The Norman Transcript

National Sports

September 3, 2013

Upsetting start for Big 12

NORMAN — The Big 12 is 0-2 against the Missouri Valley Conference, and it took a late touchdown by West Virginia to avoid another opening-weekend loss to an FCS team.

“That’s the story of the opening week of the season, is who gets beat by somebody they shouldn’t,” Texas coach Mack Brown said Monday. “There’s always a couple, and this year there were a lot more than that.”

Nationwide, there were eight FCS teams that beat FBS opponents. That was twice as many such upsets as the opening week of 2012.

But that’s not supposed to happen to a league like the Big 12, which going into this season was 103-3 against non-FBS teams. The conference in its 18th season almost matched that loss total in one weekend.

“It will grab your attention. Luckily, we were able to get tested and be able to overcome that,” said West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen, whose team escaped with a 24-17 win over William & Mary. “At the end of the year, it really doesn’t matter what the score was. It’s about getting the wins.”

Defending co-Big 12 champion Kansas State failed to do against two-time defending FCS champion North Dakota State, then Iowa State lost to Northern Iowa. (Baylor beat Wofford 69-3 in its FCS matchup).

The only other FBS leagues with two losses to lower-tier teams were the American Athletic Conference (former Big East) and Sun Belt. The Sun Belt losers were South Alabama, in its first season as a full-fledged FBS team, and Georgia State, a team still making that transition.

Not exactly the company the Big 12 wants to be in when the goal is break the SEC’s string of seven consecutive national championships.

“It’s all about the final product and how we finish the year, not how we start the year,” Holgorsen said. “ There’s going to be a lot of positive things happen in the Big 12, there’s going to be a lot of great games to be played, and at the end of the year, we’ll see how we stack up.”

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