The computer's preseason No. 1 team got beat and two major streaks of futility came to an end as we, perhaps, got a little better idea of what's to come during the 2018 season.
First, let's give props to the computer for calling the streak-breaking victories by Kansas and Kentucky in outright upsets over Central Michigan and Florida, respectively.
The Jayhawks had dropped 46 straight road games and were 4-point Vegas underdogs at CMU, a team which defeated Kansas 45-27 in Lawrence last year. The Congrove Computer Rankings at CollegeFootballPoll.com projected the Jayhawks to win by 1.36, but KU took a 21-0 lead in the 3rd quarter and never looked back in a 31-7 victory. Kansas' last road win had come on September 12, 2009 at UTEP.
The 'experts' said Florida was a 14-point home favorite to beat Kentucky for the 32nd straight time, but the computer had the Wildcats by 2.82 points, admittedly shocking even me. Kentucky took the lead with 9:49 to play in the 3rd quarter and sealed the deal by returning a QB fumble 30 yards on the final play of the game to widen the final score from 21-18, to 27-18. The end of 31-game losing streak to the Gators also marked Kentucky's first win in Gainesville since 1979.
Later, a duel in the desert wound up being the trap game I suggested it may be as Michigan State, the computer's projected national champions, lost 16-13 at Arizona State on a walk-off 28-yard field goal. The win keeps Herm Edwards undefeated (2-0) in his debut season as head coach of the Sun Devils. From what we've seen from the Spartans in their first two games of the season, they have a long way to go to look like a team that fields the most returning starters of any FBS program in the country. MSU barely escaped the upset bid by Utah State in its opener and dropped from 1 to 4 in the computer rankings. The Spartans will plummet considerably after this loss.
Meanwhile, No. 5 Clemson got out of Aggie-land with a 28-26 win at Texas A&M. The game revived the Dabo Swinney-Jimbo Fisher rivalry that developed while Fisher was at Florida State. An interception on an attempted 2-point conversion with 46 seconds left in the game provided the winning margin for the Tigers as Swinney took a 5-4 lead over Fisher. Clemson is 15-1 in true road games dating back to November, 2014.
Top-ranked Oklahoma shrugged off visiting UCLA 49-21, while No. 2 Ohio State cruised 52-3 at home over Rutgers.
4th-ranked Notre Dame got more than it bargained from Ball State. The Irish turned a pair of interceptions into touchdown drives of 31 and 56 yards that opened up a 24-6 lead, and the Cardinals' 4th quarter rally fell short in a 24-16 final.
Georgia flexed its muscle in a 41-17 win at South Carolina. The Gamecocks helped the 'Dawgs get off to a quick start with an interception return for a touchdown in the first minute, but it almost wasn't a touchdown when Deandre Baker dropped the ball before crossing the goal line. Fortunately for him, Juwan Taylor picked it up and scored. The computer had South Carolina winning the SEC East and favored by 1.82 in the game at Columbia.
Stanford avenged its two defeats to Southern California last year by downing the Trojans 17-3 on "The Farm". USC entered the game ranked 7th by the computer and was its' preseason pick to capture the PAC-12 title.
Central Florida ran its winning streak to 15 games with a cakewalk over FCS member South Carolina State. UCF heads to North Carolina next week to visit a Tar Heels team that got squashed 41-19 at hapless East Carolina. The Pirates outscored UNC 20-0 in the second half for the win which comes a week after they lost to FCS member North Carolina A&T. Who knows what East Carolina team will show up in Blacksburg next week when they visit another ACC team, Virginia Tech. The Hokies were 62-17 victors over FCS member William & Mary on Saturday after winning their opener at Florida State. And speaking of Florida State, the Seminoles nearly fell to 0-2 as Samford had them on the ropes for nearly the entire game. The FCS team jumped out to a 13-0 lead and stayed in front until a TD pass and 2-point conversion gave Florida State the lead with 4:03 left in the game. They added an interception return for another score a minute and 40 seconds later to get the final 36-26 margin for Willie Taggart's first win as their head coach. Samford QB Devlin Hodges torched the 'Nole secondary for 475 yards, but his 4 interceptions also helped bail out FSU in the end.
On what was a pretty bad day for the ACC, Georgia Tech went to Tampa and lost 49-38 at USF, Pittsburgh was destroyed 51-6 at home by Penn State, and Virginia lost 20-16 at Indiana. Duke did its part to try and help save the day by earning a 21-7 win at Northwestern in an upset that ended the Wildcats' 8-game winning streak.
In other games, Mississippi State won 31-10 at Kansas State, Cal won 21-18 at BYU, Iowa downed Iowa State 13-3, and FAU tripped Air Force 33-27 in Boca Raton.
Cincinnati made it 13 straight over Miami (O) in the 123rd meeting between the two schools which are roughly 45 minutes apart. The 21-0 win makes the Bearcats 2-0 in Luke Fickell's second season as head coach.
A touchdown with 8 seconds remaining in the game completed the Rams' comeback from a 27-9 third quarter deficit as they stunned visiting Arkansas 34-27 in Fort Collins. Colorado State had opened the season by dropping a game at home to Hawaii and then getting crushed by rival Colorado. Arkansas came into the game as a 21.86-point computer pick and a 2-touchdown Vegas favorite.
Navy overcame a 21-9 fourth quarter deficit at home against Memphis to avoid an 0-2 start after last week's loss at Hawaii. The Midshipmen went ahead on a 3-yard touchdown run with 2:37 left for the 22-21 victory in an American Conference game between the west division rivals. Navy was picked to go 6-7 this season while the Tigers were projected to go 11-1 and repeat as division champions on their way to an expected conference title. Navy won the division in 2016.
A 24-yard walk-off field goal gave Eastern Michigan a huge 20-19 upset win at Purdue. The Boilermakers were 16-point Vegas favorites and a 25.24-point computer pick. Purdue has made it a habit to lose to MAC teams in recent history, falling in 2015 to Bowling Green and 2014 to Central Michigan.
Kevin Sumlin is 0-2 at Arizona, losing the opener at home to BYU and then getting blown out 45-18 at Houston. Sumlin is 3-6 in his last 9 games as a head coach, including 3-4 at Texas A&M (he didn't coach the bowl loss) and 0-2 at 'Zona.
107 FBS teams will play 110 games vs. FCS members this year. That represents a sharp increase from last year's totals of 98 FBS teams playing 98 such games. However, it's not as many as the all-time high set in 2016 when 110 FBS schools played 113 games vs. FCS squads.
So far in 2018, the FBS is 66-6 (.917) vs. the FCS. Since 2003, the FBS is 1,285-123 (.913) vs. the FCS.
There were 29 FBS vs. FCS games this past weekend and only 1 FCS upset win.
Here are all of the FCS victories over FBS teams this season:
August 30: UC Davis 44, San Jose State 31
September 1: Villanova 19, Temple 17
September 1: Northern Arizona 30, UTEP 10
September 1: Nicholls State 26, Kansas 23 (OT)
September 2: North Carolina A&T 28, East Carolina 23
September 8: Maine 31, Western Kentucky 28
There are 18 FBS vs. FCS games scheduled next week.
UCF - Won 15 straight overall (FBS longest), Won 10 straight conference games including AAC title last year (FBS longest). Won 38-0 vs. FCS member South Carolina State on Saturday.
FAU - Won 9 straight conference games (FBS second-longest). Had 10-game overall winning streak snapped in 59-14 loss at Oklahoma in season opener. Won 33-27 vs. Air Force on Saturday.
Alabama - Won 20 straight home games (FBS longest). Won 57-7 vs. Arkansas State on Saturday.
Oklahoma - Won 16 straight road games (FBS longest). Won 49-21 vs. UCLA on Saturday.
UTEP - Lost 14 straight overall (FBS longest). Lost 52-24 at UNLV on Saturday.
Ball State - Lost 13 straight conference games (FBS longest). Lost 24-16 at Notre Dame on Saturday.
Kansas - Snapped a 46-game road losing streak (was FBS longest) with its 31-7 win at Central Michigan on Saturday.
Oregon State - Lost 20 straight road games (new FBS longest). Won 48-25 at home vs. FCS member Southern Utah on Saturday.