As for the local teams, the two best stories this fall will probably not receive the attention they deserve. That’s because Georgetown and Howard play in the so-called Football Championship Subdivision.
A year ago, Georgetown produced a turnaround season after years of being awful in the Patriot League and came within one victory of making the postseason before losing its finale at Lehigh and finishing 8-3. This year, the Hoyas return most of their key players and Lehigh does not. Georgetown opened with an easy 35-14 win at Davidson on Saturday.
Howard also had a turnaround season last fall, going from 1-10 to 5-6 under first year Coach Gary “Flea” Harrell. But the Bison had a bad offseason with several key players declared ineligible to start the season because of a scandal involving misuse of textbook funds. Harrell was forced to go with freshman quarterback Jamie Cunningham in the second half of Saturday’s opener against Morehouse. Cunningham came through, rallying the Bison to a 30-29 victory.
As for the local big boys? Well, Maryland managed to escape the embarrassment of losing to an FCS team in front of almost no one in Byrd Stadium. The Very-Young Terrapins (that will be their official name all fall) turned it over four times against William & Mary but the Tribe didn’t have enough offense to take advantage and Maryland escaped, 7-6. The next three weeks will reveal a lot with games at Temple, home against Connecticut and at West Virginia.
The best news for Navy is also schedule-related: the Mids should be favored in at least eight of their remaining 11 games after being embarrassed, 50-10, by Notre Dame on Saturday. The home schedule includes VMI, San Jose State, Indiana, Florida Atlantic (only one win a year ago) and Texas State.
The golden era in which Navy shocked Notre Dame three years out of four is clearly over. The Irish have beaten the Mids by a combined 106-24 the past two years—including a classless rub-it-in touchdown in the final minute in Dublin.
The good news is Navy’s next game is at Penn State. If there were ever a year to have the Nittany Lions on the schedule, this is clearly it.
For more by the author, visit his blog at www.feinsteinonthebrink.com. To read his previous columns for The Post, go to washingtonpost.com/