Last week’s 34-32 win by App State over 5th ranked Michigan at the Big House is now being called one of the greatest upsets in college football history. Michigan dropped right out of the AP25 for the greatest single week drop in the history of the NCAA.
Those of you who don’t follow college football in the states may not appreciate how profound a loss like this is. That game will define the careers of many of the people involved, including Michigan coach Lloyd Carr and the dozens of Michigan players who have NFL aspirations, including their high profile seniors who gave up the NFL draft last year to come back and try to win a national title (and beat Ohio State).
It will go down in the lore of the game. “Remember App State” will be used by coaches everywhere in pre-game prep to give underdogs hope.
All that is undoubtedly true, but I think the coverage of this story is missing a potential angle: that App State really is that good. I watched the game and I thought they played even up with Michigan through most of the game. I don’t think that it was as simple as Michigan wasn’t prepared or motivated. Sure those things played into it, but I think even a prepared, motivated Michigan team wouldn’t have it easy with the Mountaineers.
App State is a two-time defending I-AA champion. Everyone assumes that because they’re I-AA they must be a step down, and in talent of course they are. But winning football games isn’t all about talent. Football is the epitome of the team sport, which a lot of people seem to forget. Remember when the Patriots started their dynasty? It wasn’t a handful of stars who did that, it was superb team defense.
I think that most of the top NCAA teams would be in tough against App State. So I wouldn’t rule Michigan out yet. If I’m right, they are going to be super focused throughout the rest of the season. If they can run the table with the schedule they’ve got, they’ll be in the national title game.
Unfortunately schools like App State aren’t eligible to be ranked in the BCS polls (and rake in the millions of dollars that come from playing in a BCS bowl), which is really quite sad.
Wouldn’t it be awesome if Michigan won the NCAA with a loss to App State and App State went undefeated in their league? Then App State would have a legitimate claim to be the best team in the nation.
App State’s recruiting program is legendary. I was doing some research to figure out how such a small school in NC could build such a fearsome powerhouse, and found some of their recruiting videos. If I had seen these prior to going to McMaster I would have been a Mountaineer instead of a Marauder for sure. Here is one of them.