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Archive For The “Big Sky” Category

My Vote for the FCS Top 25, 10/25/2016

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My Vote for the FCS Top 25, 10/25/2016

You didn’t ask for them, but here’s my pick for this week’s FCS Top 25.

“Back to Normal” seems to be the theme of this week’s Top 25, with my top 9 unchanged from last week.

The biggest team to fall in my poll was definitely Montana, whose 45-34 defeat to Northern Arizona was even more resounding than the final score might indicate.  The Lumberjacks in this one held a 45-20 advantage before letting up two touchdowns at the end of the game.

The Griz have frankly underwhelmed all year to me, allowing a team like St. Francis (PA) to hang around for no good reason, running up the score against hapless competition like Mississippi Valley State and Sacramento State.  With their second loss to a Big Sky opponent and nothing all that impressive in their schedule, it was an easy call to drop them more than 10 points in my poll.
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My Vote for the FCS Top 25, 10/18/2016

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My Vote for the FCS Top 25, 10/18/2016

You didn’t ask for them, but here’s my pick for this week’s FCS Top 25.

So this is the week that North Dakota State falls.

They fell in a thrilling defensive battle at home to South Dakota State in the game for the “Dakota Marker”.

It was a great game, filled with drama and showed that the Jackrabbits are worthy of everyone’s attention this week. In fact, South Dakota State’s effective, time-consuming drive was in many ways pulling from North Dakota State’s own trademark last-second comebacks, pulling together a drive for the ages, daring them to stop them yet consistently converting 3rd and 4th downs to set up the chance to win.

But then, therein lies the tricky part.  Where to rank the Bison, and where to rank the Jackrabbits?
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My FCS Top 25, 9/20/2016

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My FCS Top 25, 9/20/2016

You didn’t ask for them, but here’s my pick for this week’s FCS Top 25.

Photo Credit: New York Newsday

Stony Brook WR Ray Bolden catches a pass a sideline pass and takes it in for a touchdown against Richmond on Sept. 17, 2016. Photo Credit: Daniel De Mato

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Six Possible FCS Wins Over FBS Teams, 2016 Edition

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Six Possible FCS Wins Over FBS Teams, 2016 Edition

(Photo Credit: The Oregonian)Even though Lehigh isn’t taking on any FBS teams this season, it’s not too early to take a look at the 2016 college football schedule and look at some of the games that pit FCS teams vs. FBS teams and look for potential ups…

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My FCS Top 25 Vote, Week 8, 10/26/2015

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My FCS Top 25 Vote, Week 8, 10/26/2015

If you’d like, you can check out my FCS Top 25 vote below.

The story of the week in James Madison after their loss to Richmond wasn’t the fact that College Football Gameday was there, nor was it about their big CAA conference loss, which took them out of the drivers’ seat for the CAA title and conference autobid.

It was the fact that their superstar quarterback, QB Vad Lee, sustained an injury that would require surgery and take him out for the remained of the season.

The play didn’t look like much.  The Dukes, who were already down by two touchdowns, saw Lee simply try to make something happen on a routine 2 yard run left.  A shoestring tackle by Richmond’s linebacker wasn’t particularly dirty, though in retrospect it looked like his foot was tackled awkwardly.

A play afterwards, Lee remained in, and collapsed after hucking a deep pass, and his incredible career at JMU was done.

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My FCS Top 25 Vote, Week 7, 10/19/2015

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My FCS Top 25 Vote, Week 7, 10/19/2015

If you’d like, you can check out my FCS Top 25 vote below.

Last week, I said people around the country are starting to understand that James Madison is a pretty damn good FCS football team.

Apparently, someone at College Football Gameday was also paying attention to the Dukes as well.

At 7-0, James Madison University was chosen as the site for ESPN’s pregame show College Football Gameday, to highlight their game versus another Top 25 school, Richmond.

It’s not the first time College Football Gameday has elected to cover an FCS school.  The nationwide program has already made a couple stops in Fargo, North Dakota to cover the North Dakota State Bison, and last year the hot rumor was that Gameday was going to cover Lehigh vs. Lafayette‘s 150th celebration at Yankee Stadium, but ultimately decided to go with Harvard vs. Yale, as “The Game” was for an Ivy League championship and “The Rivalry” ended up being for pride.

Harrisonburg, Virginia I’m sure will be a great host for Gameday.  It’s also worth mentioning Dukes fans, and possibly their athletics reps, will be doing a great job showcasing Bridgeforth Stadium and their “FBS-ready” program.  Already some have taken to the papers to talk a little about an FBS move.

And why not?  I don’t blame them.  As much as I like the Dukes in FCS, I can very much see their team end up in the FBS eventually, ideally as a travel partner/rival to Old Dominion in Conference USA.

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My FCS Top 25 Vote, Week 6: 10/12/2015

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My FCS Top 25 Vote, Week 6: 10/12/2015

If you’d like, you can check out my FCS Top 25 vote below.

People around the country are starting to understand that James Madison is a pretty damn good FCS football team.

At 6-0, they bear little resemblance to the team that squeaked by 3-8 Lehigh last season.  The lowest offensive point total they put together in a game was 38 – versus Stony Brook, who could be a playoff team.  QB Vad Lee is firing on all cylinders, just showed up in Sports Illustrated’s Faces in the Crowd, and the Dukes faithful may be getting a look from College Football Gameday in a few weeks.

After they made mincemeat of Lehigh in Week 2, I knew they were good.  But I didn’t really know how good until they got into the league portion of the schedule.  They pounded Towson 51-30 last weekend, and they will in all likelihood go 7-0 after their trip to 2-4 Elon this weekend.  I’ve had them at No. 1 the past three weeks or so, and they’ve amply justified my pick.

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USA Today Releases Finances Database, Including FCS Schools

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USA Today Releases Finances Database, Including FCS Schools

One of the best pieces of data reporting, in regards to NCAA athletics, comes from USA Today Sports and a group of lawyers and reporters.

It’s called the NCAA Athletics Spending database, which details the amount of revenue and spending that every public school makes on athletics.  (By law, every public or partial-public school needs to disclose this information.)

It also computes the amount that each school receives in “subsidy”, which is a combination of institutional support (a direct payment from the school to the athletic department), student fees (fees included in tuition that end up going to the athletic department), and taxpayer money.

The full database is here, which is interesting in and of itself, but I wanted to break out the database to only include those schools with FCS football programs.  That’s what I’ve done below.

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Patriot League Schedules (Pt. 1): How Lehigh Stayed At Home In November, 2012

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Patriot League Schedules (Pt. 1): How Lehigh Stayed At Home In November, 2012

I really thought I’d have been over it by now, but I’m not.

Last year’s Lehigh football team, who went 10-1, was denied an at-large spot to the FCS playoffs, becoming the first school with 10 Division I wins to be denied the honor since the playoff field expanded from 16 teams.

How did this happen?

The most common complaint from some Lehigh fans and many other FCS fans was that Lehigh’s “schedule strength” in 2012 simply was not cutting it when comparing them to other at-large candidates like New Hampshire, Wofford, or Illinois State.

Is it true that Lehigh scheduled themselves out of a playoff game last season – and will this season’s Lehigh schedule make it any easier to qualify as an at-large team should the Mountain Hawks be in that position again?
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Straight Talk from Doug Fullerton about the "Illusion of FBS Opportunity"

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Straight Talk from Doug Fullerton about the "Illusion of FBS Opportunity"

I understand that most Lehigh fans (and, for that matter, Patriot League football fans) don’t get into the constant, 365-day-a-year ebb and flow of the goings-on in college athletics, let alone stuff on the divide between the FCS and the FBS.

However, I do.  Probably because I’m insane, but I do.

When the commissioner of the Big Sky Conference Doug Fullerton posted a Q&A session, and followed it up with a Twitter Q&A, though, I paid very close attention.

These types of events are generally of the hit-or-miss variety – sometimes it’s a weak effort to highlight, say, the fact that a “conversation” was held about “membership”, or some other amorphous, read-anything-into-it-you-want statement.

Not so, however, this time around.

What made this particular interchange so extraordinary was its candidness, and Doug’s overall vision of collegiate athletics.  Mr. Fullerton laid it all out there – and, in the process, gave a vision of what may be the future of FCS, FBS, Division I – everything.
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