Howard

vs. Alabama State

Going to Motown: While Howard's football team is making its debut in the Detroit Football Classic, Alabama State is playing in the game for the second season. The Hornets played Florida A&M in the inaugural game last year, beating the Rattlers, 38-22, in front of 54,951 at Ford Field. Alabama State's special teams scored three touchdowns in that game.

Righting the Ship: Alabama State Coach Charles Coe, a longtime assistant at Memphis, Tennessee and Pittsburgh, inherited one of the toughest jobs in the nation last season. Coe wasn't named the Hornets' interim coach until the first day of fall practice last August, after former Alabama State coach L.C. Cole was fired for a myriad of NCAA rules violations. Among other improprieties, Cole was accused of playing ineligible players, changing athletes' grades and entertaining recruits with strippers. Picked to finish last in the Eastern Division of the Southwest Athletic Conference, the Hornets finished 8-5 and won the division in Coe's first season.

-- Mark Schlabach

Georgetown

vs. St. Francis (Pa.)

Airing It Out: Georgetown's rebuilt secondary will get a stiff test in the opener from St. Francis quarterback Anthony Doria, who threw for 1,663 yards and 12 touchdowns as a freshman in 2003 with 16 interceptions. Against Albany last year, Doria threw for 398 yards on 38-for-63 passing. The Hoyas have only one returning starter in the secondary -- junior strong safety Maurice Banks (Gwynn Park).

Freshmen to Play: Hoyas Coach Bob Benson said he expects at least two freshmen to play extensively in the opener: cornerback Mikey Blainefield of Monessen, Pa., and tailback Emir Davis of Trenton, N.J. The Hoyas lost both starting cornerbacks from last season, but three tailbacks -- senior John Sims and juniors Marcus Slayton and Kim Sarin -- are back. Transfer quarterback Nick Cangelosi, a sophomore from Camden, N.J., also could see his first college action after redshirting at North Carolina last season.

-- Mark Schlabach