App State: “We’re No. 18!”

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So there is life at the Associated Press. The venerable newswire actually made news last night by announcing that any college football team in the nation was eligible for ranking in its 71-year-old poll. Duh. Isn’t it supposed to be the top 25 college teams in the nation?

Well, at least now it is. The move was spurred, of course, by Appalachian State, who represented U’dogs everywhere with its inspiring victory over Michigan last Saturday in what was the biggest upset in college football history. (If ya’ll have a better one, holla.)

App State is a Division I-AA school (I refused to get into the new Subprime, or Subdivision terminology), a notch below Division I-A where all the college football behemoths reside – or so it’s supposed to go. Division I-AA programs are supposed to comprise the dregs of the college football crop, players who either didn’t fit the Division I-A mold (i.e. they were smaller or slower than the Div. I-A box) or couldn’t make the grades that would allow them to be eligible for the top schools.

Well, the differentiation gap has shrunk in recent years as Division I-AA programs began to attract better coaches and upgrade facilities. They began attracting better local athletes, too, guys who’ve come to know that in this digital age talent will be found no matter where it matriculates.

The kids from Boone, NC arrived in Ann Arbor believing they belonged on the same field as the boys in maze and blue, believing that they were the right team at the right time.

Then they went out and proved it.

Now, as I stated on SNY’s “Daily News Live” on Wednesday, they indeed belong in the rankings, too.

Here’s RSJ’s Today College Football Top 25:

1. LSU

2. Florida

3. USC

4. OU

5. West Virginia

6. Wisconsin

7. Texas

8. Cal

9. Ohio State

10. Georgia

11. UCLA

12. Auburn

13. Penn State

14. Rutgers

15. Georgia Tech

16. Arkansas

17. Boise State

18. Appalachian State

19. Virginia Tech

20. Nebraska

21. TCU

22. Hawaii

23. Texas A&M

24. Boston College

25. Cincinnati

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3 thoughts on “App State: “We’re No. 18!”

  1. Michelle says:

    Go Apps! Amazing talent in both team and coach!

  2. Lee says:

    I love the ASU story. Underdogs everywhere will have a rallying cry for years to come thanks to what that team did in Michigan.
    I don’t know how long ASU will be in the Top 25, but they deserve the accolades right now.

  3. R. Pick says:

    Michigan is 0-2, and people are wondering if Lloyd Carr has suddenly lost the ability to coach. Yes, the Wolverines have lost their last four games, but three were to superior teams (OSU-USC-Oregon), and Appalachian State is a Division I-AA juggernaut that has won the last two subdivision championships. Maybe Michigan should have beaten Appalachian State, but the fault may lie more in the recruiting, than in the coaching.

    Both Appalachian State and Oregon players realized something early in their respective games—they were faster than Michigan. Once the players identified this advantage, they knew that they could not only compete with Michigan but that they could also beat them.

    Aside from Mario Manningham, the Wolverines lack star power, and now that lack of shine is being highlighted in embarrassing fashion. In the NFL, you have to be able to coach because the talent levels amongst the teams are so close to one another. However, in college football the talent levels vary greatly, so you have to be able to recruit, because this talent disparity is what wins national championships.

    Jimmy Johnson once said that he was an average coach who had a great eye for talent. In other words, he won not by out-coaching his opponents but by fielding a team far superior in talent. Johnson built dynasties at Miami University and the Dallas Cowboys by overloading on speed and talent. Neither the team ran overly sophisticated offenses or defenses, but they still won championships.

    Johnson saw his ability to field a quality team diminish when the salary cap was introduced in the NFL. The salary cap put more of an emphasis on coaching as rich teams could no longer stockpile talent. In college, there are no such concerns, as football schools are able to stockpile as much talent as they need. In fact, if they have too much talent they can redshirt players and save them for later.

    If Michigan has any hidden weapons, it’s time for them to be revealed. The players that are seeing action are playing hard; they simply don’t have the talent to compete. Michigan was ranked fifth in the polls based on the returning players, but perhaps it was the players who left that drove this team. Michigan needs an infusion of talent, and they need it now. Carr can still coach, but the question for him and for Michigan fans, is can he still recruit?

    The state of Michigan is full of talent, as are Pennsylvania, Georgia, Texas, and Florida, in fact, the entire country should be recruiting ground for Michigan. If Carr wants to go out on top he had better sharpen his eye for talent, if not, Ohio State vs. Penn State could become the premier game in the Big Ten, and Carr will find himself unemployed.

    Michigan is still a great football school, and their winning tradition is so prevalent that any recruit who is approached should seriously consider this program.

    University of Michigan Football

    • 11 National Championships
    • 42 Big Ten Championships
    • 8 Rose Bowl Victories
    • 109 Winning Seasons
    • 25 Undefeated Seasons
    • 42 One-loss Seasons
    • 860 Victories
    • .741 Winning Percentage

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