Add Sept. 17 to my list
Here’s another good article from The Sports Network’s Craig Haley, listing 10 games he feels will shape the 2011 Football Championship Subdivision season. Notice he didn’t say “Top 10,” just “10 that will shape the season.” Craig’s crafty.
On the list is the Sept. 24 game at Eastern Washington between the defending FCS champion Eagles and Montana State Bobcats. It will feature an Eagles’ team missing stars J.C. Sherritt and Taiwan Jones, though the Eagles notably were without Jones for about 90 percent of their 2010 postseason run. And it will be a key matchup, led by quarterbacks Bo Levi Mitchell of EWU and Denarius McGhee of MSU.
But I think Sept. 17, when Eastern visits the Griz, will be bigger. I’m thinking the Griz will be better and the Eagles not quite as good, though receiver Brandon Kaufman is a beast. And that game could, if history holds, affect how things go the next week.
Here are a couple stats I’d like to point out, starting with Mitchell: The transfer QB got hot down the stretch, though he threw two postseason pick-sixes. It’s amazing to me that he threw five interceptions for touchdowns last year, including one against the Griz, and the Eagles were good enough to go 4-1 in those games.
Here’s another stat: The Griz played 10 FCS foes last season, going 6-4. But those teams, whether they beat or lost to the Griz, lost the following week every time. That’s a big 0h-for-10. Some of the games were winnable — Sac State lost 64-61 to MSU and Portland State fell 44-41 at Weber — but that’s not the point. They all lost.
The list includes Eastern’s 30-7 setback at MSU last year. The Eagles haven’t lost since, but they did beat the Grizzlies 36-27 the week before. Against MSU Bo Levi threw a pick-six, and that time it hurt.