FCS football is back!
Four teams start the season early Saturday in Week 0. Villanova travels to Colgate and Samford faces Youngstown State in the Guardian Credit Union FCS Kickoff, which is televised nationally on ESPN at 2 p.m. CT.
As they'll do every week, Brian McLaughlin and Sam Herder predict some scores.
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Samford vs. Youngstown State
Sam: YSU 24, Samford 14
The obvious big name gone for Samford is quarterback Devlin Hodges, last year's Walter Payton Award winner. But wide receiver Kelvin McKnight and defensive lineman Ahmad Gooden are also standout players getting a shot in the NFL. That's a lot to replace off a team that didn't make the playoffs last year. This looks like a rebuilding year for the Bulldogs. But that's not to say YSU doesn't have questions either. The quarterback spot is an area of concern. But the Penguins always play solid defense and are physical in the run game. YSU looks like it could be a playoff team this year, and this game is key in that happening.
Brian: YSU 21, Samford 10
I really wish this game had been last year. Samford was sooooo much better than its final record indicated (6-5) and it would have been a signature win for the Bulldogs to knock off Youngstown State OR it could have been a signature win for the Penguins. This year feels more like a rebuilding situation, maybe for both programs. I agree with Sam Herder's preview … I think the 'Guins should be solid on defense and may go 4-0 in the nonconference schedule and be a potential surprise in the MVFC if they can go 4-4 in the league (never easy). This truly is an interesting matchup featuring two teams that have had recent success. Tune in, folks.
Villanova @ Colgate
Sam: Colgate 17, Villanova 10
Colgate is coming off a tremendous season, yet probably feels a bit slighted in the national preseason polls. The Raiders do have a high number of standout starters to replace but can prove the doubters wrong again to begin the 2019 season with a win over a quality CAA opponent. Villanova is a traditionally strong program. Expect a defensive battle here with Colgate's experience at quarterback and its home-field advantage being the difference.
Brian: Villanova 14, Colgate 7
Going to have to disagree with my main man Sam on this pick, but that's always healthy, right? I was big-time on the Colgate bandwagon last year. Loved what we saw in the preseason with the Raiders and in general, I think this program is sound. It's nothing against Colgate, who I still think could be the Patriot League champs, led by QB Grant Breneman, who is a proven winner. I think this pick is based more on Villanova's potential than any problem with Colgate's 2019 roster. I think we'll look back at this matchup in November and see two FCS playoff teams, honestly, IF that darned 'Nova injury curse has been exorcised. Villanova looks pretty darned good on defense. Like "one of the best in the FCS if healthy" defenses. This has been a program that is traditionally strong, has recruited really well in recent years and may bust loose in 2019. In fact, don't be surprised if there is a potential Villanova-Colgate rematch in the FCS playoffs in November. This one looks really, really good.
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