Here’s a look at Saturday’s small-college football games, with a full slate in the Jayhawk Conference, where they’ve moved their annual series with the SWJCFC teams to the second week of the season.
No. 17 Coffeyville at No. 10 Hutchinson, 7 p.m. – Gowans Stadium gets a marquee national matchup to open the season and the much-anticipated debut of Coffeyville coach Aaron Flores, who won three national titles as an assistant at Butler.
Each team will have a Division I transfer starting at quarterback, with Troy’s Luke Barnes getting the nod for the Blue Dragons after winning a three-man battle in training camp. Barnes, 6-foot-2 and 210 pounds, runs a 4.6-second 40-yard dash and set the Florida state high school passing records for career touchdown passes (51) and passing yards (5,810) at Fort Walton Beach High School, breaking the marks set by Heisman Trophy winner Danny Wuerffel.
Former Iowa backup A.J. Derby will start for Coffeyville. Derby was the backup for the Hawkeyes last season but transferred to Coffeyville in January after being moved to linebacker. Prediction: Hutch
No. 2 Butler at Dodge City, 7 p.m. — Yes, Butler should win easily, but it could be easy to lose focus with next week’s stadium-opening game against Blinn looming. Biggest question for Grizzlies is how new quarterback Billy Cosh will perform – Cosh transferred from James Madison (and Kansas State before that).
Garden City at Independence, 7 p.m.
Fort Scott at Highland, 7 p.m.
No. 18 Baker at No. 11 Ottawa, 6 p.m. – The Braves have two All-American candidates back on defense in defensive back Donald Anderson, a Wichita Southeast product, and defensive end Zach Van Deusen. Anderson had 53 tackles and five interceptions last season, with two returned for touchdowns. He also is a playmaker on special teams, where he blocked three kicks in 2011.
Baker has one of the top transfers in the country — on any level — in running back Dillon Baxter, a former five-star recruit who was kicked off the team at Southern California last October then got the boot at San Diego State in February. Junior quarterback Jake Morse, last year’s HAAC co-offensive player of the year, also returns for the Wildcats. Prediction: Baker
Southwestern at Northwestern (Iowa), 6 p.m.
Tabor at Bacone (Okla.), 7 p.m.