Would Austin Peay have scheduled this extra game if they'd known they'd be in FCS Playoff contention in late October? Maybe, maybe not.
Hindsight isn't a luxury.It's hard to believe this is the same Governors team that entered the 2017 season riding a 27-game losing streak.
This week, the Governors are in a bit of a quandary, but one they wouldn't trade for the way things used to be. A month ago they booked a bonus game with undefeated FBS Central Florida, which will happen this Saturday. At the time they confirmed the game, they were just coming off the convincing win that broke their long losing streak, while the Knights needed an extra game to make up for all of their Hurricane cancellations.
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APSU head coach Will Healy said this week will be treated like a "bowl game experience" for the team, since many of his players have never been to Orlando, or Disney World or the Atlantic Ocean — all things they will do this week. Healy will not budge from that promise, made when his team voted to take on this extra game versus using the open week to visit home or relax on campus.
The team said collectively that they want to play as much football as they can in 2017. And now they may get bonus football at the end of the year, too.
At 6-0, UCF looks formidable running the option and may just capture the AAC title this year. On the flip side, Austin Peay looks like a team that has the chance to finish 8-1 versus FCS opponents and possibly even host a first-round FCS Playoff game the week of Thanksgiving. Games against FBS opponents — of which the Governors have three this year — are not considered in FCS playoff seeding.
LISTEN: Austin Peay head coach Will Healy talks to HERO Sports' Brian McLaughlin
So obviously, there could be some concern that this trip to Orlando isn't perfectly timed — but hey, who cares right? The Governors will get a unique game prep experience and will play at 50,000-seat Spectrum Stadium.
These kinds of games also attract more pro scouts, something to keep in mind for the players who have that dream of being in an NFL camp one day. So there are a bunch of positives to pull away from this weekend before hitting the final three-game stretch in OVC play.
The Governors are so far one of the best feel-good FCS stories of 2017, to go along with what 6-0 Columbia is doing. Coming into this season, the Governors had won only one game in the past four seasons, and only 21 in the past decade. An eight-win season would be a first since 1977, the last time APSU won a conference title — the year prior to I-AA beginning.
Last year, in 11 games, APSU gave up 517 points — 47 points per game. This year? Try 159 points through 8 games so far, including two FBS teams — 19.9 points per game.
This week, they'll have some fun and experience something unique. Then it's back to work the final three weeks to aim for that first FCS Playoff spot in school history.