Kansas, a Big 12 team, lost to South Dakota State, an FCS team. Going on their conference allegiances alone, this should be an upset, but it wasn't. South Dakota State is a good FCS team, Kansas is a horrendous Big 12 team, and there is no part of the Jackrabbits' win that was surprising.
Actually, Kansas didn't even cover the spread. South Dakota State was favored at most sportsbooks offering lines, and showed why quickly. The Jackrabbits pulled out to a 31-7 lead, and things looked dark for the Jayhawks:
Charlie Weis set us back 4 years no lie https://t.co/HejjorfJvK— Chris Harris (@ChrisHarrisJr) September 5, 2015
But Kansas ended up making it respectable, getting to within 41-38. And then this happened:
Yup, they fumbled the snap as they were trying to spike the ball to kick a game-tying field goal, and the clock expired after they jumped on the fumble:
Zach Lujan was the star for the Jacks, throwing for 293 yards and three touchdowns. Isaac Wallace added 114 yards rushing.
Although it wasn't an upset, it's still an embarrassing loss for Kansas, and it probably won't be the only one this season. Charlie Weis didn't just fail to win while he was in charge of the Jayhawks: He salted the damn earth. Even if David Beaty does a great job, he might take several years to get the Jayhawks out of the wasteland Weis left them in.
Kansas actually has fewer scholarship players than South Dakota State
FBS teams get more good players than FCS teams for two reasons. The first is that FBS teams tend to be more famous and players want to play for more famous, more prestigious teams. The second is that FBS teams literally are allowed to recruit more players than FCS teams. FBS teams can give out 85 scholarships, while FCS teams can only give out 63.
Kansas has 62 scholarship players. Weis started his Kansas career by dismissing 29 players from his roster and banked heavily on junior conference players, almost none of whom are still around. Many of Weis' recruits didn't stick around, and a lot of players who ended last season on the roster left -- some transferred, one retired, one actually declared for the NFL Draft (didn't get picked.)
They ended the summer with 64, then lost two offensive linemen who had been projected as starters. And the guy projected to be the starting quarterback suffered a season-ending injury in spring ball.
And that's how you get an FCS team with more scholarship players than an FBS team.
The players Kansas has are not good
Our Bill Connelly titled his Kansas preview "Kansas won't win many games, but it'll get plenty of exercise and fresh air." Kansas fans should thank him for looking on the bright side!
Kansas finished last season 99th in F/+ rating, third-to-last among power conference teams. They lost four games by 30 or more points, and their only Big 12 win was against an Iowa State team that didn't win any conference games. When they took on an FCS team last year, they barely beat Southeast Missouri State, escaping with a 34-28 win.
And they LOST players from that team.
The players South Dakota State has are pretty good
The Jackrabbits entered the season ranked 15th in the FCS. Last year, they made the second round of the FCS playoffs and lost to North Dakota State -- the four-time defending champions -- and only lost, 27-24.
So this is an FCS team capable of going head-to-head with the best the FCS has to offer.