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Buyer Beware

BOZICH | Louisville, Indiana try to avoid FCS trap that toppled 6 FBS teams

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Six college football teams replaced their helmets with paper bags last weekend. They made the Walk of Pain.

What can an FBS program do other than hide after it writes a check for a guarantee win against an allegedly inferior FCS program and then cringes in defeat?

Louisville has an FCS opponent, Eastern Kentucky, booked for Cardinal Stadium on Saturday night. Ditto for Indiana, which will welcome Idaho and head coach Paul Petrino to Memorial Stadium in Bloomington.

Louisville and Indiana need to win with gusto after both programs suffered harsh double-digit defeats in their season openers.

I found the Cardinals listed as a 28 1/2-point favorite over the Colonels at one online sports book. After failing to score a touchdown at Iowa and tumbling out of the AP Top 25, the Hoosiers are the pick by 32 1/2 over the Vandals and Petrino, the former U of L offensive coordinator.

Buyers (of guarantee games) beware. It was turbulent out there on opening weekend.

According to the NCAA, six FBS programs (Washington, Vanderbilt, Colorado State, Tulsa, UNLV and UConn) stumbled against FCS opponents. That was the most FCS over FBS victories on one weekend since the first week of the 2013 season, when there were eight upsets. U of L head coach Scott Satterfield knows the way this works. He was the quarterbacks coach at Appalachian State when the Mountaineers (an FCS program then) zapped No. 5 Michigan in 2007.

Let the record show that 33 FBS programs did what they were supposed to do: win, many of them winning big.

The average winning margin in those 33 wins was 28.5 points, including Western Kentucky’s 38-point undressing of Tennessee-Martin, South Carolina blitzing Eastern Illinois by 46 and Virginia popping William & Mary by 43.

But a good time was not had by all.

Holy Cross pushed Randy Edsall into an early retirement by dominating UConn, 38-28. I remember when UConn was at least a bit of a football force in the Big East. Now, the Huskies are looking for a new coach who knows how to handle Holy Cross.

Jimmy Lake made the first appearance of his career on the Hot Seat Lists after No. 20 Washington gave up 10 points in the fourth quarter and burped against Montana, 13-7.

Somebody better get the word to Phil Steele. He picked the Huskies to finish first in the Pac-12 North. He ranked Washington No. 1 on his list of surprise teams in the entire nation for the 2021 season (ahead of No. 2 Wisconsin; No. 5 Miami and No. 6 Louisiana State, all losers last weekend).

Washington visits Michigan on Saturday. At his weekly news conference, Lake was asked how he responded to the defeat.

Was he was mad, disappointed or confused?

“All of the above. All of the above. No sleep. Did that just happen? Extremely disappointed. Extremely disappointed," Lake said. “It all comes back to myself. We’re going to get it changed, but it starts with me. We’re going to get it changed. We should not have played the way we played on Saturday night, and that’s why I feel so bad for our fans, for our supporters. They should be disappointed. They should be pissed, just like we are.”

Three seasons ago, Vanderbilt defeated Arkansas, Ole Miss and Tennessee in a four-game stretch.

On Saturday, new Vandy coach Clark Lea bungled the Commodores’ season opener to East Tennessee State by 20. Vandy lost three turnovers and failed to score a touchdown in the 23-3 debacle. That’s not how the transaction is supposed to work. But Vandy became the first Southeastern Conference team to lose to an FCS opponent since South Carolina stumbled against The Citadel six years ago.

And, you’re telling me that Vanderbilt was an enthusiastic fan of adding Oklahoma and Texas to the SEC?

On Saturday, Vanderbilt gets Colorado State, which also lost to an FCS program (South Dakota State) in its opener. Somebody’s gotta win, right?

The Cards have won four straight over Eastern Kentucky. The last time the Colonels upset an FBS program — Miami (Ohio) — was seven seasons ago.

Indiana has never played Idaho. But the Vandals compete in Big Sky Conference, and three Big Sky programs (Montana over Washington, Eastern Washington over UNLV and UC-Davis over Tulsa) delivered half of the FCS victories over FBS teams last weekend.

Buyers beware. There’s no guarantee your day will be free of heartburn.

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