It’s funny, but searching the top 110 Google trends Sept. 3, the opening Saturday of NCAA Football, one finds North Dakota State, but no Duke, Maryland, or Miami. The Hurricanes and Blue Devils each received votes in national polls. The quality of opponent these Goliaths face on opening day probably explains the black out.

Some sheep led to slaughter

Duke, 9-3 last year, hosts NC Central. The Eagles were 8-3 last year and a power in the FCS Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. NCCU lost to Duke 55-0 in 2015. Dorrel McClain was the Eagles bright spot picking up 37 yards rushing in nine attempts. He returns.

Jordan Miles assisted on 12 tackles. There is no reason to expect a different outcome, but NCCU will collect about $600,000 visiting Duke and Western Michigan this month.

Losing for dollars?

Howard University, the Ivy schoolof Historically Black Colleges and Universities, opens the season against a pair of Big 10 schools. Mum is the word on exactly how much money the Bison will take from trips to Maryland and Rutgers, but it will probably be more than the NCCU haul, and then there is the TV time on the Big 10 channel. Howard, 1-10 a year ago, fell by a combined 125-0 at Appalachian State and Boston College to start 2015. So there’s no place to go but up, right?

At least it is local

Florida A&M (1-10) tries to schedule an in-state opponent every September.

Last year the University of South Florida was the benefactor rolling to a 51-3 season opening win. This season the honor falls to Miami (Fla.). When the Rattlers faced the ’Canes in 2014, FAM scored on a botched Miami punt in the 41-7 game.

These games really are about more than wins and losses, according to coaches and athletic directors.

The purses are important to the smaller school’s athletic budget, players get to play in front of the largest crowds they will probably ever face, the competition is superior to what players normally see, everyone gets to play a few downs and there is usually some television involved. Yes, they have value.

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