4 Week 1 FCS Games Power Five Could Lose



How often does the excitement of a new coaching tenure flop upon its debut with a loss to a less prominent opponent?

Bronco Mendenhall’s surprising move from BYU to Virginia last December garnered buzz for a Cavalier program in desperate need of some positive energy, but reality could settle in early. After all, even Chip Kelly lost his college head coaching debut, and his team went on to win its conference title.

Virginia will not compete in the ACC Coastal this season, whereas Richmond’s prime to make a run at the Colonial Athletic Association title — if not the FCS national championship.

The Spiders reached last season’s semifinals with a combination of imposing defense and prolific offense. They’ll likely have the best quarterback on the field when they visit Charlottesville, bringing back 2015 starter Kyle Lauletta.

Lauletta passed for a hair below 3,600 yards in 2015 (second-most in the Subdivision), scored 19 passing touchdowns and another seven on the ground. He was turnover prone in his first real season of meaningful action, but improved decision-making in his second year as the Spiders’ starter should make an offense that averaged 33 points per game even more dangerous.

On the flip-side, Virginia’s struggles in the passing game over the last — oh, decade or so won’t be remedied in just one offseason. That leaves the Cavaliers’ passing attack vulnerable against a Spider defense that led in the nation in interceptions a season ago with 22 — three of which were returned for touchdowns.

Safety David Jones, a preseason All-American,should be back at full-strength after breaking his arm in December’s Playoff loss to North Dakota State. He’s an NFL-caliber player at either safety or corner.

Virginia has reason for excitement, but Richmond could deliver quite the reality check for Mendenhall and Co. Week 1.