Too soon to tell

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DePauw football’s 53-0 win over Earlham College this past Saturday night looks pretty good, but take it with a grain of salt, Tiger fans.

It was week one. Don’t think a blowout win like this guarantees that we’ll be seeing the Bell back on campus come the middle of November.

That being said, it was a big win and there’s no reason to think the Tigers won’t be in a position to compete for win over Wabash and maybe even a spot in the NCAA Division III college football playoffs at the end of the year. I just don’t think we can read too much into a win like this.

First of all, Earlham was struggling hard for numbers. The Quakers’ athletic website lists their roster number at less than 40 compared to DePauw’s massive 100-plus strong football program. The Quakers were 0-10 last season and won just two games the year before that. In essence, there was really no way the Tigers could lose Saturday’s game.

And that could be a theme we see quite often this year. The way I see it, DePauw’s toughest tests will come when they host Wittenberg University on Oct. 10 and when they travel to Ohio Wesleyan University two weeks later.

And of course, there’s that pesky Monon game at the end of the season, a matchup that’s given the Tigers trouble in past years.

7-3 isn’t a bad record, don’t get me wrong, but there’s no real improvement in that. And with last year as evidence, it isn’t enough to qualify for the playoffs like they failed to do last season.

Those games against Wittenberg, the Battling Bishops and the Little Giants will be tough games to win.

The Tigers are 2-7 all-time versus Wittenberg and haven’t beaten them since joining the North Coast Athletic Conference. DePauw was sort of stunned when they fell to Ohio Wesleyan at home last year, and with their program on the rise, a win in Delaware won’t be so easy this season.

The Tigers could be a much better team than they were last year. Again, it’s just hard to tell after a game like they had against Earlham. Junior quarterback Matt Hunt only got to throw the ball 12 times, running backs Jason Kirchhoff and Amen Galley only carried the ball 20 times combined and there really wasn’t need to leave in the rest of the starters for more than the first half.

Essentially Saturday night was a preseason game for the Tigers; they should have known going in that they would win. It did, however, allow head coach Bill Lynch the opportunity to get his guys into live game shape and see what some of his younger players could do.

In that sense, DePauw accomplished its goals on Saturday night, but we should know more about this team when they host The College of Wooster in their NCAC opener next weekend.

So yes, the Tigers got 2015 off to a good start, but don’t crown them NCAC or NCAA champions just yet.