The countdown today takes a look at what could be a big year for FCS nationwide; last year ten schools knocked off FBS teams, including NDSU. There’s a potential for that number to be matched if not exceeded this year. Beyond the NDSU-Kansas State matchup here are the other games catching my eye for upset watch:
Countdown To 2013: NerdStat #6:
- 6: These games aren’t the only upsets that will happen this year, some of these may not come to fruition, but these are the ones that I’m watching when we kick off on Thursday.
- Indiana State at Indiana (Thursday – 6pm Big Ten Network) This game last year was tight, ISU lost 24-17, but had the ball inside IU territory 3 times in the 4th quarter and couldn’t finish it off. Shakir Bell ran for 192 yards and a touchdown, the more I look at this matchup, the more it reminds me of NDSU-Minnesota in 2006-07, plenty of guys on ISU probably believe they could play at IU or Purdue (that’s who ISU plays next) and look how close the Sycamores got last year. This team now has a new coach with Mike Sanford, but he still has one of the best players in FCS (just ask NDSU) and I believe they beat the Hoosiers this year.
- Villanova at Boston College (Saturday – 11 am ESPNews) This matchup reeks of upset potential, ‘Nova could be the East Coast team to watch this year with App State, Old Dominion and Georgia Southern ineligible, that leaves the Wildcats. Villanova made the playoffs last season and brings back 17 starters, including freshman of the year quarterback John Robertson. BC certainly won’t scare Villanova, definitely a game to watch opening weekend.
- Central Arkansas at Colorado (September 7th – 7pm PAC 12 Network) The Sugar Bears have an impressive team coming back in 2013 and could be the team that knocks off Sam Houston State in the Southland. Watch quarterback Wynrick Smothers (best name in FCS), Colorado was one of the worst teams in FBS last year, they lost to Sacramento State last season, UCA has the potential to make it 2 straight losses for the Buffaloes.
- New Hampshire at Central Michigan (September 7th – 2pm ESPN3) New Hampshire actually leads FCS since 2003 with FBS wins, the Wildcats have become pretty accustomed to knocking off the bigger schools, they fell last year at Minnesota, but bring a team that snuck into the playoffs last year and have big game experience. The Chippewas also have experience losing to FCS schools (remember NDSU in 2007) and were one of the worst FBS teams last year, this one smells like an upset to me.
- Stony Brook at Buffalo (September 14th – 2:30pm ESPN3) It may seem like I’m picking on the MAC and I am, Buffalo should not scare Stony Brook in this matchup for the Battle Of New York. The Seawolves won a 1st round FCS game last year and gave Montana State a solid game in the 2nd round. Stony Brook has the players and the confidence to get this road win.
- Eastern Washington at Oregon State (Saturday – 5pm PAC 12 Network) This is the shakiest limb I’m going out on now, EWU did beat an FBS last year in Idaho and nearly knocked off Washington State. The Eagles also play Toledo this year but I’ve beat up on the MAC enough in this piece. Eastern lost its stud wide receiver in Brandon Kaufman to the NFL, but Vernon Adams is back for a 2nd season at quarterback and while Oregon State had a solid year last season, this isn’t Oregon. The Beavers will not overlook EWU, but Beau Baldwin always has his team play its best against the best competition. Keep an eye on this one.