Saturday, September 01, 2007

Add another one to the list: Appalachian State beats Michigan

"This wasn't an upset based on what I saw on the field. Appalachian State was better and they won."

--Lou Holtz

As much as Davidson fans love to hate on our SoCon rivals over the mountains and through the woods in Boone, you have to appreciate the sort of precedent that Appalachian State set today in terms of college football and college athletics on the whole.

Homers for the big conferences can always point to numbers of national championships and athletic endowments, but the fact remains that the major conferences and sports powerhouses do not hold every key to the doors of success any more.

Whether it's George Mason running into the Final Four...Boise State, Wake Forest and now Appalachian State having success in places where college football's elite have long held court (Oklahoma, Florida State and Michigan respectively)...or whether it's Vanderbilt scrapping their athletic department all together to focus on academics and having one of their most successful years in the SEC in their history.

The gate has been thrown open and I doubt whether it will be shut in any meaningful way ever again. Back in January, I pontificated about the need for a playoff system in college football. Today we saw evidence that not only can a team from a lower conference be put into the national championship playoff picture, A I-AA TEAM CAN MAKE A LEGITIMATE CLAIM TO BE RANKED IN THE TOP 25 OF I-A FOOTBALL POLLS.

Just to give a little bit of history about how remarkable this is for both Appalachian State and the Southern Conference, this the first time that a FCS/I-AA school has beaten a Top 25 program in I-A. The last notable victory of an FCS team over a BCS team came when The Citadel knocked off Arkansas back in 1992.

Appalachian State will not be leaving the Southern Conference tomorrow and USC could very well win another football national championship this year, but for all of us little guys, we get one more test case for why we should get to play the big boys at every stop. We get to show that we don't need to have a lot of money in order to be smart and extremely athletic. Every once in a while, we're going to just flat outplay you.

Tonight Davidson fans can raise their hands and give their respects to the Mountaineers...because in exactly three months and 7 days the Wildcats will walk into the home environment of the most historically talented program in the history of college basketball and they will get their chance to put that SoCon logo back front and center on ESPN's homepage. The Mountaineers took down the blue and yellow today...Davidson will get their chance against the other blue and yellow on December 8. Long live the little guy.

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