Over the past year and a half, the newborn South Alabama Jaguars have been steadily assembling all the necessary components for a major college football program in Alabama: A sparkling (and as yet hypothetical) new field house, a clunky, slow-loading website and a coach with a history of standing near Bear Bryant.
Soon, it will be time to wobble out of the incubator and get down to the business of actually playing football, and with two week of practice in the books, the team has released its first schedule. It's so cute: Seven games, maybe even a road trip somewhere, with a healthy regimen of military academies and junior colleges -- a lineup on par with the non-conference slate of most of the much richer and higher profile schools in the SEC, actually. An auspicious start, gentlemen.
Also of note: The Jaguars have locked down their first big-name opponents, inking a three-game series with North Carolina State beginning in 2011 that somehow managed to entice the Wolfpack to travel down to Mobile in 2015 (by which time, one hopes, it will be considered respectable to do so). Other future matchups include a visit to Tennessee and a home-and-home series with Navy, both set for 2013, the same year the Jaguars are scheduled to join I-A ranks as part of the Sun Belt.
With nothing but a little drill work to their names thus far, the team is for the moment content to tout things like the completion of their second straight practice. (If you're around Mobile, the remaining practices, including a final scrimmage on April 10, will be open to the public.) To the young Jaguars, we say: May your efforts breed raptors.