Posted: 2:21 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 1, 2013
The biggest story of the weekend was the eight (!) wins that I-AA teams had over I-A teams. BCS Guru Sam Chi lined them all up for you:
In all, eight FBS teams lost to FCS opponents: Georgia State (Samford), Iowa State (Northern Iowa), Kansas State (North Dakota State), No. 25 Oregon State (Eastern Washington), San Diego State (Eastern Illinois), South Alabama (Southern Utah), UConn (Towson), and USF (McNeese State). That's a new record for a single weekend.
Fortunately no SEC teams bit the big one against the lower division, but among AQ conferences, two Big 12 teams, two AAC teams, and one Pac-12 team did. The Pac-12 team was ranked, and one of the Big 12 teams was the defending champ. Woof.
Teams schedule more and more I-AA games every year because the rates that Sun Belt and MAC teams charge for body bag games has gotten to be in the neighborhood of $1 million per game. Schools can shave a couple hundred thousand off of that price tag by going to the lower division. Problem is, if you gack one up against that division, it's way worse than dealing with a loss to Louisiana-Monroe.
The ACC's slate isn't over, with FSU and Pitt playing tomorrow, but it had a weekend that was more good than bad. The teams playing cupcakes didn't have much trouble, and none of them lost to a I-AA team. Clemson did the league a big favor by knocking off Georgia, giving it a win over a top shelf SEC team that doesn't come with a "they didn't want to be in that bowl" excuse. Virginia Tech did far better against Alabama than anyone expected as well, and Virginia edged out BYU. The only real dud in the bunch was UNC being barely competitive for much of the game against South Carolina.
This conference didn't do quite so well. It had two losses to I-AA teams, with one of those being its defending (albeit rebuilding) champion. Teams like Baylor, Texas, and Oklahoma won blowouts over cupcakes, but it took all WVU could do to in order to avoid a loss to William & Mary. Oklahoma State did at least hold off Mississippi State, but it took a long time to do it. OSU is one of the league favorites and MSU is definitely not over here, so that wasn't a resounding victory. TCU also couldn't pull off the big one against LSU. There's not a lot to brag about here.
Last season, this feature was week after week of chronicling embarrassment for the Big Ten. This weekend wasn't a triumph, but it wasn't an shamefest at least. Four of the five ranked teams won by at least two scores, with only Nebraska cutting it close with Wyoming (but still winning). There were a few duds, as Purdue got blasted by Cincy and Iowa fell to NIU, but Michigan State and Penn State held off Western Michigan and Syracuse, respectively. It could have been better, but it could have been a lot worse too.
Despite Oregon State falling to Eastern Washington, it was mostly a good weekend out west. Oregon didn't miss a beat without Chip Kelly, Washington demolished Boise State, and UCLA had no trouble with Nevada. Utah could have (but didn't) lose to Utah State, Washington State gave a far more talented Auburn team all it could handle, and rebuilding Cal gave ranked Northwestern a good game. Oregon State aside, USC was the real disappointment. The Trojans had an uninspiring win over Hawaii that revealed a complete lack of competence at quarterback. The lows were low, but there weren't too many of them.