●Two scores that should be discussed: North Dakota State 24, Kansas State 21, and Eastern Washington 49, No. 25 Oregon State 46. It isn’t just that a Football Championship Series team beat a Football Bowl Series team in these two games, it is that two good FBS teams lost. K-State is the defending Big 12 champion and was ranked No. 1 in the nation at one point last season; Oregon State was 9-4. Maybe they aren’t as good this year but it isn’t as if they woke up this summer and morphed into Florida International and Florida Atlantic.
Both winners have plenty of pedigree. North Dakota State is now 7-3 against FBS opponents since it became an FCS team 10 years ago and is the two-time defending FCS national champion. The last team not named North Dakota State to win that title was Eastern Washington in 2010.
These victories may not get quite the attention of Appalachian State’s win over Michigan in 2007 but they are further proof that quality FCS teams can compete one level above. The problem comes when teams like Elon and Nicholls State, who are not good teams at their own level, try to compete up so that they can collect a paycheck at the physical and emotional expense of their players.
●Virginia’s comeback 19-16 win over Brigham Young. This was the only local score of any real note. Maryland crushed a bad Florida International team and Virginia Tech had no chance against No. 1 Alabama. Howard did have a shot to win on the road at Eastern Michigan but was outscored 21-0 down the stretch.
The Cavaliers’ win was significant for several reasons: Coming off a step-back 4-8 season a year ago, Coach Mike London shook up his coaching staff to try to get turned back in the direction the program had been going in his first two seasons. BYU is hardly a power but it is a solid team year in and year out, and U-Va. had to come back late in the fourth quarter — aided by a critical turnover — to win the game.
Of course the Cavaliers now go way up in class when they host Oregon this coming weekend. The good news is they then get to play in the ACC — which, Clemson’s victory aside — probably doesn’t have anyone in its expanded ranks as good as the Ducks.
And, if you need one last game to top off the holiday weekend, there’s Florida State-Pittsburgh on Monday night. Nothing like two longtime, traditional ACC rivals facing off in prime time to cap the first week of a new season.
For more by John Feinstein, visit washingtonpost.com/feinstein.