The Collegian
Tuesday, August 09, 2022

Football is ending. I'm sad.

Sixteen teams, 15 games, four weeks and one reason I prefer the Football Championship Subdivision to the Football Bowl Subdivision: the playoffs.

On Saturday, the regular season will end and at 7 p.m. on Sunday, the FCS playoff schedule will be determined. The championship game is in Chattanooga, Tenn., on Dec. 19, and when it's over there will be one FCS champion.

The FCS system is not perfect, but it's taking a step in the right direction. Right now, only 16 teams are selected, but after the 2010 season the playoff field will expand to 20 teams.

This is a good move because the standards for getting into the FCS playoffs are particularly stringent when compared with those for playing in a bowl game. I read in an article last weekend that nine of the 12 Atlantic Coast Conference teams have the .500 record necessary to be eligible for a bowl game.

Richmond and the other Colonial Athletic Association teams have a much greater battle to make it into the FCS playoffs. Even though there are eight CAA teams that have been ranked in the top 25 at some point this season, it's unlikely that more than four of them will be one of the 16 playoff teams because there are eight conferences whose regular-season champions get automatic bids.

On Saturday the football team, which is 8-3, will travel to Williamsburg to play CAA rival the College of William & Mary, which is 7-3. Most likely, it will be the last game of the season for one of those two teams; four-loss playoff teams are rare.

For this reason, I decided that I'll be attending this weekend's game as a spectator, not as a reporter. This is an important game on the road against a very good team, and I plan to scream as loudly as I possibly can to support this team.

I realized last weekend at the Senior Day game that every game the football team has left could be the last college game for the 12 seniors on the team. When they were recruited to go here, Richmond football was not nearly as good as they've made it.

The four-consecutive winning seasons the football team has had? That hasn't happened since the 1930s.

The semi-final game the Spiders played against Appalachian State University last year? Yeah, that was the first time in school history that Richmond has made it to the semi-finals.

And even though Tim Hightower has become a starting NFL running back after graduating last spring, there were a number of seniors whose seasons ended at Appalachian State. Not all of these 12 seniors are draft prospects, so for many it's not just their last college game; it's their last game.

I made the mistake of watching the game on campus instead of traveling to Boone, N.C. So now I hope that this year's team and/or next year's team makes it back to the semi-finals, not just because I think it has the talent to do so, but because I can't live with the fact that I may have missed the only chance to watch Richmond play a semi-final game while I'm still a student here.

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I have already informed my family that it can't count on me to stay for the rest of Thanksgiving break. I will decide when to take my first exam based on whether I'll be going to a quarterfinal game the weekend before.

I can't really say when I'll be home for winter break, because after I take my last exam on Dec. 11, I may be traveling to the semi-finals instead of heading home to Baltimore. My sister wants me to promise to come to her winter concert on Dec. 18, but I reminded her that the championship game is in Chattanooga, Tenn., on Dec. 19.

Some may think that this makes me a terrible sister and daughter, but I just think it's a sign of how much I love football. If you love football too, I encourage you to go to as many of the team's last games as you can.

Because the attendance at UR Stadium is lower than at most other schools' stadiums, it's rare that the football team gets to host a playoff game, even if it has a better record than the other team. This weekend will probably be one of the shortest away trips, so if you only want to go to one more football game, make it this one.

If you really can't go to a game, then here are some other options I'd suggest:

1. Watch the game on TV (for those that are televised).

2. Listen to a radio broadcast of the game.

3. Go online and get periodic score updates.

And of course, once the game is over, you can go to http://www.thecollegianur.com/sports/ to find out what you missed. Just because this is our last issue of the semester doesn't mean we won't keep spending our Saturday nights writing about the latest football news.

These players are setting individual and team records each week, but don't take the success the team has had for granted. Many of the team's accomplishments are firsts in Richmond history, and you don't know when they'll happen again.

This is a unique period in Richmond football history, and we are fortunate enough to have the chance to witness it. I'm going to do everything I can to make sure I'm there for the last play of the season, whether it's in Williamsburg or Chattanooga. I hope I'll see you there.

Contact staff writer Barrett Neale at barrett.neale@richmond.edu

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