Wolverines last season, but we're looking for signs of improvement early on from UM. The Utes should still be clearly favored, but the Wolverines need to make a show of it.
Our Pick: Utah

New Hampshire at San Jose State
UNH is looking to make it Colonial Athletic Association 2, FBS schools 0 in this long road trip to play an undermanned Spartan club. UNH, like Villanova, is a likely playoff contender, and a win here would not be unusual.
Our Pick: New Hampshire

Kennesaw State at East Tennessee State
We are looking at this game from a different perspective other than a landscape changer. Both programs are starting fresh, and will both be playing their first games. This should be an interesting show put on by two infantile programs.
Our Pick: East Tennessee State

North Greenville at Charleston Southern
CSU broke through last fall in a big way, and they could be every bit as good or better in 2015, but they cannot ignore the threat posed by rising D2 power North Greenville, as the Crusaders could rain on the Buccaneers opening parade.
Our Pick: Charleston Southern


Michigan State at Western Michigan
It would be very easy for the Spartans to go on the road and look past the Broncos, but that would be very bad for the Spartans to do. Look for WMU to keep it interesting early before Sparty pulls away late.
Our Pick: Michigan State

Washington at Boise State
The only thing interesting to me about this game is how badly the Broncos could beat the Huskies at home Friday night, but everyone else is all hyped up about Chris Petersen coming home. He may regret doing so when this one is all over.
Our Pick: Boise State

Jacksonville at Delaware
JU is on a one year postseason ban, so every game is like a playoff date to them. Senior QB Kade Bell is special, and Delaware isn't who they once were. JU is still looking for a major win against an FCS power league...could this be it?
Our Pick: Delaware


Illinois State at Iowa
Looking for another huge upset pick? Look no further than this Saturday early thriller as the FCS runner-ups travel to Iowa City to take on the vulnerable Hawkeyes. Iowa probably thinks they should win this by just showing up, and that would be their worst mistake. All the Redbirds need are a few early breaks, and it's upset city.
Our Pick: Illinois State

South Dakota State at Kansas
SDSU is one of the best of the FCS, and Kansas is one of the absolute worst in FBS football. Kansas also loves losing to FCS teams early in the season, so here's what could be Missouri Valley Conference 2, FBS 0.
Our Pick: South Dakota State

Youngstown State at Pittsburgh
The Penguins will be yet one more MVC team looking for an upset, and Pitt is starting a new era with Pat Narduzzi at the helm. We like Narduzzi quite a bit, but Pitt is vulnerable here.
Our Pick: Youngstown State

BYU at Nebraska
The Cougars are coming back with Taysom Hill, quite possibly the most dynamic QB in the country, and the Huskers begin the Mike Riley era. The Huskers defense will have one heck of a time handling Hill in this one.
Our Pick: BYU

Arizona State vs. Texas A&M at Arlington, TX
The Sun Devils are getting a ton of love from the press, but I find them overrated. Texas A&M was expected to fall flat last season, and blew out South Carolina on the road last fall. This is virtually an Aggie home game. Expect fireworks, but A&M looks stronger.
Our Pick: Texas A&M

Texas at Notre Dame
The Longhorns will be tested on the road against Notre Dame, who bettors in Las Vegas are considering one of the most overvalued teams in the nation this fall. Malik Zaire will start against Tyrone Swoopes, and we'll get to see two young QBs who have a ton of pressure riding on their shoulders.
Our Pick: Notre Dame

Wisconsin vs. Alabama
Both teams have more questions than answers, so this will be a measuring stick on what we can expect from either side. I see a war coming in this game, but Alabama may still be Alabama to some measure here.
Our Pick: Alabama

Northern Iowa at Iowa State
The Panthers are looking to pick up yet another MVC win against the FBS. The Cyclones are a mess right now, so this is more likely than not.
Our Pick: Northern Iowa

Jacksonville State at Chattnooga
This kickoff pits the favorite from the OVC against the favorite of the SoCon. This could be a game that could be repeated in the FCS playoffs later this fall. Expect a great preview.
Our Pick: Jacksonville State


Ohio State at Virginia Tech
Ohio State's only loss was an inexplicable fail at home against the Hokies last fall. The Buckeyes are looking for revenge and a perfect season. The Hokies likely will have to play over their heads to win this game at Lane Stadium, but that's what they did a year ago.
Our Pick: Ohio State

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Montana Scores On Joey Counts One Yard Run With 0:02 Left, Grizzlies Beat NDSU 38-35!

Gustafson passes on 1st and ten to Nguyen again. Gain of 6. Next pass to Carlson is complete for a 1st down. On 1st down, Gustafson fires it behind Jones, and it's 2nd and 10. UM sets up with a Gustafson keeper, and he slides for a gain of 3. Jamaal Jones is down injured, and play stops with 0:59 left.
Jones walks off now, and it's 3rd and 6. Shotgun back left now. Gustafson sails it again, and now it's PI against Champion...again. Just hands UM a 1st down on what would have been 4th. Now on 1st down, Gustafson sails it downfield to Henderson, but the ball sails wide, and Gustafson gets hammered.
2nd and 10 now, and Gustafson throws behind Jones and high, incomplete. 3rd and 10 now, Gustafson hits Jones now for a 1st down to the NDSU 44. 0:35 left, and Gustafson spikes it. 2nd and 10 now, Shotgun back left, and the pass is tipped by Nguyen, and it's almost picked. 3rd and 10 now, and it's shotgun, Gustafson gets hit, the ball is tipped, and Nick DeLuca has been all over the field for NDSU. 4th and 10 now for the Grizzlies, and it's a huge pass to Reese Carlson, and it's down to the 15 with 0:21 left!
1st and 10, and it's a huge completion to Henderson at the 1! Spike. Clock stopped with 0:15 left! Timeout called to talk it over. NDSU needs a huge stop here. Here we action was thrown high and away. Now 3rd and goal, and they go over the top, and it looks short! 0:03 left! Timeout UM! Ball should be at the 1! Clock reset to 0:06! Power formation...Timeout called by NDSU now! No more timeouts left!
Final play coming, this is an amazing finish...Power formation...and the Grizzlies power it in!!! 0:02 left!!! Montana with the likely upset of #1 NDSU!!! PAT is good!!! Montana 38-35!!!

The ensuing kickoff is coming up...looks like UM will kick it deep! They squib it, but the kick cannot be returned, and the Grizzlies win in Bob Stitt's first game! Montana has pulled the upset!

NDSU Goes 3 and Out, Gives Montana One Last Shot

NDSU takes over now with just 2:40 left, and it's another huge return by Perkins. NDSU looking to kill this clock. Perkins nearly fumbled that return as well.
1st and 10 Bison now, and here we go...I formation...Power left by Frazier for a gain of about 3. 2nd and 7 now, I formation, and Wentz goes play action right, and he has to toss it away. 3rd and 7 now, and the clock is stopped at 1:53. Shotgun, back left, Wentz tosses wide right, incomplete. He has been completely mitigated in the second half. NDSU must punt, clock is stopped at 1:48. LeCompte booms the punt, and it heads into the end zone for a touchback, and UM takes over with 1:39 at their own 25.

Montana drives, Can't Punch It In, Scores On FG, 35-31 NDSU

Gustafson comes off the NDSU fumble and hits Nguyen on a pass play for a 1st down, and then Nguyen runs the ball on 1st down for 3. It's 2nd and 7, UM to Nguyen up the middle, and it's only a gain of about 2. UM looking at 3rd and 5 at the NDSU 40. Ellis Henderson comes up with another huge catch down to the NDSU 12! Huge grab! 1st and ten now for the Grizzlies...
Here we go on 1st and 10, Nguyen is wide open down to the NDSU 5. 2nd and 3, and it's high and incomplete, but it's PI against the Bison, and now it's a fresh set of downs. 1st and goal now for UM, and now 2nd and goal after Nguyen gets stone walled at the 4. Power now , and it's another big stop. 3rd and goal for UM, and 4 WR set. False start after lots of offensive confusion for the Grizzlies lining up.
Most important 3rd down of the day coming up for the Grizzlies, and Gustafson sails it high and incomplete. Now it's 4th and goal, and Montana will depend on D, and will take the FG here. 28 yarder coming up, and it's good. 35-31 game now, as NDSU holds on.

NDSU Drives, Then Fumbles Away

NDSU takes over off the fumble discovered on the review, and now it's 1st and 10 on the UM 45. Frazier runs left, and it's 2nd and about 5. He has 82 yards on 12 carries now. On 2nd and 5, Frazier runs up the middle, and it's another gain of 3. 3rd and 2, and NDSU lines up in single back. Lots of motion...Dunn takes the pitch right, and gets stoned with a gain of 1. Going for it here on 4th and 1. NDSU in the I, Power now, and Frazier pounds it up the middle for the 1st down. Nice set of plays here.
On 1st and 10 (heading under 7 minutes now), it's the I again, now single back. Timeout called, as NDSU looked confused.
Now lined up in the one back. Morlock pounds up the middle past the 25, but it's holding against the Bison (Zach Johnson). It's now 1st and 20. It's fumbled on the fly sweep handoff, and UM recovers at the Montana 43 with 6:20 left in the game, and the Grizzlies trailing by 7.

Montana Fumbles Away, and NDSU Takes Over

Montana gets the touchback on the ensuing kickoff, and will take over on their own 25. On 1st down, it's a run up the middle, for a gain of only about 2. 2nd and 8, and Gustafson gets hammered on the blitz, pass sails high and long, incomplete. 3rd and 8, and Gustafson hits Jones in traffic for a 1st down.
On 1st and 10, Nguyen goes up the middle again, and it's a gain of about 5. Gustafson gets hit on the release on 2nd down, and the ball falls incomplete as it pops out of his hands. NDSU is blitzing heavy now. It's under review, and it looks like a fumble...if it is, NDSU recovered it. Waiting for the result...and it is a fumble, and NDSU recovered. 3rd Montana turnover.

NDSU Picks Up Tempo, Scores on 7 Yard Run, Leads Montana 35-28 in 4th

NDSU takes over on their own 21, and it's first and ten. Dunn runs up the middle for a gain of 4. It's I on 2nd down, with Wentz rolling right and throwing for a short gain to the 25. It's now 3rd and 3, from the 27 actually. I formation, and it's play action again, and the pass is complete for a 1st down to Vraa. It was an ugly throw, but it was good for a 1st. Ball on the 36 now, and it's shotgun again. Wentz gets it to Vraa once again to the 46 for a 1st down again.
NDSU picking up a tempo now, and it's off set I on 1st down. Frazier gets the dump pass up the middle, and he breaks loose all the way to the 9 of Montana. 1st and goal now, and it's I again. Wentz checks off, and flags fly. It's a delay of game against NDSU. Wentz is hurt, and his ankle was taped. He may not be able to run anymore. I formation, Dunn runs right, slips a guy, and gets to the 7. 3rd and goal now, and NDSU is subbing again.
It's actually 2nd and goal, and King Frazier, a workhorse today, rumbles 7 yards through tacklers for a TD. The Bison have taken the lead, with the PAT pending. There is a Montana injury on the field, and so play is held up. The smoke from the Washington wildfires is very thick, so the delay is likely welcome. Jamaal Wilson walks off the field on his own. The PAT is ugly, but good. NDSU leads 35-28 with 10:37 left.

Montana Staying Conservative in 4th, Punts Again

Montana will start the 4th quarter with the football, and it's 3rd and 4. Gustafson tosses incomplete, and Montana is looking like they will punt once again. Bob Stitt getting conservative with a tie game in the 4th.

Montana Has the Ball at the Close of the 3rd, Score Tied at 28

Montana gets the ball back inside their own 20, and it's a run play up the middle for a gain of seven. They run again on 2nd up the middle for a 1st down. Gustafson fires wide on 1st down, and it's incomplete.
On 2nd down, it's completed for a gain of 6 to Henderson, and the 3rd quarter ends with the score tied at 28!

For NDSU, Another 3 and Out, and Wentz Limps Off Field

NDSu takes over on their own 40, and the ball goes outside to the left, and it's a huge loss for the Bison. On 2nd and 14, the Bison line up in single back formation. Wentz is checking off, and now it's a run for about 5 to Frazier in the power run up the middle. 3rd and 9 now at the 41. Wentz in shotgun, 4 WRs. Wentz is sacked and it's a punt again. Wentz looks roughed up now, and limped off the field.

Montana Drive Ends With Overthrown Picked Off Pass

On the following 1st down after the punt, Gustafson has his pass dropped on the crossing route, and it's 2nd and 10. On 2nd down, Gustafson hits his WR for a gain of 8. On 3rd down, it's a run up the middle, and it's a stop for the D. Looks like the Grizzlies are going here on 4th, and they will.
Jumbo package here, and it's power football up the middle for a huge 1st down with 3:39 left in the 3rd. Back to shotgun on 1st, and it's play action for a short gain, 2nd and about 6 or 7. On 2nd down, it's play action, and the pass is picked off by Nick DeLuca. NDSU takes over on their own 40 with 2:50 left.

NDSU Goes 3 and Out

North Dakota State takes over now after giving up the 62 yard TD pass. On 1st and 10 from the 25, Morlock heads up the middle, and it's a gain of 5. On 2nd down, it's I formation, and Frazier gets the carry up the middle once again, and it is now 3rd and 2 after a gain of 3. It's the I again on 3rd down, and NDSU strings it out to the left, and the Grizzlies come up huge on the stop for no gain. NDSU is going 3 and out, and will punt. It's a fair catch by John Nguyen at the Grizzly 32 yard line.

Montana Ties It on 62 Yard TD Pass

Montana takes over on their own 20 on the punt that sails into the end zone for the touchback. The pace of the game has slowed dramatically in the 3rd quarter. Gustafson has a nice pitch and catch to Ellis Henderson, and it's 1st and 10.
On that play, they go to the draw, and it goes for 7. On the following play, Gustafson hits Ellis Henderson for 62 yards over the top, as Henderson got behind Jordan Champion big time to get loose. It's all open field after that, and the PAT is good. We are tied at 28!

NDSU Forced to Punt on Next Series

NDSU takes over after the punt on their own 25. Wentz tosses high and right, but it sails long and incomplete. Wentz now just 11/19 after a fast start. On 2nd and 10, Frazier carries up the middle, and gains almost 5 on the carry. Frazier has 66 yards on 7 carries. On 3rd and 5, Wents hits his receiver to the right, and it's a 1st down to Urzendowski.
On 1st down, Morlock is hit at the line, but spins out for a gain of 3. It's now 2nd and 7, and NDSU goes back to the air on the post, but Wentz overthrows Vraa, and it's now 3rd and 7. Wentz tries to run up the middle after nobody gets open, and he's tripped up at the line. NDSU gets nailed on offensive facemask on the play, and the Bison are now forced to punt. It's a touchback, and Montana to start at their own 20. Still a 28-21 NDSU lead in the 3rd.

Montana Forced To Punt For 1st Time Today

After the turnover on downs, Montana starts their drive on their own 35, and Gustafson throws incomplete on 1st down. On 2nd and 10, It's a complete just short of the first down, and now it's 3rd and 2. Gustafson completes the slip screen, and it's a huge open field tackle stumping the Grizzlies. For the first time, Montana decides to punt, confusing NDSU into staying on the field. Penalty flag thrown on the punt, and the penalty is called as an illegal formation against Montana.

NDSU Turns Over On Downs...Again

NDSU starts on their own 41 after the fair catch. Dunn picks up a solid run to the left, and it's a gain of 8. There is an injured lineman down for NDSU. On 2nd and 2, NDSU swings it to Frazier, who picks up the first down to the Griz 39. Wentz tosses incomplete under pressure on 1st down. On 2nd and 10, the pass is fired sideline left, but for a short gain, and it's 3rd and 8. Wentz tried to take off on a keeper, but gets ankle tackled at the 35. NDSU goes for it on 4th and 6. Wentz has time, but Nate Harris breaks up the pass, and now Montana takes over on downs...again.

Montana Opens Up 3rd Quarter With 3 and Out

NDSU kicks off to start the 3rd quarter, and it's fielded at the goal line, and Henderson returns it to the Montana 22. Grizzlies start there, and the Bison shut down the run play for a loss of two to start on 1st down. on 2nd and 11, there is another loss on a run, and it's now 3rd and 12. On this play, Gustafson saw a gopher, tosses it low, and it's punting time for the Grizzlies.

FCS Kickoff Heads to the Half, With NDSU leading Montana 28-21

The kickoff sails out the back of the end zone, and Montana starts at their own 20 with 26 seconds remaining in the half. Nguyen runs on 1st, picks up 8 on their best run of the day. A timeout is called. Gustafson passed on 2nd, and the receiver tossed a horrible lateral, which was fumbled and NDSU recovers.
NDSU goes shotgun, but Montana calls a timeout. On 1st down, Wentz fires sideline right to Shepherd, who gets out of bounds with a 1st down.
NDSU lines up for a big FG (44). It's shanked wide left, and the half ends with the score NDSU 28, Montana 21.

NDSU COmes Back, Drives Down Field For Wentz's 4th TD of Day

NDSU came up with nothing on 1st down, however, Montana rushes only four on 2nd down, and they flush Carson Wentz out of the pocket once again, and he makes the Grizzlies pay with a keeper that picks up the 1st down to the Grizzly 22. On 1st down, Wentz takes off again, picks up 6 and heads out of bounds. On 2nd and 4, The Bison line up in shotgun. Wentz passes over the top, but nobody is open, and the ball sails away out of the back of the end zone. Now it's 3rd and 4, and NDSU lines up in the same set. Now Morlock moves left, and Wentz gets close to the first> It's 4th and incredibly short. There are 36 seconds left in the half.
NDSU goes for it here. Power formation. Morlock follows block up the middle, and it's a first down. Final timeout called for NDSU with 31 seconds left in the half.
1st down. Wentz fires on 1st down, and it's another TD pass to Zach Vraa, and NDSU goes back up 28-21! It's the second TD pass of the game for Wentz, and his 4th TD overall.

Montana Takes Over On Downs, Then Turns Over on Downs Again.

Gustafson throws on 1st down, it's deflected back to him, and he catches it for a loss. They run on 2nd down, setting up 3rd and 7. Gustafson throws underneath to Jamaal Jones, but it comes up just short, and they go on 4th down.
On this play, the Grizzlies go play action, but the pass is high and incomplete, as Montana turns over on downs themselves. We're still tied at 21.

NDSU Drives, But Turns Over on Downs

Perkins returned the football out to the 31 yard line to start the next Bison drive. The Bison start off in the I, Wentz goes roll out right, hits Shepherd for a first down.
I again on the following play, and Morlock pounds it up the middle for a gain of 4. On 2nd and 6, The Bison go back to the I, and it's a swing pass out to Perkins for another 1st down.
Wentz is now 8/10 passing for 85 yards.
The go to Morlock as a FB out of the I, and he carries on the FB dive on an option play. He's averaging 5.2 per carry now.
On 2nd and 7, Wentz goes empty, and the streak pass right is broken up, and it's a good thing, as the receiver was open. JR Nelson came up with a big play there for Montana. On 3rd and 7, It's shotgun back right. Wentz fires again on streak right, and it's wide and out of bounds for an incompletion. NDSU goes for it, but then calls a timeout to discuss. Shotgun back right on 4th down. Wentz throws and it's broken up, and the Grizzlies take over on downs.

Montana Now Down 8, Drives Down on 38 Yarder to Ben Roberts, Ties it at 21

The ensuing kickoff leads to a touchback for the Grizzlies after Carson Wentz put NDSU up 21-13 on his 2nd TD run. Their 1st down play goes nowhere, and the 2nd down play is disrupted on the sweep left, however it turns into a decent run. On 3rd and one, Montana runs up the middle for a first down.
On 1st down, Gustafson sails his throw wide, and Jamaal Jones catches it out of bounds. However, Montana asks for a replay, as Jones looked as if his toe came down in bounds. Montana wins the challenge, making it a great grab by Jones.
On 1st down, Gustafson throws a bit of a duck in the air, but Ben Roberts comes down with the ball after muscling the ball away from the coverage on a play action pass. Touchdown Grizzlies! Montana goes for two here to tie it up, and Roberts comes up big again at the back of the end zone from Gustafson, and the game is tied.

North Dakota State Gives Up FG, Drives Down For Wentz TD Run

The Bison started out on a huge kick return to their own 49 yard line, setting up amazing field position. On 1st down, Wentz gets flushed out of the pocket and keeps it for a solid 7 yard gain. On 2nd and 3, King Frazier breaks free on a huge run for 31 yards to the Griz 12 yard line. This was followed by a false start by the Bison. On 1st and 15, Wentz sends it on a swing pass to Shepherd, six yard gain. On 2nd down, Wentz keeps it again, and runs it in from the 8, and the Bison add to their lead. The PAT is good, and NDSU leads 21-13!

Montana Goes Down 14-10, Starts Response Drive, Ends in FG.

On the kickoff, Henderson caught the ball in the back of the end zone for a touchback. They start on their own 20 yard line. Gustafson fired to a wide open Jamaal Jones on a cross route for a first down to the 42. On 1st down, Gustafson sailed a pass to nowhere, incomplete. John Nguyen ran it on 2nd down, for not much. On 3rd and 6 Henderson catches a beautiful throw for a 1st down in traffic.
Draw play on 1st down, and it goes nowhere. Montana 2nd and long from the Bison 39. Gustafson keeps on 2nd and long, gets about three yards. 3rd and six, and the pass was deflected, incomplete. There was an injury on the NDSU defense as Jalen Allison is shaken up. Allison walks off on his down. 4th and 6, Montana goes for it, and Gustafson hits Jamaal Jones on a skinny post getting the Grizzlies to the 8.
On 1st down, Nguyen runs up the middle for nothing. On 2nd and goal, Gustafson sails it a little high, and the pass falls incomplete. On 3rd down, Gustafson hits Henderson on the bubble once again, but NDSU swarms to him, and it's another FG attempt. The short FG is good, and NDSU Keeps their lead, 14-13.

NDSU Starts Second Quarter, Scores On Wentz 19 Yard Keeper

Another outside run by Morlock leads to a first down inside the Grizzly 20 to start the second quarter, but on the next play, he was stopped creating 2nd and long. On 2nd and long, Wentz kept the ball, and busts outside to the right, follows his blocks, avoids one tackle, and scores a TD on a 19 yard run! PAT is good, and NDSU leads Montana 14-10.

1st Quarter Ends, But Bison Are on the March, Grizzlies Lead 10-7

North Dakota State started on their own 31 after a decent kick return. Their first place went to an outside run by Chase Morlock, ended in a short gain. Morlock ran again on 2nd down, again outside left, and that went for nothing. DB Nate Harris was shaken up for Montana on that play. Tyrone Holmes has been effectual for Montana. On 3rd down and 7, Shotgun formation, pass complete to King Frazier for a 1st down. Simple hook pattern.
Shotgun on 1st down for Wentz, and Wentz is changing things up. Goes with a sweep wide left, and the Bison are up to mid field. On 2nd and 5, Wentz went play fake to Lance Dunn on a fly sweep, and keeps himself for a big gain outside and left, but that ends the 1st quarter, with Montana leading 10-7.

Montana Converts Wentz fumble Into 22 Yard FG. Grizlies Grab First Lead

Montana recovered a Carson Wentz fumble inside the Bison 20. The Grizzlies managed to get to 1st and goal, but then Brady Gustafson was sacked. That followed a go nowhere draw play by the Grizzlies, setting up 3rd and long. On that play, Gustafson was drilled and sailed the ball high, but the Bison were flagged for pass interference, setting up 1st and goal at the spot of the foul.
On first and goal, the Grizzlies tried to pound up the middle, to go nowhere. On 2nd and goal, Gustafson fired into a slant route in traffic, incomplete. On 3rd and goal, Gustafson fired to Henderson on a bubble screen, but it was dropped. If Henderson catches it, it's a TD. Daniel Sullivan lined up for a FG attempt from 22 yards, and it's good. Montana 10, North Dakota State 7 with 2:41 left in the 1st quarter.

Montana Scores on Gustafson to Jones Connection

Brady Gustafson ran a highly efficient drive, leading the Grizzlies quickly down the field, which culminated in an 8 yard TD pass to Jamaal Jones after a 31 yard pass to TE Josh Horner setting up the play. The big play was followed by a false start, but Gustafson followed up with that nice cross route completion. Montana looks like the rust and nerves are done, and the game is tied at 7.

NDSU Fails to Capitlize on Short Field

The Bison got set up when Montana turned it over on downs inside their own territory, but this time the Grizzly defense came up big on a three and out on two incomplete Carson Wentz passes. Wentz was hit on third down as the Grizzlies amped up their pass rush, and was forced to throw wide. Nobody was open on the play, and the coverage allowed effectual pass rushing on the 3rd down play. The Bison have punted away, and Montana comes out on their second possession. Still 7-0, North Dakota State.

Montana Comes Out No Huddle, Turns Over on Downs

The Grizzlies were aided by an early 15 yard facemask Penalty against North Dakota State, however Bob Stitt goes unconventional, and after ending up on 4th down, he calls a pass play that sails high and incomplete. Bison take over on downs in Grizzly territory.

North Dakota State Scores First TD of 2015 Season

Carson Wentz hit Chase Morlock out of the backfield from 27 yards out on a beautiful play action pass, and the 2015 season started out with a high efficiency drive that was aided by a 15 yard pass interference penalty on JR Nelson. Carson Wentz was 4/4 for 52 yards and the TD. Montana's defense seemed on their heels the whole drive, and Wentz manipulated the Grizzly defense on every play.
Montana is now on offense and will start around their own 13 yard line.

Friday, August 28, 2015

FCS Pick of the Week: Montana vs. North Dakota State

Everyone on the radio is touting September 3rd as the first day of the college football season. That's not true. August 29th is the official first day of the college football season, as the Montana Grizzlies take on four time defending national champions North Dakota State. The NDSU Bison is, as was mentioned, coming off their fourth consecutive FCS title, a number unmatched in 1-AA/FCS history. The Bison travel to face perennial power house Montana for the "Kickoff Classic" of FCS football, and this game should be great. NDSU must be applauded for agreeing to take on a difficult road game like this. The game will be televised on ESPN at 12:30 PST tomorrow, and this will be the debut of new Montana coach Bob Stitt, who comes to the Grizzlies from Colorado Mines.

Our Pick: North Dakota State

NDSU should win a close road game to launch their campaign for a fifth title. Look for this game to finish inside of seven points, with the game coming down to the fourth quarter.

More picks Monday night!

College Shenanigans: News From Illinois, USC, Rutgers

Illinois made a move today that was seriously necessary and just. A week before kicking off against Kent State to open the 2015 season, the Illini fired Tim Beckman for the results of an investigation of several cases of various abuses against players. The only mistake the Illini administration made was not firing him sooner, like after getting put on blast by Louisiana Tech in the Heart of Dallas Bowl to conclude last season. Beckman was as good as fired during the middle of the season, and saved his job with a late run.
In all honesty, Beckman's issues with players was already buzzing when Illinois hit the bowl game with several people knowing about allegations springing up. Most boosters and donors at Illinois wanted Beckman gone anyway, so it made virtually no sense to let this situation play out until the Illini were in a position such as they are in, being a week out, with OC Bill Cubit being made into the lame duck until the Illini find a replacement. At this point, the three candidates that make the most sense for the job are Northern Illinois coach Rod Carey, Western Michigan's PJ Fleck, and Illinois State's Brock Spath.
One thing to note on Beckman is that he had allegations of allowing hazing at Toledo while he was the coach there. With that in mind, one has to wonder who is performing due diligence before making these hires. If Beckman had such an outstanding charge against him floating about, why would Illinois have ever touched him is beyond me.
Beckman is hardly the only coach showing signs of bad judgment lately. Reports out of Los Angeles are stating that several high level donors at USC basically want the head of coach Steve Sarkisian on a pike outside of the Galen Center right now after his drunken disaster at the donor event in which he drunkenly made a complete buffoon of himself before having to be yanked off stage by AD Pat Haden. Sarkisian, who is in the midst of what will likely be a contentious divorce situation stated that he had mixed a little alcohol (translated to a boatload of booze) with a few meds (translated to a boatload of pills). What's unbelievable is that Sarkisian expects anyone to believe this load of crap in the modern era where secrets like these are hardly able to be kept. Sarkisian has allegedly had four other such situations where his drinking got out of control at Washington. This has been widely talked about at this point, and shows more lack of leadership that has become such a huge problem in the coaching business.
Boosters at USC are done with this kind of public embarrassment to the university, especially after high profile scandals involving former coach Lane Kiffin's hiring and consequential firing, Pete Carroll's not caring about the most basic of college athletic rules or tenets, and Mike Garrett's nasty attitude towards boosters and media at the school. I shouldn't even have to bring up the desolation that Carroll's transgressions brought upon the school. Some power brokers want Sarkisian gone today, as in yesterday, or some approximation of right about now will do.
Pat Haden's contract as USC AD runs out after this academic year, and at 62, he has not committed to anything past that, and has not talked extension whatsoever publically. Rumors around town state that Haden, who has recently been highly criticized for falling short in his overall duties, will be out after this year, and that Sarkisian goes with him, if he doesn't go well before. Whomever takes over the athletic department will likely want their own guy, and a guy who is scandal free and can win immediately. Either way, it's hard to see Sark being the head man at USC past this season, which is best case scenario for him even making it that far.
We now move on to Piscataway, New Jersey, where embattled Rutgers coach Kyle Flood is likely facing a major suspension or outright firing according to an report. Flood has apparently reached out to a faculty member through a private email account to pressure a professor into changing grades for starting CB Nadir Barnwell. Obviously, Flood's alleged actions are extreme violations of university policy, and are just plain unethical. Flood is another embattled coach who is likely coaching for his job this season, as was Beckman. That leads to the final point of this piece.
These coaches are certainly to blame for their own actions, there is no arguing that. These coaches are a product of their own nightmares. With each passing year, the money paid to coaches in this country skyrockets ever higher, and with this salary soaring activity, the pressure to win rises with it. These individuals are people who simply cannot shoulder that kind of pressure. If universities did their due diligence before hiring these coaches, they would have known that. These coaches have resigned themselves to doing things a normal person does not, because if they don't the losses would pile up, and they'd be fired anyway. This is not an excuse for their actions, but it is a side effect of rising expectations and salaries.
Coaches today are fired even if they win nine games or more per year over seven season careers just because they don't kiss ass of a fickle fan base, or just because they can't beat schools like Auburn or Florida over a three year span, despite successes almost everywhere else (see Bo Pelini at Nebraska, Jim Donnan at Georgia). Nobody is twisting the arms of these coaches to accept jobs at high pressure locales, and they take them greedily. Even losing coaches (Beckman) get paid over $2 million per season to do virtually nothing but lose to rivals and fail to meet expectations. Why does this happen? Why do universities continually heap extensions on coaches who have not produced? It's simple. University administrators fail to do their jobs, fail to research past behaviors, and fail to gauge personalities of individuals against the culture of their location. This is epidemic at this point, as we are hearing all too many stories of issues (Bo Graham at Arizona State, Bobby Petrino at Louisville, etc.) where coaches engage in behaviors that are not only unethical, but quite frankly borderline on the bizarre and seedy.
It is up to school administrators to perform their duties, or be held just as responsible for the actions of the coaches they hire to coach and lead young people at our colleges and universities. It shouldn't be something that is a matter of turning a blind eye for the sake of athletic success. It should be a matter of keeping people in line with life success, safety, and ethics. Of course, placing the word "ethics" around sports these days may simply be a pipe dream, as evidenced by these three coaches and their behaviors.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Boston College Introduces Weekly Radio Show with Coach Addazio

Boston College Introduces Weekly Radio Show with Coach Addazio
Join head coach Steve Addazio every Monday at the Stockyard in Brighton
Chestnut Hill, Mass. – Boston College football fans now have a new way to follow the Eagles. Head coach Steve Addazio will join the Eagles’ play-by-play announcer Jon Meterparel for a new weekly radio show for the 2015 season. The Boston College Football Radio will air on ESPN WEEI 850 AM and on every Monday from 7 to 8 p.m.
Not only will Addazio discuss the Eagles’ season and upcoming opponents, but examine the college football landscape, host special guests, including current and former BC players and well-known names in the game, and address issues in today’s game.
Throughout the season, fans can join the Eagles’ third-year head coach, Meterparel and special guests at The Stockyard (135 Market Street, Brighton, Mass.) for the live airing of the show. Fans can also tweet questions to ask Addazio using the hashtag #AskAddazio.
The Eagles kick off the 2015 season on Saturday, Sept. 5 at 1 p.m. in Alumni Stadium against Maine. The game will air on ESPN3.

Written By: Boston College Athletic Department

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Hottest Hot Seats in College Football By Conference

It's time once again to take a look at who has the hottest seats in college football for the 2015 season, but not the entire list, just the hottest in each conference heading into the 2015 season. Every conference has that one or two guys who need to win, and win now, or else worry about job status next winter. Here they are...


Al Golden, Miami: It has seriously gotten to the point where there is a generation out there that has absolutely no memory of those Miami teams that dominated the landscape and competed for national championships on a yearly basis. Those days are so far long and gone, and they may never come back. The Hurricanes have never been a factor in the ACC since they joined, season ticket sales are in the toilet, and the stadium is largely empty. Don't blame the venue change either, because the Orange Bowl was largely empty most days before the move. Golden has been highly average to poor during his tenure, and the man once thought of the heir apparent at Penn State may very well be almost done.

Big 10

Tim Beckman, Illinois: There is officially a number attached to Beckman's tenure, and that's eight wins. Illinois has been horrible during his tenure, and they flailed into a Heart of Dallas Bowl birth last season, where they promptly dropped an egg against Louisiana Tech, which I'm sure is the result that every Big Ten fan dreams of. Beckman has weathered heavy losing, and even abuse allegations at this point, so falling short of the win total will mean a sudden stop to this crazy train that has been his tenure.

Kevin Wilson, Indiana: I could not stop at Beckman, because Wilson enters a season in which expectations are bowl game or bust. Hell, with so many bowl games on tap, it's almost become like youth sports where every team gets to go to the playoffs, no matter how bad you are, and not even the Hoosiers have been able to find a birth. How bad do you have to be these days to not go bowling? Pretty bad, and IU has been just that. If Wilson doesn't get over the hump this season, it's likely the end in Bloomington for him.

Big 12

Kliff Kingsbury, Texas Tech: Has everyone gotten over Kingsbury's GQ standing, and really get to brass tax on his ability to coach, and that assessment, in my book, is that he cannot coach well. Even Tommy Tuberville, an average coach at best, won in Lubbock. Tech has sunk like a stone since his semi-successful first season (the one that started with a bang, ended with a resounding thud) and the locals are getting grumbly about this fact. Looking back, was it such a great idea to fire Mike Leach after all?

Paul Rhoades, Iowa State: Rhoades has a very prohibitive contract, but word around the college football world is that another horrifyingly bad season in 2015, and the administration starts selling their best baseball cards and holding car washes to find the money to dump him, and baseball cards don't sell for much these days. Rhoades has largely been horrible at ISU, and has seen just one bowl bid. Since then, the program has been in a free fall, and the bottom hasn't hit yet.

Conference USA

Ron Turner, FIU: Turner hasn't coached a winning team since 2001. He has won just five games at FIU, and four came last season. It would seem that the needle is pointing up for the Panthers, but if the floor fell out this season, Turner would certainly not survive it. Many FIU fans regretted hiring Turner almost instantly, and there was a heavy push for him to get canned after just one season. It almost happened. Anything less than an improvement on four wins this fall would have Turner heading out the door in all likelihood.


Paul Haynes, Kent State: The Golden Flash was competing for a MAC title just a few short seasons ago, and then Darrell Hazell bolted for Purdue as soon as he got an offer. Once Haynes took over, the program sunk right back into the depths of the MAC, where they had been for decades before. Haynes doesn't seem to have a grip on how to get back to the top of the conference. It's likely that the Flash sits near the bottom once again, and that will likely earn Haynes his walking papers from his alma mater.

Mountain West

Bob Davie, New Mexico: Davie is a guy who gets a ton of sympathy because of what he had to deal with as head coach of Notre Dame following Lou Holtz's success, and then his ultimate failure as left yet another program on sanctions upon his departure. Davie had to deal with that mess, did it with dignity, and now inherited a largely unbalanced New Mexico program in a school that has never gone all in with football. Davie has largely struggled to get the needle to move up, and he did inherit a disaster after the miserable Mike Locksley era. That being said, he has had enough time to put his stamp on his program, and he can only blame Locksley for so long (same said for the fan base). Davie has to win this season, or he could be gone.


Steve Sarkisian, USC: This wasn't the case until last weekend, when Sarkisian got blasted drunk, made a complete ass of himself in front of a large group of big time donors, and had to be forcefully removed from the stage by his boss and others. Here's the's not the first time in his coaching career that this kind of thing has happened. Pat Haden is understandably furious with him, and so Sarkisian has to make up for it in a hurry. The last thing that Haden needs at USC is another loose cannon (see Lane Kiffin, Pete Carroll).


Derek Mason, Vanderbilt: There are Vandy fans that are already regretting the Derek Mason hire. It sounded great at the time...a guy from a scholastic centric program (Stanford) that knew how to win under strict academic pressure was a perfect marriage. That being said, Mason had never been a head coach, and doesn't have the relationship in the south and in SEC country to really have a grip on what to do in that environment. Mason's tenure started alarmingly awful in a thumping at home by Temple. That was not supposed to happen. Mason has a little more leash left, but not much, especially after the James Franklin era where Vandy proved they didn't have to be terrible.

Sun Belt

Trent Miles, Georgia State: Trent Miles has a record of 1-23 entering his third season. How much more do we need to hear? Obviously, he has enormous heat on him at this point, as every other program that made the jump up from FCS football has found some success in the Sun Belt and overall. Of course, this is still a program in their infancy, but one win in two seasons is beyond unacceptable by any means.

College Football starts in just nine days!!!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Borland's "Fall Guy" Claim Verified With Video (Link Included)

It seems that Chris Borland's claims of the rookie orientation group being told to "get yourselves a fall guy" is indeed true and factual, and is no longer an allegation. Yahoo Sports found the video on YouTube, and they have run a full article this afternoon with the video, and the formerly two unnamed sources of the issue are none other than Chris Carter and Warren Sapp, and Carter wears his Hall of Fame jacket during the presentation. The NFL had this video up on one of their sites, and when this story went public, they yanked it down incredibly quickly. Unfortunately for them, YouTube is ever damning. Please follow the link below for the damning evidence, as Carter and Sapp openly give the advise, and apparently find themselves to be rather funny during the episode. My Wife and I watched it together, and both found it sickening. Let me know what you feel after watching the video in the comment section, or tweet it to me @BiloFootball.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Chris Borland and Other NFL Rookies Allegedly Advised to Hire "Fall Guys"

In more news of douchbaggery in the NFL (as if we haven't had enough), retired San Francisco 49ers LB Chris Borland has made claims now that during rookie NFL orientation, former NFL players were brought in to speak to his rookie class, and they were given advise that the rookie players should hire fall guys that could take the rap should a player get into legal trouble, and that these fall guys should be willing to go to jail for the player in question if necessary. They were also allegedly told not to worry about the incarcerated individual, as "we will bail them out". Follow the link to the Business Insider report below for more details.

Ukwuachu Report From Boise State Incident (Full Text, Less Redactions)

Earlier today, I retweeted a section of a report regarding Sam Ukwuachu, the Baylor DE who was arrested and convicted this past Thursday of sexual assault of a female student at Baylor. The report was from an assistant AD at Boise State when Ukwuachu was at Boise State. If you would like to read the full text of the report, I have posted a link to an article detailing the report by Dr. Saturday at Yahoo Sports. It's disturbing to say the least. Boise State did due diligence before kicking Ukwuachu off the team and out of school it would seem. It would also seem to back reports that Chris Petersen, then Boise State's head coach, knew all about this young man's troubled issues, and likely told Art Briles all about it when he enrolled at Baylor, as Briles has denied knowing anything about any of Ukwuachu's past problems when he was arrested/convicted. It's unlikely Briles' statements to the matter hold water at this point. Follow the link below to read the entirety of the report, minus redactions.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

College Football 2015: Opening Point Spreads

Here's a look at the opening lines from the Westgate Las Vegas Sports Book:

South Carolina -2.5 North Carolina
Oklahoma State -22 Central Michigan
Utah -5.5 Michigan
TCU -14.5 Minnesota
Duke -9.5 Tulane
Ohio -9 Idaho
Arizona -31.5 UTSA
Vanderbilt -1.5 Western Kentucky

Breakdown: If I were laying money today, I would certainly look away from South Carolina in the opener and go with UNC as the dog. It wouldn't surprise me if UNC ended up the favorite before it's done.
UCF and 17 seems to be a bit much for a team with so many questions. Wait for it to drop, or leave it alone at this point.
Oklahoma State is a road favorite by 22, and I don't think it's crazy to think they can cover that.
Utah has several questions as well, but they beat Michigan last season, so I'd be brave with the 5.5 points at home.
I am all over TCU and the 14.5 over Minnesota after TCU rolled up the Gophers 31-0 last season.
I'm not sure about Duke this early, especially with 9.5. I would be pulled to stay away from this one.
Ohio and 9 seems a bargain over Idaho right now. Roll with the Bobcats on the road.
Arizona has a loaded number at 31.5 over UTSA, but I feel good about the Wildcats here.
Big win of the Thursday set is Western Kentucky being a 1.5 point dog against Vanderbilt. I am rolling with WKU in this one without even thinking.

Colorado -7.5 Hawaii
Baylor -35 SMU
Georgia State -5.5 Charlotte
Michigan State -19 Western Michigan
Illinois -15 Kent State
Boise State -10.5 Washington

Breakdown: Colorado looks like an improved football team, and Hawaii is not. Look for the Buffaloes to cover the 7.5, but I'd prefer that it get under 7.
I think that Baylor should cover the 35 against SMU, and could cover that in the first half.
I really don't know what to think about Georgia State as the 5.5 point favorite against Charlotte. I'd avoid it as a weird play right now, but could be swayed in a couple of weeks.
Michigan State should cover the 19 with WMU, but only if they focus and don't look past the Broncos, which could happen.
Illinois should cover that 15 against Kent State, and it may be the only time I say that all season.
Washington is not good. Boise State should be. I like Boise and the 10.5 at home.

Old Dominion -6.5 Eastern Michigan: I love ODU in this one. Easy pick.
Florida -37 New Mexico State: I'd just avoid this one. Not sure if Gators could score 37.
Penn State -7 Temple: This one is a gift. I really like Penn State here.
Tulsa -7 FAU: I am staying away from this one. Don't know what Tulsa will be this season.
UCLA -17 Virginia: Bruins struggled last fall in opener with Wahoos. Likely won't this time.
Stanford -12 Northwestern: Stanford may not be great this season, but should get this done.
Auburn -11.5 Louisville: Good test for Tigers, but Louisville is not in their league right now.
Texas A&M -3 Arizona State: I would have taken this at 7 for the Aggies. Run with it.
Nebraska -6 BYU: This is a tough one for me. If I had to go with it today, I'd go with the dog.
NC State -26 Troy: Troy will be improved, but NCSU may role here.
Northern Illinois -21 UNLV: NIU should handle this one at home. Easy pick here.
Oklahoma -30.5 Akron: OU here. Not even an issue.
Tennessee -21.5 Bowling Green: I'm not sold on Vols. Looking at BGSU to cover this.
Georgia -34.5 UL-Monroe: I am going crazy I guess, as I'd go with ULM to cover.
Kentucky -16.5 UL-Lafayette: I like UK this season, but not this much. ULL to cover.
Arkansas -32 UTEP: Love the Razorbacks in this one. Easy pick for me.
West Virginia -20 Georgia Southern: I love GSU as the dog here. Not impressed with WVU.
Notre Dame -9 Texas: I'm just fine with Irish as favorite here.
Florida State -30 Texas State: Do you have to ask? FSU is an easy go here.
Alabama -10.5 Wisconsin: Even with no QB lined up yet, Bama is the better bet here.
Mississippi State -23.5 Southern Miss: The Bulldogs should coast in this opener.
USC -28.5 Arkansas State: USC is such an easy pick here. This could go up 3 more and it'd be ok.

Look for my updates leading up to the opener as the spreads shift.

2015 College Football Preview: FCS

Never in the history of Division One college football has there been a program quite as dominant as North Dakota State, with the Bison having won four consecutive national titles. The deal is that the Bison could easily win a fifth title in as many seasons this year. Following is a conference by conference look at who will be on top of their game, and who will struggle to keep up.

All FCS Team
QB-KD Humphries, Murray State
QB-Vad Lee, James Madison
QB-John Robertson, Villanova
RB-Marshaun Coprich, Illinois State
RB-Chase Edmunds, Fordham
RB-Khairi Dickson, St. Francis
RB-De'Angelo Henderson, Coastal Carolina
WR-Cooper Kupp, Eastern Washington
WR-Jake Wieneke-South Dakota State
WR-Darrin Peterson, Liberty
WR-Madison Mangum, Idaho State

DL-Javon Hargrave, South Carolina State
DL-Derek Rivers, Youngstown State
DL-James Rentz, Sacred Heart
DL-Victor Ochi, Stony Brook
LB-Gabe Terry, Tennessee State
LB-Chinedu Ahanonu, Southern Utah
LB-Jonathon Jackson, Murray State
LB-Corey Magwood, Furman
DB-Dallas Jackson, Jacksonville
DB-Trey Morgan, Western Carolina
DB-Jamal Agnew, San Diego
DB-Alex Avant, Mercer

PK-Michael Schmadeke, Northern Iowa
P-Ben LeCompte, North Dakota State
KR-Jarrett Morgan, Valporaiso
PR-Antonio Hamilton, South Carolina State

FCS Preview


1. Coastal Carolina
2. Charleston Southern
3. Liberty
4. Monmouth
5. Presbyterian
6. Gardner-Webb
7. Kennesaw State

Coastal had an amazing run last season, winning 12 games and pushing as far as they have ever been in the postseason. There is no reason to think that the Chanticleers cannot win the league again, and really push deep into the playoffs. Alex Ross and De'Angelo Henderson drive the offense, and are All-America picks. CCU also boasts a deep and talented WR corps, and should have one of the best offenses in the nation. Defense should be solid as well, especially up front.
Charleston Southern won eight games, and barely missed out on the playoffs last season. They should make that move this season. Austin Brown returns at QB, and the line is stocked. If they can find a new RB who can dominate the run game, the Bucs could steal a Big South title. They get both Coastal and Liberty at home as well.
Liberty squeaked into the playoffs, but lost five games last fall. Josh Woodrum is back at QB, get Darrin Peterson and Dante Shells at WR, and get Desmond Rice back at RB as well DJ Abnar. The Flames are loaded, but the road trip to Charleston Southern will be hugely important. The defense has some holes.
Monmouth has finally moved fully into the Big South, and has some holes to fill at WR and QB on offense. A solid rushing attack could carry the day while the Hawks break in other skill set players. The defense could be solid as well, especially in the secondary.
Gardner-Webb has never gotten on track in the Big South, and they should filter towards the bottom of the league once again. Tyrell Maxwell is back at QB, and will have to carry both the passing and rushing games. The defense could be improved, but will likely get buried by a slow developing offense.
Kennesaw State is breaking in a brand new football program, and so will more than likely fall to the bottom for the conference in year one. Brian Bohannon is coach number one after working at Georgia Tech, so the option is coming to town. Want to win early with not a ton of talent? The option offense is our friend. Citadel transfer Trey White will trigger the offense out of camp.

Projected Playoff Teams: Coastal Carolina, Charleston Southern


1. Eastern Washington
2. Montana State
3. Idaho State
4. Montana
5. Cal Poly
6. Northern Arizona
7. Southern Utah
8. Sacramento State
9. UC-Davis
10. Weber State
11. North Dakota
12. Portland State
13. Northern Colorado

Eastern Washington loses Vernon Adams, but new QB Jordan West should step right up, especially when he has WR Cooper Kupp, an All-American selection, to throw the football to. Beau Baldwin is one of the best coaches in America, and knows how to keep the Eagles flying high. The defense had issues last fall, but could be much improved this season.
EWU will get a push from the Bobcats of Montana State and QB Dakota Prukop. Prukop is one of the best weapons this conference has at QB, and could be one of the best in the nation. Look for RB Gunnar Brekke to get an increased role this fall. Like EWU, Montana State had a defense that was a bit all over the place last fall. Look for that unit to improve as well, or else Prukop will have to increase scoring to keep the Cats winning. No pressure.
Mike Kramer led Idaho State out of the gutter last fall in his third season, and even though Justin Arias is gone at QB, there are enough weapons left over to drive the Bengals to push for the playoff spot they narrowly missed last fall. RB Xavier Finney should take over an offensive leadership position until the QB position is settled out. He's the best back in the league, so that's a good thing. Madison Mangum returns at WR as well, so the new QB will have some star power to toss the ball to.
One of my favorite D2 coaches in recent years, Bob Stitt, has left Colorado Mines and has landed at Montana. He landed the job over bringing back Bobby Hauck, and that could be an interesting direction, as Stitt has managed over some of the most explosive offenses in college football. The Grizzlies must settle on a QB, and it could take a season for Stitt to sort things out before getting Montana back to the top of the conference. One note of interest, Montana opens the season with North Dakota State. Ouch.
Cal Poly could be one of the surprise teams in the Big Sky this season. The Mustangs have option master Chris Brown back at QB, and he will be the key in pushing forward this fall after they just missed the playoffs last season. Cal Poly may just miss the playoffs again this fall, but they'll make it interesting.
Northern Arizona has seen their defense surpass their offense, but that could even out this season with Kyren Poe back at QB, and Dejzon Walker is back for him to throw to. Look for the Lumberjacks to push Cal Poly all season in the middle of the conference, but despite having a solid defense, NAU may not have enough overall talent to push back into the playoffs, a place they haven't been in a while.
Southern Utah fell hard after hitting the playoffs two seasons ago, and the road back to the top is a long one. Ammon Olson may have the firepower at QB to bring the Thunderbirds back somewhat, but SUU isn't ready to get back to the playoffs just yet. Look for them to finish better than last year, but come up just short.
Sacramento State was close to turning things around a couple of years ago, but failed to turn the corner, and now they seem to be floating back down once again. The Hornets are looking for stability at QB this fall to go along with Jordan Robinson at RB. If Robinson can improve and cross the 1000 yard mark, the Hornets could move up. If not, they could be worse.
UC-Davis could improve a great deal this fall under the air combo of QB Ben Scott and WR Ramon Vargas. Ron Gould is at a breaking point in year three, and must show the program is heading in the right direction, or he could be gone.
Weber State was in a rare situation where they got screwed over by John L. Smith as did Arkansas all in the same year. Weber State has not gotten over that situation yet, and the program is looking for signs of life right now. Jay Hill is trying to build a program, and is having to do it from scratch. Look for some improvement this season, but the real success is some time off.
North Dakota struggled madly on offense last fall, and has really fallen behind in state arch rival North Dakota State in so many ways. UND must find a way to figure a way to get talent in, and they have to find someone to play QB well enough to drive the program. The defense kept them in so many games, but every defense without a solid offense wears out over time. UND will be lucky to get back to five wins this fall.
Portland State has struggled for a decade now, and those struggles should continue under interim coach Bruce Barnum. Barnum will be hard pressed to secure the job full time after this fall, and the Vikings will be hard pressed to finish out of last place. Luckily, they are not the worst team in the league.
That honor goes to Northern Colorado, who could not stop a herd of girl scouts on defense last fall. Unfortunately, they could not much move the football with much consistency either. The Bears haven't had much success since joining the Big Sky, and that futility should continue for a while.

Projected Playoff Teams: Eastern Washington, Montana State, Idaho State, Montana


1. Villanova
2. New Hampshire
3. James Madison
4. William & Mary
5. Richmond
6. Delaware
7. Maine
8. Stony Brook
9. Towson
10. Albany
11. Rhode Island
12. Elon

Villanova brings back one of the best FCS QBs in the nation in John Robertson to drive what should be another run at a national title chase. Robertson finished just shy of 4000 total yards last season, and now he'll make a run at cracking that number as well. He tossed 35 TDs and just three picks in a magical season. Defensively, LB Don Cherry is a star, as is CB Jason Ceneus.
New Hampshire lost several players, off of a talented squad last fall, but coach Sean McDonnell is one of the more skilled coaches in FCS football. HE will likely put together another strong group behind QB Sean Goldrich to make another CAA title push. Consider UNH a shoe in for a playoff birth once again.
James Madison should have no issue getting back to the playoffs as long as Vad Lee is pulling the trigger at QB. The All-American selection should be back strong once again. As Lee goes, as do the Dukes heading into year two of the Everett Withers era as head coach.
William & Mary has had their fair share of offensive struggles for the last few seasons, but that could finally be behind them with the development of QB Steve Cluley. He has one heck of a RB behind him as well with Mikal Abdul-Saboor. The defense, which has carried the Tribe, will be just as good as they've been. The Tribe should be able to finally get by the corner and hit the playoffs this fall.
Richmond is loaded at RB, and is coming off a playoff season, but due to historical inconsistency, I am hedging that they won't get back this season. They can run the hell out of the football, as they have a three headed attack in Seth Fisher, Jacobi Green, and Jeremiah Hamlin, but can they pass when they get behind? That'll be the big question this fall.
Delaware is due to climb the mountain again after several years of having fallen off it. Jamie Jarmon comes in from playing minor league baseball to take over at QB, and could be the key to pushing the Blue Hens back up the pecking order. Are they ready to go back to the playoffs yet? Not this season, but those days are coming.
Maine, like Delaware, has been heading in the wrong direction lately, and head coach Jack Cosgrove has some work to do to figure out how to get the Black Bears back in winning order. Drew Belcher should be much improved as a QB as a sophomore, and that could really help an inept offense improve.
Stony Brook is still trying to get a footing after being a successful member of the Big South. The Sea Wolves have All-American selection DE Victor Ochi, but they need someone on offense to bring that level of success. Until they do, Chuck Priore's defenses may continue to be overworked, which leads to stifling losses.
It's hard to believe that Towson was in the national title game a couple of seasons ago. They have fallen off the map since then, and the fall continues this season for coach Rob Ambrose and staff. Darius Victor is a beast at RB, but there is so little else around him.
Albany is another sinking ship right now, and they will be depending on Penn State transfer DJ Crook to give them stability at QB this fall. The Great Danes may struggle for one season before likely jumping forward again next season. Right now, there's just not enough developed talent on hand.
Rhode Island has been a mess for the last 13 seasons. The Rams are still not one of the better teams in this league, and are outclassed in terms of talent and facilities, as well as commitment from the administration on improving those issues. The Rams couldn't score on themselves last fall, and that problem could continue while they sort out their QB issues.
Elon is having a tough time transitioning from the Southern Conference, where they were hardly a stellar power in the mix. They won just one game last fall, and the prospects for this season are just about as bleak.

Projected Playoff Teams: Villanova, New Hampshire, James Madison, William & Mary


1. Harvard
2. Dartmouth
3. Brown
4. Yale
5. Princeton
6. Penn
7. Cornell
8. Columbia

Scott Hosch stepped in at QB due to injury last fall, and took Harvard to another undefeated finish and Ivy League title. He has plenty of run support with Paul Stanton at RB, who is a big time threat whenever he touches the football. The receiving corps is loaded, so the offense shouldn't miss a beat. A talented and deep LB corps will anchor a defense that should be one of the better units in the FCS. How Tim Murphy hasn't been stolen by another program by now makes my head spin.
No team in Ivy play improved more than Dartmouth last season. The Big Green is loaded across the board coming into 2015, and may finally be in a place to compete for the Ivy title, and could be ready to really push Harvard. Dalyn Thomas and Kyle Bramble run the offense, and the defense has star power across the board. This could be a big year.
Brown is the next team on the comeback trail after some rough seasons. Marcus Fuller is ready for a breakout season at QB, after passing for over 2600 yards last fall. The defense, which was stout last fall, has several holes, but the offense looks ready to take over the leadership role  at last.
Yale had a big year last season, and did manage to push Harvard for a while. They lost several important players from that club, but Morgan Roberts is back at QB, and he is one of the best in the FCS. With so many other questions surrounding him, Yale could slide back just a bit this fall.
Princeton is stuck in the middle once again in 2015. The Tigers lost several key components on offense, and it's going to be hard to plug those holes early on. The defense may have to pick up the leadership role, as then starters return.
Penn has been sinking like a stone in recent seasons, and now are starting over under Ray Priore as head coach. The defense is stronger than the offense heading in, especially up front. QB Alex Torgorsen is back at QB, but he has little to work with.
Cornell is in a downward spiral lately, and the spiral continues this fall for the Big Red. It's going to be a tough go once again. It's so bad, that the only team they beat last season was Columbia, who finished winless in ten games last season. The Lions made a coaching change in the offense, with Al Bagnoli taking the reigns, but the Lions are likely to stay another year in the cellar.

Projected Playoff Teams: None


1. South Carolina State
2. North Carolina Central
3. North Carolina A&T
4. Bethune-Cookman
5. Morgan State
6. Norfolk State
7. Howard
8. Hampton
9. Florida A&M
10. Delaware State
11. Savannah State

South Carolina State is in prime position to take over as league champs in 2015 due to a big play defense, led by All-American selection Javon Hargrave and LB Darius Leonard. The Bulldogs are deep across the board, and could have one of the better units in FCS football. QB Adrian Kollock and Scoot Simmons should engineer some excitement on offense as well.
The Eagles of North Carolina Cental picked up a share of their first ever MEAC title last fall, and they look to push back in that range once again. Malcolm Bell is solid at QB, and has a good group of weapons to help him in Adrian Wilkins and Quentin Atkinson at WR.
Despite having great size, Tarik Cohen will be the motor behind the offense for North Carolina A&T, as the Aggies come off a nine win season last fall. The defense could be loaded up the middle of the field, and the Aggies are in prime position  to compete for a birth in the first ever Celebration Bowl.
Bethune-Cookman got hit hard by the departure of coach Brian Waters, but his top assistant, Terry Sims, stuck around to pick up the program. Sims should bring consistency to the Wildcats this season, and the offense is loaded with talent. The defense, however, lost nine starters, so there's some work to do heading into the season, which is why I have the Cats falling slightly.
Morgan State, long a struggling MEAC program, won seven games and shared the league title last fall. QB Moses Brown and RB Herb Walker are back once again to run the offense, and the Bears also get Lamont Brown III back after he missed all of last season.
Young QB Terrence Ervin should benefit from a coaching change at Norfolk State, as Latrell Scott comes over from Virginia State to take over after the Spartans won just four games last fall. The defense should be able to hold up until the offense gets used to the new fast paced offense.
Howard won a surprising five games last season, but finding a new QB may hamper their efforts to improve on that this fall. The defense was full of holes last fall, and that will be an area of concern as well.
Hampton was plagued by turnover issues last fall, so Connell Maynor will be working on ball control and turnover prevention in camp. Virginia transfer David Watford takes over at QB, with Jerrell Antoine still in the mix. Whomever ends up with the job long term has a loaded group at receiver.
Florida A&M has slid in the last decade, and the slide continues, as a complete lack of talent has the Rattlers lined up to struggle once again.
Former FBS assistant Kenny Carter takes over after 23 years of playing second fiddle at Delaware State. The Hornets have some talent in the back seven on defense, and can run the ball somewhat, but Carter will have to build his program over the next few seasons.
Savannah State is an abject disaster, and is under NCAA sanctions as they come off a winless season. Another year of going winless is a real possibility.

Projected Playoff Teams: None
Celebration Bowl Participant: South Carolina State


1. North Dakota State
2. Illinois State
3. Youngstown State
4. Northern Iowa
5. South Dakota State
6. Indiana State
7. Southern Illinois
8. Western Illinois
9. Missouri State
10. South Dakota

Coming off of their fourth straight national title, North Dakota State still runs strong, and is a favorite to win a fifth. The Bison return QB Carson Wentz after rolling up over 3600 total yards. Zach Vraa returns as his top receiver, while King Frazier and Chase Morlock take over at RB, and they will run behind a talented veteran line. Defensively, the Bison returns more then enough talent to succeed despite some holes on the edge.
Illinois State had a magical season last fall, and if the Bison weren't around, they would likely have celebrated a national title last fall. Tre Roberson returns at QB, and is one of the best FCS QBs in the nation. He rolled up over 4200 yards of offense last season. Marshaun Coprich is one of the best backs in the nation as well, and rushed for over 2200 yards last fall, with 27 scores. The only issues on offense will be having to plug three open starting jobs on the line.
Youngstown State made a huge off-season splash by hiring deposed Nebraska coach Bo Pelini. Pelini, a Youngstown native, never won fewer than nine games in any of his seven seasons in Lincoln, and could be poised to bring YSU back to the Penguin glory years. Pelini will make great use of the Hunter Wells to Andrew Williams connection in the passing game, while Martin Ruiz returns at RB. The defense will be beefed up from recent seasons, so look for YSU to plug their way back to the postseason immediately.
Northern Iowa beat NDSU and Illinois State last season, and used that to spring into the playoffs. UNI has one of the best defenses in the conference, and that trait continues into this fall. Rutgers transfer Savon Higgins should be the latest solid Panther RB, but the draw back for them will be finding a new QB. Look for the Panthers to be a bubble playoff team when the brackets are being made.
South Dakota State needs to replace their top QB, RB, and WR from a year ago, but they do return all freshman WR Jake Weineke to the fold, and he could be one of the best WRs in the nation when all is said and done. Still, SDSU has too many holes to fill and lost too much production to be expected to make another playoff push this season. It could still happen, it just shouldn't be expected.
Indiana State was one of the most improved teams in America last fall, going from one win to eight in a single year. The Sycamores will be at their best defensively this season, and are led by LB Kendall Walker, and have excellent cover options in the secondary in Travis Starks and Alex Stowers, with a deep cover option in Mark Sewall. ISU, however, will need to find some key players on offense, which may keep them out of the playoffs this season.
Southern Illinois is starting to show improvements, but may step back a bit offensively this season with TE MyCole Pruitt and RB Malcolm Agnew both being gone. Mark Ianotti is back at QB, but he will be seeking new weapons in fall camp. David Elson comes onboard at DC to shore up that area for the Salukis.
Western Illinois returns a solid offensive corps in QB Trenton Norvell, WR Lance Lenoir, and RB Devon Moore, and the line is loaded. Where the Leathernecks fold is on defense, and the offense will have to score big time to make up for what they give up on the defensive side of the ball. This will be problematic as they get into the Valley Conference season. It could be a long season for WIU this fall.
Missouri State made a change after a 4-8 season, with the Bears moving on to former Missouri DC Dave Steckel. He will be relying heavily on RB Calan Crowder as there are few other pieces on the offense. The front seven on defense is a strong point and a major building block for this season. If the Bears can hold strong on defense, they could surprise a few people.
When South Dakota hired former Montana and Wyoming coach Joe Glenn, they never expected to be as bad as they are at this point. The heat is squarely on this fall, but the Coyotes are already in the hole with starting QB Kevin Earl likely out with an injury. It looks like this could be the end of the line for Glenn short of a miracle.
Projected Playoff Teams: North Dakota State, Illinois State, Youngstown State, Northern Iowa


1. Sacred Heart
2. Bryant
3. St. Francis
4. Duquesne
5. Wagner
6. Central Connecticut State
7. Robert Morris

Sacred Heart made their first playoff appearance last season, and they look primed to be back there again as the Pioneers return some significant talent from a team that largely controlled the league defensively last season. On offense, RJ Noel is back at QB, and WR Moses Webb should step up at WR to have a breakout season.
No team came closer to knocking SHU out of the top spot than the Bulldogs of Bryant last season, as they finished 8-3 overall. QB Dalton Easton is back at QB to lead things, and Has Chad Ward back to toss the ball to. Ricardo McCray picked up 14 TDs last season as a receiver and runner, and is back as well. Bryant could be in position to pull an upset and win the conference title this fall.
St. Francis returns one of the best backs in the nation in Khairi Dickson. He may be one of the best players in the nation hands down. The Red Flash was one of the more improved teams in the nation last fall, but could have been better. Some have them winning the league this season, however, I still don't feel like the complete package is there yet. SFU will make a push, but may come up just shy of the top.
Dillon Buechel is back at QB for the Dukes of Duquesne but they have to figure out some of the issues that kepth them to just six wins last fall. Chris King is back at WR, and is one of the better receiver options in the NEC after wrapping up 1127 yards receiving last fall. Eight starters return on defense, so Duquesne could be in a position to push St. Francis for third. At this point, however, it looks like they slide in just behind.
Walt Hameline has retired at Wagner, so 2015 will be a year of transition after Hameline roamed the sidelines for 34 years. OC Jason Houghtaling takes over. Deciding on a starting QB, and reintegrating WR Anthony Carrington into the system after a missed season will be paramount to success. The defense should be solid in the front seven, but the Seahawks must prove themselves across the board.
Central Connecticut State will be loaded on defense, as eight starters return, but they have absolutely zero identified big play talent on offense, and that will make for a long Blue Devil season in New Britain. If CCSU repeats their three wins from last season, that would be a success as far as I am concerned.
Youth was a major concern for Robert Morris last fall, and the Colonials suffered through a one win season as a result. Those youngsters are a year more experienced this fall, but they are still far behind their competition. If some of those players use that experience the right way, there is no reason to say that they couldn't pass CCSU, but they won't go much farther this fall.
Projected Playoff Teams: Sacred Heart


1. Jacksonville State
2. Eastern Kentucky
3. UT-Martin
4. Tennessee State
5. Eastern Illinois
6. Tennessee Tech
7. SE Missouri State
8. Murray State
9. Austin Peay

Despite the loss of DaMarcus James at RB for Jacksonville State, the Gamecocks are still loaded at the position. Eli Jenkins is back at QB as well, so there should be no fall off from a record setting offensive season. Devaunte Sigler returns from winning the OVC defensive MVP award, and should lead the defense. Look for UAB transfer Joseph Roberts to contribute immediately, and look for big contributions from LaMichael Fleming, an Alabama transfer as well.
Eastern Kentucky started off hot, but cooled toward the end of the year, and the Colonels failed to win the conference title. The key on offense will be RB Dy'Shawn Mobley, who rushed for 1491 yards last season. The line is loaded, and eight starters return on defense. EKU will push Jacksonville State for certain, and a playoff birth looks likely.
UT-Martin will boast one of the better defenses in the OVC this fall, and will use that unit to cover for an offense that may be just a bit behind most. The Sky Hawks have played consistently enough that it looks as if they could challenge in a fringe way, but they may just miss out on a playoff birth this fall.
Tennessee State returns only six total starters, but will be getting an influx of FBS transfers this season, and those transfers are talented enough to step right in and provide an impact. The Tigers are a bit of a tweener team this fall, meaning they could go either way, up or down. Right now, I see them falling right in the middle.
Eastern Illinois returns Jalen Whitlow at QB, and he could open up the offense for the Panthers this fall. He scored 27 total TDs last season, and EIU could rise from this spot to as high as third. Look for a breakout season from Shepard Little at RB.
Tennessee Tech is on the verge of turning the corner, and they could do so this season if all the pieces fall together. They return 17 total starters, which could be the platform for a revival. The Eagles will ride an improving defense to try to pull ahead this fall after finishing 4-4 in OVC play last season.
SE Missouri State needs for WR Paul McRoberts to stay on the field. When healthy, he's one of the more explosive options at WR in the country, but he missed five games last fall. The issue is finding players around him on offense, and finding a defense that can tighten up this fall.
Murray State is getting stuck with yet another coaching change, and those changes have had a negative effect over the last few seasons, and the Racers are sinking like a stone. They should get more consistency this time, as they promoted from within with OC Mitch Stewart taking over. KD Humphries is an All American selection heading into the season after he passed for 3483 yards and 27 TDs last season. The Racers have talent, but they need consistency, and that has been a huge problem, especially on defense.
Austin Peay is basically just outclassed across the board in the OVC. The offense was abysmal last fall, and that was an area of recruiting need in the off season. The defense was not at all any better, but there is a chance that another season can bring more experience, and hence would bring improvement. There's only one way to go after a 1-11 season last fall.
Projected Playoff Teams: Jacksonville State, Eastern Kentucky


1. Bucknell
2. Fordham
3. Colgate
4. Lafayette
5. Holy Cross
6. Lehigh
7. Georgetown

One of the biggest upsets that I am predicting in college football this season comes in the Patriot League, with Bucknell picked to win the league title over Fordham. If RJ Nitti can stay healthy at QB, and if CJ Williams can have a breakthrough season at RB, the Bison could be the best team in the league when it all sorts out in the fall.
Fordham is the easy pick to win the league, but having zero experience at QB and having only one starter back on defense is why I'm backing off on the Rams this fall, despite the return of Chase Edmonds at RB, who rushed for 1838 yards and 23 TDs last fall. With no QB experience, teams will be tempted to load up to stop Edmonds.
Colgate had the best team rushing offense in the league last fall, and the Red Raiders look to continue that trend once again this fall, especially with a suspect passing offense to rely on. There are several candidates for breakout seasons on defense, so Colgate could make a strong push this fall.
An unstable QB situation, and the loss of their leading rusher should keep Lafayette squarely in the middle once again this fall. The Leopards use two QBs, neither of which being special, and that is an anchor as far as I am concerned. Finding one reliable player would work best.
Holy Cross is an improving program, and the Crusaders could ride QB Peter Pujals, who passed for 2353 yards last season. He also rushed for 705 yards, so he is a player to watch in Patriot League play this season. Improving the defense will be key.
Lehigh is sinking, and the Mountain Hawks will be trying to stay out of the basement this fall. QB Nick Shafinsky returns and will throw to Tory Pelletier, so the offense should be ok if they can find a viable rushing attack. The defense is a letdown, and that trend could continue this season, unless someone breaks out.
Georgetown is at the bottom once again, but changes coaches as Rob Sgarlata takes over this fall. Jo'El Kimpela will be the focus on offense at RB, and has talent, but he has little around him to work off of. The defense loses Alec May, but DB Ettian Scott is solid in the secondary and could be a star.
Projected Playoff Teams: Bucknell, Fordham


1. San Diego
2. Dayton
3. Drake
4. Campbell
5. Stetson
6. Morehead State
7. Butler
8. Marist
9. Valporaiso
10. Davidson
Jacksonville* (Ineligible for conference title, playoff birth)

The biggest disappointment this fall for this league is the ineligibility for Jacksonville to get a playoff birth in QB Kade Bell's senior season. The coach's son has been a big time player for the Dolphins during his tenure as starting QB, and not being eligible to win the title and hit the playoffs running will be a major letdown. Impermissible benefits based on scholarship rules were the major factor in the ban this fall.
With JU out of the way, San Diego steps up to the front of the line. The Toreros will look for a breakout season from RB Jonah Hodges to lead the way, as a chuck of production is gone at QB and WR.
Connor Kacor will be back at RB to lead the way for challenger Dayton this fall. Kascor rushed for 1115 yards and 14 TDs, and should be one of the better backs in the league this fall. DE Nate Sudnick leads the way on defense, and the secondary is one of the better units in the country.
Drake is seeking improvement from their QB Andy Rice, as he tossed just as many picks (11) as TDs last fall. On defense, MLB John Hugenin is the class of the league, and the secondary is loaded. The Bulldogs will pull an upset or two this fall.
The Camels of Campbell are rising in the conference this season. The Camels have a three headed monster at RB heading into the fall, and should pound teams into submission. Kameron Bryant will start at QB after transferring over from Appalachian State.
Stetson is still a young program, but is a team on the rise, and one to watch as they continue to build forward. Ryan Tetler is continuing to develop at QB after tossing 17 TDs, and the defense should be loaded with talent this season. For the Hatters to step up, they just have to gain more experience. If someone finished higher than projections in this conference this season, Stetson would be my team to watch.
Austin Gahafer returns as one of the better QBs in the country for Morehead State, but that defense was an absolute mess last fall. A change took place at DC, and that's just the start of trying to stop the bleeding. Give the Eagles a year to figure it out before improvement is expected.
Matt Schiltz is back at QB for Butler after his season was cut short due to injury last fall. He could help Butler improve from a season where there was little talent in important places. Special teams will be an area of strength for Butler, but a talent upgrade is needed.
Marist was a mess on offense last fall, and was in fact the worst offense in the conference. Still, the Red Foxes won four games in league play, which was encouraging. The defense picked up the pace, but had a tendency to wear out at times with the offense coming up so short. That could be an issue once again this fall.
Valporaiso made huge strides last season to win four games, and if you have followed the plight of Crusader football, then you know how huge that was. Valpo is seeking a new QB, and will struggle to find playmakers on offense, but the defense has a viable star in LB Alex Green.
Davidson has struggled to find a direction for the program, and the Wildcats won just a single game last season to claim the basement. They likely stay at the bottom once again, as they have failed to win a PFL game for two seasons. They do boast one star in WR William Morris, the receiving leader in the league.
Projected Playoff Teams: San Diego


1. Chattanooga
2. Western Carolina
3. Wofford
4. Samford
5. Mercer
6. Furman
7. The Citadel
8. VMI
East Tennessee State* (Ineligible)

Chattanooga made their first trip to the playoffs in 30 years last season, and the Mocs look primed to return once again behind the play of QB Jacob Huesman, who passed for 2731 yards to go with his 1009 yards rushing and 37 total scores. Huesman, and All-American selection, should be the best QB in FCS football this fall. He has nothing but skill around him, and so the Mocs should find no trouble winning the league again. The defense has a few holes, but not enough to be of major concern.
Western Carolina narrowly missed a playoff birth last fall, and like Chattanooga, they've seemed to find their glory days from the 1980s once again. QB Troy Mitchell returns at QB after passing for 2541 yards, and will be the key to a massively experienced offense. There are a couple of choice holes on defense, but nine starters return. Look for the Catamounts to get back to the playoffs this fall.
Wofford is loaded in the backfield, and the option should be back to full form behind FB Lorenzo Long, who scored 15 times last fall. Defensively, nobody defends against the run better than the Terriers. Will the offense be strong enough to offset the high powered attacks of Chattanooga and WCU? That's the question.
Samford has a new coach in town in former Murray State coach Chris Hatcher. Hatcher, a bit of a mercenary who jumps from job to job often, brings some credibility to a program that has struggled to reach elite levels in the SoCon or the OVC back in the day. Michael Eubank returns at QB after passing for 2136 yards, and he should blow up this fall in Hatcher's up tempo offense. Karel Hamilton should blow up at WR as well. RB Denzel Williams scored 16 times last season and is looking for more.
A young Mercer football program was in every game last fall, and the Bears look to turn a corner this fall. All 22 starters return, and Bobby Lamb has them ready to shock some people in this conference this fall. Alex Lakes returns at RB after rushing for 17 TDs last fall, and he will be the focal point of the offense.
Furman was derailed by injuries last fall, and they have to find answers to that problem this season. Reese Hannon will make his major appearance as the starting QB a year late after he busted his ankle in game one last fall. He has a bevy of talent to throw to, so the offense should be in go mode. The LB corps should be a strength for the Paladins, if they can stay on the field long enough to have an effect.
The Citadel showed some flashes last season, and won five games. The Bulldogs have lots of parts on offense, but they need someone to step up and lead and be a star. Mike Houston is still building the program, so I would say that they are a team to watch moving forward. Look for a major push in 2016.
VMI has made a change at head coach, having let go of veteran coach Sparky Woods and replacing him with Virginia OL Coach Scott Wachenheim. He'll have his work cut out for him, but does have super sophomore Al Webb at QB. It's a start for the Keydets, who have been bad for a very long time.
East Tennessee State makes their return to college football this season, but will not be eleigible for the conference title until next season. Former North Carolina Coach Carl Torbush is in charge of this program as they play an independent schedule this fall.
Projected Playoff Teams: Chattanooga, Western Carolina


1. Sam Houston State
2. Stephen F. Austin
3. SE Louisiana
4. Lamar
5. Central Arkansas
6. McNeese State
7. Abilene Christian
8. Northwestern State
9. Incarnate Word
10. Houston Baptist
11. Nicholls State

Sam Houston State looks primed to return to the top of the SLC in 2015. Jared Johnson is back at QB, but was slowed by off-season shoulder surgery in spring ball, as was Don King III. Jeremiah Briscoe, a UAB transfer, also fits in the mix. WR LaDarius Brown is in great shape to have a huge season. DE PJ Hall will anchor the defense for the Bearkats.
Stephen F. Austin should make a return to the postseason as well this fall, as QB Zach Conque, son of the coach, returns after passing for 2733 yards. Aaron Thomas is another breakout candidate this season for the Lumberjacks.
SE Louisiana must find a QB to replace Bryan Bennett in order to push back into a playoff bid, and they may not make it back this season. The defense may be ahead of the offense in terms of experience this season, but the Lions won't be missing from contention for long.
Lamar shocked everyone last fall by winning eight games, and should take another progressive step this fall. Look for Stephen F. Austin transfer Joe Minden to step into the starting QB role this fall, but JC transfer Carson Earp may have a say as well. The Cardinals have a strong list of FBS transfers coming in as well.
Central Arkansas looks to take a step back this fall with the departure of QB Ryan Howard and WR Dezmin Lewis. Look for 2015 to be a bit of a restocking season, rather than rebuilding.
McNeese State came very close to beating Nebraska last fall, but then skidded to a 6-5 finish. The Cowboys have 16 total starters returning this season, and the message is about finishing games.
Peter McKenzie is the focal point for Abilene Christian this season. The Wildcat QB passed for 3084 yards and 22 TDs last season. ACU is only in year three of FCS membership, so the program is still building. Major success doesn't seem to far away.
There are a ton of holes this fall on defense for Northwestern State, and the offense must find a new QB for a team that won six games last fall. The Demons may just take a step back this season while they fill their spots.
There is some good news for Incarnate Word as far as talent is concerned this season. COrey Lee anchors the line on defense, while Padyn Giebler leads the LB corps. Kobie Douglas is one of the better CBs on FCS football. TE Cole Wick is a solid talent on offense, and Trent Brittain is back after missing almost all of last season. An improvement on their 2-9 record is a good possibility.
The Huskies of Houston Baptist are all in on former Florida QB Max Staver this fall, but are only in year two of their existence as a program. Slow development of this program is likely.
HBU will still be better than Nicholls State this fall, even as the Colonels make a coaching change to Tim Rebowe, a former UL-Lafayette assistant. Former USC interim Ed Orgeron was approached, and was in talks for the job, but eventually decided against it. RB Michael Henry and QB Tuskani Figaro bring hope to avoid another winless season.
Projected Playoff Teams: Sam Houston State, Stephen F. Austin


1. Southern
2. Grambling State
3. Prairie View
4. Texas Southern
5. Arkansas-Pine Bluff

1. Alcorn State
2. Alabama State
3. Jackson State
4. Alabama A&M
5. Mississippi Valley State

Southern was very young last fall, but it worked for the Jaguars as they won the SWAC West title. Lenard Tillery was a beast at RB, while Austin Howard will be back as a sophomore at QB to pass to Willie Quinn, who caught 62 passes last fall. Eight starter return on defense as well, making it likely that Southern repeats.
Grambling State made amazing strides last season to win seven games, and should fit right in at second in the West once more. Jonathon Williams is back at QB after a huge season,and gets all his favorite weapons back as well.
Heishma Northern is gone at Prairie View, and Willie Simmons comes over from his post as OC at Alcorn State to take over. RB Johnta Hebert will be the focal point of the offense after the loss of QB Jerry Lovelock. Former South Carolina WR Shaq Roland should be a huge addition this fall.
After a red hot start last fall, Texas Southern fell completely apart to finish at 5-6. The Tigers are largely rebuilding on offense, so the slide looks to continue.
Arkansas-Pine Bluff looks strong on defense, with ten starters returning for the Golden Lions this fall. There are tools on offense, but the QB situation is a mystery heading into the fall, and someone needs to step up and be a star on offense.
John Gibbs, Junior is back at QB for Alcorn State after passing for 2400 yards and rushing for just over 1000. He scored 32 total TDs, and is again the center of an offense that averaged 49.4 points per game. The Braves are in prime position to take the league once again, even with Southern being so strong in the West.
Reggie Barlow was mysteriously fired at Alabama State after a seven win season, and Brian Jenkins came over from Bethune-Cookman to take over after a successful run there. Jenkins will depend on JC transfers to kick start the 2015 campaign, so they will likely finish a distant second to Alcorn State in the West.
LeMontez Ivy is one of the better FCS QBs, but he has little to work with at Jackson State, and the Tigers are a firm middle tier team in the SWAC as of now. Dan Williams should be his top target this season.
Alabama A&M adds JC transfer De'Angelo Ballard at QB, but the Bulldogs are looking for options everywhere else. There are tools to use, but someone has to be ready to step up and lead. The defense is young and developing.
Mississippi Valley State loses 19 starters from a two win season last fall, but this may be addition by subtraction.
Projected Playoff Teams: None
Projected Celebration Bowl Participant: Alcorn State