8/4/2014 6:34 PM (edited)

For those of you who have been in 1AA for a few seasons, you may remember a blog that I used to run. I'm bringing it back, but keeping it to the Wilkinson forums. For now, I'll just keep it simple. Let me know what you think and tell me if you have any requests. 

 

For now, I'll do power rankings and I'll rank the 25 best recruits in the country. 

 

Feel free to use this thread for discussion on the current season. 

8/4/2014 6:35 PM (edited)

CJ's POWER 10 

1. Jacksonville State Gamecocks

2. Sacramento State Hornets

3. Columbia Lions

4. Yale Bulldogs

5. Jacksonville Dolphins

6. Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils 

7. Georgetown Hoyas

 

8. Fordham Rams

 

9. Colgate Red Raiders

 

10. Florida A&M Rattlers 

 

On the cusps: UMass, Holy Cross, Morehead State, Northern Iowa, Villanova

8/6/2014 9:35 AM (edited)
Two-A-Days

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. 

 
8/5/2014 1:24 PM
Two-A-Days

 

3. Columbia Lions - 

 

Why their here:   3 of the past 6 IVY championships belong to the Lions. No, splitting your conference championship over a period of six years, isn't perfect qualifications for top 5 team. However, when that conference is the IVY league, different story. The IVY league has been the most dominant conference over the past 20-30 seasons, averaging around 5 playoff teams per season. The Lions will not only be looking to repeat as conference champs but they're coming off a season that ended in a loss in the semi-finals. 

Biggest Losses:  Easily the biggest loss for Doublesteal, will be his very talented QB, Rosales. There's no telling who will replace Rosales, as Columbia has four quarterbacks coming back from last year's team. 

In addition to the Quarterback, the Lions also lost several offensive lineman from last year. With only four lineman on the current roster, Doublesteal will have to find at least one starter through recruiting. 

What's Improved: Running Backs! Sure, losing Roland Fisher won't make things easy for the Lions. But returning starter, Jim Lopez, and Stanley Conn could make for one of the best running back duos in the country. 

Despite losing last season's starting QB, the Lions are returning all of their receivers. William Clayton and Charles Lee could be enough to return Columbia's passing attack, to what it was last season. 

Toughest Test:  The IVY. Columbia will have to face Northern Iowa in non-conference play, sure. But their conference slate could knock them back from a 1 seed to a 3 seed. Three of the Lions' first four games are against, Fordham, Colgate and Yale. 

8/5/2014 4:09 PM
Nice read, keep up the good work.
8/5/2014 10:50 PM

 

 

Two-A-Days

 

4. Yale Bulldogs - 

 

Why their here:  Top to bottom, Yale is the most talented team in the country. However, they have not been able to get past quarterfinals in a very long time and last season, they were dropped in the 2nd round. They're too talented to be ranked any lower than this, but they're post-season disappointments is keeping them from being ranked any higher. 

 

Biggest losses: Say goodbye to four linebackers from last season. Weaver, Johnson, Moss and Reyna are all gone. Additionally, Lewis Sanford will be the only upperclassmen in this new set of linebackers. Despite still being a talented bunch, the lack of experience at this position could be a weakness in an otherwise very strong team. 

 

What's Improved: This should scare the fire out of the rest of the country, but Yale's running backs will be the best they've been in a long, long time. That is saying something for the best rushing team in D1AA. Shane Snyder should be an easy candidate for the Walter Payton award, and his backups could start at many ranked schools. Yale's wishbone attack, combined with the most talented group of running backs, should prove to be one of the most potent offenses in recent memory. 

 

Toughest Test:  When you're in the IVY, you don't have to schedule tough non-conference games, the conference slate will keep things competitive. Holy Cross not only has a great defensive line to keep Yale's rushing attack in check, but they also have a great offense of their own. Don McCoy will be entering his senior year and he looks to lead Holy Cross to the win. Yale's attack should prevail, and if the Bulldogs ever go undefeated, this is the season, however, the Crusaders are going to give Yale a fit. 

8/6/2014 3:12 PM
Two-A-Days

 

5. Jacksonville Dolphins - 

 

Why their here:  This is a very similar situation to Yale, the Dolphins have a ton of talent and players returning, but they have struggled against non-conference opponents. Last season, Jacksonville couldn't handle Florida A&M in their regular season match-up. They made up for it in a quarterfinal rematch, but Jacksonville still looks vulnerable to some of the other top 10 teams. 

 

Biggest Losses: This rush-first offense, will be without star, Stephen Sullivan. The star developed into one of the best running backs in the country last season and lead this Dolphins' team to a semi-final appearance. Replacing Sullivan won't be easy, but Larry West looks like a promising candidate. 

Secondly, the defense will lose Anthony Townsend. The talented linebacker was ranked as the number 1 linebacker in the country last season, by Guess. Grizzly has been on the recruiting trail the past couple of seasons looking for a replacement, but James Baker may not be that reliable. 

 

What's Improved: As we discussed, losing one of the best running backs in the country won't be easy. But if they're going to replace him, this offensive line should help out. Only one starter from last season's team will be missing and Rick Hobbs could be the best lineman in the country. If this line improves from last season, the Dolphins rushing attack will still be elite. 

 

Toughest Test:  Hoya fans won't like this but Mississippi Valley State has the best chance of going the distance against Jacksvonille. The Delta Devils are returning most of their starters from a very impressive defensive line. Not to mention, these linebackers are nasty. This game will provide the best offensive line vs defensive line battle this season. I expect akyarnell to have his team ready to pull off a huge win. 

8/6/2014 10:43 PM
Two-A-Days


6. Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils 

 

Why their here:  3 out of the past four years, the Delta Devils have made a trip to quarterfinals. Akyarnell has assembled an incredible roster, that stems from 3 consecutive top 10 recruiting classes (according to Guess). Since akyarnell's arrival to Itta Bena, MS, this will be his best and most experienced team. 

 

Biggest Loss:  Wide Receiver Gordon Fleming. The Delta Devils have an arsenal of receivers returning but the loss of Fleming, raises the question of who leads this receiving core. Replacing Fleming will be no easy task but if this is the biggest loss for MVSU, they're going to be a tough team to beat. 

 

What's Improved:  Offensive Line. Every one of these starting lineman will be seniors this season. This is a big and physical line that shouldn't have a problem winning the battle at the line-of-scrimmage. I'm predicting the Delta Devils to have one of the most potent offenses in all of D1AA, and if that prediction holds true, it will likely be due to this group of experienced lineman. 

 

Toughest Test:  Jacksonville State. Traveling to Jacksonville, AL is never easy and the Delta Devils will have to endure a true test of of their depth. Despite what could be an 0-2 start to the season, MVSU should end the season at around 11-2 and is likely win the SWAC for the second year in a row. 

8/7/2014 1:38 PM
Two-A-Days

 

7. Georgetown Hoyas

 

Why their here:  In the past two seasons, this team's combined record is 30-2. Despite having undefeated seasons and practically taking ownership of the NEC, the Hoyas haven't been able to get past quarterfinals since season 88. Regardless, Georgetown still has plenty of talent and they will likely be a 2 or 3 seed in the playoffs. 

 

Biggest Loss:  Last season's starters. Almost all of last season's starters graduated, leaving aabruzo with plenty of position battles for this off-season. The Hoyas only retain 9 starters from last season. The biggest question marks appear to be at quarterback and running back. William Stein looks like a promising replacement for award winning, Joel Gray, but regardless, there will be plenty of new faces starting for Georgetown. 

 

What's Improved:  The one position that wasn't hit by a large graduating class was Wide Receiver. David Hays could be one of the most talented receivers in the country, and if he has any chemistry Stein, Georgetown's passing game will be tough. Someone will need to step up as the 2nd receiver, but Hays' should be in for a special senior season. 

 

Toughest Test:  @ Jacksonville. We talked about the opportunities Hays will present for new starting quarterback, William Stein. But if Georgetown is going to have a bad game, this will be it. Jeffrey Garza leads a talented group of defensive backs that should be ready for the Hoyas' passing attack. On the other side of the ball, Manuel Miller could have a field day if Georgetown tries to take away the rush. This is going to be an intriguing game that should be a mismatch for the Hoyas . 

 

8/7/2014 11:51 PM
Two-A-Days

 

8. Fordham Rams -  

 

Why their here:  Quarterback, Frank Martinez. To put it lightly, Martinez is the most talented quarterback in D1AA. Not to mention, he has an excellent cast of receivers to throw to. I can't think of any defense that will have an advantage against this Rams' offense. Now, there are some questions at defensive back, and the Rams may struggle to defend against teams like Columbia. Nevertheless, they will be one of the most electric and fun teams to watch. 

 

Biggest Loss:  In my opinion, Jack Bernal is a huge loss for this defense. Many will wonder who will replace Robert Morales, but Charles Young looks good enough. As far as the Bernal loss is concerned, dk is going to have to work some magic. If this team struggles with anything, it will be defending the pass. 

 

What's Improved:  Passing game. I mentioned before how exceptional I think Fordham's passing game will be, and I don't want to sound like a broken record, but look at the talent on this squad. Last season, Martinez threw for over 4,000 yards, 24 touchdowns and 0 interceptions. That was with a very young and immature receiving core. Now that group has matured, Martinez has matured and this offensive line will be better. I would be shocked to not see a record or two broken. 

 

Toughest Test:  Colgate. I mentioned that I think Fordham has holes in their secondary. Colgate has the offense to exploit these holes. Crawford threw for over 5600 yards, 60 TD's and 1 interception last season. This one should be very, very high scoring and I think it could come down to the wire. Expect this game to determine who wins the IVY West division. 

 

8/9/2014 11:26 AM

I haven't died! 

 

Just an FYI, I'm traveling this weekend. I will be back with more analysis tonight and tomorrow. 

8/10/2014 1:04 AM (edited)

Two-A-Days

 

 

9. Colgate Red Raiders - 

 

Why their here:  Young receivers. Colgate is a great team and they'll make a serious run at the IVY league championship. But this pro-offense is difficult to conduct unless you have at least one stand-out receiver. James Ball will be leading the way, but he's just a sophomore. A little more experience would be desired from a star receiver but the Raiders do have a very talented QB with, Johnny Crawford under center. The question is, is Crawford good enough to deliver the Raiders the first championship since 99? 

 

Biggest Loss:  Matthew Yoder and Samuel Mayes. Most people would look at this team and determine that star defensive back, Ronald Henderson would be the biggest loss, but when you consider all of the players coming back, Colgate's secondary might actually improve. On the other hand, Yoder and Mayes leaving, will devastate this balanced pro-attack. As I mentioned before, Cecil will have to work his magic with a lot of youth catching the ball. 

 

What's Improved:  Linebackers. This might be one the deepest group of linebackers that I have seen. Richard Scott was absolute menace last season, totaling 120 tackles and 4 sacks. Considering that the IVY provides great running and passing games, having a good set of LB's can go a long way. This core of linebackers could be what sends the Raiders to the IVY championship game. 

 

Toughest Test:  @ Fordham. This August 25th showdown will feature some of the best quarterbacks in the nation. In my opinion, this is one game where Colgate's opponent won't hold a huge advantage at defensive back. But what I really like about Fordham, is their offensive line. They can score against anybody and they can do it quick. If Colgate struggles the least bit in putting up points, Fordham could take advantage and win by a couple of possessions. This could be the game of the year in the IVY conference, and all eyes will be watching as it will likely determine who plays for the conference title. 

8/10/2014 1:04 AM

 

Two-A-Days

 

10. Florida A&M Rattlers - 

 

Why their here:  Well, this one is a little complicated but basically, past success and current roster. The Rattlers are one of the winningest teams in FCS football, but due to some poor recruiting by previous coaches, coejds has his hands full. An easy non-conference schedule and a conference full of new-comers, should still provide for a nice record. 

 

Biggest Loss:  Without a doubt, Leon Ruffin. True sophomore, Robert James, will be asked to perform behind center this season. He's maybe an above average passer and he's still in the early stages of learning this offense. Expect the Rattlers to struggle offensively if he doesn't get in a groove fast. 

 

What's Improved:  Linebackers. I created this category to always have something positive to say about a team. However, this won't be the case with Florida A&M. I picked linebackers because there is literally nothing on this roster that could possibly be better than last season. Clifford Hill is the only loss from last season, and they do have several guys who will step up at the LB position. Not to mention, coejds should be able to start 3 seniors, so this position will at least provide the defense with some experience. 

 

Toughest Test:  The easy pick is to say @ Georgetown. However, I don't think the Rattler's are going to win that game. Also, if they lose to Georgetown, it won't be detrimental. The same can't be said for the MEAC championship game. This is a team that has controlled the conference for the past few years, and any loss could result in some serious questioning in Tallahassee. The game will be tough because you have several new coaches in that conference that are recruiting quite well. The team that I would keep my eye on is NC A&T. They've been to the playoffs for two consecutive years and first year coach, johnmut, will be looking to prove they are for real. 

8/11/2014 9:11 AM (edited)

Pre-season Bracketology


 


The bracketology will be done every once in a while but it will differ from the power rankings. Essentially, the bracketology is based on projected W/L total, SOS, and projected SOS. So, if you're team is ranked 5th or 6th but I'm projecting you to be a 3 or 4 seed, that's why. Without further to do, here is your first bracketology of the season. 

 



   


 
North South East West
1. Jacksonville State 1. Yale 1. Jacksonville 1. Sacramento State
2. Colgate 2. MVSU 2. Columbia 2. Morehead State
3. UMass 3. Georgetown 3. Holy Cross 3. Fordham
4. Florida A&M 4. Villanova 4. Appalachian State 4. Drake
5. Tennessee Tech 5. Southern Illinois 5. Northern Iowa 5. Chattanooga
6. NC A&T 6. Dayton  6. JMU 6. Duquesne
7. Coastal Carolina 7. Florida Atlantic 7. Morgan State 7. Stephen F Austin
8. Sam Houston State 8. Austin Peay 8. Alcorn State 8. Sacred Heart
       
       
Locks (conference champions)    
UMass (A-10)      
Sacramento State (Big Sky)      
Northern Iowa (Gateway)      
Yale (Ivy)      
Florida A&M (MEAC)      
Georgetown (NEC)      
Jacksonville State (OVC)      
Jacksonville (PFL)      
Appalachian State (SOCON)    
MVSU (SWAC)      
 


  





8/11/2014 9:31 AM
Again thank you for putting this together,
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