“They’re so athletic. It just wore on us. They didn’t play like Michigan. They played like LSU.” — Appalachian State Coach Jerry Moore after his team’s 41-13 loss at LSU. His Mountaineers won at Michigan last year.
1. Eye-Opening Opener: Illinois and Missouri join most of the rest of the bloodthirsty FBS cabal in plucking the FCS for some easy pickings this week with Eastern Illinois and Southeast Missouri State, respectively. But they sure started the season the right way.
Playing each other in St. Louis, the teams combined for 13 touchdowns. Mizzou won, 52-42, despite the brilliance of Illini sophomore QB Juice Williams, who threw five TD passes.
“I try not to look at the numbers, but I see the interceptions before I see the touchdowns,” Williams said. “I hope I have zero next week.”
In the fourth quarter, a member of ESPN’s broadcast team suggested Missouri might be Illinois’ best foe. Interesting,since the Illini play Ohio State in November.
“Missouri is a very good team,” Illinois Coach Ron Zook said. “It’s not a sin to lose to a team like that one.”
2. Covering the Spread: OK, Florida International didn’t fully succeed in covering Kansas’ spread offense. Passing 52 times, the Jayhawks rolled over FIU, 40-10.
Iowa won’t throw 52 times Saturday when it hosts the Golden Panthers, unless Kirk Ferentz’s body is taken over by Kansas Coach Mark Mangino. If you’ve seen Mangino’s girth, you know he’d make that trade in a heartbeat.
But FIU did cover the 36-point spread Nevada oddsmakers set for the game. Iowa was a 27-point pick over the Golden Panthers at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas as of Monday noon.
But what’s the over/under for FIU total yards at Iowa? It mustered just 139 at Kansas.
“We’re getting better,” said FIU Coach Mario Cristóbal. Which is a relief, since the school has lost 24 of its last 25 games.
3. Wolves Are No Sheep: The Hlist vows to make no snide remarks about Iowa putting Arkansas State on its 2009 schedule. Ever.
The Maine Black Bears were teddy bears for the Hawkeyes, and Florida International appears little better. But the Red Wolves of Arkansas State play football. They topped Texas A&M, 18-14, before 78,691 horrified fans in College Station.
It was Arkansas State’s first win over a team from a BCS conference, and first in 16 tries against a Big 12 team.
“Just to be part of the new Red Wolves, and the way for us to start it off, at Texas A&M, oh my goodness,” said receiver Jahbari McLennan.
The Red Wolves were called the Indians until this year. Had they remained the Indians, Iowa couldn’t have played them under the UI’s policy.
4. Race for the Ages: Penn State’s 66-10 win over the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers put Nittany Lions Coach Joe Paterno in a tie with Florida State’s Bobby Bowden for the all-time lead in wins with 373.
“I haven’t even thought about it, and I’m not going to,” the 81-year-old Paterno said. “I can only say it so many times, it’s not a big deal to me.”
Coastal Carolina Coach David Bennett called Paterno and Bowden “American heroes.” Rick Telander of the Chicago Sun-Times saw nothing heroic in Penn State playing an FCS team.
“Shame on you, Penn State, for even scheduling the Chanticleers,” Telander wrote. “JoePa, couldn’t you have just ordered a cherry for your flaming cake instead of a 66-10 forest fire, or has senility kicked in?”
1. Bigger is Better: The bigger-school FBS teams crushed the not-as-big FCS teams last week. No shock there.
But that doesn’t make it right. There were 32 FBS-FCS “clashes,” and the FBS won all but one. Only eight of the games were settled by less than 24 points. That’s absurd.
Oklahoma beat Chattanooga, 57-2. It was 50-0 at halftime, then they had a 72-minute delay because of a thunderstorm. Which gave The Oklahoman’s Barry Tramel all the material he needed.
“After the most lopsided half of football in 30 years at Owen Field,” Tramel wrote, “and the second-most lopsided since anyone was paying attention, and the most embarrassing ballgame any of us hopefully will ever have to witness, God saw all that college football had made. And it was bad. It was very bad.”
2. Long Comes Up Short: The sole FBS team to fall to an FCS club was Chuck Long’s San Diego State, which fell to Cal Poly, 29-27.
“It’s time for Aztecs Nation to unite!” former SDSU star Marshall Faulk urged the crowd in a pregame announcement. He would have had few takers after the game.
Nick Canepa of the San Diego Union-Tribune isn’t smitten with Long’s program. After Saturday’s game, Canepa wrote “It should be better than this. At the very, very, very, very least, State should beat Cal Poly. And it didn’t. Again it didn’t.”
3. The Pitts: Pittsburgh closed last season with a stunning 13-9 upset win at rival West Virginia to ruin the Mountaineers’ chance of playing in the national-title game.
How not to build on that momentum: Lose 27-17 at home to Bowling Green.
Pitt slipped to 16-20 under Coach Dave Wannstedt, and 13-20 against FBS teams. Saturday was the ninth time the Panthers lost under Wannstedt when they were favorites. It’s a good thing Wannstedt got a contract extension through 2012 at the end of last season. A good thing for Wannstedt, anyhow.
Iowa is at Pitt on Sept. 20. Somehow, the Hawkeyes need to persuade Las Vegas to make them the underdogs.
4. Jumping to Wrong Conclusion: Duke officials were caught off-guard when two men parachuted into Wallace Wade Stadium and landed at the 35-yard line with a game ball an hour before the Blue Devils’ game against James Madison in Durham, N.C.
The skydivers were a bit surprised, too. Their jump site was meant to be eight miles away, at the McNeese State-North Carolina game in Chapel Hill.
The jumpers had decided to cancel the leap because of a severe weather front. But when the clouds eventually opened, the pilot thought they were over the correct stadium.
“In about five years, maybe this will be funny,” said UNC associate athletics director Rick Steinbacher after he apologized to Duke officials. “Right.”
“Rich Rodriguez’s spread offense is supposed to score all sorts of points, and after one game of the Rich Rod Regime, I must ask: for which team?” — Michael Rosenberg of the Detroit Free Press after the Wolverines fell to Utah, 25-23.