When it happened, I thought JMU’s win over Va. Tech was a bigger upset than Appalachian State’s win over Michigan in 2007. Primarily because, while both saw ranked I-A/FBS teams fall to I-AA/FCS teams, JMU and Va. Tech are in the same state. Secondarily because I went to JMU.
The campuses are separated by just two hours of south-by-southwestern Virginia highway. Many folks who hail from the D.C. area, myself included, applied to both schools. Every Duke knows a Hokie, and vice versa. Boone County is 600 miles away from the Big House, so I’m pretty sure that’s not happening with App. State and Michigan.
Since JMU’s triumph, however, history seems to favor App. State’s. Maybe that’s because Michigan was ranked No. 5 at the time of their loss and Va. Tech only 13. Or maybe it’s because the Dukes didn’t get an SI cover like the Mountaineers did. Whatever it was, JMU-over-Va. Tech didn’t even top Dr. Saturday’s list of the best upsets of 2010.
But the season is over, and all the data is in, so we can quantify this a bit:
Michigan finished 18th in the AP and 19th in the USA Today in ’07, while App. St. won the FCS championship.
Va. Tech finished 16th in the AP and 15th in the USA Today in ’10, while JMU missed the FCS playoffs.
So there you go. Even putting aside the proximity of the schools involved, the ’07 Michigan team was slightly worse than Va. Tech in ’10, and ’07 App. St. was far better than ’10 JMU.
I suppose that’s not the way JMU wanted to seize the title of Biggest Upset in FCS History, but they’ll take it, and it should be remembered as such.