Twelve days to go for our opening kickoff when we see Jacksonville visit Delaware on Friday, September 4 followed by Penn State meeting Temple the following afternoon at “The Linc” in Philly!…Our Gala Game 500 celebration on for Collegefootballfan.com’s 500th game when we see Army host Rutgers on November 21 is virtually sold out. Get in touch with us if still interested. WE may be able to get a few more seats near our section. “Go Knights – Black or Scarlet! We’re going to win the Tailgate!…We loved this article from D3Football.com on August 10, 2015: “Best road trips of 2015: Week 1, Northeast”. It’s definitely in the spirit of what we’ve done over the years. Was it not for our goal to be sure our 500th game will be on November 21 when Rutgers and Army meet, this is an adventure we would consider to attend four games in three days. To start the season on purely a D3 level, we thought the trip was well planned and interesting. The writer suggests Anna Maria College at the Coast Guard Academy in New London, CT on Thursday night, Sept 3; MIT at Worcester Poly in Massachusetts on Friday night; Maine Maritime at SUNY-Maritime under the Throggs Neck Bridge at 12 noon on Saturday, and then a trip across Jersey out to Wilkes-Barre, PA to see Moravian at King’s in a 6 pm kickoff. We would love to go back to New London to see a game at the Coast Guard Academy and plan to do so again. Great setting along the Thames River. It would be interesting to see MIT play football and up in that Worcester area where we have to go eventually to see Holy Cross in a home game for the first time, too. Last season on 9/11, we saw the Mariners of SUNY defeat Mass Maritime under the Throggs Neck, 31-30, for our first time there. Never been to King’s, but we’ve been to nearby Wilkes and last season we saw Moravian defeat the Alma Mater, Juniata, in Huntingdon. Not a bad four game set. The one game we would change is the noon start on Saturday. We would suggest going to Cortland, New York, to watch a good Red Dragon program, now a member of the Empire 8 moving on from the NJAC, host the Student Princes of Heidelberg from the Ohio Athletic Conference. Last season, the Princes finished 8-2 losing only to perennial conference powerhouses John Carroll and Mt. Union. It looks like a competitive game on paper, and I think you’d have much better chance to make the 6 pm kickoff down at King’s…
Next season, we will look closely at options to kick off our season in New England. UConn or BC usually has a Thursday night game to start the season. UMass is improving and is playing games on campus in Amherst again in its expanded stadium. There are games at Holy Cross we’d like to go to, and we eventually we want to see a game at Maine. D3 gives us several options along the way. One option would be to see Mass-Maritime play at the foot of Cape Cod in Buzzard’s Bay. Sounds like a great place to watch the game and see what happens after. The weather should be a comfortable way to start the season there that time of year. Got a big season in 2015 before we start thinking about 2016 though, but we’re always excited about new adventures…OK, so if you heard our interview last week with Chris, Josh, and Ray, on WVSL ESPN 92.3, they forced my hand to announce our projected Final Four in 2015 before we published it here. I was still in the process, but when I gave them my best shot, I realized after that I’m sticking with it because it sounds unlikely more than anything else. Here is Collegefootballfan.com’s Final Four for the CFP: 1.) Like everybody else, I am picking Ohio State. I’m hoping Penn State pulls the upset against them, but after a 31-24 scare in State College last year, OSU will be fired up on their home turf for this one at The Shoe.
2.) Like a lot of others, I like TCU. I always like Gary Patterson’s defense, and this year QB Trevone Boykin, a Heisman favorite, returns after a sensational season a year ago. He’s one of ten returning starters for the Horned Frog offense. I think TCU’s defense will outshine Baylor’s in their head to head game to end the season on November 27 in Fort Worth. TCU’s 61-58 loss a year ago will have them steamed for this one to give them an edge. Winner of this year’s game will take it all into the CFP.
3.) I have to have a “dark horse”. The Final Four can’t be so cut and dried before the season starts with Alabama, Auburn, Oregon, and Baylor among everybody else’s Final Four. Boring! Injuries, controversial calls, upsets, a possible probation, player suspensions (hope not), etc. will make differences somewhere. I’m diving deep into the pack and selecting from a conference many think will be on the outside looking into the CFP. I have a major reservation because of the leadership of their defense, but from what I saw from them a year ago, I’m looking for their offense to play ball control all season and with some slight improvements on defense, they can overcome three losses by six points or less a year ago. I love Paul Johnson’s triple option’s scheme at Georgia Tech, his offenses’ discipline, and its leadership under returning QB Justin Thomas. With 1,086 yards on the ground last season, he’s a running back who can throw the ball when he has to. The O-line returns four starters, and like when he was at Navy, Johnson finds the skill players he needs to run this offense. He finds even better athletes to play at Tech. Last season they beat Georgia in OT at Athens to finish the regular season, and roared past Mississippi State in the Orange Bowl we attended, 49-34. To get to the Final Four, they will have to be undefeated meaning they will have to knock off Notre Dame in South Bend, Clemson in the other Death Valley, Florida State at home in a game we will attend, and Georgia at home this year. Tall orders, but that’s why no one expects them to be there, and that’s why they are my dark horse.
4.) It will definitely be an SEC team, but this year, it won’t be Alabama, Auburn or any other team from the SEC West. Look east, and ‘Bama and ‘Burn will both have a regular season loss to the Georgia Bulldogs. UGA and Tech both in the CFP? There’s a lot of football talent down there in the land of the Peaches. We see Georgia with Nick Chubb churning out the yards behind a steady offensive line and several other RBs coming up big. They host Alabama on Oct 3 and play at Auburn who they handled a year ago, 34-7. Mizzou will be down somewhat this year after winning three straight SEC East titles. After a loss at Georgia Tech, they will be primed for whomever they play in the SEC Championship. The passing game is suspect, but if Soph QB Brice Ramsey avoids mistakes, and the running backs remain healthy behind a dominant line, we look for Georgia to come up with a big season to get the SEC into the CFP. It won’t be the first time in recent years that a newcomer at QB led an SEC team to the conference championship. Of course, we have to point out that UGA’s only loss will be to Georgia Tech. Like last season, it will be in a fight to the finish. Great season coming up!