On Saturday, Virginia Tech will host the Furman Paladins. Like most FCS schools, Furman scheduled this matchup because the university will receive a decent size check for coming to Blacksburg. However, the Paladin football team has only one thing on their minds. Upset!
It's not often an FCS school (formerly division I-AA) defeats a program from the FBS (formerly division I), but it does happen. The winning percentage for teams in the FBS against FCS opponents is around .800. Don't let that big number fool you though. Occasionally a David can beat a Goliath. Hokie fans unfortunately know all too well how that feels.
Last week four teams from the FCS division beat an FBS squad. Fordham defeated Army, Portland State beat Washington State, South Dakota State beat Kansas, and North Dakota defeated Wyoming. Not only did they win, but they did it on the road.
We all remember in 2006 when Appalachian State defeated Michigan in Ann Arbor. The Wolverines came into that game a huge favorite, and were embarrassed by the Mountaineers at home. That wasn't the first FCS over FBS upset, but it's the one that resonates most with college football fans.
Hokie nation would like to forget about 2010. That was the year little James Madison came into Lane Stadium and beat the 13th ranked Hokies. Virginia Tech had a 16-7 lead in that game and looked like they were pulling away, until the Dukes started to get into a rhythm on offense. The Hokies had five trips inside James Madison's 25 yard line and came away with only three field goals. Frank Beamer got very little production from his quarterbacks that day and its the same issue that might plague him this weekend.
The FCS division also has a victory over a school from the mighty SEC. In 2013, Georgia Southern beat the Florida Gators in the Swamp. They won that game without completing a pass. In a more absurd stat, the Eagles only attempted three throws the entire day.
It would be easy to say FBS schools lose these matchups because they overlook what they feel is an inferior opponent. The truth is, these small FCS programs have some talented players on their roster. One thing we have come to love about college football is that on any given Saturday, anyone can be beat. We just don't like it when it happens to our team.