We're more than three months away from the start of the college football season, but some sportsbooks have already released betting lines for Week 1.
Northern Illinois travels to Iowa for its first game of the 2013 season and the oddsmakers don't seem to be giving NIU much respect. NIU is listed as a 6.5-point underdog on the road, according to betonline.com.
NIU lost to Iowa, 18-17, at Soldier Field in Week 1 of the 2012 college football season. The Huskies rolled off 12 consecutive victories and earned a berth in the Orange Bowl. Iowa struggled to a 4-8 record.
What are your thoughts on the initial line?
The San Francisco 49ers announced they have signed fullback Jason Schepler to a three-year deal.
Schepler, a 2008 graduate of Sycamore High School, played in 49 games (26 starts) for Northern Illinois, catching 14 passes for 177 yards and two touchdowns in his career. A second-team Academic All-American as a senior, the team captain caught three passes for 65 yards and one touchdown, helping the Huskies earn a berth in the Orange Bowl.
He served as a key blocker for Northern Illinois, which ranked 12th in the NCAA in rushing in 2012 (238.2 yards per game). Prior to taking a medical redshirt year in 2011, Schepler caught a career-high eight passes for 93 yards in 2010.
Schepler earned first-team all-conference honors, as a junior at Sycamore and was the 2008 Daily Chronicle Male Athlete of the Year.
Northern Illinois announced a national search for its next athletics director in a press release Tuesday.
Doug Baker, who begins his tenure as NIU president July 1, will oversee the process and ultimately make the selection for this important position. The university noted that a search firm will be utilized.
“The next athletics director needs to be someone who continues to build upon this foundation of athletics and academic success and take it to the next level as we grow the NIU brand and grow our fan base,” Baker said. “The pieces are in place - NIU has a strong donor base, excellent facilities, outstanding resources for student academic success and a tradition of excellence in competition and in the classroom. I believe this is one of the best AD jobs in the country.”
The press release said NIU would like to have a new AD in place by the start of the fall sports season.
CBSsports.com is reporting that Iowa and Northern Illinois are close to an agreement that would see the two teams play at Kinnick Stadium in 2018 and 2020.
According to the report there is also an option to play in 2019.
The two teams will meet for the fourth time since 2006 in NIU's season opener at Kinnick on Aug. 31. Iowa defeated NIU, 18-17, in the 2012 season opener before the Huskies reeled off 12 consecutive wins on their way to a Mid-American Conference title and a berth in the Orange Bowl.
Iowa was 4-8 last season.
Last season, both Northern Illinois football coachesDave Doeren and Rod Carey raved about tight end Jason Schepler's ability as a blocker.
Throughout the 2012 campaign, which saw the Huskies make an Orange Bowl appearance, Doeren, who left for N.C. State the day NIU's BCS bid was announced, always referenced the Sycamore product's blocking as a reason for the team's success in the running game.
This weekend, Schepler will get a chance to prove himself as a blocking tight end, as he was invited to the San Francisco 49ers rookie minicamp, which takes place today Sunday in Santa Clara, Calif.
Schepler hopes to impress the 49ers brass enough to sign a contract, or hook on with another team if he's not picked up by the defending NFC champs.
"I'm just going to try and give it my best and try to make the most of it," Schepler told the Daily Chronicle.
Schepler, who missed the 2011 season with a knee injury, caught three passes for 65 yards this past season. He led the team in pancake blocks with 64, and was honored as one of the Huskies' offensive players of the week three seperate times.
Prepared for the possibility of moving to the offensive line in the pros, Schepler put on weight leading up to the NFL Draft, and said he'll be around 290 pounds during the minicamp. He feels tight end is his best position, and said the 49ers were looking for more of a heavier, blocking tight end.
"That's kind of the perfect fit for me I feel like, " Schepler said. "Hopefully I get an opportunity."
– Steve Nitz, firstname.lastname@example.org, @SNitz_DDC on Twitter