Sunday, September 1, 2013

FCS Uprising ... What Does It Mean?

Maybe they're not the body-baggers anymore. Maybe they're zombies who are bent on taking over the college football world.

"Body bag games," a phrase coined by the late Cal State Fullerton coach Gene Murphy to describe the big-dollar staged slaughters of college football also-rans, became horror shows for more than a handful of FBS powers in the 2013 opening weekend. It began with Towson's thrashing of Connecticut on Thursday and culminated with the sacking of San Diego State by Eastern Illinois on Saturday night.

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.

So the visitors not only collected a handsome check just for showing up, they also delighted in the ritual humiliation of their hosts in front of disgusted fans. This included two-time defending FCS champion North Dakota State's takedown of Kansas State on Friday, when the defending Big 12 co-champions unveiled their newly renovated stadium.

But the biggest upset of the weekend belonged to Eastern Washington. Though the Eagles were no slouch - having won the FCS title in 2010, they became just the fourth lower-division team to beat a ranked FBS (or I-A) opponent since Division I split up in 1978. While EWU's 49-46 win over No. 25 Oregon State isn't quite on the scale of Appalachian State's epic shocker over No. 5 Michigan at the Big House in 2007, it did help to illuminate the FCS conundrum facing big-time football programs.


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