Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - If the Montana-Appalachian State showdown
lives up to what so many people think it could be Saturday, the NCAA selection
committee should reward the losing team come Selection Sunday on Nov. 18.
This is a dream matchup of intersectional national powers, anticipated for
years, the kind not seen often in the FCS, or college football, for that
With Appalachian State ranked No. 11 nationally and Montana at No. 12, it's
not quite a No. 1-versus-2 matchup, as it could have been in the past. But
it's huge nonetheless.
Appalachian State won three straight national titles from 2005-07 and Montana
has an even more storied championship game history, with seven appearances,
including national titles in 1995 and 2001.
For these teams to schedule this game at Appalachian State - with a return
game at Montana next year - the winning team should not be the only one to
gain from it if it's a close game, maybe even a classic.
Of course, each team would have to hold its own in its conference season for
it to be a playoff team. Then the selection committee would have a chance to
make an example of how higher scheduling should be favored over teams ducking
tougher competition, as, say, CAA Football power Delaware is doing this season
with a non-conference slate of Division II West Chester, Delaware State from
the MEAC and Bucknell of the Patriot League.
"Do you go plan games that are not very challenging (and) you know you're
going to win?" Montana coach Mick Delaney said. "I'm not a big fan of that. I
think you need to found out where you're at as early as you can and play as
good an opponent as is possible.
"When you're playing a team that you very possibly could play again in the
playoffs, I'm not so sure about that one. But that's what it is, and it's
going to be a great atmosphere and a great FCS football game."
"I think it's a great matchup. I've told our players this year (that) our
schedule is very much like a Big Ten, Pac-12, Southeast Conference (team),"
said Appalachian State coach Jerry Moore, whose team is coming off a loss to
FBS member East Carolina.
"I like competitive football. It's my nature."
There are competitive series on the horizon, especially involving Big Sky and
Southland schools. Maybe there's just not enough of them east of the
North Dakota State, the reigning FCS champion, will play Montana State next
year, then face Montana in 2014 and '15.
Montana State hosts Stephen F. Austin on Sept. 15, and there's a return game
in Nacogdoches, Texas, next year.
Sam Houston State and Eastern Washington have a series in 2013 and '14.
McNeese State, which has a home-and-home series with Weber State over the next
two seasons, will play Appalachian State in 2014, North Dakota State in 2015
and Montana in 2016 and '17.
Matchups like Central Arkansas-Murray State and Chattanooga-Jacksonville State
this week are risky games just like Montana-Appalachian State, but on a lesser
scale. Yet they're just as necessary.
This past Sunday's Alabama State/Bethune-Cookman game on ESPN was similar as
the MEAC-SWAC Challenge continued to be a highlight on the FCS' opening
Perhaps other conferences, and it's been kicked around by CAA Football, could
benefit from matching up a top team against another power conference in the
national spotlight (hello, NBC Sports Network).
Schools, of course, try not to "over-schedule," take on too many tough games
before conference play. But in 2012 and '13, the NCAA is allowing FCS schools
to play 12 games instead of the usual 11, so it's easier to have a riskier
The Appalachian State-Montana home-and-home started to take shape during the
Mountaineers' three-year run of national title when athletic director Charlie
Cobb eyed scheduling his program against championship-level teams. Montana saw
fit to it and the contracts were signed in 2009.
"It certainly seems to be doing what you would like to do," Delaney said, "and
that is calling a lot of attention to both quality programs."
Hopefully, other schools are taking note of it.
WHAT WE KNOW, WHAT WE THINK WE KNOW
The Sports Network FCS Top 25 can be found at http://tinyurl.com/88q2k7t.
Also, once again this season, In the FCS Huddle is projecting the potential
FCS playoff field. The projections are a long-range look at the season - not
based off current records or rankings - and can be found at
CHAMPIONSHIP GAME TICKETS
Tickets for the 2013 NCAA Division I Football Championship Game on Jan. 5 at
the 20,086-seat FC Dallas Stadium in Frisco, Texas, can be purchased online at
www.ncaa.com/fcs for two seating locations: midfield ($35) and sideline ($30).
Groups of 15 or more or those interested in purchasing suites or in other
private seating areas can call (469) 365-0000 for more details. Accessible
seating must be purchased at the FC Dallas Stadium box office or by calling
the same number.
The 20-team playoff bracket will be announced Nov. 18.
AROUND THE NATION
Big Sky: Talk about an interesting end to his career. Running back Deonte
Williams was the 2008 Big Sky newcomer of the year at Northern Arizona, left
after one season, played one year at Sierra College, transferred to Cal Poly
and now is ending his career in the Big Sky. He rushed for 109 yards and
caught a touchdown in the Mustangs' season-opening win over San Diego ...
Idaho State's Rodrick Rumble, who had 112 receptions last season, is expected
to be unavailable again on Saturday against Black Hill State because of a
lingering injury from preseason camp. He could return versus Nebraska (Sept.
22) or Sacramento State (Sept. 29) ... Yeah, Eastern Washington and Washington
State were probably due to get together. They will meet Saturday in Pullman
for the first time since 1908.
Big South: Inconsistent Coastal Carolina quarterback Aramis Hillary hopes he
has settled into a groove in his third season as the Chanticleers' starter. He
rushed for two touchdowns, threw for another and operated the offense well in
a Week 1 win over North Carolina A&T. Up next is a tough road test at Furman
... Stony Brook senior Miguel Maysonet needs to rush for 68 yards to reach
3,000 in his career. Former Liberty back Rashad Jennings, who is starting for
the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday, is the Big South's all-time leader with 3,633
CAA Football: New Richmond coach Danny Rocco, the former Liberty mentor, will
take on some familiar foes from the Big South in the next two weeks: Gardner-
Webb on Saturday and VMI on Sept. 15 ... While Rhode Island heads to Monmouth
and 4,600-seat Kessler Field on Saturday, Georgia State visits Tennessee and
102,455-seat Neyland Stadium.
Ivy: One of the league's more dynamic players, Yale wide receiver and kickoff
return Chris Smith, will sit out the upcoming season for what first-year coach
Tony Reno said is "personal issues." Smith is expected to return to school
next fall and rejoin the football program ... One returning player expected to
have an impact on this year's league race is Brown quarterback Patrick
Donnelly, who will help the Bears' ever-evolving offensive style return more
to a running game. He often ran out of the Wildcat in 2010, but was injured
MEAC: The NCAA-imposed sanctions on Howard for improper use of textbook
allowances will keep quarterback Greg McGhee sidelined through the next two
games, but All-America linebacker Keith Pough will return to the lineup
Saturday against Rutgers ... Appalachian State-Montana aside, it's hard to
find a more meaningful FCS game this week than Bethune-Cookman at South
Carolina State. Both teams are coming off impressive wins in the first week of
the season. The winner would join defending champ Norfolk State in the early
driver's seat ... Speaking of the Spartans, senior linebacker Jamal Giddens
tied with the national high in Week 1 with 4.5 tackles for loss, and teammates
Lynden Trail, Deon King and Eric Hitch weren't far behind with three each.
Missouri Valley: North Dakota State visits Colorado State on Saturday. The
Bison were 6-0 on the road last season, including a win at FBS Minnesota. In
fact, they are 5-3 against the FBS since joining the FCS in 2006 ... The NDSU-
Colorado State game is one of six first-ever matchups for Valley teams this
week ... As Southern Illinois looks to rebound this season, the Salukis
offense showed excellent signs in a loss to Eastern Illinois, with Iowa
transfer Mika'il McCall (three touchdowns) a running and receiving threat out
of the backfield for quarterback Kory Faulkner.
Northeast: No NEC team is prepping for conference play quite like Central
Connecticut State. The Blue Devils are coming off a 49-17 loss to No. 17 Stony
Brook and still have to face No. 16 Lehigh on Saturday and visit No. 14 New
Hampshire on Sept. 15 ... NEC teams were 1-8 in season-opening action, with
Albany the lone winner. The Great Danes' visit to Robert Morris in the NEC
opener for both teams matches the conference's first two FCS playoff
Ohio Valley: The OVC is the place to be for terrific FCS non-conference
matchups on Saturday. No. 24 Jacksonville State hosts Chattanooga from the
Southern Conference, Murray State entertains No. 25 Central Arkansas from the
Southland Conference and Tennessee State plays Jackson State from the SWAC in
the 23rd annual Southern Heritage Classic at the Liberty Bowl in Memphis,
Tenn. The OVC trio all lost the last meetings in those series ... It's one
thing for nerves to create some undisciplined play in a season opener, but
Tennessee State committed 20 penalties for 178 yards in its 17-14 win over
Florida A&M. Huh?
Patriot: Georgetown quarterback Isaiah Kempf won't play against Wagner because
of the concussion he suffered during the first series against Davidson ...
Colgate will try to avoid its first 0-2 start since 2002 when it visits South
Dakota. It's the farthest west a Patriot League team has played since Holy
Cross went to San Diego in 2003 ... A big game against Central Connecticut
State would get Lehigh senior Ryan Spadola, the FCS' active career leader with
2,871 receiving yards, to the 3,000-yard plateau.
Pioneer: Defending co-champion Drake puts an 11-game home winning streak in
front of No. 4 Montana State and sixth-year coach Rob Ash, who spent 18
seasons roaming the sidelines at Drake from 1989-2006 as the Bulldogs' head
coach. The winningest coach in Drake history went 125-63-2 and won four PFL
titles. Since 2008, Drake is 21-3 at home under coach Chris Creighton ...
Drake joins Morehead State (No. 21 Eastern Kentucky) and Valparaiso (No. 6
Youngstown State) as non-scholarship PFL teams taking on nationally ranked
opponents in Week 2.
SoCon: Would the conference race ever open up if The Citadel upsets No. 3
Georgia Southern at home Saturday. The Bulldogs almost beat GSU last season,
falling, 14-12, in Statesboro, Ga. ... It would reason that Elon senior
receiver Aaron Mellette will get back on track against North Carolina Central
after the least productive outing (two catches for nine yards against North
Carolina) since his freshman season. Last year, Elon quarterback Thomas
Wilson threw for 416 yards against N.C. Central.
Southland: After Nicholls' opener was postponed by aborted travel following
Hurricane Isaac, the Colonels head to South Alabama for their first game. They
have shaken up the offense, with three-year starting quarterback LaQuinton
Caston moving to wide receiver, Landry Klann and Beaux Hebert expecting to
share time under center, and running backs Jesse Turner and Marcus Washington
sharing carries ... McNeese State hosts Division I McMurry on Saturday. The
Cowboys have a 19-0 all-time record against non-Division I competition.
SWAC: Double trouble: Not only does Grambling State feature running back
Dawrence Roberts, the conference's preseason offensive player of the year, but
aptly named freshman Jeremy Runner had a 166-yard debut, including a 75-yard
touchdown run ... Alabama State hopes to get back on track after a loss to
Bethune-Cookman in the MEAC-SWAC Challenge, hosting Mississippi Valley State
in the conference opener for both teams. The Hornets will need more out of
Georgia transfer Isaiah Crowell, who rushed for 18 yards and a touchdown and
had 17 receiving yards against Bethune-Cookman.
JUST THE PICKS
Last Week's Record: 72-9 (.889)
Season Record: 72-9 (.889)
All Times ET
Thursday, Sept. 6
North Greenville (0-1) at X-Tennessee Tech (1-0), 8 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 8
X-Albany (1-0, 0-0 NEC) at Robert Morris (0-1, 0-0), noon
X-Bryant (0-1, 0-0 NEC) at St. Francis, Pa. (0-1, 0-0), noon
Dayton (0-1) at X-Duquesne (0-1), noon
New Hampshire (1-0) at X-Minnesota (1-0), noon
X-Lehigh (1-0) at Central Connecticut State (0-1), noon
X-Rhode Island (0-0) at Monmouth (0-1), 1 p.m.
X-Illinois State (1-0) at Eastern Michigan (0-1), 1 p.m.
Southern Illinois (0-1) at X-Miami-Ohio (0-1), 1 p.m.
Maine (0-0) at X-Boston College (0-1), 1 p.m.
Wagner (0-1) at X-Georgetown (1-0), 1 p.m.
Austin Peay (0-1) at X-Virginia Tech (0-0), 1:30 p.m.
Jacksonville (0-1) at X-Charleston Southern (0-1), 1:30 p.m.
Chowan (1-0) at X-VMI (0-1), 1:30 p.m.
Quincy (0-1) at X-Indiana State (0-1), 2:05 p.m.
Southern Utah (0-1) at X-California (0-1), 3 p.m.
Sacramento State (0-1) at X-Colorado (0-1), 3 p.m.
Weber State (0-1) at X-Brigham Young (1-0), 3 p.m.
Colgate (0-1) at X-South Dakota (0-1), 3 p.m.
Eastern Washington (1-0) at X-Washington State (0-1), 3 p.m.
Delaware State (1-0) at X-Delaware (1-0), 3:30 p.m.
Howard (1-0) at X-Rutgers (1-0), 3:30 p.m.
Missouri State at X-Louisville (1-0), 3:30 p.m.
Colorado Mesa (0-1) at X-Northern Colorado (0-1), 3:35 p.m.
Georgia State (0-1) at X-Tennessee (1-0), 4 p.m.
Indianapolis (0-1) at X-Western Illinois (1-0), 4 p.m.
Valparaiso (0-1) at X-Youngstown State (1-0), 4 p.m.
Coastal Carolina (1-0) at X-Furman (0-1), 5 p.m.
Nicholls (0-0) at X-South Alabama (0-1), 5 p.m.
Black Hills State (0-0) at X-Idaho State (0-1), 6 p.m.
Bucknell (0-0) at X-Marist (1-0), 6 p.m.
West Virginia State (1-0) at X-North Carolina A&T (0-1), 6 p.m.
Morehead State (1-0) at X-Eastern Kentucky (0-1), 6 p.m.
Fordham (1-0) at X-Villanova (0-1), 6 p.m.
Savannah State (0-1) at X-Florida State (1-0), 6 p.m.
Franklin (0-1) at X-Butler (0-1), 6 p.m.
Virginia-Wise (0-1) at X-Campbell (0-1), 6 p.m.
Bethune-Cookman (1-0, 0-0 MEAC) at X-South Carolina State (1-0, 0-0), 6 p.m.
Gardner-Webb (0-1) at X-Richmond (0-1), 6 p.m.
X-Old Dominion (1-0) at Hampton (0-1), 6 p.m.
Alcorn State (1-0) at X-James Madison (1-0), 6 p.m.
X-Georgia Southern (1-0, 0-0 SoCon) at The Citadel (1-0, 0-0), 6 p.m.
Morgan State (1-0) at X-Buffalo (0-1), 6 p.m.
Pace (0-1) at X-Stony Brook (1-0), 6 p.m.
Montana (1-0) at X-Appalachian State (0-1), 6:30 p.m.
UT Martin (1-0) at X-Northern Illinois (0-1), 7 p.m.
X-West Alabama (1-0) at Samford (1-0), 7 p.m.
Incarnate Word (1-0) at X-Sam Houston State (0-0), 7 p.m.
Mississippi Valley State (0-1, 0-0 SWAC) at X-Alabama State (0-1, 0-0), 7 p.m.
Texas Southern (1-0) at X-North Texas (0-1), 7 p.m.
Chattanooga (0-1) at X-Jacksonville State (0-1), 7 p.m.
Lafayette (0-0) at X-William & Mary (0-1), 7 p.m.
X-Davidson (0-1) at Lenoir-Rhyne (0-1), 7 p.m.
Presbyterian (1-0) at X-Georgia Tech (0-0), 7 p.m.
Norfolk State (1-0) at X-Liberty (0-1), 7 p.m.
Jackson State (0-1) vs. X-Tennessee State (1-0) in Memphis, Tenn., 7 p.m.
Portland State (1-0) at X-North Dakota (1-0), 7 p.m.
Alabama A&M (1-0, 0-0 SWAC) at X-Arkansas-Pine Bluff (1-0, 0-0), 7 p.m.
North Dakota State (1-0) at X-Colorado State (1-0), 7 p.m.
Central State (0-1) at X-Northern Iowa (0-1), 7 p.m.
Central Arkansas (0-1) at X-Murray State (0-1), 7 p.m.
Arkansas-Monticello (1-0) at X-Northwestern State (0-1), 7 p.m.
Lincoln, Pa. (0-1) at X-Wofford (1-0), 7 p.m.
Eastern Illinois (1-0) at X-Western Michigan (0-1), 7 p.m.
Mars Hill (0-1) at X-Southeast Missouri State (0-1), 7 p.m.
North Carolina Central (1-0) at X-Elon (0-1), 7 p.m.
Western Carolina (1-0) at X-Marshall (0-1), 7 p.m.
Florida A&M (0-1) at X-Oklahoma (1-0), 7 p.m.
X-Montana State (1-0) at Drake (1-0), 7:05 p.m.
X-South Dakota State (0-1) at Southeastern Louisiana (0-1), 8 p.m.
Prairie View A&M (0-1) at X-Lamar (0-1), 8 p.m.
Stephen F. Austin (1-0) at X-SMU (0-1), 8 p.m.
UC Davis (1-0) at X-San Jose State (0-1), 8 p.m.
McMurry (0-1) at X-McNeese State (1-0), 8 p.m.
Western New Mexico (1-0) at X-San Diego (0-1), 9 p.m.
Northern Arizona (0-1) at X-UNLV (0-1), 10 p.m.
The Sports Network