The 2008 NJCAA/JC Football.com pre-season football poll ranked Blinn College as the second best junior college team in the country behind defending national champion Butler Community College of Kansas. Blinn plays Butler in the first game of the season. The Aug. 28 game at Wichita State University is billed as the “Battle of the Champions” featuring the two most recent national championship colleges.
“It’s an honor and a bit of a surprise to be ranked so highly considering we lost the last two games of the season last year,” coach Brad Franchione said. “You know the old cliché: I’d rather be ranked there at the end of the season than the beginning.”
Blinn went 7-3 in 2007 ending with a regular season loss and a playoff loss to Navarro.
Their first opponent in 2008, the Butler Grizzlies, have won seven consecutive Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference titles. Three of Blinn’s conference opponents are ranked in the Top 25: #2 Navarro College, #14 Kilgore College, and #24 Cisco Junior College. Tyler Junior College also received votes.
Franchione enters his fourth year at Blinn more settled into the role of head coach and more comfortable in the junior college system. Clearly a 26-and-6 record including a national championship accounts for greater maturity and insight.
“I enjoy it more now,” Franchione said. “I have a vision in my head molded over the last three years.”
The Buccaneers return six starters each on offense and defense along with the returning kicker and punter. Thirteen Blinn players signed with Division I schools - five of those very late in the year, complicating a challenging schedule that features only three home games.
Quarterback Terrance Cain, an Honorable Mention All-American last year, returns to lead the offense. Cain's 71.1 percent completion rate set a NJCAA record last season. Cain will have the benefit of working behind a huge offensive line with an average weight of more than 300 lbs. And with seasoned players at receiver, tight end, and running back he should be able to open up the offense.
Veterans including a returner from the 2006 national championship team will hold the line on defense while freshmen in the secondary will be tested.
“There are tremendous leaders in this returning group and an abundance of talent in the freshman class,” Franchione said. “I’m impressed by their work ethic and their ability to listen and learn. That gets me excited about going into this season.”
Aug. 28 Butler Community College Wichita, KS
Sept. 8 Abilene Christian University JV Abilene
Sept. 13 Open
Sept. 20 Arkansas Baptist University Rockwall
Sept. 27 Kilgore College Kilgore
Oct. 4 Tyler Junior College Home
Oct. 11 Trinity Valley Community College Athens
Oct. 18 Northeastern Oklahoma Home
Oct. 25 Cisco Junior College Cisco
Nov. 1 Navarro College Home