As is the case each and every season, each and every week, any omission below is not on purpose, it’s merely intentional.
The Pac-12 came into the 2015 season looking to challenge the SEC for conference football supremacy. While that may end up still being the case, it was a rough Week 1 in myriad regards for the Left Coast league, particularly its northern division.
First and foremost, No. 21 Stanford went into Evanston as heavy favorites only to be upended and upset by Northwestern. And it wasn’t just that one of the preseason favorites in the North was beaten, it was that they were roughed up by the Wildcats and seemed to play timid on both sides of the ball. More embarrassingly, a couple of hours later Washington State lost to FCS Portland State, which came into the game a 30-point underdog.
The South contributed to the first-week malaise as No. 15 Arizona State, viewed by some as a darkhorse playoff candidate (sheepishly raises hand), capped off the night with a 20-point loss to unranked Texas A&M. At least that, though, was a loss to a Power Five school, and one from the stacked SEC West no less, in what was essentially a home game for the Aggies.
Add in Washington’s loss to Boise State — no shame in that — and Colorado’s loss to Hawaii Thursday night — a whole hell of a lot of shame in that — and it turned into a horrific lost weekend for the conference. That said, remember how many were writing the Big Ten off a year ago at this time? Yeah, it wouldn’t be wise to repeat that history.
If you thought that the Week 1 schedule, especially Saturday, was especially lacking when it came to compelling on-paper matchups, you’re not alone. In fact, the raw data is sitting right along side you.
Opening weekend, and including the two still remaining, there were/are 87 games involving FBS teams. Of that, 11 pitted Power Five vs. Power Five (for this exercise, I’m considering BYU a P5); another 47 — more than half — featured FBS teams playing an FCS team. There were 22 Power Five teams that opened their season against an FCS team, with the ACC far and away leading the cupcake way with seven. The Big 12, Big Ten and Pac-12 had four apiece, while the pastry alley that is the late-season SEC lagged behind with three.
There were also 23 games played between Power Five and Group of Five teams. The SEC accounted for eight of those games, while the Big 12, Big Ten and Pac-12 saw four each. The FCS-heavy ACC had three such games.
It wasn’t just the Power Fives feeding on the FCS, though, as 25 Group of Five teams opened against the former Div. 1-AA. The remaining six games saw Group of Five squads squaring off against each other.
While most of the FBS feasted on their FCS cupcakes, a handful choked on them. Two that lost to FCS teams were Power Five members in the aforementioned Wazzu and Kansas (South Dakota State, more on that below) and two were Group of Five teams in Army (Fordham) and Wyoming (North Dakota).
BAD BLOOD CHEAP SHOT?
Vernon Adams transferred from Eastern Washington to Oregon earlier this offseason and ultimately earned the Ducks’ starting quarterback job. As luck would have it, Adams’ current and former teams squared off in the season opener in Autzen Saturday night, and there was one interesting development in UO’s 61-42 win.