FCS football claimed its first Power Five Conference win of the year Saturday as The Citadel knocked off the ACC's Georgia Tech in overtime (27-24), and Furman was leading Virginia Tech at the half before falling by seven (24-17) … it was a strong statement by two of the Southern Conference's best teams. The Citadel's win was the 23rd FCS win over a P5 this decade (among current schools) and the Bulldogs' fourth all time.
Elsewhere, Towson and Jacksonville State made major statements, the elite FCS teams hammered the competition and hey … maybe Jacksonville State is better than we thought, eh? Now that we're three weeks in, there's evidence maybe we all jumped to conclusions (cue Office Space scene).
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Clearly the news of the day was watching The Citadel stun Georgia Tech. Furman nearly stunning Virginia Tech wasn't too far behind. We're still trying to figure out the Southern Conference, but folks … I think it is now very clear (after Wofford's loss to a rebuilding but rebuilding rapidly Samford) that we have our two SoCon frontrunners. I took hell for ranking El Cid in my poll vote last week at 0-2, but its losses were by seven to Towson and by seven to Elon. How do those losses look tonight (um, pretty solid, and The Citadel had both of them on the ropes in those games) … and Furman? You might be looking at another SoCon team that can easily carve up 95-percent of the FCS. The Paladins could be 3-0 with G5 and P5 wins on the resume and comfortably in the Top Five. Hell, they may truly be a top five team when it is all said and done. The two combined? They're 2-4, but you would only "drop" these teams if you really don't pay attention.
Please … keep that in mind poll voters. Please? PLEASE! (Echo … Echo).
The two monster FCS vs. FCS games today were Towson-Maine and Eastern Washington-Jacksonville State. Boy oh boy did we get statement second halves in both of these. Towson is Top Five legit folks. The Tigers have the pistols blazing and if you can do that to Maine's stellar defense (hello EWU in the 2018 semifinals) you are legit. Period. Again, The Citadel had this Towson team on the ropes in Charleston, S.C. Clear as mud? Also, Jacksonville State's case is getting more interesting by the week. In Week One we couldn't believe they lost to a perennial .500-ish Southland Conference team (SE Louisiana). Then it turned out that SE Louisiana? Yeah, they gave Ole Miss hell today … and JSU has beaten two big-time FCS programs in Chattanooga and then Eastern Washington today since. Turns out maybe the Gamecocks really are that "best JSU team since 2015" ilk. But, there's lots of season to go. The Jekyll and Hyde JSU stuff can squash the happy feelings, but man … that shootout win was impressive.
Last week, we talked about how the Big Sky, CAA and MFVC dominated, but I think this week showed that the OVC, SoCon and Southland have their own bragging rights. We've already talked about what the elite in the SoCon did, and Jacksonville State's win over Eastern Washington truly may be the biggest one the Gamecocks have had (excluding playoff wins) since 2015. Let's just say the rest of the FCS caught up today. That'll be the "take" … until we see what happens next week, am I right?
OTHER GAME BALLS
No. 1) North Carolina A&T – The Aggies dispatched their second straight opponent from the "at-large teams" conferences. The Elon win in week one looks bigger and bigger every week since the Phoenix knocked off The Citadel and hammered Richmond today. Then today, the Aggies went down to Charleston Southern and came away with another win. Last year, they knocked off Jacksonville State and then slammed Gardner Webb. The truth is folks, this program is 5-0 in the regular season against non-HBCU programs in the FCS since 2016, with three FBS victories. It's not like we've never given this program props … but consider this double props.
No. 2) CCSU – The Blue Devils improved to 3-0 today by knocking around Valpo out of the Pioneer League. They've already knocked off a decent Fordham team too. Could Duquesne be in for an NEC battle? Maybe so. Only seven FCS teams will come away from today 3-0, CCSU is one of them.
No. 3) Davidson – Ditto to the above. The Wildcats haven't played a world-beater schedule so far but have outscored opponents 113-27. The real meat of the schedule is coming up, starting with Big South program Campbell, the toughest team on the non-conference sked.
No. 4) Houston Baptist – Folks, this program needed this one. The Huskies are making some noise. In their seven-season history, they've beaten a handful of Southland teams and a couple of SWAC teams and lower division schools. They'd gone 19 games without an FCS win. Well, that ended today on the road at South Dakota — a team that two years ago won a playoff game and last year nearly stunned Kansas State. Kudos to head coach Vic Shealy and his team. It takes baby steps, and today was the best win in school history in my estimation. I won't lie, I had a chance to sit down with DE Andre Walker, QB Bailey Zappe and Coach Shealy this summer … this program is doing it the right way, and this was a big one for HBU.
No. 5) SE Louisiana – Lions, we should have give you more respect from the get-go. The Lions scared the living crap out of Ole Miss today, and if not for a late Rebels TD we may have seen another P5 go down. Chason Virgil, a former SEC recruit, QBd the Lions to a near win … and now it makes more sense: The win over Jacksonville State wasn't a fluke … it's a warning to the rest of the Southland Conference that this team will be a massive factor in the title race.
SWING AND A B-MAC WHIFF
WEEK THREE PICKS: See which ones B-Mac messed up
Indiana State, McNeese, Towson, North Dakota, Samford … man, I jacked up a few prognostications this week. And I don't want to hear Sam Herder's crap on Monday about beating me by two picks (inevitable). But, I will take my butt kickin' like a professional and deal with it. Kudos to all of your programs for massive wins this weekend. I think the one I'm most stunned by is Samford's, because I felt the Bulldogs were rebuilding more than any program in the top six conferences in the FCS. What Samford did today in the win over Wofford was a testament to what Coach Hatch is building there, and QB Chris Oladokun, the transfer from South Florida? Um, wow.
NEXT: Our Week 2 Playoff Predictions – Is This Close?
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