Postscripts is Matthew Postins weekly wrap of the week that was on the road and in college football. Look for my travel news and notes here each Thursday, along with some of my opinions about what’s happening in the college game we all love.
It’s a different vibe when you’re on campus and it’s not gameday. This week I’m on the road at Southern Oregon University, an NAIA school in Ashland, Oregon. The country is beautiful. There are deer on campus. But there’s no football on Tuesday.
In fact, because the school is on a quarter system, the students aren’t back on campus full-time until Sept. 22. Yet the Raiders — the 2014 NAIA national champions — are 3-0 under their new head coach, Charlie Hall, who was last at Ashland High School. So, he didn’t even have to move to take his new job.
The Raiders were No. 13 in the latest NAIA poll and have already defeated a ranked team, their rival, Eastern Oregon, which was No. 7 when the Raiders dispatched them, 31-21, in the season opener. The Raiders welcome back their students with a game this Saturday against Carroll (MT).
Thanks to my day job — which is different than College Football America and RoadTripSports.com — I get to hang out on college campuses around the country. Many of them play football. Most of the time it isn’t gameday. So the atmosphere is more relaxed, more laid-back. But it’s more than just students that are proud of athletic success. Many of the people I met during my time in Ashland were faculty and university staff and were wearing SOU gear. I’m betting they can’t wait until Saturday to see if the Raiders can go 4-0. It’s looking like a great season is ahead for SOU. Maybe I’ll make it back this way later in the season and be able to catch a game. In the meantime, back to Postscripts …
My adventures in media. A quick look at the weird stuff that happened to me as I covered these games this week:
I’ve never been to two campuses that were hosting football games the same day that were so close to each other. I could have walked from Hardin-Simmons to Abilene Christian. But it was way too hot for that.
Chalk it up to first game at a new stadium jitters. I was told my pass would be at will call by the softball field. I went there and they told me that it was at will call at the football stadium. So I went to will call at the football stadium. They said it was at will call at the softball field. I told them the folks at will call at the softball field sent me over to will call at the football stadium. So one of the media people walked me over to will call at the softball stadium. The pass was there. But they were right next to each other so it’s not like there was a ton of walking involved. I just felt like a ping-pong ball for a bit.
The Big Purple Band at Abilene Christian wanted to honor the victims of Hurricane Harvey last weekend during their halftime show. How? They played “Don’t Stop Believin’” and dedicated it to them. Well done.
My post-trip quick note. We have plenty of content coming at College Football America and RoadTripSports.com from our Week 3 travels (we were at seven games in Texas, Alabama and Kentucky). But for me, here are my quick notes on the two stadiums I visited last week:
Hardin-Simmons: Shelton Stadium is a delightful place to watch a Division III game. Open since 1993, it has two great things going for it. First, there’s the new jumbotron, which went up this year. It provides a rarity in Division III football — in-stadium video and replays. I mean, we’ve been to quite a few D-III stadiums and only a handful have that sort of feature. Second, there are the couches along the end zone on one side of the field. Yes, Hardin-Simmons has taken the idea of the “Couch Potato” and converted it into a great gimmick. You can watch a football game at Shelton Stadium from a couch. The great touch is that each couch is sponsored by a former player, coach or university dignitary.
Abilene Christian: Anthony Field at Wildcat Stadium was the main reason for my trip to Abilene, as it’s not every day that you can be there for the opening of a new stadium. It didn’t disappoint. Wildcat Stadium instantly becomes one of the top venues in FCS football. With impressive sightlines, a horseshoe design, a grass berm for seating in one end zone and suites on the home side, it’s a well-designed structure that should serve the university well for a long time. The best part of this stadium is all you have to do is walk the concourse to learn more about the Wildcats’ history. ACU has turned it into a history lesson and you don’t realize it until it’s too late.
Other stadiums I visited. None on this trip. But our stadium photo galleries for Abilene Christian and Hardin-Simmons are already up, along with a couple of others I gathered during my time in the northeast earlier this season. Check them out below.
Stadium counts. According to our handy FBS Stadiums We’ve Visited list at RoadTripSports.com, I remain at 50 FBS stadiums visited. I’m actually not 100 percent sure how many FCS stadiums I’ve visited. But, with my visit to Wildcat Stadium, I’ve now visited two this year. The other was Goodman Stadium at Lehigh.
My photos. Links to my galleries for last weekend’s games in Abilene are below. To see all of our galleries, click here to go to our Facebook page.
Heisman candidate of the week. Back to the Big 12, where Oklahoma State quarterback Mason Rudolph is quietly building his case. Or at least it was quietly until last weekend when he threw for 497 yards and five touchdowns in a 59-21 win over Pitt. Rudolph now has 1,135 passing yards, 11 touchdowns and 1 interception in three games. Now, the real work begins. Rudolph and the Cowboys host TCU this weekend and I can tell you after seeing the Horned Frogs against Arkansas that their defense is a real problem.
As a public service, I won’t offer a Heisman Top 5 until after Week 5 of the season. Frankly, there’s no reason to do so when the season is three weeks old.
Hot seat coach of the week. I think Mike Riley could have some problems at Nebraska soon. I remember when he was hired that I thought he was an odd fit. Well, now three weeks into the season the Huskers are 1-2 and coming off an embarrassing 21-17 loss to Northern Illinois at home. It’s the second straight season the Huskers have started 1-2 and Riley’s boss, athletic director Shawn Eichorst, gave Riley the dreaded vote of confidence after the loss. The standard is high at Nebraska and the Huskers really haven’t achieved that since joining the Big Ten. The natives are growing restless.
And our Hot Seat Coaches feature is coming soon to RoadTripSports.com. So keep an eye out for it next week.
Previous hot seat coaches profiled: Kevin Sumlin, Texas A&M (Week 1); Bret Bielema, Arkansas (Week 2)
Hot coaching name of the week. How non-descript is Frank Wilson? I had to Google him to jog my memory on who the coach was at UT-San Antonio. But there is nothing non-descript about what he’s doing in San Antonio. In his first year at UTSA he guided the Roadrunners to a bowl game. I was in the Alamodome when UTSA pushed Arizona State to a near-upset last year and thought to myself, “Hey, maybe this guy can coach.” Now the Roadrunners are 2-0, have a win over Baylor and can end non-conference action with a win over Texas State this weekend. Power 5 schools that are down on their luck may make Wilson a priority soon.
A special thanks. Each week College Football America Yearbook is on the road covering college football games, and we couldn’t do it without the cooperation of the sports information directors that work for those schools. We just want to thank the following SID departments for their graciousness and help in doing what we do — Hardin-Simmons, Abilene Christian (Matthew), UAB, Alabama (Chuck Cox), Kentucky State, Georgetown (KY) and Union (KY) (Kendall Webb).
By the time you read this we’ll be ready for Week 4. But just a reminder — our staff has already seen games in 16 different states this season.
Our work on other sites. The great thing about what we do with College Football America is that it enables us to support other partners that we work with, such as the American Football Coaches Association, CowboysHQ.com and HeartlandCollegeSports.com. Our photos are used in AFCA newsletters and publications on a regular basis. I cover the Cowboys for CowboysHQ and am putting together scouting pieces on potential 2018 draft picks. I also cover the Big 12 for HCS. Below you’ll find links to some of our work with those entities in the past week.
The 4 Keys to protecting the passer every offensive lineman needs to read
— AFCA (@WeAreAFCA) September 19, 2017
Where I’ll be this week. Nowhere. Actually, I’ll be back in East Texas with my dad taking the weekend off and celebrating my niece Hannah’s 19th birthday. Unless she’s too old for that. We’ll see. But the following week I’m back at it with two games — Texas at Iowa State and Coe at Wartburg.
We’ll see you down the road.
Matthew Postins is the editor-in-chief of the College Football America Yearbook. Catch up with him on Twitter at @PostinsPostcard.
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