The Spreadsheet: Excel2003, 292kb

The FBS Spreadsheet: included here because because. Excel2003, 266kb

Saturday’s D-II Game of the Week:
Winston-Salem State reached the D-II semifinals last season.  North Carolina-Pembroke missed out, but they were 8-3 on the year, with one of those losses being to the Rams.  Saturday, they met up at Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem and immediately commenced a titanic struggle.  The Rams got on the board first, capping a long drive with an eight-yard TD run by Maurice Lewis at the end of the first quarter.  It took nine minutes, but after Winston-Salem lost a fumble at their own 10, the Braves scored three plays later on a TD pass from Luke Charles to Te’vell William.  The Rams marched back downfield to retake the lead in a 21-yard toss from Kameron Smith to Tehvyn Brantley with 1:29 to go in the half; Pembroke cut the lead to 14-10 with a 43-yard Connor Haskins field goal as time expired.

Smith ducked into the end zone from the one on the Rams’ first drive of the second half, which was set up by a 77-yard Sherman Bryce kickoff return from the goal line.  Ultimately, that special teams gaffe may have been the difference.  Rams DB Larry Hearne picked off Charles on the Braves’ ensuing drive, but the Rams were forced to punt; nine plays later, Damonte Terry scored from seven yards out to being Pembroke back within 21-16 after they missed the PAT.  The teams then slugged it out until midway through the fourth when Charles hit William for 31 yards to put the Braves on the Rams’ 30; a pass interference penalty on the next play moved Pembroke to the 15.  After Terry picked up four yards, Charles tried to find the end zone but was again intercepted by Hearne to end the threat.  Winston-Salem responded with a seven play, 80-yard drive culminating in a Lewis TD run and the Rams looked in control, up 28-16.

It took Luke Charles 101 seconds to cause a re-evaluation.  On a drive aided by a roughing the passer penalty and three William catches for 50 yards, Charles capped things off by hitting William for 28 and a touchdown to make it 28-23; the Braves then forced the Rams to go three-and-out and took over on their own 24 with 1:06 to go.  They managed to get down to the Winston-Salem 39, and had time for one more play.  Charles dropped back and had plenty of time, and William seemed to get open in the end zone… but Larry Hearne again intervened, getting a hand on the ball and batting away what would have been the game-winning touchdown pass as time expired.

As always, you never know what to really make of what a season opener really means.  Going off last year’s results, we can only presume that either Pembroke is a serious threat to crack the playoff field this year or that Winston-Salem has lost a step; we’ll know much more in the coming weeks, naturally.

Gulf South and the Sad Trombone:
Coming into the season, Valdosta State was ranked eighth and our beloved Fighting Okra of Delta State sat at #14.  Now, they’ve both plunged toward the bottom of the poll after a pair of opening weekend upsets.  Valdosta was upended at suddenly-scandal-plagued Saginaw Valley State 28-24, while Delta was dispatched at home 31-23 by Fort Valley State.  The conference shouldn’t be too dejected, however, as the other four members all won; newcomers Shorter knocked off FCS Campbell on Thursday, while #15 West Alabama moved up to #13 after drilling Clark Atlanta 44-0 in Will Hill’s debut as head coach, replacing Bobby Wallace.  West Georgia crushed first-year NAIA program Point 55-3, while surprisingly unranked North Alabama — led by Wallace, who returned to the Lions’ sideline after stints at Temple and West Alabama after Terry Bowden departed for Akron — squeaked out a 31-30 win over Miles.

Two Blowouts; Wildly Different Conclusions:
You’ll remember that a couple of weeks ago we discussed the hilarious situation with the $99 tuition online bible school College of Faith.  Well, they got their season off to a rollicking start, getting absolutely slaughtered 78-0 by an Arkansas-Monticello picked to finish in a tie for last place in the Great American Conference, which is lightly-regarded enough itself that no teams were ranked in the pre-season poll.  Of course, that changed this week as Ouachita Baptist cracked the rankings at #21; that was a result of their 55-3 bushwhacking of a Northwestern Oklahoma State team which had long been a relative power in the NAIA.  (Remember, the top end of the NAIA is still comparable to D-II top-25 programs, though there’s a gap beginning to appear finally with all the defections.)  In summary: UAM’s win doesn’t mean the Boll Weevils are suddenly a contender; Ouachita’s may very well indicate great things ahead for the Tigers.

The New Top 25:
at #1 Pittsburg State 41, Northeastern State 20 (THU)
– The defending champs roll, and will host a fairly mundane Central Oklahoma squad this week.
at #2 Minnesota-Duluth 45, Southwest Minnesota State 20 (THU)
– All went as planned here.  Duluth will host Winona State, who drilled Crookston, on Saturday.
at #3 Northwest Missouri State 33, East Central 3 (THU)
– The Bearcats rolled as expected.  They’ll visit Central Missouri this week, and while they’re rivals with unexpected results on occasion, they should get past the Mules.
#4 Midwestern State idle
– Midwestern visits Tarleton State on Saturday.  They should survive that one.
#5 Wayne State (MI) idle
– Last year’s runners-up open their season this week at Ashland. A win isn’t assured.
at #6 Colorado State-Pueblo 44, XX West Texas A&M 34 (THU)
– The loss dropped WTAMU out of the poll; they’ll host Western State Saturday and try to recover.  Pueblo will travel to Northwestern Oklahoma State, more on which down at #21.
#7 Grand Valley State 48, at Western Oregon 20
– Solid road win against an averagish team.  This week, they’ll host high-octane Notre Dame (OH), and this may be a very, very minor upset alert.
at #8 Winston-Salem State 28, North Carolina-Pembroke 23
– Either Pembroke’s a playoff team, or the Rams aren’t what they were last year.  They’ll visit Concord Saturday, and we’ll get some more data.
at #9 Abilene Christian 51, McMurry 0
– Hal Mumme’s air raid did nothing at all against ACU.  Abilene will host the new #24, Texas A&M-Kingsville, this week.
at #10 California (PA) 30, #25 Hillsdale 22 (THU)
– Cal moved up from #11, Hillsdale fell from #17.  Hillsdale hosts Ohio Dominican Saturday, while California visits the team which replaced them at #11:
at #11 Kutztown 58, Saint Anselm 6 (THU)
– Stomp, stomp.  Kutztown-Cal has every indication of being the game of the week this week.
at #12 New Haven 45, Merrimack 18
– No problems at all for the Chargers, who visit Saint Augustine’s Saturday.  They should win, though it could be interesting.
at #13 West Alabama 44, Clark Atlanta 0
– No surprise here.  West Alabama visits FCS Samford this week, and will probably eat a loss.
at #14 Missouri Western State 38, Central Missouri 26 (THU)
– An anxious, if successful, opening to the season for the Griffins.  Saturday, they’ll host William Jewell, and should have no trouble at all.
at #15 Washburn 24, Nebraska-Kearney 14 (THU)
– The Lopers were unranked, but they’re still a good program.  Washburn handled them, though not without incident.  The Ichabods will visit Fort Hays State this week, and should roll.
at #16 Albany State 24, XX North Greenville 12
– Albany was #22, North Greenville #23, so the loser was going down regardless, and so it was for the Crusaders.  The Rams, on the other hand, got a six-spot boost heading into a road trip to Wingate this week.
at #17 Humboldt State 38, Colorado Mesa 19 (THU)
– Humboldt doubled up a middling team, and gained four spots in the poll.  Saturday they’ll host Azusa Pacific, who got a rude welcome to the NCAA courtesy of FCS Cal-Davis.  In other words, we still don’t know what Azusa’s got yet.
at #18 Saginaw Valley State 28, #20 Valdosta State 24
– When they played, Valdosta was #8 and Saginaw was unranked.  Saginaw visits Malone this week, while Valdosta hosts Fort Valley State, who upset Delta State last weekend.
#19 Bloomsburg 44, at Stonehill 28 (FRI)
– Bloomsburg might have given up more than they should have Friday night; they’ll host Edinboro Saturday and we’ll see if it was a fluke.
at #21 Ouachita Baptist 55, Northwestern Oklahoma State 3
– After blasting the former NAIA power, unranked Ouachita moves into the poll. They’ll visit Stillman this week, but they’re still hard to read.
Fort Valley State 31, at #22 Delta State 23
– Delta State fell from 14th after the loss.  Saturday they travel to Elizabeth City State, and that’s a dangerous trip.
at #23 Indiana (PA) 33, Southern Connecticut State 6
– They were unranked, but this result is pretty much exactly what should have been expected.  It was enough to get Indiana into the poll after upsets made room.  This week, they’ll visit Cheyney and should go to 2-0.
at #24 Texas A&M-Kingsville 35, Central Washington 7
– A solid win over a quality program vaults the unranked Javelinas into the poll.  They’ll visit #9 Abilene Christian on Saturday.
Sioux Falls 32, at XX Saint Cloud State 19 (THU)
– Mentioned over the weekend, Sioux Falls announced their presence to the NSIC in loud fashion and cost Saint Cloud their spot in the poll.  SCSU visits Upper Iowa this week.
at Shippensburg 38, XX Shepherd 28
– The Rams were #19; now they’re unranked after stumbling on the road.  They’ll try to right the ship at home against American International on Saturday.

A selection of other interesting finals follows.
at Bowie State 24, Assumption 20
at West Virginia State 34, Johnson C. Smith 31
at Stillman 28, Central State (OH) 27
North Alabama 31, Miles 30 at Birmingham
Missouri Southern State 25, at Central Oklahoma 20 (THU)
at Concord 24, Lenoir-Rhyne 21
Howard [FCS] 30, Morehouse 29 (covered in the FCS recap)

Lesser Blowouts:
at Bentley 42, Pace 0
Wayne State (NE) 49, at Minnesota State-Moorhead 6

Defense Is an Optional Package:
Chowan 70, at Livingstone 35
at Urbana 53, Tusculum 33
at Northwood (MI) 54, Quincy 31
at West Georgia 55, Point [NAIA] 3
at Carson-Newman 56, Glenville State 46

No Offense, But… No Offense:
Alabama A&M [FCS] 7, Tuskegee 6 at Birmingham