It's officially game week. College football graces us, providing our counsciousnesses a sweet cessation from the interminable baseball and soccer matches that we find littered across the listings of our television. But as we celebrate this joyous occasion, let us also be frank about the task that stands before our mighty Oregon Ducks: week one yields a bad game. An epically bad game. Oregon's opponent, Nicholls State, is perhaps the worst team in the FCS. This is a team that has gone 1-10 in each of the past two seasons, the only win each year coming against an NAIA school named Evangel. The scores from last year jump off the page--a 66-16 loss to Tulsa. 44-10 at Stephen F. Austin. 42-10 at home to McNeese State. In the Colonels' final contest, they traveled to Corvallis, getting spanked 77-3 by Oregon State. What better way to top that dud then by going across the country again and playing the most prolific offense in college football?
So what is Nicholls State, anyway?
Nicholls State is a public university located in Thibodaux, Louisiana, about 50 miles west of New Orleans. Hosting just over 7,000 students, Nicholls is known for programs in biological sciences, nursing, and teacher education. You can also get a BS in Petroleum Services and become a fossil fuel shill. Their athletic teams play in the FCS Southland conference, mostly consisting of schools from Louisiana and Texas. The most notable alumnus is former Milwaukee Brewer Darryl Hamilton
Is anyone remotely scary on their roster?
Not really. The good news for them is that they return almost all of their starters. The bad news, given their record last year, is that they return almost all of their starters. One starter they don't return is quarterback Landry Klann, who will miss the season after shoulder surgery. That has left a quarterback competition between two epic names: Beaux Hebert (son of former New Orleans Saint Bobby Hebert), and Tuskani Figaro. One of those two will be asked to make their first career start at Autzen Stadium. Their returning starter at running back, Marcus Washington, averaged 60 yards per game a season ago. The only receiver who was any good graduated. The offensive line allowed 43 sacks last year. Defensively, the Colonels run a 3-4, but the scheme hardly makes a difference when you give up 6.1 yards per play.
So, Dave, why are we playing these guys?
I have no idea, other than we needed a paycheck game on the schedule, and these guys were available. But this game is far worse than even your standard FBS vs. FCS fare. Realistically, anyone with a scholarship should be out of the game at halftime, with the second half consisting of Dustin Haines alternately handing off the ball to Ayele Forde, Kenny Bassett, and Lane Roseberry.
I guess bad football is better than no football. Welcome to the 2013 college football season.