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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Picking FCS shockers, week 1

James Madison was 5-5 against FCS opponents in 2010.
But it was 1-0 against 2010 ACC champs
One of the fun things for me at the beginning of every football season is to see which FCS teams can take the paycheck, march into an FBS stadium and pick up a win. Few games are more memorable than when David knocks off Goliath; the shock waves from Appalachian State are still reverberating around Ann Arbor. But most FCS wins are really about a welterweight Goliath knocking off a heavyweight David, and it is these victories that I try to predict.

And week 1 offers some juicy match-ups for the diminutive Goliaths of college football. All told, FCS teams have a 75.6% chance of snagging at least one win against an FBS opponent in the first weekend. The best odds are on Eastern Washington, who struggled through 2011 but were national champions in 2010. They face what I believe will be a terrible Idaho team. Were Eastern Washington playing this one at home they would be favored. Indiana State also lost five games in 2011, but three of those losses came at the hands of 2011 FCS powerhouses UNI and North Dakota St and Penn St. They could make things interesting against Indiana. And South Dakota St. will try to repeat the performance of its neighbor to the north in 2010 and beat Kansas.

At the other end, MEAC doormat Savannah St. (17-88 since joining the FCS) gets Oklahoma St. OSU may have lost some key offensive skill position players, but I don't think that will catch up with them quite yet.

The most interesting game of the weekend by far is Wisconsin against Northern Iowa. UNI almost knocked off Iowa St. last year and Wisconsin will be breaking in a new quarterback. Wisconsin should win by four touchdowns, but Michigan and Virginia Tech should have as well.

[Ranking next to each team is division specific, FBS and FCS]

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