If you know me in the slightest, you are fully aware that I am a true sucker for the Cinderella story. It is true. Nothing gets me more emotional than a team like Florida Gulf Coast winning two games in the NCAA Tournament, or the Oakland Athletics defying the odds of baseball and becoming one of the best teams in all the land. And I assure you, when the Chicago Cubs break the worst curse in the history of sports, no matter how long it takes, it will be the best Cinderella story of all time. However, in the world of college football, the Cinderella story is not something we are as used to seeing. We all remember the Mountaineers of Appalachian State going into the Big House and taking down Michigan, and of course Boise State defeating Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl, but my point is that the monumental upsets we see in other sports are more of a rarity in the college football world. However, to the incredible elation of me and the soft hearted upset lovers everywhere, this may no longer be the case.
The record for most FCS over FBS wins in one weekend was set in week 1 as 8, count them, 8 FCS teams took down FBS teams in one week. Even though this does not break the single season record, the FCS simply has to win only three games to set that mark that was reached in 2010. Now you may think that this is just one dominant conference, but just like if you said Duke does not flop, you would be 110% incorrect. The eight victorious teams are a part of six separate conferences: CAA, Missouri Valley, Big Sky, Ohio Valley, Southern, and Southland. This is incredibly remarkable in my opinion. Let’s dig a little deeper.
Alright, I will admit maybe a couple of these wins were a little less than impressive. Are Samford over Georgia State or Southern Utah over South Alabama wins that should stop the presses? Not quite. However, let us forget about those two for a moment. Big 12 member Iowa State fell to Northern Iowa, UCONN fell to the mighty Towson Tigers, and San Diego State fell to those boys from Eastern Illinois. When none of these upsets are what impress me most, you know it was a special weekend.
I want to talk about that team that not only beat an FBS team, but completely embarrassed them. Those fighting Cowboys from Mcneese State put an absolute walloping on USF. They won 53-21, which just happens to be the second largest margin of victory in FCS over FBS history. However, the two teams that looked the best to me were North Dakota State and Eastern Washington. They defeated Kansas State and number 25 in the country Oregon State. In upsets of this magnitude, it usually happens to be a complete fluke as to how they pull the upset. However, you must look a little further. North Dakota state has won the past two FCS National Championships and who won the one before them? None other than Eastern Washington. North Dakota State looked like a fantastic team, and although K-State should have won the game, they did not necessarily lose the game. North Dakota State went out there and won it. The same could be said about Eastern Washington. They won because they played a fantastic 60 minutes of football. Oregon State is surely not a poor team, but an Eastern Washington team had a little more edge, and in the end that was the difference.
So what’s the point?
The point is that the gap is closing. By this I do not mean that any FCS team is going to sneak up on an Alabama. There is absolutely no chance of this happening at least for a long long time. However, that gap between top of the FCS and middle of the FBS is rapidly closing for sure. We are starting to see more upsets, and that is no fluke because there are so many incredible athletes now that the playing field is coming as close to even as it ever has. With a postseason system lacking the excitement we live for in other sports, this change in the scheme of things may just provide the extra kick of intensity that we miss as a result of the bowl system. Even though the four team playoff is developing as of next year, that still leaves out the opportunity for the incredible Cinderella story I live and die for. However, have no fear friends, associates, colleagues, comrades, and any other name that means the exact same thing as the others, the underdog story is on the rise in the world of college football, and it should not be long until more records arise and history is made. However, until then I leave you with this thought,
“When we dream alone it is only a dream, but when many dream together, it is the beginning of a new reality.” -Friedensreich Hundertwasser