Don't forget to catch Tim Brant's College Football Preview tonight at 9 on ABC7.
James Madison Dukes
Head coach: Mickey Matthews, 13th season at James Madison2010 record: 6-5 overall, 3-5 in the Colonial Athletic Association2010 NCAA playoffs: Did not qualify2011 CAA media poll prediction: 2nd place
The Dukes, coming off a 3-5 season in CAA play, are picked to bounce back and make a push for the playoffs in 2011. One of their wins last season was a stunning victory at Blacksburg over the nationally ranked Virginia Tech Hokies, and they'll take on another ACC foe this season when the open their schedule at North Carolina. The Dukes' stout defense allowed just over 14 points per game last season, and head coach Mickey Matthews says that this year's unit could be one of the most athletic defenses he has coached. However, major turnover within the offense, including the departure of eight starters, has played into several position battles heading into 2011.
2011 Schedule (All home games played at Bridgeforth Stadium, Harrisonburg, Va.)Sept. 3: at FBS North CarolinaSept. 10: vs. Central Connecticut StateSept. 17: at LibertySept. 24: at William & MaryOct. 1: vs. RichmondOct. 8: vs. MaineOct. 15: vs. VillanovaOct. 29: at Old DominionNov. 5: at New HampshireNov. 12: vs. Rhode IslandNov. 19: at Massachusetts
William & Mary Tribe
Head coach: Jimmye Laycock, 32nd season at William & Mary2010 record: 8-4 overall, 6-2 in the Colonial Athletic Association 2010 NCAA playoffs: Lost to Georgia Southern in the 2nd round2011 CAA media poll prediction: 1st place
William & Mary enters 2011 with high expectations from not only themselves but from national observers. The Tribe ranks 3rd in the preseason The Sports Network/Fathead.com FCS poll and is among the favorites to make a deep run into the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision playoffs. Led by longtime head coach Jimmye Laycock, William & Mary is anchored by senior quarterback Michael Paulus and All-American running back Jonathan Grimes, who led the CAA by averaging 135 all-purpose yards per game. The defense is led by a pair of 2010 All-CAA selections in defensive end Marcus Hyde and linebacker Jake Trantin.
2011 Schedule (All home games played at Walter J. Zable Stadium, Williamsburg, Va.)Sept. 3: at FBS VirginiaSept. 10: at VMISept. 17: vs. New HavenSept. 24: vs. James MadisonOct. 1: at VillanovaOct. 8: at DelawareOct. 15: vs. New HampshireOct. 22: vs. TowsonNov. 5: at Rhode IslandNov. 12: vs. Old DominionNov. 19: at Richmond
Old Dominion Monarchs
Head coach: Bobby Wilder, 4th season at Old Dominion2010 record: 8-3 overall as an independent 2010 NCAA playoffs: Did not qualify2011 CAA media poll prediction: 10th place
The Monarchs are entering their 3rd season of football after the program was dormant for 69 years and are hoping to continue their run as the best start-up in FCS history. ODU has recorded a 17-5 record since restarting the program under head coach Bobby Wilder. The offense is led by Thomas DeMarco, who is one of 20 players on the preseason Walter Payton Award watch list. The strong-armed senior averaged over 250 yards of passing per game in 2010. This will be the Monarchs first season in the Colonial Athletic Association after spending their first two years back in college football as an independent.
2011 Schedule (All home games played at Foreman Field, Hampton Roads, Va.)Sept. 3: vs. CampbellSept. 10: at Georgia StateSept. 17: vs. HamptonSept. 24: at DelawareOct. 1: vs. MassachusettsOct. 8: at Rhode IslandOct. 15: vs. TowsonOct. 22: at VillanovaOct. 29: vs. James MadisonNov. 5: vs.RichmondNov. 12: at William & Mary
Head coach: Wayne Lineburg, 1st season at Richmond2010 record: 6-5 overall, 4-4 in the Colonial Athletic Association2010 NCAA playoffs: Did not qualify2011 CAA media poll prediction: 6th place
The Spiders were forced to make sweeping changes to their coaching staff just days before the season was set to kick off. After Latrell Scott resigned on Aug. 23 in the wake of being charged with DUI, Wayne Lineburg is now tasked with returning Richmond to the kind of levels they reached in 2008, when the program brought home a national championship. Senior QB Aaron Corp is back after missing the latter half of last season with a knee injury, and his top target once again will be All-CAA wide receiver Tre Gray. The defense will look for another big season from defensive back Tremayne Graham, who is the Spiders active leader in tackles and interceptions.
2011 Schedule (All home games played at Robins Stadium, Richmond, Va.)Sept. 3: at FBS DukeSept. 10: vs. WagnerSept. 17: vs. VMISept. 24: vs. New HampshireOct. 1: at James MadisonOct. 8: at TowsonOct. 22: vs. MaineOct. 29: vs. MassachusettsNov. 5: at Old DominionNov. 12: at DelawareNov. 19: vs. William & Mary
Head coach: Gary Harrell, 1st season at Howard2010 record: 1-10 overall, 0-8 in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference2010 NCAA playoffs: Did not qualify
New head coach Gary Harrell will be tasked with turning around a team that went winless in conference play and gave up over 37 points per game in 2010. Helping with that turnaround are a trio of All-MEAC candidates in senior wide receiver Willie Carter, junior linebacker Keith Pough and senior defensive end Sackie Kerkulah, who recorded four sacks for the Bison last season. Howard is young at quarterback, and the man responsible for getting the ball to Carter, the team's leading returning receiver, is sophomore Jarad Dorsey, who appeared in three games in 2010.
2011 Schedule (All home games played at Greene Stadium, Washington, D.C.)Sept. 3: at Eastern MichiganSept. 10: vs. Morehouse (at RFK Stadium)Sept. 17: vs. Norfolk StateSept. 24: at Morgan StateOct. 1: at Savannah StateOct. 8: at Florida A&MOct. 15: vs. GeorgetownOct. 22: vs. North Carolina A&TOct. 29: vs. South Carolina StateNov. 5: at HamptonNov. 19: at Delaware State
Head coach: Kevin Kelly, 6th season at Georgetown2010 record: 4-7 overall, 2-3 in the Patriot League2010 NCAA playoffs: Did not qualify
Kevin Kelly's 6th season at Georgetown will be led by a series of experienced players returning to help improve on the Hoyas' four-win season in 2010. Coming back to lead the offense are a pair of quarterbacks who split time in last season. Senior Scott Darby was a two-time Patriot League Offensive Player of the Week in 2010 while throwing for 1,338 yards in 11 games. Junior Isaiah Kempf also appeared in six games and actually had a better passer rating than Darby. However, the loss of three experienced starters the offensive line means a quick learning curve for the pass protectors. The Hoyas boast one of the top pass rushers in the Patriot League in senior defensive end Andrew Schaetzke, who led the conference in tackles for loss and second in sacks.
2011 Schedule (All home games played at Multi-Sport Field, Washington, D.C.)Sept. 3: vs. DavidsonSept. 10: vs. LafayetteSept. 17: at YaleSept. 24: at MaristOct. 1: at BucknellOct. 8: at WagnerOct. 15: at HowardOct. 22: vs. ColgateOct. 29: at Holy CrossNov. 5: vs. FordhamNov. 12: at Lehigh