Oklahoma and LSU, two of the consensus contenders for the Final Four, both went down to defeat on Saturday in huge upsets as double-digit favorites. Indeed, the fullest schedule we've had to-date proved to be quite interesting.
Oklahoma's shocking 38-35 loss came at home to Kansas State. Granted, Chris Klieman is now 2-0 against the Sooners as head coach at Kansas State, but this was a truly historic comeback as teams ranked among the AP's top 5 had won 504 straight games after getting a 21-point lead. It's only the fifth time since 1936 that a top-3 team has blown a 14-point halftime lead. Oklahoma led 21-7 at the half, and 35-14 after Seth McGowan's 5-yard scoring run with 2:46 left in the third. The Sooners were favored by 27-1/2.
It almost got worse for the Big 12 as Texas needed overtime to win 63-56 at Texas Tech. At least Oklahoma State looked better than it did in the 17-6 opening win over Tulsa as the Cowboys downed West Virginia 27-13.
Saturday was opening day for all 14 SEC teams, and the conference and national defending champion lost 44-34 at home to Mississippi State. Stanford transfer QB K.J. Costello set a new SEC record for passing yards with 623 yards (5 TD's), while Mike Leach became a victor in his debut as head coach of the Bulldogs. MSU was a 19-point underdog.
Other SEC games went largely according to script. Auburn pulled away from Kentucky for a 29-13 win; Georgia defeated Arkansas 37-10 after trailing 7-5 at the half; Florida dealt Lane Kiffin a 51-35 setback in his debut as head coach at Ole Miss; Tennessee edged South Carolina 31-27, and Alabama built a 35-3 lead over Missouri and won 38-19.
However, Texas A&M needed all it had to put away a pesky Vanderbilt squad 17-12.
Meanwhile, back in the Big 12, Baylor rolled past Kansas 47-14 in Waco in the Bears' opener, and Iowa State got past TCU 37-34 in the first game of the season for the Horned Frogs. FIU also got its season started with a 36-34 loss at Liberty.
In the ACC, Boston College needed a late-second FG to down Texas State 24-21 and thwart another upset by a Sun Belt team over a Power 5 conference opponent. SBC teams were 3-0 vs. the Big 12 on September 13 when Arkansas State beat Kansas State, Louisiana downed Iowa State, and Coastal Carolina dumped Kansas.
Virginia Tech opened the season with a 45-24 home win over N.C. State, despite being down 23 players and 4 coaches to covid, covid tracing and other undisclosed reasons.
Florida State's wheels came further off the rails in a 52-10 loss at rival Miami. The 'Noles fell to 0-2 overall and in ACC play, while Miami improved 3-0 overall and 2-0 in the ACC. The 52 points is the most ever allowed by FSU in the series, and the second-largest margin of defeat, topping the 'Canes 47-0 win in Bobby Bowden's second game in Tallahassee in 1976.
Elsewhere around the ACC, Virginia opened the season with a 38-20 win at home over Duke; Syracuse picked up a much-needed victory by drubbing Georgia Tech 37-20 in the refurbished Carrier Dome; and, Pittsburgh edged Louisville 23-20 at home.
In the Sun Belt Conference, Louisiana needed a 53-yard field goal as time expired to shake off Georgia Southern 20-18. The Eagles had just taken the lead on a 28-yard TD pass with 54 seconds left in the game.
Appalachian State got back to its winning ways after last week's 17-7 upset loss at Marshall. The Mountaineers trailed 13-10 in the second quarter before reeling off 42 consecutive points.
At the other end of the spectrum, Louisiana-Monroe scored high on the misery index, losing 31-6 at home to a UTEP program that had lost 15 straight FBS games.
One of the big Conference USA stories of this young Covid-plagued season is how awful Southern Miss has been. The Golden Eagles parted ways with head coach Jay Hopson after they fell 32-21 at home to South Alabama in the season opener on Labor Day weekend. But after almost winning their next game under interim head coach Scotty Walden (lost 31-30 to Louisiana Tech on a TD with 14 seconds left), USM was pummeled 66-24 in Hattiesburg by Tulane on Saturday. Suddenly, a team that was a consensus 2nd-place pick (behind UAB) in the league's West division is now 0-3 overall and 0-1 in the conference.
Games of note around the rest of country include Army dropping a 24-10 decision at Cincinnati for its first loss of the season. The Bearcats certainly look like one of the best teams in the American Conference, along with UCF which walloped East Carolina 51-28 in the Pirates' opener at Greenville, North Carolina.
Five games were canceled or postponed due to Covid, reducing this past week's slate from 35 games to 30. The previous week saw 6 of the 26 scheduled games disappear.
This week's scratches were Tulsa at Arkansas State, Georgia State at Charlotte, USF at FAU, North Texas at Houston, and Notre Dame at Wake Forest.
Of those schools, Houston and FAU have yet to play a game, along with Air Force, Rice and Temple. Rice isn't presently scheduled to begin its season until October 24 while Temple opens October 10 at Navy. Houston's next scheduled game is October 8 at home versus Tulane, and Air Force is currently only scheduled to play Navy (10/3) and Army (11/7) this season, but that will change when the Mountain West releases its schedules. FAU is slated to host Charlotte next Saturday, October 3.
30 FBS teams will play a total of 34 games against FCS schools this season. Army has 3 such games on its schedule.
Only 3 such games were scheduled this past week with Campbell losing 52-21 at Appalachian State, Houston Baptist falling 66-38 at Louisiana Tech, and Stephen F. Austin losing 50-7 at SMU.
So far this season, the FBS schools are 18-0 in such matchups. That makes the FBS teams 1,453-127 (.920) since we began tracking this in 2003.
Last year, FBS teams were 111-3 (.974) in such games.
These were the FCS wins vs. the FBS in the previous 2 seasons:
August 29: Central Arkansas 35, Western Kentucky 28
September 7: Southern Illinois 45, Massachusetts 20
September 14: The Citadel 27, Georgia Tech 24 (OT)
August 29: 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
September 22: Illinois State 35, Colorado State 19
CLEMSON - Won 31 straight regular season games (FBS longest) games. Won 23 straight conference games (FBS longest). Won 24 straight home games (FBS longest). Won 13 straight true road games (FBS longest).
Last: Won 49-0 at home vs. FCS member The Citadel on Saturday, September 19.
Next: Hosts Virginia on Saturday, October 3.
NOTRE DAME, AIR FORCE - 8-game over-all winning streak leads nation.
Next: Notre Dame hosts Florida State on Saturday, October 10.
Air Force plays at home against Navy on Saturday, October 3.
LSU - Had 16-game over-all winning streak snapped, which was the FBS longest.
Last: Lost 44-34 at home to Mississippi State on Saturday, September 26.
Next: Visits Vanderbilt on Saturday, October 3.
ARKANSAS - Lost 10 straight overall (FBS longest among teams playing this Fall).
Last: Lost 37-10 at home to Georgia on Saturday, September 26.
Next: Visits Mississippi State on Saturday, October 3.
RUTGERS - Lost 21 straight conference games (FBS longest). Lost 13 straight road games (FBS longest)
Last: Lost 27-6 at Penn State on November 30, 2019.
Next: Season opener at Michigan State on Saturday, October 24.
UTEP - Ended 15-game losing streak to FBS schools.
Last: Won 31-6 at Louisiana-Monroe on Saturday, September 26.
Next: Visits Louisiana Tech on Saturday, October 10.
AKRON - Lost 17 straight overall (FBS longest). Lost 8 straight home games (FBS longest).
Last: Lost 52-3 at home to Ohio on November 26, 2019.
Next: Akron, and all of the MAC, is sitting out the fall season.