TWO Division 1 NCAA teams will be playing games on consecutive days this weekend. Am I the only one who finds this amazing? In order to get games in on trips, teams are doubling up early in the season. This has recipe for hopeful surprise written all over it!
On Friday UMass visits Army, in what should be a great game. Both teams are fighting for recognition and they open the season with this huge game. Kudos to both programs for agreeing to it! We love a good early season game. On Saturday the action picks up even more as Bryant travels to Colgate and 1-0 Delaware heads to Bucknell. Delaware proved they can put up points so this game should be another good early season tilt.
Lehigh travels to St. Joseph’s, and if St. Joe’s is better, like I think they are, they this could go either way. The easy pick here is Lehigh, but I’ll take the hard way. St. Joe’s by 3. Ohio State travels to Georgia to play Mercer and although Mercer is older, and better, OSU is looking pretty strong this year, and I expect the Buckeyes to win comfortably. In what might be the game of the day, Penn State takes on UNC at Kennesaw State. Hopefully the game gets a good turnout, because it has the potential to be memorable! PSU is looking up, UNC has high expectations, and someone has to lose. Would love to see that one live!
But Mercer and North Carolina aren’t done there. No sir. They play each other the very next day. Incredible, right? I guess UNC figures Mercer will be even more tired than they are, but really who knows here? If you’re looking for either an upset OR a blowout, this game could be it. Can’t wait to see how this one turns out.
Back to Saturday. Bellarmine hosts Robert Morris in a game which should feature lots of goals, and of course, Canadians. These will be dangly highlights. Will we see the hidden ball trick? Perhaps. Rutgers travels to Duke, and no one expects anything but a win for the Blue Devils. Well the guys in the RU locker room might disagree, but they’re probably the only ones. Not a knock on Rutgers. But Duke should be pretty darn good. Towson travels to Jacksonville and our gut says Towson by 5+. VMI heads to Navy, and while the Keydets are better, Navy is still Navy. 11-6 win, Midshipmen. So precise.
On Sunday, Michigan plays Detroit in Pontiac, and all of Michigan shall rejoice. It’s an all-Michigan D1 game to open the season for UM, and Detroit gets a chance at redemption against a huge in-state institution. This game should be well attended (come on, state of Michigan, this is cool!) and the atmosphere should be pretty jacked up.
Men’s DII features Tampa and Florida Southern, and it will be played at Tampa. Why is this a big game? WHY? A) you have two NCAA D2 teams in Florida playing each other, which is still interesting in and of itself. B) Rory Whipple is the Head Coach at Tampa. This is their first game. Ever. Up until two weeks before the season last year, Coach Whipple was the HC at Florida Southern, when he left for, Tampa. This is a rivalry game already. C) Coach Whipple brought in some serious talent via transfers and recruits. This will be a competitive game. Expect it to be emotional and hard fought.
In DIII you have 4 games. Mary Washington – Virginia Wesleyan. Should be a good game, but neither team is expected to be a world beater this year. Randy-Mac plays York. Again, should be a good game, but nothing super notable. On Sunday Birmingham-Southern plays Lynchburg, but the Hornets will cruise to an early win. Salisbury plays Greensboro and you know what that means, right? It’s Bad News for the Greensboros.
And MCLA D1 game that really sticks out to me as having potential is Boston College vs Clemson. It’s at Clemson on Friday night, and BC has to play UCF on Saturday. If BC looks past Clemson it could be bad news for the Eagles. Did I already use that one? Whatever, you’re still reading. I’m sure you’ll forgive me. Buttermaker just does it for me. On Friday we also get to see BYU take on Boise State on the Smurf Turf. Everyone is wearing all blue. I’m kidding. But could you imagine that? BYU will cruise, the game will be physical, and should be well attended.
However, BYU faces what I think will be a stiffer test on Saturday, also in Idaho, when they play Simon Fraser. I’d say BYU should be favored pretty heavily, but back to back games, especially physical ones, can be tough. Nice job of scheduling by SFU. Let’s head out West for a bit…
Cal Poly opens up with CSU Fullerton, and that should be a win. Cal travels to Oregon, and honestly, who knows what will happen here? Either of these teams seem capable of showing up, or not showing up. They’ve both been rabidly inconsistent, and it’s still really early. I hope 2012 is the year both of these squads pull it together for a full season. But we’ll know more on Saturday! I think the Ducks have talent. The question is, can they all pull in the same direction? Another game to watch is Santa Clara – UC Davis, because I want to see SC be consistent too. If they can bang out another solid win, I’ll be a true believer!
On Sunday, the BC – Florida State game should be good, but I definitely think FSU will take the win there. Playing Clemson, then UCF and THEN FSU is going to be tough. Winning all three will be even tougher. FSU will be better rested, probably is better conditioned, and they already need big wins. If the Eagles can emerge from this weekend with three wins, they will be in everyone’s top 5. It’s that tough of a path. UCF and Clemson will tango, and I think UCF takes that one home by a decent margin.
Cal also travles to Oregon State this weekend, and I’m going Beavers. These guys just seem jacked up about lax right now. They’ll need to be focused to beat Cal. Finally, in what could be the craziest surprise upset call ever, Palm Beach Atlantic plays Florida, and I’m going with the Sailfish in this one. It probably won’t happen, but I think it will, and that’s what counts.
Onwards and upwards, lacrosse brethren!