Vikings football looking for a big 2014

With fall term approaching, Portland State Vikings football is getting ramped up and underway. The Vikings are looking to improve on last season’s record of 6–6 in an always tough Big Sky Conference. Picked to finish 10th in both the Big Sky Media and Coaches’ polls, the Vikings will have a lot to prove once the season starts.

No matter the preseason rankings, this should be an exciting year for the Vikings as they are set to play two PAC-12 teams in nonconference play during the first three weeks of the season. Both away games, the Vikings will face the Oregon State Beavers at Reser Stadium during week one, and after a home game at Hillsboro Stadium against the Western Oregon University Wolves, they will travel to Pullman, Washington to face the Washington State Cougars.

Even though the caliber of players and coaches in the PAC-12 is much higher than it is in the Big Sky, it doesn’t mean that the Vikings don’t have a chance to pull off one, maybe two wins against their PAC-12 opponents this year. Last season the Vikings nearly shocked the college football world by losing to the PAC-12’s Cal Golden Bears late in the fourth quarter by only a touchdown, and the Beavers have a history of losing early home games to Big Sky teams.

Outside of the PAC-12 games, the Vikings should also have a great shot to improve upon their record from last year. Last season, four out of the six Viking losses were by a touchdown or less.

If the Vikings could have won just two of those games, they could have earned their way into the FCS playoffs, so they are close to making some serious strides.

As for the fan’s experience this season, five out of the 12 games will be played at home. Other than the first game against Western Oregon on Sept. 6, the Vikings will play all of their other home games at Providence Park, a 20 minute walk or a TriMet ride away from campus.

Out of the four home games this season at Providence Park, there are two that should be a blast for fans to attend. These games also happen to be the last two games of the season. The first is the day after Halloween, Saturday, Nov. 1. The reason why this game should be extra cool is because there are rumors around campus that everyone is going to be dressed up in their costumes at the game. This should provide a fun atmosphere for students and fans alike.

The other must-attend game will take place on Nov. 21 against Eastern Washington. Picked to finish a close second in the Big Sky Media and Coaches’ polls, Eastern Washington is home to the projected Preseason Offensive MVP, quarterback Vernon Adams. During the final game of the season last year, these two teams met in what was an offensive shootout.

With the game tied at the end of the third quarter at 21–21, both teams traded three touchdowns each. After scoring to take the lead with a minute left on the clock, the Vikings failed to convert the extra point. Eastern Washington drove down the field and scored in less than 30 seconds to take the lead that resulted in the win. One can bet that the Vikings are going to be looking for payback this year and that this game will be quite a show.

Other than those highlights, Vikings fans have an entire season to look forward to as coach Nigel Burton’s squad continues to build itself into a Big Sky powerhouse. With one of the most potent offenses in the nation and a defense that looks to be much improved, the 2014 Vikings are on the verge of big things.