During "Two-A-Days," I'll preview two teams from the Power 10, and this will only happen during the pre-season.
1. Jacksonville State Gamecocks -
Why their here: 4 consecutive National Championships. Pete has wrapped his arms around FCS football and has turned Jacksonville State into one of the best dynasties in Wilkinson history. The Gamecocks are returning a lot of starters from last years championship squad, so, it would be idiotic to rank them anywhere else.
Big Losses: James Martinez, the heart and soul of the Gamecocks offense, has graduated. As great as Martinez was however, the quarterback replacing him, might be better.
Clarence Cooper will be the biggest loss for this team. Henry Giles and Richard Stevens look like promising talents, however, they are both young.
What's Improved: Get ready for what might be the most impressive offensive line in the past 6 or 7 seasons. Not one lineman from last season's championship squad graduated.
Quarterback. Yes, losing one of the most impressive talents at QB will be tough to replace. But Joseph Nelson looks unbelievable. This will be his first and only season as a starter, but the senior looks poised to hoist the trophy at the season's end.
Toughest Test: The Gamecocks may have one of the strongest non-conference schedules in the country, but their toughest game will be against Holy Cross. The Crusaders may not have the most talented roster but the Gamecocks have won 5 of the past 6 titles, the only other team to win one, Holy Cross. Several players return from last year's team, and Robby is regarded as one of the best coaches in the country.
2. Sacramento State Hornets -
Why their here: Shonmurphy20. It's just his sixth season at the school and he's already made one national championship appearance. This insane passing attack features a great quarterback and a deep set of talented receivers. Additionally, most of last year's, runner up squad, is returning. The gap between 2nd and 5th place is much smaller than the gap between 1st and 2nd. However, it's no doubt that Sacramento State is the toughest team in the West.
Biggest Losses: Offensive line. 3 of last year's 5 starters, graduated. As much as this team likes to throw it, Shonmurphy will need to rely on a few guys to step up to the task at the line-of-scrimmage.
Defensive Backs. Again, another big position that's losing 3 starters. Leonard Murphy will, without a doubt, be the leader for this secondary. However, the rest of this secondary is very questionable in comparison to last season.
What's Improved: As crazy as it may seem, this entire offense should improve from last season. Herman Hays and David West are both returning. Meanwhile, Bill Johnson's graduation will allow for Maldonado to step up as the leading receiver for the Hornets.
Toughest Test: The Hornets are sporting a very weak non-conference schedule, so, I don't see any tough games there. The Big Sky isn't exactly the class of D1AA football either. However, Texas State is a borderline playoff team and could give the Hornets a real run. Ponytdancer is a solid coach and should have the Bobcats contending in this game for the first half. With that said, the Hornets have the clear talent advantage and should be able to put this game away late.