Steveo’s Salvos – Week 1 Preview 2016

Steveo’s Salvos – Week 1 Preview 2016

     Here we go college football fans. Four days from now our college season kicks off on Thursday night with our FCS opener, the Delaware State Hornets vs. the Fighting Blue Hens of Delaware in the First State Rivalry. We look forward to meeting up with so many current fans and some new ones in 2016. In case you missed the official FCS opener on Saturday, No. 1 North Dakota State defeated No. 6 Charleston Southern, 24-17, in overtime.   On Friday, we will open our FBS schedule at 7 pm in Philadelphia where the Cadets of Army face the Temple Owls in “The Linc”. Down Under, in the land of Australia, the FBS already kicked off there as California defeated Hawaii, 51-31. We will see the Cal Bears host Stanford on November 19. Welcome to our Week 1 Preview 2016…Cal QB Davis Webb, who transferred from Texas Tech, completed 38 of 54 for 441 yards and four TDs against the Rainbow Warriors…

Dan Donnelly of Dan's Tailgate blog got a jump start on the season as he attended the Cal-Hawaii game played down under on August 27.

Dan Donnelly (left) of “Dan from the Tailgate” blog got a jump start on the season as he attended the Cal-Hawaii game played Down Under on August 27.

Delaware State HC Kenny Carter, in his second year with the Hornets, brought a great resume to Dover to rebuild this team. He will be relying on lot of freshman and sophomores at key positions. Kobie Lain and Daniel Epperson are his top two QBs and both will probably see action as he deems them as “two No. 1’s.” Soph RB Brycen Alleyne returns as his top RB, but Frosh Mike Waters should see some action after leading Imhotep Charter HS of Philadelphia to a 15-0 record for the PIAA Class 3 title in 2015. He ran for over 3,000 yards and 51 TDS during his HS career. LB Malik Harris is on the FCS preseason All-American team. He racked up 104 tackles last season…

UD HC Stan Brock is on the hot seat in Newark. He hopes to turn the Blue Hens’ fortunes around this year and get them back into the FCS playoffs. Soph QB Joe Walker will start. Deonte Cherry looks to be his favorite WR. Soph LB Troy Reeder leads the defensive charge. Beyond that, Brock has some strong football pedigrees he’s brought the Blue Hens. WR Vince Papale should see more action this year. His father is the former Philadelphia Eagle by the same name whom the movie “Invincible“ was based on. Soph DE John Nassib is the younger brother of current NY Giant QB Ryan Nassib and DE Carl Nassib, recently graduated from Penn State and now with the Cleveland Browns. Their father, Gil, played TE on the Fighting Blue Hen national championship team in 1979. That unit under legendary HC Harold “Tubby” Raymond was the first we ever saw play to start this long journey, our first of 507 games thus far, when we saw them defeat Rhode Island for their first win of that championship season, 49-14. If John sees action in this game, we will be able to say that we saw all four family members play during their collegiate careers…

My niece Kassie and some of her fellow UD grads will help us kick off our season for the second year in a row!

My niece Kassie, between me and St. Laurie pictured here, and some fellow UD grads will help kick off our season for the second year in a row!

Penn State announced Trace McSorely will get the starting nod at QB for Penn State who we will see play later this season against Ohio State and Michigan State. Word is that back-up Tommy Stevens looked good also. We look forward to seeing what new offensive coordinator Mike Moorhead does with the up-tempo offense he’s bringing to the Lions from Fordham where he was HC… Congrats to Cousin Frank Scarpa’s BBQ team out of Packanack Lake, NJ where they took 3rd place overall of 30 teams at the Northeast BBQ completion held in New Paultz, NY. The four categories included Pizza, Rack and Bacon, Wings, and Apple Dishes. Looking forward to tailgating with him on September 17 for the noon kickoff at The Birthplace of College Football where Rutgers will entertain New Mexico. Sounds like Bloody Mary’s and crumb cake for the pregame meal with that early start…

The primary reason we're going back to see Rutgers play this year- Frank's pizza!

The primary reason we’re going back to see Rutgers play this year – Frank’s award-winning pizza!

Regarding the second game of Week 1 Preview 2016, Army played their last preseason scrimmage last Friday night at Michie Stadium to prep for Temple this Friday evening. Third-year coach Jeff Moncken has many new recruits over the last few years ready to go. He just didn’t seem very confident to us though during his interview in They will rely on the triple option to move the chains as they did adeptly last season.  We expect to see Soph QB Chris Carter, who we saw play against Rutgers and Navy last season, get most action with Junior Ahmad Bradshaw getting some reps as well. Senior WR Edgar Poe returns as their leading receiving target. The Cadets lost eight games last season by a TD or less. Their running game was efficient, but their defense is going to finally have to stop the other teams after allowing 27.8 ppg last season. Moncken will be looking for defensive leadership from his two senior LBs, Andrew King and Jeremy Timpf…

Many of my SEC friends join our 500th game celebration last season when we say Rutgers play Army at West Point.

Many of my SEC friends and family  joined our 500th game celebration last season when we saw Rutgers play Army at West Point.

The Temple Owls return from a successful 10-4 season with senior QB PJ Walker and RB Jahad Thomas, both from Elizabeth (NJ) HS. A lot of spirit pervades on the TU campus after last year’s success, and HC Matt Rhule seems to be building a solid foundation for the Temple Owl program. Defensive coordinator Phil Snow has his team preparing for the triple-option run by Army. He needs to get used to it as Navy will appear on their slate during the next two seasons. He plans to rotate his defense throughout this game.  Snow figures that he will probably have to make some early adjustments.  Army will probably bring more speed than what they see during practice. He is prepping his team to build more depth as they play ten straight weeks to start the season including three Friday night games we plan to attend. Army will get their rushing yardage, but TU will have to force them go to the passing game as they approach the end zone…

Stanford HC David Shaw announced that his starting QB against Kansas State will be Senior Ryan Burns who edged out Junior Keller Chryst. Both are big and strong-armed. They have good weapons retuning around them, but they will be relying on three new starters on the O Line to protect them. We will see if Burns or Keller will be starting when we see them play Notre Dame on October 15 in South Bend. Regarding the Irish QB situation, Brian Kelly appears to be saying that he will split QB duties between his two experienced starters, Junior DeShone Kizer and Senior Malik Zaire. We’re interested to see if that strategy changes even if both stay healthy. It seems like a competition on the field. I’m sure if there is an issue with consistency by sharing reps, one of the two will have to take over the reigns as the number one signal caller….

Sean Maguire seemed to be the incumbent QB at Florida State before breaking his foot two weeks ago, He returned, but Jimbo Fisher made the call to start Redshirt Freshman Deondre Francois next Monday night when the Seminoles play Ole Miss in Orlando, Francois’ home town…On Saturday, September 3, we will be tailgating at our third game in three days to wrap up our Week 1 Preview 2016 when FCS Fordham visits Navy at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis. Despite one returning starter on offense for the Mids, WR Jamir Tillman, many Navy players have played key back-up roles the last two years and have pretty solid experience starting with Senior QB Tago Smith. HC Ken Niumatalolo looks for the guys who’ve been waiting in the wings to step up. SBs Dishan Romine and Toneo Gulley both get to show what the can do with more playing time during their senior year. FB Shawn White has the frame at 255 lbs. to pound the ball up the middle from the FB position like Chris Swain did for the Mids the past two seasons. With seven starters on defense returning, the Mids should be ship-shape for another bowl season in 2016….

We'll be seeing a lot of Brian Donnelly (Navy ship hat) with family and friends in Annapolis with four games on our slate there this year.

We’ll be seeing a lot of Brian Donnelly (Navy ship hat) with family and friends in Annapolis with four games on our slate there this year.

Fordham’s offense will be a good test for Navy in its opener. Not only do the Rams have FCS Junior All-American RB Chase Edmonds coming back with his impressive stats, but All Patriot League QB Kevin Anderson comes off his first season as a starter where he threw for 3,183 yards and 32 TDs, fifth best in the FCS. HC Andrew Breiner is the new HC for the Rams taking over for Mike Moorhead who left Rose Hill to become OC at Penn State. A 2006 graduate of Lock Haven University, Breiner served the past four season as OC coordinator under Moorhead who turned this program around with the implementation of scholarships. Their defense will struggle with a very well-tuned Navy triple option, but their offense could challenge Navy if their line blocks well to give Anderson time to throw. Last season, this squad out-gunned Army’s triple option in their season opener at West Pont to win, 37-35…

Of course we will be catching up with John Massimilla and the usual suspects when we're up at Happy Valley this season!

Of course we will be catching up with John Massimilla and the usual suspects when we’re up at Happy Valley this season!

Speaking of the Navy, we heard from our great friend, Tom Ables, San Diego State’s No. 1 fan of all time. Now at the age of 90, here’s some great news from Tom,  “In August 1946 I was still in the Navy, in the main engine room of the battleship USS Alabama, BB-60, The Mighty A. A month later, in September, I was a Freshman at San Diego State, sports editor of The Aztec, and saw my first Aztec football game. I had seen a few as a kid with my older brother, but don’t count those. Now, 70 years later. I will be on the sideline with my Aztecs when we play the University of South Alabama on October 1 in Mobile, in Ladd-Peebles Stadium. And, a short distance away in Mobile Bay, just happens to be where my old ship, The Mighty A, is now anchored as a Naval museum. So, on that very same day, I will see my Aztecs play for the 774th time and go on board for a nostalgic visit in my old engine room on the Alabama! Talk about closing an emotional 70-year loop! I think you can see why this trip will be so special for me. I am at 770 games right now, and have just published a new updated edition of my book GO AZTECS! “  

Tom Ables is still going strong into the 2016 season after catching up with him at Beaver Stadium last season.

Tom Ables is still going strong into the 2016 season after catching up with him at Beaver Stadium last season.

Meeting great new friends like Tom over the years at different places across the country is what really makes this entire adventure really worthwhile. We look forward to meeting up with so many current friends and some new ones in 2016.  In the meantime, here’s our shot at picking the final four teams for this season’s College Football Playoff. We want to be different as pre-season polls are often put together based on the final result of the previous season.  Things change, old players move on, new players move in, and stuff happens:

ClemsonOle MissStanfordTCU


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