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Showing posts from August 21, 2011

Know Your 2011 Opponents: Georgetown

(Photo Credit: John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

I don't make it a habit to read the Casual Hoya blog, whose main focus is their Big East-playing, fisticuffs-in-China-flying, men's basketball team.

But when he had his version of a prediction of the Hoya football season, I couldn't help but laugh out loud.

Here's something else that isn't a laughing matter: the Hoyas are a far cry from the sad sack team that went 0-11 in 2009.  They will win more Patriot League games this year.  And if the cards fall right, they could find themselves in November once again fighting for a Patriot League championship. (more)

Know Your 2011 Opponents: Holy Cross

(Photo Credit: Rick Sinclair/The Worcester Telegram & Gazette)

If you look at the previews and the musings of FCS pundits across the land, you'd think that the Patriot League title race was most likely going to come down to Lehigh or Colgate.

But there was another team last year which concluded the year winning three of their last four games - including one over the team who has the preseason superstar for the Patriot League, senior RB Nate Eachus.

Holy Cross doesn't have a lot of big names on the squad. They don't have the record-setting quarterback from last year, QB Dominic Randolph, that would make them a sexy pick for the title. But what they do have is a solid team without a lot of overt weaknesses that make them an especially dangerous team in 2011. (more)

Know Your 2011 Opponents: Colgate

Colgate head football coach Dick Biddle, now entering his 15th year as head coach of the Raiders, has been to a few Patriot League Media Day rodeos before.

Looking as uncomfortable as ever in a rumpled shirt and tie - he never has been a "suit" type of guy - he did something at Media Day that was extraordinary.

He heaped praise on one of his players.

"He may be the best player I've coached as a football coach," Biddle said of his senior Payton Award candidate, senior RB Nate Eachus.  For him to say that, a guy who has coached not only a Payton Award winner (RB Jamaal Branch) but the leading rusher in Patriot League history (RB Jordan Scott), that's saying something. (more)

Know Your 2011 Opponents: Fordham

If disrespect were money, Fordham fans would be millionaires right now, thanks to a nation of UConn fans.

Admittedly, the Rams, under head coach Tom Masella, could have in 2011 their toughest pigskin schedule since Vince Lombardi suited up for the boys of Rose Hill back in the 1930s.

And Fordham won't be playing only one team this year that has the potential to qualify for a BCS bowl.  Thanks to the fact that the Rams carry 63 scholarships - a combination of the need-based variety that Patriot League schools may offer, plus merit-based scholarships that more resemble the ones in the rest of FCS - they'll be playing both UConn to open the season and Army later in the year.

In Patriot League circles, the question remains: will football scholarships make Fordham into a football program that is unrecognizable to other members of the Patriot League?  But in FBS circles, the Rams evoke more ridicule than respect. (more)

Sunday's Word: Friends

This weekend, we had some close "friends" and their kids visit our family for some Pennsylvania fun.  It's was a perfect time to have them stay and visit, while school is still out and right before the football season starts, when everything starts to get crazy for us.

Their visiting, getting caught up with their lives, and even playing Hearts for the first time in years with them made me think afresh about the meaning of "friendship", a word whose value has clearly been cheapened since the rise of the "social network".

And, surprisingly, in the word "friend" there's also a lesson to be learned about college football expansion, too.  While folks go on about revenue, regionality or even interesting football games, sometimes "friendships" are more important. (more)