The second worst thing that happened to Savannah State this past Saturday was learning, perhaps on the long bus ride home from Tallahassee, that Arizona had beaten Oklahoma State, 59-38. That result made SSU’s 84-0 loss to the Cowboys a week earlier even more embarrassing — if that was possible.
Of course the worst thing that happened to the Tigers, who have been turned into national punch lines by their athletic administration, was showing up at Doak Campbell Stadium earlier Saturday evening to play Florida State. The game was such a brutal mismatch that God finally decided to step in and stop it since apparently no one else was going to do so.
With 8 minutes 59 seconds left in the third quarter and the Seminoles leading 55-0, the rest of the game was called off by lightning. Even though FSU Coach Jimbo Fisher was apparently prepared to play everyone in the student body, a 60-minute game might very easily have produced a WORSE outcome than the one suffered by Savannah State a week earlier.
This is what Savannah State had to show for its trips to Oklahoma State and Florida State: $860,000 for the athletic department’s budget and two losses by a combined margin of 139-0, which was that “close” only because lightning struck. The yardage difference on Saturday, in a 36-minute game, was 413-28. Guess which team had the 28?
Games like this shouldn’t happen. If the NCAA isn’t going to ban games between Football Bowl Subdivision schools and Football Championship Subdivision schools (previously known as Division I-A and Division I-AA) it should at least declare that when the new playoff system begins in 2014 that playing a team from a lower division makes a team ineligible for the playoff.
That would not only make it impossible for Savannah State to feed its players to the wolves — or the Cowboys or Seminoles — but would eliminate games played Saturday such as Virginia Tech-Austin Peay (42-7); Boston College-Maine (34-3); Georgia Tech-Presbyterian (59-3); Tennessee-Georgia State (51-13) and Minnesota-New Hampshire (44-7).
Are there exceptions to the rule? Sure. Colorado and Colorado State lost to FCS teams on Saturday and Washington State had to rally to beat Eastern Washington, which won the FCS national title two years ago. That’s why such games shouldn’t be banned, they should simply force a true power school to think twice before scheduling them.
To be fair to Florida State, it was supposed to play West Virginia on Saturday. The Mountaineers pulled out of the game after moving to the Big 12, and FSU was left without an opponent a few months before the season began. That does not excuse Savannah State’s decision to take the money, especially after opening the season with a money game at Oklahoma State that it simply shouldn’t have been playing.
Savannah State’s total athletic budget for all sports is $5.1 million. It came into the games against Oklahoma State and Florida State having had back-to-back 1-10 seasons and with a record against FCS competition since it became an FCS team of 4-72. These guys can’t stay on the field against Florida A&M (47-7 last year) and Bethune-Cookman (59-3) and they’re scheduling Florida State? This is how, according to Coach Steve Davenport, the school is going to “strengthen itself for the future,” by becoming a national laughingstock and subjecting its players to this sort of humiliation?