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The top seven reasons you should watch Abilene Christian vs. Georgia State tonight

The 2014 FBS season begins tonight - yes, tonight. Kicking off at 7 p.m. ET on ESPNU, Abilene Christian makes the trip from West Texas to the Georgia Dome to face Trent Miles and his Georgia State Panthers. This is actually the second Division I game on the 2014 calendar, following Eastern Washington's win over Sam Houston State last Saturday. And, I'm not going to lie to you, the quality of this game won't confuse you with the game the Georgia Dome will host 24 hours later - Boise State vs. Ole Miss. In fact, both of the teams from Saturday's FCS game would be favored to win this game. 

Still, it's football.

With the 2014 FBS season now just hours away, here are seven reasons to tune in tonight: 

1. It's football.

2. It's our only chance to watch football on a Wednesday until November 5. That's 10 long, dark, MACtion-less weeks with no Wednesday football.

3. Georgia State has lost 16 consecutive games, tied with Miami (Ohio) for the longest losing skid in FBS. Chuck Martin's new team opens with Marshall, and then gets a winnable game with Eastern Kentucky in Week 2. This is a golden chance to stick the RedHawks with sole possession of the nation's longest losing skid. The Panthers host New Mexico State in Week 2, and then won't get a puncher's chance at victory until late October.

4. Again, it's football.

5. This is Abilene Christian's first game as a full-fledged, card-carrying member of Division I. The Wildcats posted a 6-5 record as an FCS Independent in 2013, and join the Southland Conference as a full member in 2014.

6. Abilene Christian Parker McKenzie's circuitous, unlikely route to the Georgia Dome. McKenzie was born and raised in the Atlanta area, and grew up dreaming of playing quarterback in the Georgia Dome for the Atlanta Falcons. The McKenzie family moved to the San Antonio area during McKenzie's teenage years, but he kept the dream alive. Starring at quarterback at Smithson Valley High School, McKenzie sent highlight tapes to the Georgia State coaching staff, but the interest was not reciprocated, so he ended up at ACU, a Division II school at the time. In the time since, Abilene Christian has moved to Division I, and McKenzie has won the starting job. And now, voila, McKenzie is set to play quarterback inside the Georgia Dome like he always dreamed - just not in the path anyone could have predicted.

7. Again, it's football. 

 

Samford head coach Pat Sullivan to miss opener vs. TCU

Samford head coach Pat Sullivan will miss the Bulldogs' trip to TCU on Saturday, the school announced Wednesday.

"My doctors have advised me not to travel at this time due to a complication from a surgery earlier this year," he said in a statement. "We have an incredible coaching staff that has done a great job preparing our team for the season opener. I have full confidence that our coaches and student-athletes will make the Samford family proud on Saturday."

There's never a good time for a head coach to miss his team's game, but Saturday's opener is an especially bad time for Sullivan. As TCU's head coach from 1992-97, Sullivan was to be a part of the Horned Frogs' celebration of the 20-year anniversary of the club's 1994 Southwest Conference championship.

"I am happy that my wife, Jean, along with our son, Patrick, and daughter, Kelly, will be there to support the Bulldogs and reconnect with many of our old TCU friends."

This marks the third consecutive season Sullivan has missed Samford's season opener. He missed the 2012 opener, a 24-21 win over Furman, due to a bout with pneumonia, and missed the first three games of the 2013 season due to recovery from back surgery. 

Assistant head coach Bill D'Ottavio filled in for Sullivan each time, leading Samford to a 3-1 mark in Sullivan's absence. We have heard D'Ottavio did a superb job filling in for Sullivan. 

As we tweeted earlier, Sullivan has taken on a reduced workload leading into this season.

Sullivan is 40-39 in six seasons as Samford's head coach.

Les Miles has penned a very special love letter to the city of Baton Rouge

The Huffington Post has a section on it's website called "Love Letters" where, apparently, people submit letters to towns and cities that hold a special place in their heart.

Today, a submission from Les Miles appeared on the feed, addressed to the city of Baton Rouge. In it you get a true sense for the love that Les has for the city heim and his family have been blessed to call home for nearly a decade.

Even though there is no way to vouch for its authenticity at this point, let's remember this is Les Miles we're talking about. Simply put, this is special.

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See the full article here.

Listen to Rick Neuheisel's latest original song: "Stairway to Playoffs"

Rick Neuheisel, the former UCLA coach turned amateur signer, was at it again on the Dan Patrick Show this morning, belting out his latest original song, "Stairway to Playoffs".

Some of the lines, and rhymes he comes up with are surprisingly good.

The Best Bet of Week 1? The FootballScoop staff weighs in

Every week during the season each of the three of us will release our "Best Bet". No telling how we will do; but we'll track it here. Hopefully, at least one of us get's on a roll and you can take that pick to the bank (proverbial or actual, your choice) each week. With that said, how hard can it be to pick one winner every week? To be determined... 


Zach: SMU -33 vs. Baylor 

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69-3. 70-13. 70-7. Those were the scores by which Baylor flattened its opponents to open last season. I don't know that the Bears throw up similar fireworks against SMU.... but I can't see SMU staying within five touchdowns of Baylor, either. These teams met on the Sunday of Labor Day weekend in 2012, with Baylor winning 59-24, and trended in opposite directions since then. Add in that it's the grand opening of McLane Stadium and the official kickstart to Bryce Petty's Heisman campaign, and I'm taking the Bears and laying the points.


Scott: Rice +21 vs. Notre Dame

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This is a huge game for Rice, and it’s the game before the Michigan game for Notre Dame. Rice is focused, Notre Dame is distracted. I see Rice playing this game a lot closer than Notre Dame fans will like; and if they get a few turnovers we could see Rice battling for the win at the end. I love Rice plus the 21 points.


Doug: Appalachian State +34.5 vs. Michigan

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Back in 2007, Appalachian State pulled one of the greatest upsets in college football history, knocking off No. 5 Michigan. Back then, Vegas didn't even provide a line on the game...well that's changed for the rematch with Michigan as a 34.5-point favorite. That's where I see the problem; Michigan is going to come into the game focused on not getting beat, plus they have a new offensive coordinator and plenty of question marks personnel wise. Appalachian State is coming into the game knowing that they can compete in the Big House, and aiming to get their membership in the FBS started off on the right foot. I'm not saying that App State has the firepower to win this one outright, but I don't see them getting beat by 30-plus with the confidence the program has earned in Ann Arbor.

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