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OVC Ball 10 Things

Here’s a hashtag I never thought I’d see: #FearTheFCS. But if the first weekend of the college football season had a theme, that had to be it, as eight FCS teams scored a win over an FBS opponent, including OVC favorite Eastern Illinois.

So what did we learn from Week One? Here’s our ten things.

1) EASTERN ILLINOIS IS (STILL) THE OVC FAVORITE — …and now the pressure is really on them. Not to win the OVC, but end the seemingly never ending OVC losing streak in the FCS playoffs. And no, we don’t feel like we’re jumping to conclusions after just one game. Not at all. We would never do that.

1a) OMF@$*(&G, SEMO IS GOING TO LOSE EVERY GAME THIS YEAR — See. Never…

2) IN ALL SERIOUSNESS, SEMO DID NOT LOOK VERY GOOD — Vegas spreads are not the end-all be-all of collegiate predictions. But, when you’re a four-point or so underdog, and you lose by 38, you aren’t meeting, well, anyone’s expectations. We were expecting that Kyle Snyder at quarterback would help open up the offense. 88 yards through the air on 7-19 passing as a team is not open. (Although Scott Lathrop‘s 1-6 performance was a major contributor) The rushing defense, the supposed strength of the team, allowed 309 yards, 6.2 per attempt. Southeast Louisiana was 5-6 last year; they aren’t a FCS powerhouse.

Serious question, what keeps SEMO from starting 0-8? Their next seven games: at Ole Miss, vs SIU in St. Louis,  vs UT Martin, at Tennessee State, vs Murray State, at Eastern Illinois. One game isn’t everything, but boy that schedule looks just a bit tougher after this week, and SEMO…doesn’t.

3) FORGET THE QUARTERBACK BATTLE. JACKSONVILLE STATE HAS A CONCERN AT RUNNING BACK — The Gamecocks ran the ball 49 times in their win Saturday over Alabama State, and gained just 108 net yards. To save you from having to do math, that’s 2.2 yards per carry. Troymaine Pope ‘led’ the way with 54 yards, DeMarcus James added 50. Both averaged under four yards a carry; James was under three. As a result, the Gamecocks didn’t get on the board until the third quarter. They pulled out a win, but I’m not sure it was the start many hoped for in head coach Bill Clark‘s first game.

4) MURRAY STATE HAS NOT SOLVED THEIR PASS DEFENSE PROBLEM — The stats are bad: 336 yards allowed, 28-42 passing. Yes, it was Missouri, and their numbers should be good, but if you watched this game, the Racers were leaving receivers wide open. They weren’t a step or two behind, they were pulling their best Bilbo Babbins impression when he puts on the ring.  After week one, I have major concerns about the secondary.

5) …BUT THE HATCH ATTACK LOOKS GREAT — The Racers came out and gave Missouri a punch to the jaw (figuratively) before folding like a paper swan. (literally) Ole Miss transfer Maikhail Miller looked in control of the offense, quick on his feet, and led four really good drives, although only two ended in points. He’s not the next Casey Brockman, which is a poor comparison as they’re much different quarterbacks, but he is an early frontrunner for OVC newcomer of the year.

6) CHATTANOOGA MEDIA HAS A FLARE FOR THE DRAMATIC — UT Martin started off their season with a very solid win on the road against ranked Chattanooga. Their beat writers…didn’t take it very well. One writer says it might be the Mocs most “disappointing ever” opener.

It gets better. From the article:

…when your program stands 494-504-35 overall in the 105 years you’ve played the sport, you’ve got plenty of company in the “blankety-blank, #&%%#,this stinks” department.

That is an actual quote. Seriously. Read it yourself.

In fairness, he says it’s not the school’s worst loss. Just that expectations at UTC were high, and they failed to meet them.

The OVC knows nothing about that.

7) EASTERN KENTUCKY WON THIS WEEKEND — I don’t blame any of you outside of Richmond for not noticing. They played a mostly regular game, buried under the excitement of the opening night of the college football season, (and the beginning of the FCS madness) beating a ho-hum FCS opponent. They played well; Jared McClain was 16-21 passing, ran the ball a dozen times, netting 232 all-purpose yards. Their defense held some team up north to 232 total yards, and 55 yards on the ground.

I do have pictures proving this game did happen. I’ve been told there is video evidence as well.

(And I sometimes wonder why EKU fans don’t like me very much…)

8) TENNESSEE TECH WAS THE ONLY OVC TEAM TO PLAY A LOWER DIVISION TEAM IN WEEK ONE — …and for that reason, I act like it didn’t happen.

They play at Wisconsin this week. I’m going to guess that might provide a slightly greater challenge.

9) TENNESSEE STATE KNOWS HOW TO KICK FIELD GOALS — …and really can’t wait until Michael German returns in two weeks. German is sitting the first two games of the season after “hurting his team,” according to his coach. Not sure whether he’s talking about how German lost, and subsequently regained his academic eligibility, or how his alleged dancing on top of a Ford Fiesta caused him to miss spring practice. (It should be noted the those charges were dropped this past month. But the memory of them shall forever remain)

His backup in no way threatened for his job. The playcalling was conservative for redshirt freshman Ronald Butler, as Tennessee State put up just 248 yards of total offense and couldn’t put together a game winning or tying drive in the last 2:12.

10) WE WILL LEARN (NEXT TO) NOTHING ABOUT AUSTIN PEAY UNTIL OCTOBER — …that’s when they start conference play. Until then, it’s two more FBS teams, and Chattanooga. The Governors lost 45-0 to Tennessee this weekend. Most of the OVC would lose by a similar score. This team may be better than advertised. They may simply be “as” advertised. They…well they can’t really be worse than advertised. But we just won’t know much for another month or so.

Notes: Items 1, 1a, 4, 6, 7, 8 and 9 may contain copious amounts of sarcasm. Or I just hate your team. Whichever gets you more ups when you post about it on your team’s message boards.


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OVC Ball
Predicting the OVC race…in mid-December

2016-17 Basketball Standings

OVCOverall

EAST

Belmont8-014-4
Morehead State6-310-12
Tennessee Tech5-39-14
Jacksonville State5-413-11
Tennessee State4-413-8
Eastern Kentucky2-69-14

WEST

UT Martin5-315-8
Murray State5-311-11
SEMO5-310-13
Austin Peay3-57-15
Eastern Illinois1-79-12
SIUE0-85-17
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