Welcome to the HERO Sports FCS Mailbag. In partnership with FCS Football Fans Nation, we'll ask for questions with a post on their Facebook page and our senior staff members Brian McLaughlin and Sam Herder will provide answers. You can also tweet them some questions.
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Matt Petznick – Has media money taken over & slowed the games down too much (4 hr games due to commercials), thus leading to declining attendance numbers? Is there a fix for this?
Brian: It's funny, my wife and I were watching Florida-Miami later that night after the two FCS games and WE talked about how games seemed shorter to us these days. When we were in college at UF, it felt like those Spurrier era games were 4.5 hours easily, and now it feels more like 3.5 to 4. Now, declining attendance? Oh yeah, we've all noticed that. But I think that's because people need to be more entertained today and waiting for one play once a minute just doesn't do it for some people. Shrug. To each his (or her) own.
Sam: You can definitely hear a small groan in the crowd (and a big groan in the press box) when the ref jumps on his mic and says "media timeout." It does slow things down and any game that lasts longer than three hours in today's age is getting too long. But I get it. The reason there are so many games available to watch or stream is because there's so much money out there in TV deals. Maybe a fix would be to shorten TV timeouts and split-screen a 30-second ad while the game is being played once every quarter. I don't know the best solution. But advertising runs the world, and sports games rake in that cash.
Scott Moody – For week 0…..What teams performance was most surprising? Positive and negative result.
Brian: I thought Villanova's offense was the most surprising "positive" aspect of Week Zero because we had no idea how well Campbell QB transfer Daniel Smith would fit into the 'Nova attack, but man he looked good. Negative? Ha … I don't dwell on the negative. I'll say the only negative is we didn't have more games to observe for Week Zero. How about that?
Sam: I was a bit disappointed in Colgate's defense. While there were some key guys from last year's dominant unit no longer on the roster, Colgate does have All-American type guys like CB Abu Daramy-Swaray and DE Nick Wheeler along with some all-conference performers still playing. I didn't expect Nova's offense to put up 34 points. And as far as positive surprises, I'm with Brian … Villanova's offensive explosion.
KC Everett – When will your episode be out?
Sam: Our rebranded B-Mac and Herd's FCS Podcast comes out every week on Monday nights or Tuesday mornings. It can be find on iTunes, Apple Podcasts, Spreaker and Stitcher. We'll also post an article on this site containing the podcast.
Seamore Sports (@SeamoreSports) – 2 questions. 1. What needs to go write for MVSU to prove some wrong in the SWAC? 2. What’s your biggest worry for UND facing Drake?
Brian: Not sure what the easy answer is for MVSU in the SWAC. Coach Dancy is currently "cleaning house," that much is certain. You just have to begin to recruit better, have the support of the administration and have some money pumped into the program and facilities. The fans will follow, and quickly. It's not like MVSU doesn't have fans. As for UND vs. Drake? Just UND overlooking Drake in the Pioneer Football League like Youngstown overlooking Butler last year and the Big Sky playoff teams overlooking San Diego in the playoffs in 2016 and 2017. Don't overlook the Pioneer Football League teams, folks. Non-scholarship or not, these guys can play.
Sam: Regarding UND vs. Drake, I find it interesting that the line has dropped from 11.5 (which I thought was already too low) to now eight points. If UND can't beat Drake by more than 10 points, it's going to be a long season since this should be the easiest game on the toughest schedule in the FCS. Don't get me wrong, Drake is sound defensively and has good weapons on offense. But the Fighting Hawks shouldn't lose this game at home. My biggest worry would be UND's running game struggling and then the passing attack results in turnovers. Keep an eye on All-American safety Will Warner, who had eight interceptions last year.
Matthew Krier (@matthewkrier) – Obviously every game is important, but for whom is it imperative to get the season off on the right foot this weekend?
Brian: I think Towson-The Citadel is game No. 1 and Montana-South Dakota is game No. 2. These four teams all have playoff potential but play tough schedules. This game could be one they all look back at as a positive or a negative. In November, these August games sometimes turn out like that.
Sam: I think the Montana-USD game is huge for both teams and I touched on that more here. I also think if teams like Illinois State, UC Davis and James Madison can get big FBS upsets in Week 1, that could get the ball rolling for a special season and for them to back up their preseason hype.
#OrangeistheNewFootballSeason (@Yoski2319) – Third year head coaches are hitting a critical year as their system and recruits will determine their team's success. I think it's a critical year for Danny Rocco at Univ of Delaware. Any other coaches in a similar position?
Brian: I disagree on Rocco. His track record affords him more time that that, and he has led Delaware to two straight 7-4 regular-season records after the Blue Hens had been irrelevant for a few years, plus his 2017 team should have been in the playoffs and last year's team was in the playoffs. I don't think Rocco is on the hot seat just yet. Other coaches? I don't know … this isn't P5 football. I don't think the hot seat thing works exactly the same. I know people like to talk about stuff like that but this level is different than the P$ …. errrrr ….. P5 level. It functions a bit differently and the leash is longer than three years, unless someone is doing something terribly long.
Adam Willey (@adamwilley18) – Why am I your favorite bison fan?
Brian: You're tied with about 50,000 people as my favorite Bison fan. You're persistent as hell, but the biggest thing Adam is you're engaged in what we do … daily … and for that I'd like to thank you. Bison fans are diehard, but they're also a friendly lot. I've seen that in Frisco first hand.
Sam: Adam, I appreciate the fact that you respect other FCS teams and don't scoff whenever someone mentions a team like UC Davis, Jacksonville State, Wofford, Nicholls, etc. NDSU fans have the tendency to think FCS teams suck if they're not on NDSU's level, which a lot of teams aren't. But just because a team like Wofford hasn't won a national title doesn't mean its bad football. You appreciate the FCS and don't turn your nose up on it with arrogance. The NDSU fan base is great overall and are the nicest people you could meet in a tailgating lot. But some (mostly online) won't give other teams credit and just assume a team like JSU doesn't have a shot this year to make a deep playoff run without doing any research. Rant over 🙂
Pacer (@PaceTheAceND) – Expectations for Hampton now that Deondre Francois was named starting QB?
Brian: Robert Prunty led this team to a 7-3 record last year in the transition from the MEAC to the Big South, in a season where the Pirates had some problems getting teams on their schedule. They had a four-way QB battle in the spring, with a bunch of transfers involved. Adding Francois to this, as a big-time former HS recruit, only makes the situation better. I just always wonder about chemistry in a move like this. One month ago today (July 28), we didn't know Deondre was going to be at Hampton. And now he's going to step in and fix everything? He's certainly a massive talent who did graduate from Florida State early, it's just how quickly can a guy just step right in? We'll see.
Sam: I'm always cautiously optimistic when an FBS transfer enters a starting lineup, especially when its at the QB position. It's human nature for them to come into the new locker room with the thought that they're a superior player and that they're playing "down" a level, so things should be easier. I'm not saying that's the case here with Francois. But while most would assume the success rate of an FBS player transferring to the FCS is very high, the truth is it isn't.
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