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Another week of potential upsets for the big boys
Question of the Day
Remember the Rebels.
As Mississippi learned oh-so-painfully last weekend _ not to mention Kansas _ just because a team has FBS (Football Bowl Subdivision) in front of its name doesn’t mean it’s guaranteed a win facing one that plays a notch below in the FCS (Football Championship Subdivision).
Ole Miss is coming off a stunning double-overtime loss to Jacksonville State, which provided a bit of symmetry to a similar upset years ago _ and a reminder of how those sort of games are not tolerated very well by the big guys. The Gamecocks’ coach, Jack Crowe, was dumped by Arkansas the day after a loss to the Citadel in 1992.
Now, no one is suggesting that Rebels coach Houston Nutt is on the verge of losing his job. But all those top-level schools that had marked in an automatic win on Saturday better not take anything for granted.
According to STATS LLC, the second weekend of the college football season features 25 games in which second-tier teams _ the ones that play in the bracket formerly known as Division I-AA _ are taking on those from the major conferences.
Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer, who’s team faces FCS school James Madison, dismissed the idea of looking at any game as a sure win.
“A I-AA program just beat Mississippi. Florida State had to score in the last 35 seconds last year to beat a I-AA program,” Beamer said, referring to a game in which the Seminoles actually scored twice in the closing seconds to beat you-know-who _ Jacksonville State.
No league carries more swagger than the Southeastern Conference, which has produced four straight national champions. That was of little solace to Ole Miss, which squandered a 31-10 halftime lead and lost 49-48 in the second overtime when Crowe, figuring he had nothing to lose, went for a two-point conversion instead of just settling for another tie.
The Rebels have some company in the Big Boys Misery Club.
Kansas, of the Big 12, started off its first season under coach Turner Gill with an ugly 6-3 loss to North Dakota State. While that result wasn’t very well received in Lawrence, it’s worth noting that NDS of the FCS has knocked off a BCS school before.
Three years ago, the Bison upset Minnesota of the Big Ten.
Of course, Minnesota’s loss was overshadowed in 2007 by the granddaddy of all David-vs.-Goliath upsets: Appalachian State’s shocking win over a then-Top 10 Michigan program. That remains the only time an FCS school has defeated a ranked team in the top division, but it sure gave all the little guys reason to hope.
Still, FBS schools win the overwhelming share of these games, doling out a hefty payday to a financially challenged opponent in exchange for another win on the ledger.
Or at least that’s the way it’s supposed to work.
Kentucky, which usually runs at the back of the SEC, will face lower-division Charleston Southern in early November, a game that was clearly scheduled in hopes of providing a bit of a break to a team that will be winding down its brutal conference schedule.
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