Football preview: Games to watch

The football team will undergo major personnel changes on both sides of the ball this season, led by head coach Mark Matlak, who is entering his 11th season at the helm. The Gators will return only 12 starters from their 5-5 campaign last season in their matchup on the road at Wooster this Saturday.

Headed into this season, the Gators are excited for a youthful squad featuring several promising freshmen and sophomores who proved themselves capable of performing last season. There are a few games to look out for, some on the road and some at home, that could make or break the squad. There are also some games that could be a good time, so upperclassmen and freshmen should suit up in some Gator gear and head up to Frank B. Fuhrer Field!

  1. The home opener against Carnegie Mellon. Sept. 8. When I was a freshman and sophomore, I went to every home football game, but that’s an anomaly around here. I just really like football, but everyone should drag themselves out of bed and head up Park Ave. for the home opener. The weather will be nice, and this may be the only football game with nice weather all season. So even if you aren’t a football fan, go and at least experience it once before you’re stuck wearing a winter hat, two pairs of pants, three coats, and carrying an umbrella to shield you from the freezing rain. Because that was me last year, and it’s not fun. Trust me.
  2. Allegheny at Wabash. Sept. 22. Even though you can’t watch this one, you should still read the recap on Sunday. Last season, the Gators gave the No. 9 Wabash Giants a run for their money despite ultimately losing 22-16. After a goal line fumble by Wabash, the Gators compiled a drive that left them inside the Wabash 20. Their efforts would not be enough, with former quarterback Jordan Fowler’s pass falling incomplete on the final play of the game. This season the Gators will seek revenge against the now No.7 ranked Giants.
  3. Allegheny vs. Oberlin. The Homecoming Game. Sept. 29. The Gators will also seek to redeem themselves against the Yeomen. The Oberlin game marked a devastating loss for the team last season as the Yeomen spoiled senior day for the Gators with a final score of 14-13, despite the Allegheny defense holding Oberlin to -23 yards rushing. Even if the football part doesn’t interest you, Homecoming is always worth going to because it’s homecoming! If you’re an old junior or senior like me, then you’ll want to go because you might finally see some alumni that you recognize rather than just gazing upon a sea of nameless freshmen like you have been doing for the last month. If you’re younger, you just go because it is homecoming and you get a free t-shirt, and if I remember correctly there is some free food too. So just go. End of discussion.
  4. Allegheny at the University of Chicago. Oct. 6. This one is also on the road, but has some interesting background that may make it worth paying attention to. This is the first time the Gators will ever play Chicago, who have produced 20 professional football players and former Heisman trophy winner Jay Berwanger. If you’re not into football, you probably don’t care, but that’s your problem, not mine.