This Year's Appalachian State Is Nobody

After last season's mildly noticeable upset of Michigan by Appalachian State, media and football enthusiasts alike were eager to figure out where this year's Week 1 Bombshell would come from. Would it be Appalachian State again? (Hint: NO)

As it turns out, those of you who bubbled in D) None of the above were correct, as Division I-A simply demolished their lower-level counterparts. In 32 inter-division games, I-A went 31-1, the lone loss coming in a 2-point Cal Poly win over basement dweller San Diego State. That was an "upset" the way Crocs are "shoes" or Rhetoric teachers are "professors": only in terms of classification, not reality.

The rest of the games were slightly more skewed toward the superior conference, as I-A won the other 30 games by an average of over 31 points. Sure, there was Maryland squeaking by Delaware 14-7, but only two other games were even within two scores, and most were laughers by halftime.

Even after Appalachian State's victory in the Big House last year, of course, nobody was going to suggest that Division I-AA could reliably compete with their big brothers. Except, uh, that's what everybody wanted to think (I plead guilty). If anything, this institutional pistol-whipping reinforces what was immediately apparent only 52 weeks ago: Last year's upset was ABSOLUTELY ENORMOUS.

Indeed, to suggest that there could be a "This Year's Appalachian State" vastly understates the gravity of what transpired in the Big House last season. There's a reason why Michigan was the first ranked team to lose to a I-AA team. There's a reason why they're likely the last for a long time to come.

Of course, there's 25 more I-A/I-AA games next week, so perhaps shoveling dirt on the Annual Epic Upset Myth is premature. It's unlikely, though; the only such games that look close are such woofers as NMSU-Nicholls State or New Hampshire-Army. Not exactly world-shakers, those.

But that's fine, really. We wouldn't still be talking about ASU-Michigan if it were a 1-in-25 occurrence. The further away we get from the debacle at the Big House without incident, the more the message becomes clear: there is no "Appalachian State of the year." There is no de rigeur shocker. The revolution will not be televised, because there is no revolution.

I-AA will still happily accept your money, of course. Let's not be brash.

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