WASHINGTON — College football doesn’t technically have a preseason, although one might beg to differ after looking at a few of the games on the Labor Day weekend schedule. Oregon-South Dakota? North Carolina-Liberty? Those are glorified scrimmages that pale in comparison to real games like Auburn-Arkansas and Georgia- Clemson. For schools that don’t wade into the shallow end there’s always the danger of losing 52-28 like South Carolina (as you can see, there’s still no D in South Carolina, Gamecocks or Spurrier).
Maryland entertains James Madison
The Terps barely beat JMU five years ago, 38-35 in overtime. CJ Brown was redshirting that year — and now the sixth year senior kicks off his final (we believe) season in school by facing his brother Jordan (a free safety for the Dukes). Coach Randy Edsall is 3-0 in season openers in College Park. And although they’ve won both games against the Dukes by single digits (23-15 in 1998 the other game), the Terrapins are just too talented to slip up here.
Terps triumph, 41-16.
Virginia Tech hosts William & Mary
Beware the ampersand. The Tribe’s made life miserable for I-A/FBS opponents recently, losing by just one to Maryland in 2012 and falling by seven to West Virginia last year. Texas Tech transfer Michael Brewer takes over for the departing Logan Thomas — will he have an effective running game to ease his transition? Last year’s ground attack ranked 106th in the nation and sophomore Trey Edmunds is banged up heading into Saturday’s opener. Will a special teams unit that had more than a few breakdowns last year live up to its “Beamer Ball” name?
Hokies handle the Tribe, 36-17.
Virginia faces #7 UCLA
Did Mike London not get the “Cupcakes will be served Labor Day Weekend” memo? Many are picking the Bruins to not only win the PAC-12, but make it to the upcoming College Football Playoff. After winning just 2 games last year, this is how you get off the mat? Much will be expected of running back Kevin Parks as Greyson Lambert still sounds more like a shirt brand at Vineyard Vines than a quarterback in the ACC. But Bruins beware — UVA is 4-0 in season openers under London. Sadly this means that the team is 14-31 the rest of the way under their current coach.
Cavaliers come up short, 34-13.
Navy entertains #5 Ohio State
Braxton Miller’s absence no doubt will give the Midshipmen reason for optimism, but the Buckeyes boast 11 other returning starters. Keenan Robinson pilots the Mids option attack, fresh off a 2013 season where he ran and passed for over 1000 yards. But against major conference competition last year (Duke, Pitt, Notre Dame) the senior completed only 50% of his passes and gained less than 3 yards a carry. The game will not be played in Annapolis, but rather at nearby at Baltimore’s M&T Bank Stadium. Under Urban Meyer, Ohio State is 10-1 away from Columbus.
Midshipmen fall 32-21.
Georgetown over Wagner, Richmond beats Morehead State, Towson torches Central Connecticut State, Morgan State slips to Eastern Michigan, Old Dominion hammers Hampton.