Southeastern footballers check in Saturday and the first game is scheduled for September 6 at Southern Arkansas University.
That gives new head coach Bo Atterberry just about a month to discover who can play where and who can do what.
Remember, there is a twist to the grid schedule this season. The Storm will open on the road, then come home to take on the University of Arkansas-Monticello on September 13 before the biggie.
The biggie is the trip to Arkadelphia, Arkansas, and a nationally televised date with the Henderson State Reddies. The Reddies are off-the-chart favorites to make it three Great American Conference championships in a row this year.
Henderson State topped the coaches poll with 10 first-place votes and 100 points.
HSU received 10 first-place votes and that’s because a coach can’t vote for his own team.
The other top vote went to Harding as the Bisons were named No. 2 in the poll.
Ouachita Baptist is third, East Central fourth, Southern Arkansas fifth, Southwestern sixth, Arkansas Tech seventh, Southeastern eighth, Northwestern ninth and Southern Nazarene 10th.
Southern Nazarene is a full member of the GAC this year and eligible for post-season play. Northwestern is one year away from full membership. Oklahoma Baptist has applied and is in the first probationary year.
IT’S REALLY A no-brainer why Henderson State is the favorite going into the campaign.
The Reddies are back-to-back champions and return quarterback Kevin Rodgers and wide receiver Darius Davis. Rodgers is a two-time Harlon Hill finalist and twice has been named GAC Offensive Player of the Year and Male Athlete of the Year.
Rodgers is the only quarterback in Division II to have already passed for 10,000 yards and 90 touchdowns.
Davis ranked third nationally with 1,597 receiving yards and fourth with 16 receiving TDs in 2013.
STORM GRIDDERS aren’t concerned with numbers going into this season.
There will be competition across the board for playing time and that’s what the coaching staff likes.
Coach Atterberry and his staff will be looking as much for mental ability as physical ability. Doesn’t matter how many players you can manhandle if you aren’t in the same zip code.
SOUTHEASTERN will kick off against the Reddies with the game televised nationally on the CBS Sports Network Game of the Week.
Division II and CBS have been partners over nine seasons with more than 40 percent of the division’s football-playing member schools having appeared on the televised games.
This is the season featuring the Thursday Night Game of the Week format.
This will be Southeastern’s first time on national TV. The lights will be hotter because of the opponents. Shoot, Las Vegas might take this one off the board.
Won’t those clowns feel silly when the Storm blows out of Arkansas with a win over Henderson State?
Southeastern and Henderson State are the only Great American Conference schools on the Thursday Night Game of the Week schedule this year.
Southeastern’s 2014 football schedule looks like this:
Sept 6 at Southern Arkansas, 6 p.m.
Sept 13 Arkansas-Monticello, 6 p.m.
Sept. 18 at Henderson State, 7 p.m.
Sept. 27 Ouachita Baptist, 6 p.m.
Oct. 4 Bacone College, 2 p.m.
Oct. 11 Southern Nazarene, 2 p.m.
Oct. 18 at Southwestern, 2 p.m.
Oct. 25 Northwestern, 2 p.m.
Nov. 1 at Harding, 2 p.m.
Nov. 8 Arkansas Tech, 2 p.m.
Nov. 15 at East Central, 2 p.m.
Get your season tickets early.
DON’T LOOK NOW, but there’s another major event at Southeastern before football season opens.
The Southeastern Athletics Hall of Fame induction ceremony is scheduled for Saturday, August 23, in the Visual and Performing Arts Center.
This is the 19th induction class and the five new members will bring the total membership to 77.
A reception will be held at 4 p.m. in the VPAC with dinner at 5 p.m. and the induction ceremony to follow.
The new members are Drew Beard, Anthony Bruner, Dr. Edward Byrd, Olivia Franceskini and Bob Ledbetter.
Southeastern fans will remember Beard as the magician in cleats who quarterbacked his way into the Savage record book while personally increasing the sale of antacid tablets in and around Central Oklahoma.
Bruner was an outstanding offensive player for coach Tony Robinson, leading the Savages to the National Tournament in his senior season.
Byrd was the Voice of the Savages as the public address announcer for football and basketball games.
Franceskini must not have liked the volleyball record book because she rewrote it.
Ledbetter played football, baseball and ran track at Southeastern before putting his name in lights in Texas High School football coaching.
They will all be here August 23. You should be, too.
Tickets are priced at $20 each and that includes the reception and dinner, as well as the induction ceremony.
Tickets for the Hall of Fame are now available and may be purchased by phoning 580-745-2250 or going by the athletics department and asking for Tammy.
Don’t delay – it’s just 16 days away.
Harold Harmon can be reached at HHarmon@se.edu.