The FCS coaches preseason poll came out yesterday, and the reaction on twitter seemed to gravitate around one team: Why was Eastern Illinois ranked above Tennessee State? Well, for one, it’s the same order the OVC coaches picked.
While everyone is obviously focused on what EIU lost after last year, (head coach, quarterback, top wide receiver) no one really seems to be looking at what they still have. EIU has not one, but two former FBS starters to choose from at quarterback. Their new coach has a history of winning, they still have one of the best running backs in the league. At wide out, they still have Jimmy Garoppollo‘s number two target last year, and another former FBS transfer. The defense, overlooked by the high powered offense, was solid last year, and much of it returns.
All that being said, I ranked them much lower than most, part of the reason given the OVC’s recent history of defending champions struggling. (EIU last year being the one very notable exception) But I can’t blame anyone that think Eastern Illinois is still going to be pretty strong this year. Because they still have quite a lot of pieces to the puzzle.
What’s better than having two former FBS players to choose from. How about three? That’s what Tennessee State has to pick from at running back this year: Tom Smith from Tennessee, Greg White from Missouri and Stephen Hopkins from Michigan.
Oh, did I say three. I meant five. The Tigers also have Tevin Spells and Darion Hall, who transferred from Miami in 2012.
The Tennessean talked to head coach Rod Reed yesterday, who told them that they plan to have a running-back-by-committee system, (That interview is posted below) which makes sense at that position. (Not quarterback…)
We’re into August, and not a single basketball schedule has been released for this season. But UT Martin has a page with their football scheduled through 2018. Seriously. They’re not complete, by any means, but there’s now a spot to see what’s planned, what holes they have, and it brings up a simple question:
WHY DOESN’T EVERY TEAM HAVE THIS?!?
This is fantastic, and it’s where I learned the Skyhawks have scheduled the Razorbacks in 2015 for a money game. They only have it on football for now, but to the other 11 schools in the OVC – do this. Yesterday. Because it’s probably the number one question I field during the summer.