Friday, August 28, 2015

Know Your 2015 Opponents: Holy Cross

Perhaps it should be called the curse of QB Dominic Randolph.

With Dom as the leader on offense, in 2009 Holy Cross won their first Patriot League football championship in the FCS Playoff era.

From there they proceeded to give Villanova all they could handle in a 38-28 thriller.  The Wildcats would go on and win the FCS National Championship, beating Montana 23-21, and had the purpliest or Purple fans wondering about how and when the Crusaders were going to take the next step.

Unfortunately for Holy Cross fans, they've been waiting ever since.

Sure, injuries have played a part in Holy Cross' struggles over the seasons.  They also, certainly, have had more than their fail share of agonizing, close losses over the last four years.  And even the rest of the league hasn't paid Tom Gilmore's team much mind, either, ranking them sixth out of seven Patriot League teams in the preseason poll.

Yet this team doesn't seem like they should be picked sixth.  Not with the skill guys they have coming back, and the guys coming back from injury.

Maybe they were simply picked sixth because of the "curse" of Dominic Raldolph.  If they were, it's a mistake.

Week 0: Griz Hope To Smoke Out Bison in a Royal Rumble in Missoula

For the second year in a row, ESPN will be ushering in the first FCS football game of the year on the flagship station.

And for the second year in a row, the matchup will be worth your time.

It's hard to picture two more iconic FCS programs in the last ten years than the North Dakota State Bison, winner of four straight FCS National Championships, and the Montana Grizzlies, who have made the playoffs eight of the last ten years and also made it all the way to two national championship games in the last decade.

It might not be easy to see Mount Sentinel in the distance with possible smoke from the huge wildfires in Eastern Washington, but what is certain is that these two perennial Top 25 teams seem likely to usher in the FCS football season with style.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Know Your 2015 Opponents: Georgetown

No teams can beat Georgetown in one area: timezones.

While head coach Rob Sgarlata might prefer you focus on how many games where Georgetown had a chance going into the 4th quarter, or how they have a sneaky good defense, the truth is nobody can touch Georgetown when it comes to getting players all over the world.

Take senior DB Ettian Scott, whose hometown is listed as Okinawa, Japan.  Or senior RB Jo'el Kimpala, who hails from the Democratic Republic of Congo.  Or sophomore WR Luke Morris, who comes from Honolulu, Hawai'i.

If Georgetown's policy of not offering football scholarships might be seen as a hindrance in some circles, it's clearly not much of a setback when it comes to getting players that hail from, well, all over the world.

In Year 2 of the Sgarlata era, the Hoyas are hoping to make the jump from 3-8 squad to an over .500 team, and challenging for the Patriot League title.  Impossible?  Some might think so.  At media day, the Hoyas were picked 7th out of 7 teams.

Yet senior LB Matthew Satchell said at Patriot League Media day that this Georgetown team would be a "down and dirty fighting team," showing that this squad may be a tougher out than people imagine, especially with their tough defense.


Monday, August 24, 2015

Reflections of a Football Writer During Freshman Move-In Day

It was bound to happen sometime.  I got the message from a friend of mine, whom I met with a whole bunch of other guys at Lehigh heading up to Rathbone dining hall so very long ago.

He had just dropped his own son off at college.

He remembered heading up to Rathbone with all those guys and gals that first weekend in South Bethlehem, brought together almost at random, the only thing really linking everyone together being they got in to Lehigh.  We didn't know it then, but it was the first step of an exciting adventure that, for all of us, anyway, would be rewarding and wonderful.

I didn't initially get into this writing thing to talk about how great it was to be a student at Lehigh, oddly enough, though for me it was, indeed, great.  I've gotten here over time, after writing about an awful lot of football games, writing about the Patriot League, writing about Football Championship Subdivision, or FCS, and about "what I damn please ( a term coined by my grandmother concerning my grandfather, incidentally).

Like my time at Lehigh, my writing life started small, and unexpectedly has become an exciting adventure that has continued to be rewarding and wonderful.  Even if, sometimes, I hate my own writing and wish it were better, or I wish I could attend just one more practice before I make a preview, or I wish I could get one more interview of Bucknell's head football coach at Media Day.

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