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Picking the Big 12: Week Five. Also, Pioneer and Patriot League Previews.

What does our staff think about K-State/Oklahoma State? Find out!

It's K-State's first big test.
It's K-State's first big test.
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Lead

Our intrepid band of merry prognosticators marches forward into week five of the college football season, where we finally find the Big 12 in full swing. Four of these games aren't in dispute. A fifth one is, and you're not going to like it.

Texas Tech vs Baylor, AT&T Stadium (TBA)

The annual festivities at Jerryworld don't appear to be in any doubt, as the staff unanimously picked Baylor to win.

Kansas at Iowa State (TBA)

We are making progress. After last season's foolhardy assertion that Kansas would beat Iowa State because Paul Rhoades is a loser and a nerd, Panjandrum has come around to the light. (It doesn't matter that he was right. Some things you just don't say in polite company, like "Kansas is going to win".) This year, there is no dispute among the staff. Iowa State is going to win.

Kansas State at Oklahoma State (TBA)

Oh, boy. Here we go. Our first test of logic and reason vs. hope and fandom. Bracket, Luke, Pan, JT, wildcat00, and KSUEMAW! picked Oklahoma State. Jon, Derek, Nugget, PurpleBrunette, and Pervis picked K-State. That the preponderance of staffers who actually live in Oklahoma picked against the Cowboys might actually be meaningful. After all, we're more exposed to the adventures of Mike Gundy than the rest. But Oklahoma State carries the day here by a 6-5 margin, and thus BotC officially marks this down as a loss for the good guys.

West Virginia at Oklahoma (TBA)

KSUEMAW!, the lone staffer in Oklahoma to actually pick Oklahoma State to beat the Wildcats, is the lone staffer period to pick West Virginia to beat the Sooners. This means something. I just don't know what.

Texas at TCU (TBA)

Not a single person on staff has any doubt about this contest. It's an 11-0 rout for the Frogs.

BotC's Projected Big 12 Standings after Week Five
Oklahoma State 5-0 (2-0)
TCU 5-0 (2-0)
Baylor 4-0 (1-0)
Oklahoma 4-0 (1-0)
Iowa State 3-1 (1-0)
Kansas State 3-1 (0-1)
West Virginia 3-1 (0-1)
Kansas 0-4 (0-1)
Texas 2-3 (0-2)
Texas Tech 2-3 (0-2)

Pioneer Football League Preview

2014 Standings and Info
rv University of San Diego Toreros San Diego CA 7-1 9-3
Jacksonville University Dolphins Jacksonville FL 7-1 9-2
University of Dayton Flyers Dayton OH 6-2 8-3
Drake University Bulldogs Des Moines IA 6-2 7-4
Campbell University Camels Buies Creek NC 4-4 5-7
Marist College Red Foxes Poughkeepsie NY 4-4 4-7
Stetson University Hatters DeLand FL 3-5 5-7
Morehead State University Eagles Morehead KY 3-5 4-8
Butler University Bulldogs Indianapolis IN 2-6 4-8
Valparaiso University Crusaders Valparaiso IN 2-6 4-8
Davidson College Wildcats Davidson NC 0-8 1-11

Jacksonville ended up vacating the entire 2014 season due to violation of PFL rules as a result of "leadership scholarships" being used at a much higher percentage in the football program than across the student body as a whole. Because the PFL is a non-scholarship league (and thus follows essentially the same rules as Division III), that's a big no-no. As part of their penalties, the Dolphins are also ineligible for the 2015 PFL title and NCAA playoffs and were also forced to vacate their 2010 PFL title.

It was the second year in a row the league's champion was stripped of their title. The same situation arose in 2013 at San Diego, but it was a much less severe incident, and as a result the Toreros weren't banned from the postseason. Good thing for them, as Jacksonville's misfortune earned San Diego the right to be bludgeoned by Montana in the opening round of the playoffs.

The preseason coaches' poll predicts a tight race. San Diego received seven first-place votes, while Dayton claimed three and Drake one. The margin between the teams is razor-thin; San Diego earned 89 points, Dayton 87, and Drake 86. Any of the three is a viable candidate for the conference title. Campbell pulled in next, followed by the pack of Butler, Stetson, and Marist. That grouping wasn't as tightly bunched as the top three, but still close enough to consider them in any order. Morehead State edged Valparaiso by three points for eighth place in the poll, while Davidson was a distant tenth. (Jacksonville was not included.)

We're ignoring last year's PFL honorable mention selections, because they outnumber the first- and second-teams nearly two-to-one. All preseason selections were first- or second-team honorees last year save one (Stetson WR Kegan Moore, who was honorable mention). As for the FBS transfer lists, be advised that "none" may just mean "none as far as we can tell". Some PFL schools don't list previous colleges on the roster or issue press releases when they land a former FBS athlete. Obviously in most cases you wouldn't expect an FBS athlete to transfer to a non-scholarship program anyway, although San Diego and Campbell seem to be doing okay on that front.

San Diego

All-PFL selections (total, gone/returning): 11 (5/6)

Preseason selections: 4

Key losses: QB Keith Williams (2,127 yards, 21 TD/9 INT) WRs Brandon White (828 yards/9 TDs) and Reggie Bell (779/7), LB Una Hamala (101 T), DBs Toney Sawyer (24 PD) and Matt Miller

Key returnees (preseason picks in italics): QB Trey Wheeler (192, 3/2), RBs Jonah Hodges (1,214/6) and Dallas Kessman (320/3), FB Chris Campano, TE Ross Dwelley, OL Pono Keni, LB Nic Henson (90 T), DB Jamal Agnew (4 INT/42 PD), K David Last (12-12 FG/33-35 PAT)

Incoming FBS transfers: QB Chris Wilson (USC), WR Tyler Rasmussen (Arizona State), LB Tyler Herburger (San Diego State), K Jack Flatau (Arizona)

The Toreros will depend on Hodges, who transferred in from Cal last year, to stabilize the offense while they get situated at quarterback and wide receiver. Wheeler is the only returning QB who played last year, but he'll be pushed by Wilson and freshmen Anthony Lawrence and Reid Sinnett. Hodges is also the leading returning receiver (154/0); nobody else who's back reached 100 yards last year. The defense is quietly solid, although Agnew is an absolute beast at corner. San Diego might have had a lot more to worry about this year if Jacksonville wasn't ineligible, but the league is theirs to lose now.


All-PFL selections (total, gone/returning): 6 (4/2)

Preseason selections: 3

Key losses: QB Will Bardo (1,990, 14/10), OL Soern Osborne, DB Zach Elias (5 INT/17 PD)

Key returnees: RB Connor Kacsor (1,547/17), WR Cory Stuart (383/3), DL Nate Sudnick (11.5 TFL), LB Christopher Beaschler (101 T)

Incoming FBS transfers: none

He had to fight for the job in camp, but returning sophomore Blake Bir (95, 0/1) appears to have the job after being the only returning quarterback to see action last year. Kacsor, the league's reigning Offensive Player of the Year, will help greatly in managing the transition. The Flyers will need some receivers, as Stuart leads all returning pass catchers. The defense is sound, having giving up under 3,800 yards last year and returning most of the important cogs save Elias, their most dependable option in pass defense. Dayton is a step behind San Diego and Jacksonville; that the latter is ineligible doesn't help when the Flyers still have to play them both.


All-PFL selections (total, gone/returning): 7 (4/3)

Preseason selections: 3

Key losses: RB T.J. James (464/1), OL Troy Whitmer, DLs Matt Acree (12.5 TFL/8.5 sacks) and Brett Park, DB Bob Quilico (18 PD)

Key returnees: QB Andy Rice (2,261, 11/11), RB Conley Wilkins (669/13), WRs Michael Hudson (365/3) and Grant Menard (311/0), TEs Eric Saubert (348/2) and Lee Snell (302/1), OL Aaron Melton, DL Mack Marrin (12.5 TFL), LBs John Hugunin and Taylor Coleman (95 T/8.5 TFL), DB Brad Duwe (18 PD)

Incoming FBS transfers: none

One of the fun parts of doing this is seeing local guys playing in places you might not expect. So a shoutout to Acree, the league's only unanimous first-team selection, and a graduate of Shawnee-Mill Valley, and also to Wilkins, from Blue Valley West.

Drake operates in a weird fashion in the passing game, as Hudson and Menard play the slot but are listed as tight ends on the roster, and the actual wide receivers are utlized far less than the slots and tight ends. And while Hudson's yardage, which led the team, seems low, the Bulldogs return nine pass catchers who broke 100 yards last year, seven of whom had at last one reception of 30 or more yards. It's a deep unit.

On defense, the losses are significant, but completely manageable if the offense grows as expected through experience. Drake only allowed 318 yards per game last year and held opponents to under 21 points. They won't be quite that solid in 2015, but the offense should take up the slack.


All-PFL selections (total, gone/returning): 7 (4/3)

Preseason selections: 3

Key losses: QB Dakota Wolf (1,489, 10/9; 549 rushing), RB Keith Goss (323/1), WR Jabri Ridenhour (497/4), OL Will Sawyer, P Adam Lutz

Key returnees: RB DeShawn Jones (395/1), FB Dalton Dillon, WR Ben Bolling (408/2), DLs Ugonna Awuruonye (12 TFL/8 sacks) and Greg Milhouse, LB Brandon Yost (82 T), DBs Brandon Mobley (4 INT/3 TD) and Tyler Rhyne (18 PD)

Incoming FBS transfers: QB Kameron Bryant (Appalachian State), WR Caleb Hines (South Carolina), DLs Rogers Clark (NC State) and Isaiah King (East Carolina), K/P Christian Evans (South Carolina)

Bryant will be offering some competition to freshman Dalton Helms and David Salmon under cetner, which is the largest question facing Campbell this fall. The offense returns useful components, and the defense loses no key personnel while picking up some help from their in-state FBS brethren up front. The Camels are not going to win the league, but they'll fight it out with Butler to claim the best of the rest title.


All-PFL selections (total, gone/returning): 2 (0/2)

Preseason selections: 2

Key losses: WR Derek O'Connor (744/5), DL Bret Shannon (12 TFL/8.5 sacks), DB JoJo Ciancio (82 T)

Key returnees: QBs Matt Shiltz (1,324, 10/4) and Malcolm Weaver (1,010, 5/6), RBs Sam Schrader (604/9) and Guy DiBalsamo (311/1), WRs Marques Martin-Hayes (604/2) and Brandon Collins (411/2), OL Michael Demos, LB Sean Horan (80 T/9 TFL), P Brian Akialis

Incoming FBS transfers: none

Butler was 3-2 on October 11 when they traveled to Campbell, and Shiltz was in the top 10 in the nation in total offense. A hand injury ended his season and derailed the Bulldogs, who got walloped by the Camels and then only won one more game the rest of the way. But all four losses after the Campbell game were respectable, so it's not inconceivable that the injury to Shiltz cost Butler a 9-2 season and a second consecutive trip to the playoffs.

So it should be no surprise Shiltz will be hungry and fired up, and he has most of his partners in crime back this fall. Defensively, Butler did cough up almost 4,700 yards last year -- but over 1,200 of that was in two games, against powerful Youngstown State and in a freaky 62-52 win over Morehead State. While there are a couple of key losses on that side of the ball, a full season from Shiltz will more than compensate for it. Butler looks better on paper than the coaches seem to give them credit for. They may even challenge for the title.


All-PFL selections (total, gone/returning): 4 (0/4)

Preseason selections: 2

Key losses: none

Key returnees: QB Ryan Tentler (1,834, 17/15; 399/1 rushing), RB Cole Mazza (906/10), WR Kegan Moore (686/6) and Chris Crawford (322/4), DL Davion Belk (83 T/16 TFL/8 sacks), DBs Donald Payne (175 T/18.5 TFL/4 INT), Ryan Powers (4 INT), and Chris Atkins (5 INT/31 PD)

Incoming FBS transfers: none

Stetson lost exactly zero players of significance from last year's 5-7 squad, which can only mean good things in 2015, the Hatters' third season since reinstating the sport. Tentler is going to have to learn not to throw the ball to the other team, and the defense tended to give up a lot last year. But aside from that there are no red flags, and Stetson does return Payne, an absolute beast who ran away with the PFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2014. Assuming a few newcomers step in to improve positions of weakness, the Hatters could surprise.


All-PFL selections (total, gone/returning): 7 (3/4)

Preseason selections: 4

Key losses: RB Atiq Lucas (740/7), WRs Armani Martin (554/6) and Joe Trallo (306/3), LB Paul Sakowski (89 T/10.5 TFL)

Key returnees: QB Anthony Francis (1,008, 8/6) and Ed Achziger (743, 3/9), WR Matt Tralli (626/2), OL Mike Mangino, DL Demetrius Williams (15.5 TFL/16 PD!), DB Zach Adler (78 T/7 INT/19 PD)

Incoming FBS transfers: none

Achziger lost the job to Francis midway through Marist's season-opening five-game losing streak. He ended up starting the season's final game even though the Foxes had gone 3-3 under Francis, and he appears to be doing the bulk of the work in spring camp. We'll have to see what transpires there. But it's a grim situation facing Marist without Lucas; no returning player had more than 52 yards rushing in 2014, and no receiver other than the younger Tralli returns with over 100. And this is a team that only managed 2,700 yards of offense all year. On the bright side, the defense only allowed 3,600 and returns most of its important players. This team's problem isn't when they don't have the ball. It's when they do.

Morehead State

All-PFL selections (total, gone/returning): 1 (0/1)

Preseason selections: 1

Key losses: RB Reese Maschara (651/2), WRs Cyrus Strahm (452/4) and Brandon Bornhauser (338/2)

Key returnees: QB Austin Gahafer (2,840, 23/13), RB Lawrence Jones (415/3), WRs Jake Raymond (697/6) and Tanner Napier (563/4), LB Luke Keller (87 T/11 TFL/6 sacks), KR Justin Cornwell

Incoming FBS transfers: none

If nothing else, the Eagles were fun to watch last year, so long as you weren't a fan. Morehead scored over 40 points five times last year and even managed to lose one of those games. They'll likely be at it again this year, as Gahafer returns with enough of his weapons to keep firing all day long, although Jones went down with an ACL tear in spring practice and is lost for the year. Rob Harden (197/2) will step in at running back. Sadly, the Eagles are going to have to press on without offensive coordinator Craig Mullins, who tragically was diagnosed with cancer around New Year's and passed in May at the age of 45. Patrick St. Louis, a former Missouri Western lineman who's been the offensive line coach the past two years, will take over.

The defense, on the other hand, was absolutely awful -- so bad that any losses are probably addition by subtraction. The unit gave up almost 475 yards and 44 points a game. The best player on the defense returns with Keller, so if Morehead can just find some guys to help him they might see .500 on the horizon.


All-PFL selections (total, gone/returning): 4 (2/2)

Preseason selections: 1

Key losses: QB Ben Lehman (2,264, 14/12), WRs Tanner Kuramata (864/2) and Andrew Cassara (500/5)

Key returnees: RBs Brandon Hall (855/10) and Grayson Bastin (308/2), WR/KR Jarrett Morgan (34.9 avg/1 TD on kickoffs), DL John Guilford (13 TFL), LB Alex Green (108 T)

Incoming FBS transfers: none (actually)

Another local kid made good in the PFL: Valparaiso OL Stuart Barkley from Blue Valley Northwest, who earned second-team honors during his senior year last fall.

Scott Staal (136, 0/3) has the lead in the quarterback race against a group of four pursuers. But with both key receivers gone, it's going to be a challenge no matter who wins the job. Guilford and Green are pretty good players, but the rest of the defense inspires nothing but ennui. Basically, Valparaiso is lucky they're in a league with Davidson.


All-PFL selections (total, gone/returning): 2 (1/1)

Preseason selections: 1

Key losses: WR Cam Cheuvront (332/3), TE Trey Heulskamp (471/2), LB Matt Casey (110 T)

Key returnees: QB Taylor Mitchell (769, 2/11), RBs Jeffrey Keil (725/8) and David Rogers (373/5), WR William Morris (1,224/7), LB Ricky Tkac (63 T)

Incoming FBS transfers: none

Remember how we kicked off this entire series with a rant about fake schools fielding football teams? If it weren't for that, Davidson would have gone winless last year. The Wildcats even got smoked 35-7 by a Division II school. They did have a couple of moments; taking arch-rival Dayton to overtime was certainly a highlight, and they almost got past Campbell. But there's a stench coming from Davidson, and it's not going away this season.

We can't list quarterback J.P. Douglas (1,715, 11/6) as a key loss, because he was actually lost to the team for good after the Campbell game when he was arrested for assault with a deadly weapon. The charges were dropped in January, ruled self-defense, but Douglas was a senior so his career was over. Mitchell is going to have to do something about his propensity for throwing passes to the other team if he wants to keep the job. Keil earned Freshman Offensive Player of the Year honors, and will be a huge help. Morris is the team's best player by a mile, but losing his two partners downfield will be tough to overcome.

As for the defense, all we can say is that Casey was a pretty decent linebacker, and now he's gone. May as well just escort the opposition to the goal line, given what's left.


All-PFL selections (total, gone/returning): 8 (6/2)

Preseason selections: 5

Key losses: WRs Andrew Robustelli (660/9) and D'Andre Randle (549/4)

Key returnees: QB Kade Bell (3,181, 31/12), RBs Ulysses Bryant (1,005/7) and Frantz Caudio (407/5), WR Andy Jones (684/7), OL Kevin Battle, LB Grady Redding (79 T), DBs Terrance Bryant, Dallas Jackson (5 INT), and Brandon Roe (4 INT), K Brandon Behr (13-18 FG/46-49 PAT)

Incoming FBS transfers: none

While Jacksonville violated no NCAA rules -- after all, as far as the NCAA is concerned they're allowed to offer 63 scholarships for football -- the conference laid the hammer down. Former Florida QB Kerwin Bell will have to try and rebuild a depleted receiving corps and manage the emotions of a team playing for nothing but pride. And the worst part? Jacksonville could go 10-1.

Game of the Year

We're in luck here, because San Diego doesn't play Jacksonville this year and picking a game of the year involving a team who can't even win the title would be sort of lame. So we'll point you to November 21 in Des Moines when Dayton visits Drake; there's probably a better than even chance that the conference title will hinge on the outcome one way or another, even if it means San Diego repeats.

Patriot League Preview

2014 Standings and Info
11 Fordham University Rams Bronx NY 6-0 11-3
rv Bucknell University Bison Lewisburg PA 4-2 8-3
Lafayette College Leopards Easton PA 3-3 5-6
Colgate University Raiders Hamilton NY 3-3 5-7
College of the Holy Cross Crusaders Worcester MA 2-4 4-8
Lehigh University Mountain Hawks Bethlehem PA 2-4 3-8
Georgetown University Hoyas Washington DC 1-5 3-8

The Patriot League entered a new and wondrous world last year as the remaining teams finally followed Fordham's lead and allowed scholarships. They still don't carry the full 63, but for a conference which had been surprisingly competitive without them the added talent may turn the Patriot into a small powerhouse in time. It's a lesson they learned, harshly, during the several years during which Fordham wasn't allowed to win the conference title while beating up on everyone.

As per usual, the Patriot teams will spend the first two weeks of the season testing themselves against FBS, CAA, and NEC competition before swinging into the Ivy League portion of the schedule. Unlike prior years, where the Patriot and Ivy would play four games against each other per week for three weeks, the schedule is more scattered this year and will stretch all the way to October 17 as a result.

Unsurprisingly, Fordham received 10 first-place votes in the coaches/SIDs poll, outpacing Bucknell's four. The two teams are expected to fight it out for the title, with Colgate and Lafayette battling for third, Lehigh and Holy Cross for fifth, and Georgetown bringing up the rear.


All-PL selections: 19 (16/3)

Preseason selections: 5

Key losses: QB Mike Nebrich (3,599, 30/9), WRs Sam Ajaia (1,016/3), Tebucky Jones Jr. (1,202/12), and Brian Wetzel (1,247/11), TE Dan Light (385/6), OLs Mason Halter and Matt Stolte, DLs Brett Biestek (18 TFL/11.5 sacks) and DeAndre Slate (12.5 TFL/6 sacks), LB Austin Hancock (102 T), DBs Jordan Chapman and Ian Williams (4 INT/40 PD), K Michael Marando

Key returnees: RB Chase Edmonds (1,838/23) and Kendal Pearcey (592/6), OL Garrick Mayweather, DLs Mariun Crook (10 TFL/7.5 sacks) and Justin Vaughn, LBs Steven Hodge and George Dawson (68 T), P Joe Pavlik

Incoming FBS transfers: QB Luke Medlock (FIU), DL Josh Klecko (Rutgers, and yes it's Joe's son), DB Jihaad Pretlow (Temple)

Man, look at all those losses. And the Rams are still picked to win this thing, although the gap has narrowed considerably. All that talent was the end of the first wave of Fordham's scholarship group, and now that the other schools are offering scholarships as well it's going to narrow quickly.

Replacing Nebrich, the Offensive POY, appears to be down to Kevin Anderson, who transferred in from Marshall last year, and Medlock. Edmonds is the Freshman of the Year and the preseason OPOY. At wide receiver, where the Rams lost a ridiculous three 1,000 yard receivers, Fordham expects to reload from a deep pool; 14 wideouts are on the roster. And while the losses on defense are harsh, the remaining talent in the front seven is a solid base on which to build early in the season, including Hodge, the preseason pick for Defensive POY. Fordham will just have to find some guys to play in the secondary.

Fordham executed a grand strategy, forcing the hand of the other schools in the league and in the process rebuilding a moribund program. It's paid off in spades the last three years, and now the Rams will have to see whether that cachet carries them forward. For now, they're still out in front of the pack. But they can't rest.


All-PL selections: 9 (4/5)

Preseason selections: 6

Key losses: QB Trey Laulette (1,002, 8/3), WR Jake Hartman (468/4), OL Lonnie Rawles, DL Demetrius Baldwin-Youngblood (15 TFL/11 sacks), LBs Evan Byers (110 T/13.5 TFL) and Lee Marvel (75 T)

Key returnees: QB R.J. Nitti (1,553, 13/7), RBs C.J. Williams (901/9) and Matt DelMauro (588/6), WRs Will Carter (999/9) and Bobby Kaslander (362/4), OLs Julie'n Davenport and Ramy Kased, DL Abdullah Anderson, DBs Clayton Ewell (4 INT) and Louis Taglianetti (62 T)

Incoming FBS transfers: none

A 30-27 overtime loss to Fordham on November 7 is all that stood between Bucknell and a playoff bid last year. And that loss -- as well as the overtime wins over Lafayette and Holy Cross which bracketed it, and the season ending loss to Colgate -- may not have happened if not for an injury to Nitti. His return to action is a large part of why Bucknell is the favorite to challenge Fordham for the title.

The offense will be back in full force. Defense will be the issue, as the Bison lose their three of their top four tacklers and over half their tackles for loss and sacks. If the front seven can reload, it won't be an issue, but nobody else stepped up last year to provide penetration. Still, the Bison are in this race, and can't be ignored.


All-PL selections: 8 (3/5)

Preseason selections: 5

Key losses: FB Ed Pavalko, LB Kris Kent (11 TFL), DB Mike Armiento (4 INT)

Key returnees: QBs Jake Melville (1,028, 6/2; 435/4 rushing) and Bret Mooney (644, 1/7), RB Demetrius Russell (703/2), TE John Quazza (400/1), WRs John Maddaluna (392/1) and Alex Greenawalt (283/2), OL John Weber, DL Vic Steffen (12.5 TFL), LB Kyle Diener (89 T), K Jonah Bowman (14-16 FG/27-28 PAT)

Incoming FBS transfers: none

Colgate lost their first two games, which was no surprise (Ball State and Delaware), then ran off four wins in a row. And then Jake Melville got sick and missed five games; the Raiders lost all five. Melville came back for the season finale, which Colgate won. Sense a pattern?

Everyone important is back on offense, and while a couple of pieces have been lost on the other side of the ball things don't look too bad. The Raiders probably don't have enough to chase down Fordham or even Bucknell, but a third-place finish seems likely.


All-PL selections: 4 (2/2)

Preseason selections: 5

Key losses: RB Ross Scheuerman (1,191/12; 521/3 receiving)

Key returnees: QBs Blake Searfloss (1,063, 7/4) and Drew Reed (1,022, 7/9), RB DeSean Brown (247/0), WRs Matt Mrazek (360/2) and Brian Keller (320/3), OLs Connor Staudle and Nick Nataveski, LB Mark Dodd (89 T), DB Jared Roberts, DB/KR Matt Smalley (23 PD), and Phillip Parham (21 PD)

Incoming FBS transfers: none

Lafayette has a quarterback controversy, and they lose their entire rushing attack along with their leading receiver all in one body. The defense will be mostly unchanged, and the secondary is stout, but there are too many holes here for the Leopards to contend.


All-PL selections: 5 (2/3)

Preseason selections: 3

Key losses: RBs Rich Sodeke (766/6) and Brandon Yosha (318/4), WR Josh Parris (635/3), OL Ned Daryvush, DL Tim Newton

Key returnees: QB Nick Shafnisky (2,370, 14/12; 526/6 rushing), WR Troy Pelletier (815/7), DL/LB Matt Laub (10 TFL), LBs Colton Caslow (67 T) and Pierce Ripanti (75 T), P Austin Devine

Incoming FBS transfers: none

Man, what a fall. Lehigh had spent several years as a legitimate top-10 team despite not having any scholarships, and now that they finally get to offer them they've plunged into the abyss. The losses on the offense are massive, and while the defense is relatively unscathed it's also relatively ungood. Expect more struggles in 2015.

Holy Cross

All-PL selections: 3 (1/2)

Preseason selections: 2

Key losses: WR Tyler Artim (498/2), LB John Zakrzewski (103 T/9 TFL)

Key returnees: QB Peter Pujals (2,353, 10/12; 705/6 rushing), RB Gabe Guild (588/5), WR Jake Wiecxorek (694/5), LB Nick McBeath (43 T)

Incoming FBS transfers: none

The offense should be as good as last year, but the defense lost its best player and its second-leading tackler; McBeath leads all returning defenders in that category. It's going to be a struggle for the Crusaders. Of note, sophomore DB Ahmad Tyler is from Rockhurst.


All-PL selections: 6 (4/2)

Preseason selections: 1

Key losses: RB Daniel Wright (365/2), OL Mike Roland, DLs Alec May (20 TFL/16.5 sacks) and Jordan Richardson, LB Nick Alfieri (106 T)

Key returnees: QB Kyle Nolan (1,763, 9/6), RB Jo'el Kimpela (838/3), WRs Jake DeCoco (446/2) and Justin Hill (401/3), DB Ethan Scott (4 INT/28 PD)

Incoming FBS transfers: none

Georgetown gets some decent individual talents, but they just have no depth. And their intrangisence regarding offering scholarships is only going to lead to more last-place finishes. The loss of May and Alfieri is just crushing to a defense that was actually pretty solid -- 375 yards a game, only 22.5 PPG. The offense was horrible, and there's not much reason to expect it to improve.

Game of the Year

November 7 in the Bronx, Bucknell visits Fordham with the conference title on the line. If strange things happen, Bucknell visits Colgate on November 21...


It's week five of Picking the Big 12, followed by previews of the Ohio Valley Conference and the Northeast Conference.