Jim: A great exhibition win at Portland last week, and the 7-footer from Lithuania looked very good. I think this team may surprise people.
Jim: BTW they play tomorrow - it’s the only home game until mid-December.
Steven Christopher: Oh, now this is bad, we prefer to talk basketball rather than football.
Jim: Actually, I’d prefer to talk about soccer. Chad Bodnar has built a powerhouse overnight. Probably the best coaching job by any college coach in this area.
Guest4120 (Guest): Yes he has.
Guest509 (Guest): Coach Bodnar has done a phenomenal job with the soccer program. Big props to him!
Guest4120 (Guest): great hire by Chaves
Steven Christopher: The soccer team has been a wonderful surprise the past two seasons, no question about it! Unfortunately, just like in basketball, the Big Sky Champion gets a terrible seed in the National Tournament. I wonder if our gals have any chance against USC this time around?
Jim: Actually, they got a 14 seed, which is better than any Big Sky team recently. USC is the defending NCAA champ, but lost heavily to graduation and is only a 3 seed.
Jim: You never know, but Eastern may have a shot.
Jim: Anyway, there’s reason for optimism on Saturday. For one thing, UND has a horrible passing game, and Eastern has done well against one-dimensional offenses.
Jim: However, opponents have been running well up the middle, and nobody in the Big Sky (except for Poly) does that better than UND.
Guest6799 (Guest): I wouldn’t be surprised to see EB light it up after he gets his footing
Jim: I’m working on a story for tomorrow about other recent QB changes at Eastern (VA in 2012, West in 2014 and Gubrud last year) All won their openers.
Jim: However, VA had a case of happy feet for most of that 2012 season, and it might be the same for EB
Guest6799 (Guest): So who would win between Central and EWU?
Jim: Oh, stop!
Jim: With Barriere, you have to hope that the game “slows down” for him as soon as possible.
Jim: From the day he signed in Feb. 2016, he’s been looked at as the QB of the future. And now it’s here.
Jim: That UND defense has been torched by almost everyone.
Guest6799 (Guest): I think EB will be just fine after he completes a couple of passes and runs a couple of times.
Jim: Looking back, you’d think he would have seen more snaps, but he hasn’t throw a ball since Texas Tech.
Guest6799 (Guest): Jensen from Montana has been doing pretty well even in his first game as a starter.
Guest509 (Guest): I am excited to see what he can do
Jim: With perfect hindsight, I can say they should have given EB more snaps at Fordham. That’s the only one, however.
Jim: The other games were still in doubt.
Steven Christopher: Did anyone review the video of the Weber game with respect to that trick play on which the Eagles scored a touchdown but was called back for an ineligible receiver downfield? Paul Sorensen said on the radio broadcast that he was really doubtful that was a justified penalty. I have the recording but just haven’t gotten around to looking at it yet.
Jim: Sorry, I never saw a replay. That was so costly too.
Guest509 (Guest): That was the moment the momentum swung to Weber.
Steven Christopher: I will take it on myself as a responsibility to the group to review it and pass on my comments next week.
Guest2471 (Guest): What can we expect from EB3’s arm? Accuracy and strength wise?
Jim: Big, BIG arm… great mobility. He really has all the tools to win. Quietly confident. Talks in a whisper, so he’d better raise his voice in that dome.
Steven Christopher: What is Eric’s size?
Jim: He’s 6-foot-0 and 195 pounds.
Jim: Fans have to remember that EB won’t win or lose this game by himself.
Jim: I recall past games (VA and Jordan West) getting their first starts and the rest of the team rose to the occasion.
Guest2471 (Guest): Jim, if you were the starting QB for the Eags this weekend, could the Eags pull it off?
Jim: I was a soccer player, and not a very good one.
Jim: Question: what was your reaction to the Gubrud/Calhoun incident?
Guest509 (Guest): Disappointed. Gage is a captain and leader of the team.
Guest2471 (Guest): If the players don’t use care and risk bad things for their team, how are the fans supposed to care.
Jim: They’re under a microscope, to be sure. I actually had a few drinks in college, but they have to be much more careful.
Guest2471 (Guest): At the end of the season, regardless what records show, who do you think the best 3 teams are in the Big Sky and most likely to do damage in the playoffs?
Jim: 1) Weber 2) SUU 3) NAU
Jim: Weber is the most well-rounded. I think SUU will beat NAU in their final game at Cedar City, so Weber and SUU will share the title.
Jim: Did you know that EWU still has a mathematical chance to share the Big Sky title?
Guest2471 (Guest): So does MSU.
Jim: However, Weber must lose to either PSU or ISU - and the SUU-NAU winner must lose the previous week.
Jim: My keys to the game: EB doesn’t try to do too much … running game has to get some traction early …win the turnover battle (the averages have to catch up, RIGHT?) .. and win on third down. Obvious, I know, but EB can’t do this by himself.
Guest2471 (Guest): If we lose the next two games, how much pressure is on Best in year 2?
Jim: Actually, perhaps the Eagles COULD beat Portland State with me at QB. They are horrid.
Jim: But even if they lose out, there’s no pressure on Best.
Jim: There should be some pressure on the administration and trustees to improve FB facilities.
Jim: Time for predictions: I say EB has a solid game, the defense handles the run and EWU wins it 27-23.
Guest6799 (Guest): EWU wins a shootout 48-42
Guest2471 (Guest): I hate to be a negative Nancy, but I think a road game for a freshman’s first start will be a tough get. 24-17 UND, I hope I’m surprised.
Jim: OK, thanks, everyone. We’ll do it again next week for sure!