Sunday, July 31, 2011

Campbell University Preview

At the end of my last post, I mentioned that my next post would take a look at the CAA members' chances of defeating their FBS opponents in 2011.  After all, in the past two seasons we've had Villanova, William and Mary, Richmond and James Madison all defeat FBS teams, three of which were ACC teams.  However, David Teel beat me to that conept and posted his own article.  Thankfully I hadn't done any research so I don't have to worry about time spent wasted.  Moving on...

The Old Dominion University football team reports to camp on August 8.  It'll take some time to research all eleven opponents so I figured I should start now and reference the research later in the season.  So first up we have the Campbell University Camels of the Pioneer Football League.

Football History
Located in Buies Creek, North Carolina, Campbell University fielded a football team from 1925 through 1950.  There was a six-year hiatus during World War II from 1940-1945.  Due to international conflicts in Korea, their administration dropped the program after the 1950 season.  In 2006 Campbell announced that foootball would return for the 2008 season.  Playing their home games in Barker-Lane Stadium, the Camels have amassed a record of 7-26 since re-starting football. 

The home Campbell University football, Barker-Lane Stadium seats 5,000 Camels. 
Think of how much water is stored in that place!

2010 Highlights
In 2010 the Camels repeated their 2009 record of 3-8.  Their best game of the season was a 56-14 win over Valparaiso.  Tight end Mike Stryffeler was named to the 2010 All-Pioneer Football League First Team, while three other Camels were named to the All-PFL Second Team.  Redshirt senior quarterback Daniel Polk led the team in passing yards (1,263) as well as rushing yards (708), accounting for 20 total touchdowns.  It will be difficult for the 2011 Camels to replace that kind of production.

History with ODU
Campbell has played Old Dominion in football twice since the Monarchs started football.  In 2009 Old Dominion won 28-17 and demolished Campbell 44-13 in 2010.  Both Campell and Old Dominion announced their return to football in 2006, and Campbell started a season ahead of the Monarchs.  However, ODU has the advantage of being a program that offers scholarships, unlike the Camels of the PFL.  It follows that the Monarchs could recruit better talent.

2011 Outlook
After searching online for previews of Campbell University football's 2011 season, I couldn't find anything.  This team may have the least fan support and media coverage of ODU's 2011 opponents.  Their athletic department has yet to produce a 2011 media guide so I'm going off last year's guide. 

Randel Herring returns to lead the Camels on defense.  (Photo credited to AstroTurf USA)

On offense the Camels lose both Polk and Stryfeller to graduation - their most productive player (Polk) and their only first-team conference player (Stryfeller).  The defense also loses only two players to graduation and returns two 2010 All-PFL Second Teamers in DL Randel Herring and DB Jared Hart, both rising RS Seniors.  The team loses four of 22 starters and you might expect to see some players show significant progression.  However, these are the same players who have consecutive 3-8 seasons, so how much better will they get? 

It deserves its own paragraph to point out that OL Branden Burt was named to the 2011 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team.

Although there were no Camels named to the 2011 College Football Performance Awards Watchlist, they had two players named to the Phil Steele 2011 PFL Preseason Team - Hart and senior RB Rashaun Brown.  Brown ran for 673 yards at 5.7 yards/attempt in only nine games last season.  They'll rely on him more with the graduation of Polk.

Winning at a rate of 21% over three years, the Camels are the perfect team for the Monarchs to work out kinks in their game to start the season.  Campbell had an extra year of games to get a leg up on Old Dominion between the two start-up programs, but it should suffice to say that ODU has better program to date.  Discounting overall records, Old Dominion is 2-0 head-to-head against the Camels.  Unless Campbell has a bevy of five-star recruits joining the program to instantly turn things around, the reader can expect the Monarchs to begin their season 1-0 with a victory over the Camels.

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