Keys to surviving a “full” FBS schedule

oduedu

Last season ODU went 1-4 against FBS competition as part of their FCS-FBS transition stage.  This year they open with Hampton (FCS) and then play eleven consecutive FBS games to close the season.

One win in five games translates to roughly a 3-9 season over twelve games.  That’s not too far off of what some athletic directors handicappers and observers project the Monarchs to yield this season.

It’s somewhat of a mystery as to how ODU will navigate a full FBS schedule.  Who better to point out many of the keys other than me.  Someone who has never played college football.

I’ll avoid the obvious Bleacher Report analysis such as injury concerns and attempt to get to the real keys to the season.

Beat Hampton and Eastern Michigan…convincingly

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College Sports Madness ranked ODU Basketball #113

AB Tulane

Yes, basketball previews are beginning to roll out…six weeks before the football season begins.

CollegeSportsMadness.com is ranking the top 144 teams in 144 days leading up to the 2014-2015 season and ODU checked in at #113.

They believe ODU will be the fifth best team in Conference USA, which may be a little low.  The Monarchs finished sixth last year and only La Tech and UTEP appear to be as good if not better on paper.  Middle Tennessee and Southern Mississippi appear headed for a drop-off and Western Kentucky enters the league as a strong contender.

ODU will probably finish higher than fifth if things go according to plan.

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Initial look at the 2014 roster

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Although they haven’t made an official announcement, ODU Athletics has been updating the 2014 football roster on their website.

After a few updates, it appears to be complete with only one name missing.  That happens to be incoming freshman Felix Manus-Schell, a corner from Erie, PA.  It doesn’t look like he’s going to be on the team.

Even with the recent changes to the roster, it’s still the most talented in program history.  Unfortunately much of the talent is unproven and needs to hit the ground running.  After taking an initial glance at the roster, I don’t foresee a high percentage of redshirts.

Thinnest position-Secondary

The secondary returns some solid contributors but it is easily the group on the team with the least depth.  The roster only reveals a total of nine corners and five safeties.  Three of the five safeties are true freshman and one of the corners is a converted wide receiver.

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Antonio Vaughan on pace to break career receiving records at ODU

A Vaughan

Barring injury, Antonio Vaughan will become ODU’s career leader in receptions and receiving yardage, surpassing Nick Mayers.  And it may happen very early in the season.

Entering his senior season, Vaughan had career receiving marks nearly identical to teammate Larry Pinkard.  Now that Pinkard has been dismissed, the stage is set for Vaughan to establish marks that likely will not be challenged for a very long time.

Through three seasons, Vaughan has tallied 167 receptions for 2,248 yards and 21 touchdowns.  He’s just 23 receptions and 440 yards from equaling Mayers in both categories.  Having nearly four full seasons with Taylor Heinicke has clearly helped his totals.

Prior to the season he was named to the Hornung Award Watch List.  The award is given to the most versatile player in college football.  For his career he has also played running back and returned punts and kickoffs.  This season he needs to only be a really good wide receiver.

It will be interesting to see what he can accomplish this year, now that the opposing defenses will be keying on him.  He’s the one returning player that defenses automatically respect.  He will likely draw the opposition’s best corner and probably see a safety shaded in his direction as well.

Will Vaughan have a career season now that he’s the clear cut target of choice?  Or will he prove to be more of a decoy while Heinicke is picking apart nickel and dime corners?

Here’s Vaughan’s 2013 highlight video:

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ODU to benefit from added national exposure

Wilson

The future of the ODU brand received a shot in the arm today with an announcement that the Sinclair Group has reached an agreement with Conference USA.  They have a national profile, reaching 38.7 percent of households in 77 markets.

Four additional ODU Football games will  be televised this season as a result of this agreement, bringing the total to a likely 11 out of 12.  ODU’s game at NC State is available on ESPN3.com and their game at Vanderbilt is a candidate to be picked up by the SEC Network which is currently not available in Hampton Roads.

Here’s a map of Sinclair’s footprint:

Sinclair Group

They have stations in Norfolk, Richmond, Baltimore and Raleigh which reach a majority of ODU fans, players families and recruits.  This can be a major selling point going forward in recruiting.

Sinclair will broadcast about 60 men’s and women’s C-USA Basketball games.  This is welcomed news after last season’s non-existent television coverage for ODU.

Here’s ODU Football’s updated schedule:

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