For Brian Kelly, His Success at Notre Dame is Graded on Championships

If you have ever taken a walk around Notre Dame Stadium, there are statues of Notre Dame coaches Knute Rockne, Frank Leahy, Ara Parseghian, Dan Devine and Lou Holtz.

What do these men have in common? Simple, they all won at least one national championship in South Bend.

For Brian Kelly, he will eventually surpass Rockne for most wins as a Notre Dame head coach, but what keeps him from being immortalized in bronze outside the stadium where he has coached since 2010 is the lack of a national title.

And Kelly has had his chances.

The first was during the 2012 season when the Irish finished undefeated, ranked No. 1 in the A.P. and B.C.S. standings, only to be rolled by No. 2 Alabama 42-14 in the National Championship Game in Miami that year.

In the College Football Playoff era, Notre Dame has made two appearances the last three seasons, only to be defeated by Clemson 30-3 in the Cotton Bowl during the 2018 season, who went on to win the National Championship, and just a few days ago losing 31-14 in the Rose Bowl to Nick Saban’s Alabama squad, who will play Ohio State for the title January 11.

What’s even more polarizing is Notre Dame’s abysmal record in New Year’s Six Bowl Games since the Bob Davie era.

The Irish are 0-7 since 1998 in those major bowl games. Kelly accounts for four of them. Along with the B.C.S. title game and playoff losses, a 44-28 Fiesta Bowl loss to Ohio State in 2015 is on his resume.

Since the departure of Lou Holtz, Notre Dame has not met the expectations that come with the history of the program. But Brian Kelly has been the bright spot since 1997.

Kelly has led the Fighting Irish to four-straight 10-win seasons following a 4-8 finish in 2016, when many questioned (myself included) if Notre Dame should fire him.

In his 11 seasons at the helm, the Irish have had six seasons with 10 or more wins, two undefeated regular seasons, and 2016 is the only losing season during his tenure.

This season, The Irish beat a No. 1 team (Clemson) for the first time since Lou Holtz’s 1993 team knocked off top-ranked Florida State.

Simply put, Notre Dame has been a much-more consistent and competitive team under Kelly since Holtz left, even as they fall short against the likes of Alabama.

His time at Notre Dame has also come in an era where the 4-team playoff began, realignment saw the school strike a deal with the Atlantic Coast Conference when the Big East crumbled, making the Irish a quasi-football member, and a full-time member for the 2020 season during the pandemic, and a decade where Alabama, other SEC schools, Florida State, Oregon, Ohio State and Clemson have been constant contenders for the national title.

You could make the argument that winning a championship for Notre Dame is harder in the present college football landscape compared to when coaches like Ara and Holtz won their titles.

These days, gaining favor with the A.P. voters doesn’t help you anymore like it did for Parseghian when he was happy to take a tie in the 1966 matchup against Michigan State, knowing if they won out, they’d be national champions.

This is not an effort to create excuses for Kelly, but circumstances have changed, along with the game in the last few decades.

Kelly and other coaches are epidemiologists trying to stay on top of the latest strain of Alabama football that emerges each fall.

With 102 wins, Brian Kelly, as mentioned earlier, will soon surpass the great Knute Rockne, who turned Notre Dame into a national name.

That is something for Kelly to hang his hat on. But at Notre Dame, that is the equivalent of a participation trophy. After Charlie Weis’ firing following the 2009 season, the school brought Kelly in to win a title. He has flirted with that immortality those before him achieved, but has yet to seal the deal.

A Brian Kelly statue could one day sit outside Notre Dame Stadium.

To start work on it, that national championship needs to be won.

Kelly may not be thinking about a statue of him at the gate, but he knows Notre Dame needs to break through and be the best in college football again to quiet doubters who will debate his legacy.

Oh. It’s Been a While

Yeah. It has been a LONG time since I’ve posted anything on this website, and I pay for this domain. Also, the homepage has been getting a lot of hits in China. Should I be worried?

Anyway, I’m still alive and like you doing fine. Not great, just fine like the rest of you.

Hang in there, guys. Better days are ahead.

I’ve heard the factoids like how William Shakespeare wrote ‘King Lear,’ ‘Macbeth’ and ‘Antony and Cleopatra’ during an outbreak of the plague in the early 17th century.

You would think with the extra downtime not going to bars, sporting events and other activities where we were allowed to be within six feet of each other, I could do more blog posts. Well, that didn’t happen.

But now, I’m ready to get this page running again and put aside a little time each week to do that.

Stay tuned.

The “Meh” Sports Weekend

Well, we’re almost through the first month of 2020. I hope you’re pacing yourself. It’s going to be a bumpy year. We got an impeachment trial underway in the Senate and caucuses and primaries on the horizon after Punxsutawney Phil decides to add a 13th month to this year’s calendar.

January hasn’t been all that bad, though.

The NFL playoffs provided some surprises. The Tennessee Titans saved us from another Super Bowl featuring the New England Patriots and somehow were one win away from going to Miami.

The Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Divisional round had some of us trying to fathom the idea of two AFC South teams playing for a trip to Super Bowl LIV, but woke up in the 2nd quarter after going down 24-0 to the Houston Texans, outscoring them 51-7 the rest of the way to win.

In the NFC, it was 49ers and Packers with San Francisco thumping Green Bay early to move on to the big game.

Now, we have entered the bye week before the Super Bowl, which has become Pro Bowl week over the past several seasons.

You know it. I know it. The Pro Bowl is trash. Such trash, they moved it from Honolulu, Hawaii to Orlando, Florida.

I’ll let Jim Brockmire fill you in on the details (31 seconds in)…

The game where players go half speed and pretend like they care and now the NFL is going to test out some new rules during it.

The main rule getting everyone’s attention is the 4th and 15 option when attempting a field goal.

It’s like any game show where you can take the guaranteed money or you can put it at risk. It could be fun, but it won’t stick in actual games. Also, no kickoffs, which could become the norm someday.

Can we also talk about how many channels this damn game is on?!

ESPN, ABC and Disney XD.

Let me get this straight. Monday Night Football is restricted to cable (shown over-the-air if that market’s team is playing), but we’ll put this lousy show on three channels?

I don’t get the Disney XD concept. If you polled a group of kids and said would you rather have a 4-hour marathon of Ducktales reruns or the Pro Bowl, I think they take Huey, Dewey and Louie over Joe and Booger.

This is also the weekend the NHL will host its All-Star Game. This year, it is happening in St. Louis.

The league made a very wise move last season by airing it on Saturday night and not Sunday afternoon. Also, the 3-on-3 tournament between the four divisions has made it so much better. Thrown in a $1 million prize for the winning team which adds some incentive.

A downside to this year’s festivities is the lack of big names.

Alexander Ovechkin, Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Auston Matthews, Marc-Andre Fleury, Jake Guentzel and others are not taking part, most because of current injuries or past ones that kept them from getting votes or some don’t want to play.

A little added bonus are the honorary captains for the game…

Here’s a breakdown of these St. Louis-based celebrity captains.

Metropolitan Division: Jon Hamm

-Born in St. Louis (obviously). Pretty much fits into any television show or film, and is in this season’s Curb Your Enthusiasm where he gets kicked out of a home with Larry David.

Atlantic Division: Jenn Fischer

-Ft. Wayne, Indiana born, St. Louis raised. Will always be Pam Beesly from The Office to me. Became the Blues unofficial celebrity mascot during last spring’s Stanley Cup run.

Central Division: Brett Hull

-A hockey Hall of Famer who was a member of the St. Louis Blues for most of his 19-year career (1988-98). Scored that Cup-clinching goal for the Dallas Stars that lead to a re-write of the crease rule and was feeling himself at the Blues Cup celebration.


I hope Brett stayed hydrated that day.

By the way, Hull is one of my favorite players from the 90s.

Pacific Division: Wayne Gretzky

-The Great One.

Gretzky played for the Blues during the 1995-96 season.

There will be NBA and college basketball games this weekend, as well, but two of the four major professional sports leagues are having their All-Star games, so it might be a good weekend to finally take down the Christmas lights or restart your failed New Year’s resolution.

We go from “Meh” weekend to Super Bowl week pretty quick after Sunday.

UPDATE: Forgot the “Royal Rumble” was on this weekend, so I’m getting some grief for that. I’m not a pro wrestling guy.

Follow Sean Gallagher on Twitter @GallagherRadio and the Blog @SGHasThoughts

Cincinnati: One Year Later

You always grow familiar with a certain place after you have lived there for some time.

For over two years, the rural Oklahoma town of Woodward, a place I never thought I would venture to before the summer of 2016, was my home for work, where I learned to appreciate the small town life after living in a suburb close to Pittsburgh growing up, although I enjoyed the work trip or weekend getaway to Oklahoma City, Tulsa and Kansas City once in a while, which felt more familiar.

On November 5, 2018, I took Highway 412 east out of Woodward for the last time and made my way to Cincinnati, Ohio on the same route I took out west over two years prior. The next day, I’m following my GPS to this neighborhood called Oakley to a leasing office where after settling payment on my old apartment 1,000 miles away, I’m signing a lease and putting down a security deposit on one I haven’t seen, only going by what my dad, who was kind enough to drive in from Pittsburgh a week or so prior to look at a few places while I wrapped up my time in Oklahoma, saw during a tour. It turns out he did a great job. Then again, he sells insurance for a living, so I shouldn’t be surprised.

The summer I got the call about the job in Oklahoma was around the time I was last in Cincinnati. I was in town for one night, mainly to see a Reds before heading to Louisville, Lexington and then Indianapolis to see minor league games. So when I arrived, like any newbie, I had no idea what was around me.


MadTree Brewing was recommended by a friend from college, who at the time worked in town, so on my first night, it was an introduction to the brewery culture in the Queen City, which blew me away. I mean, I was in Oklahoma where you could only purchase 3.2 beer at grocery stores and had to buy the good stuff warm at the liquor store, but that has since gone away (thanks goodness), and you didn’t find many breweries in rural Oklahoma, so to have MadTree a 5 minute walk from my apartment has made it a casual hangout on a weekend afternoon or an occasional weekday night. Also, they take care of you if you’re a regular, so pay it forward and tip well when they give you one on the house.

MadTree Brewing Beer Garden


This is not a stab at my old job because while I worked much longer hours, it gave me the experience to land the job in Cincinnati.

When I saw my work schedule here, which yes, is still unconventional compared to the normal 9 to 5, was a standard 5 days, 40 hours a week, that meant more free time, which was rare in the old job.

I had heard it was hard to make new friends in your late 20s and early 30s and you know what?…It’s kind of true. There are different factors that make it hard. Whether it be relationships, marriage and even those friends having children.

At my old job, I always felt like an outsider. I didn’t grow up in rural Oklahoma, so I didn’t reflect what you might find in middle America.

Obviously, when I came to Cincinnati, being more of an urban area, there were people who related more to what I am: a person with a job and down time they hope to fill by meeting new people and exploring a city, which is basically an adult playground. It took a month or so, but I started going to trivia nights and other events through a Meetup group and have met a lot of interesting people with different jobs, backgrounds and personalities which makes for great conversations. It’s been a reminder that I’m not on an island alone.


I live just north of downtown Cincinnati in Oakley. Once I got settled in, I drove down Madison Road to the square and much like Main Street Woodward, there were local bars, restaurants and shops you miss if you don’t take the time to slow down and look. Then there’s the coffee shops. I have a ridiculous number of them to choose from on a daily basis and they’re all great.

Soon, I wound up driving through neighboring Hyde Park and the homes and square left me amazed, as well. I also have to give a shout out to Mt. Lookout, which is the site of Ault Park, a very photogenic area.

Ault Park


Cincinnati doesn’t require two flights to go home and see the family, but only a little over 4 hours in a car.

I loved growing up in Pittsburgh and I still have a connection to the area, so being able to go home once in a while to see my family or go to a sporting event is special. Our family has grown over the last year with the birth of my niece, who I was able to see just days after she arrived, which was special. I’ve seen her a few more times since and gets bigger every time and will soon be 1 years-old: a birthday I don’t want to miss out on.


I can’t end this without talking about the job I moved here to take.

Inside the news booth at 700 WLW

It has been great. There have been some changes in the first year, but it remains the same welcoming, upbeat place it was when I first arrived. I mentioned in a previous post I had to leave sportscasting behind for now in the new gig, but it has only made me a better news anchor and reporter and continues to.

We all long for a job we’re happy to go to, a place that makes us feel at home, even if it’s not where we’re originally from, and we seek a sense of community from acquaintances, with some becoming friends.

Right now, I have that in Cincinnati, even if I get criticized for being a Steelers and Pirates fan at times.

Follow Sean Gallagher Has Thoughts on Twitter: @SGHasThoughts

Follow Sean Gallagher’s personal Twitter: @GallagherRadio

Bring on the Colder Weather, Baby!

First off, I am that guy who will keep his windows open when the temperature is in the 40s at night. Just me typing that makes some of you shiver, huh?

Look, after a summer where it was one of the hottest on record, my electric bill needs a break and I’m tired of sweating.

October in Cincinnati began with temperatures in the 80s and 90s. Seriously? Now, having lived in Oklahoma, you get temperatures like that in the fall, but at least the humidity is low. Here, it’s sticky in October? No! No! No! I’m not the pumpkin spice type of autumn person, but I like to think I at least get to wear a hoodie by then.

I mean, just look look at the start of the month. Thankfully, it’s starting to balance out…

Now, there are pros and cons when it comes to October weather, especially as we get to the end of the month.

When I was a little kid, I trick-or-treated in several inches of snow after Pittsburgh saw a storm come through in 1993 and in 2011, I called a college football game near Lancaster, PA during a Nor’easter and had to call it outside with only a canopy to protect me, my broadcast partner and the equipment from the elements. Fun, but challenging.

This picture was taken during our short time in the press box at halftime.

October 2011: Millersville University

If I haven’t made it clear enough yet, I love fall. Next to spring, it’s my favorite season. The heat of summer is leaving, football starts back up, good television shows are back with new episodes and if you’re like some of my friends, you’re excited that we are moving closer to Christmas.

No, I am not counting down the days. We haven’t even hit Halloween yet.

Weaned off Facebook, Hooked on Instagram

Once upon a time in like, 2011, I downloaded Instagram because somebody mentioned it to me. I was in college, so I already had a Facebook page, two Twitter accounts (one personal, one for my student media stuff).

At that time, I really didn’t use Instagram much. Fast forward seven years after I moved from Oklahoma to Ohio. After going through the circus that was the 2016 election, I grew tired of Facebook, which has been infiltrated by my parent’s generation, and with the current leader of the free world making Twitter a nightmare where the far right left just constantly @ each other with stupid memes, Instagram was worth checking out more last November.

I had used it to post some photos I thought were interesting, but then I realized I could send Stories.

Really? Stories?! This could be fun.

Since then, I can’t go one day without posting at least one, or two, OK maybe three different stories.

My follows are mainly friends and some local businesses, some of which have been kind enough to follow me.

Like every other social media app, I’m guilty of getting a little high off a like or notification on something I’ve posted. We’re all tech junkies, which is better than doing drugs.

Even as I use Instagram, thinking I’ve escaped the clutches of Facebook, I was quickly reminded that Facebook owns it.

At this point, it doesn’t bother me. Disney owns like 80 percent of all media now, my cable provider overtook smaller ones not long ago, so no matter where I go, the white F with the blue background is there.

Oh, and if you want to, follow me on Instagram: @Gallagher084

There’s One Reason to Smile as a Steelers Fan This Week

It has not been a good week for the Pittsburgh Steelers and its fans.

The team saw its franchise quarterback leave last Sunday’s loss to the Seattle Seahawks with an elbow injury, requiring surgery that would keep him out the rest of the season and putting the team’s hopes of climbing out of a 0-2 hole into the hands of Mason Rudolph, who some fans want to give up on before he even takes the field as a starter this Sunday at the 49ers.

While there is a good chance 2019 might be a lost season and could mark the end of the Ben Roethlisberger era in Pittsburgh, at least this happened Friday afternoon…

Yeah, that’s right! It took two women accusing Antonio Brown of assault and him allegedly passing gas in the face of a doctor while dodging the bill (and other payments) for the New England Patriots, known for taking troubled players in and turning them around, to cut ties after just one game.

Week 1 of the season saw the Steelers go to New England and get curb-kicked by the Patriots 33-3 with the knowledge that Brown, who orchestrated a release from the Oakland Raiders, had just arrived in town earlier that day and while he wouldn’t play that night, was expected to suit up the next week with the feeling that this bad guy got everything he wanted.

When the allegations emerged days later, it didn’t stop New England from keeping Brown off the field against Miami, where he played and caught a touchdown, irritating those in black and gold even more as they watched the Steelers defense give up huge plays to Russell Wilson and the Seahawks offense.

But finally! There was enough new information for Bill Belichick and Robert Kraft to realize that having Antonio Brown on the roster going forward wasn’t a good idea.

Now the question is, will there be an NFL team desperate enough to take on Brown, who managed to sabotage his career in less than a calendar year?

The Steelers might lose out in Santa Clara Sunday, but at least Antonio Brown won’t be playing.

But we’ll wait and see what the future holds.

Introduce the Democratic Candidates Like the 90s Chicago Bulls

I haven’t watched any of the third presidential debate featuring the 10-highest polling Democrats, but I’m sure it’s very interesting.

I’m not here to talk about policies. I’m here to talk about how they were introduced on the stage in Houston Thursday night.

Each of the candidates, one-by-one introduced like this by ABC News to a fully-lit stage and no music.

Like this (in GIF form)…

As President Trump tweeted while hate-watching the first debates: “Boring!”

If you really want to make these people look exciting and give them a chance to beat the Tweeter-in-Chief, jazz up the introductions.

Turn down the stage lights, gets some dancing lasers, a spotlight and play “Sirius” by the Allan Parsons Project.

Start playing the YouTube video below and keep reading…

Alright Houston! Let’s meet your 2020 Democratic Presidential Candidates!!!

From Texas. The former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Julian “I worked for Obama” Castro!!!

Also, from Texas. Former Congressman Beto “Almost Saved Us All From Ted Cruz” O’Rourke!!!

From New York. Andrew “Crowd Surfin'” Yang!!!

From Massachusetts, Senator Elizabeth “Policy-Poppin'” Warren!!!

From Delaware. Former Vice President “Uncle” Joe Biden!!!

From California. Senator Kamala “Who you calling kid?” Harris!!!

From Vermont. Senator Bernie “Not Colonel” Sanders!!!!

From South Bend, Indiana. Mayor Pete “Just call me that since you can’t say” Buttigieg!!!

From New Jersey. Senator Cory “I’m dating Rosario Dawson” Booker!!!

And from Minnesota. Amy “I Swear My Aides are Lying” Klobuchar!!!

These are your Top 10 2020 Democratic Presidential Candidates!!!

Let’s just hope a few more drop out and (fingers crossed) run for Senate seats after this.

The Joy and Anguish of Being a Notre Dame Fan

Tonight, Notre Dame begins its 2019 season at Louisville against the Cardinals. On one hand, I’m excited. I would be more happy if they played this Saturday afternoon, but they’re back. But I also know, much like a tweet from the President, the season can go sideways quickly.

I was born into a family that loves Notre Dame football. I didn’t start watching Pitt one day and decide to jump ship and root for Bob Davie’s Irish teams (could you imagine?!). I was, at an early age, surrounded by relatives in Champion brand Notre Dame t-shirts and sweatshirts, some of which are still worn on gamedays and out to South Bend.

I’ve been lucky enough to have gone to many Notre Dame games, most of which were Im South Bend and a few in my hometown of Pittsburgh. Some have been good, others you’d like science to develop a pill to give you amnesia.

Tonight is only the second meeting between Notre Dame and Louisville.

Do you remember the first time they met?

I do! I do!

It was a cold November night in 2014. Louisville was ranked 24th in the nation and for Notre Dame, the first half of the season was pretty good. They were undefeated and 5th in the nation going into their game at Florida State when quarterback, Publix fan and man who dreams of eating W’s, Jameis Winston, was still there.

It appeared Notre Dame was going to win in the final minute, but an offensive pass interference call on C.J. Procise washed it out, leading to a 4th down attempt that failed, leaving me to question if life was fair.

Turns out it wasn’t.

Notre Dame would lose four of its last five games, including that Louisville game where Kyle Brindza missed a 32-yard field goal to force a possible overtime as it happened in the south endzone, the one I was sitting in, along the the top row of the stadium.

Once he missed, I immediately made my way to the exit, about 10 steps ahead of the rest of my family.

But believe it or not, that 2014 collapse wasn’t the worst I’ve seen in that stadium.

Let’s go back to 2009.

For Notre Dame fans who know where I’m going with this, hold on tight.

Connecticut’s football program is a shell of its former self who won’t have a conference to play in when the school moves to the Big East to keep the basketball program relevant.

Notre Dame was 6-2 entering November, and then fell apart under Charlie Weis, who started wearing hooded sweatshirts like he was Bill Belichick a few season before.

The Irish lost this game in overtime. We were sitting near the section where the visiting fans are placed at Notre Dame Stadium. The UConn fans couldn’t believe what they were watching. Some guys from Hartford decide to go see their alma mater play at Notre Dame, a once in a lifetime opportunity, see the campus and stadium and hope its not a blowout. Instead, they got more bang for their buck and saw the Huskies humiliate a program who gave Weis a huge contract, only to fire him that offseason and still have to pay him for years.

An all-time low in my time watching Notre Dame.

Here’s a few other clunkers I saw in person in South Bend

2008: Notre Dame vs. Syracuse (24-23)

-The Irish were 6-4 and already bowl eligible. Lake effect snow had fallen in South Bend days before and with nobody shoveling out the stands, snowballs were thrown by the student section on Senior Day throughout, with one nailing an Indiana State trooper on the field.

What started a trend for me as a fan, the Irish missed a field goal to win in the final seconds, resulting in a loss against a Syracuse team that canned their coach leading up to the game, but let him finish the season. Ugh.

2007: Notre Dame vs. Duke (28-7)

I know what you’re thinking: “Sean, they won this game!”

Yes, they did. But if you were in the crowd for that game, it didn’t feel like it.

Notre Dame was TERRIBLE in 2007. They lost the first five games and were 1-9 entering this game. They somehow beat UCLA on the road, which the Bruins should be ashamed of, and it was a season where they lost to Navy for the first time since 1944 and gave the Midshipmen the belief they could actually beat Notre Dame, which they have done three times since then. In the end, they were 3-9 (chokes back vomit).

Former player and ESPN personality Mike Golic spoke to a pep rally crowd in the Joyce Center (now Purcell Pavilion), which had the enthusiasm of everyone who attended Princess Diana’s funeral, and tried to put lipstick on a pig.

The campus had an eerie feeling that weekend. It’s one I never, ever want to experience again.

Allowing a game featuring two 1-9 teams to air on a major network should be made a federal offense punishable by watching it on replay for a year in a room locked from the outside.

2004: Notre Dame vs. Pittsburgh (41-38)

This was the first loss I ever experienced while attending a game in South Bend, but this one really sucked. It’s like going to Disney World and Space Mountain was closed the whole time you were there.

Also, it’s the game where Tyler Palko dropped two f-bombs on NBC.

That win the next year in Pittsburgh, which I attended, was sweet.

You wanna hear the good times I’ve had? Yeah, me too!”

2006: Notre Dame vs. Army (41-9)

The Irish were expected to win and did, but this was a game where Notre Dame warmed up in blue and came out of the tunnel in green to everyone’s surprise for Senior Day. It’s one thing Charlie Weis did right.

2012: Notre Dame vs. Wake Forest (38-0)

Another Senior Day game Notre Dame was expected to win. What made this so memorable was that Notre Dame, ranked 3rd in the BCS, was 11-0 after that. Hours later, we watched in a Mishawaka restaurant as Oregon and Kansas State, both 1 and 2, lose, making Notre Dame the new No. 1 going into the final game against USC and then…well, you know what happened next.

I’ve seen more wins than losses going out to Notre Dame, and I always enjoy making the trip. It’s one every college football fan should make. Even if you don’t like the program. But those losses, especially those that should have been guaranteed wins, sting the most and made that Sunday drive back to Pittsburgh longer and slightly more miserable.

But I expect Notre Dame to be ready tonight. Red might be a very visible color to the human eye (Georgia in 2017), but I expect a good amount of blue and green in Cardinal Stadium tonight.

As for this season’s schedule, if they go 12-0, they’re getting a playoff spot again.

How many teams go to Athens and Ann Arbor in the same season? Not many.

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly of FBS-FCS Week 1 Matchups

For those of you new to any blog I’ve had, this is a series that started on my other blog “Gallagher’s Word“.

Week 1 of the college football season doesn’t have a lot of great matchups. Some Power 5 schools tend to schedule weaker FBS opponents and some are still paying FCS schools to get beat by 70.

Here’s how it works…

The Good: FCS schools that flipped the script and won while laughing all the way to the bank.

The Bad: The FCS team lost, but it could have been worse.

The Ugly: You’re usually turning off the game in the 2nd quarter.


Screenshot: ESPN

This upset wasn’t a sexy “Appalachian State beating Michigan in 2007” game and wasn’t seen by many, but Central Arkansas of the Southern Conference beat Western Kentucky, who plays in Conference USA 35-28.


No. 21 Iowa State 29, Northern Iowa 26

We ALMOST had a bigger upset in Ames, as Northern Iowa of the Missouri Valley Conference used defense and miscues by No. 21 Iowa State and almost beat them for the second time since 2016.

Sadly (pending on your rooting interest), the Cyclones held on and won in triple overtime.

Other than Oregon-Auburn, and if you subtract Iowa State’s awful play and Northern Iowa’s lack of offense in regulation, it was one of the best games of the week.

West Virginia 20, James Madison 13

You think the Mountaineers miss Will Grier (and maybe Dana Holgorsen) yet? Luckily for them, the game aired regionally, so many didn’t see it.

It doesn’t get any easier for WVU. They visit Missouri this upcoming Saturday and it will be aired nationally on ESPN 2.

Fun Fact: Will Grier’s brothers are “social media influencers”, which I guess is a nice way of describing people who can’t get jobs and convince stupid people to give them money for posting their product on Instagram.

Minnesota 28, South Dakota State 21

In Minnesota, the Gophers survived South Dakota State, a Missouri Valley Conference team with a pretty good FCS playoff record Thursday night.

Connecticut 24, Wagner 21

Connecticut, who is about to be a football program without a conference when the school moves to the Big East for the sake of basketball, escaped Wagner, out of the Northeast Conference.

I saw this now shell of a program embarrass Notre Dame in South Bend in 2009. I’ve seen some awful performances by the Irish live in my life, but that was the worst!

Look at Charlie Weis in his stupid hoodie trying to be Bill Belichick. I’ve never seen a coach make so much money from schools while not coaching there.


Washington 47, Eastern Washington 14

The Huskies will make a push for the Pac 12 title and the Eagles, out of the Big Sky, are often contenders for the FCS title. In 2016, they upset Washington State to make my list that year.

Fun Fact: Eastern Washington has that “blood red” turf because blue wasn’t hard enough to watch on television.


No. 17 UCF 62, Florida A&M 0

I have all the love in the world for Brandon Wimbush. As a Notre Dame fan, I loved watching him play for the Irish and he should be commended for helping them get to the College Football Playoff last season but saw Ian Book become QB 1 by season’s end.

In his first start with Central Florida, it went perfect because the Knights unleashed him against a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference team that didn’t have a prayer.

Wimbush will see tougher competition this season but if he leads UCF to another American conference title and undefeated year, the playoff committee will be left to again consider them for a spot. Next week, they get Florida Atlantic, who got tattooed by No. 5 Ohio State.

No. 15 Penn State 79, Idaho 7

Idaho gets a participation trophy in 79-7 loss to No. 15 Penn State

Idaho, another Big Sky team playing the big schools, flew 2,400 miles to collect a check and get throttled by Penn State, who will play Buffalo, who finished as the runner-up in the MAC last season and Pittsburgh, who lacks an accurate quarterback right now to round out their non-conference schedule. Those two games will also be in Happy Valley.

Also, Penn State wasn’t just happy keeping the foot on the throat. They shattered the windpipe with a touchdown with less than 3 minutes to go.

Screenshot: B1G Newtork

Maryland 79, Howard 0

Maryland will be an average team this year looking to qualify for a bowl game.

Howard, who went 4-6 last season, is out of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.

At least Maryland pumped the brakes after going up 79 early in the 4th quarter. They could have hung 100 on this team.

Screenshot: B1G Network

Fun Fact: Former high school teammate of mine and former Terrapins quarterback C.J. Brown is now a color commentator for the Maryland radio broadcasts. Congrats, C.J.!


There are still a good number of FBS-FCS games coming up in week 2.

William and Mary could be in for a tough Friday night against Virginia, Kent State could stumble against Kennesaw State and it doesn’t count, but Old Dominion could upset Virginia Tech again.