Wednesday, August 29, 2012
College Football: No One Has Done a Butler Bulldog Football Preview? They Have Now
Up first for week one, a look at a school whose football team might as well not exist according to every local media source I have searched - the Butler Bulldogs. The school with the well publicized (and deservedly so) basketball program, also played the very first college football game in the state of Indiana (1884 vs. DePauw, another school that gets zero media love). The reason is, I believe, two-fold - they play in FCS (the artist formerly known as Division 1-AA) and they play in the non-scholarship Pioneer Football League, arguably the lowest level of FCS. But they still play the dad gum game (the other accepted moniker for college football), and the Bulldogs open their season Thursday night at Western Illinois, so one would think that an outlet other than official Butlerdom would have said something about the Dawgs' prospects this season. Nope, unless my Google is broken (let me look down, nope - still there), nada on the Uppercase B's pigskin prowess. No longer.
From what I can tell, this might not be the best season for Butler, as they lost 15 starters, including a lot of skill-set players, from last year's 5-6 team. They were picked to finish 7th in the 10-team Pioneer League. Still, a league such as this is more difficult to peg given that there are no athletic scholarship players on any of the rosters. Also, Butler has one of the best linebackers in the league in Jordan Ridley returning, so if he stays healthy and the Bulldogs can play defense at all, a winning season should not be out of the question.
As we learned about a week ago, next year will be a more important season for Butler football as, for the first time, the champion of the Pioneer League will receive an automatic bid to the FCS playoffs, home of the legitimate national championship, unlike that glass thingy the bigger guys with the generally smaller GPA's play for.
Butler's travels to Macomb, (pronounced my COMB - 'cause it's a Dapper Dan city) Illinois to play Western Illinios. The Leathernecks would like to rebound from a horrendous season, 2-9, especially since they were coming off an 8-5 playoff year. Plus, the American Academy of Dermatology is really on their case about their mascot, which the academy has deemed offensive.
Western did what most schools do just before firing their head coach after two bad seasons in a row - fire the assistant coaches after one bad season. They also had a slew of non-sunscreen related injuries last season, and their starting quarterback has returned.
Conventional wisdom would probably give the Leathernecks the advantage in this one, given that they are opening at home. But I leave game predictions to one device - the Magic 8 Ball, which if I can ever snag a government grant, I will produce a study that proves it is just as accurate at picking games as Lee Corso, minus the cursing.
So, Magic 8 Ball, will Butler defeat Western Illinois tomorrow night?
The 8-Ball's answer: Definitely! The exclamation point is the 8-Ball's, not mine.