This weekend, 20 teams ranked in the AP Top 25 were in action, with 19 of them winning. No. 23 Arizona State was the only one to lose, but it was beaten by No. 5 Stanford in the only game pitting two ranked teams.
That's not bleak enough to paint the picture of mismatch city? OK, how about this: Five ranked teams actually faced FCS teams and wound up mauling their overmatched opponents by an aggregate of 298-34 (or about 60-7 on average). Shame on No. 18 Northwestern for only getting by Maine, 35-21.
Wait, it gets better (or really, worse): FCS teams were not the only ones that took a beating. Some of the worst woodshed treatments were administered to FBS teams.
Just how bad did it get? Baylor annihilated Louisiana-Monroe, 70-7, but that was the tamest of the four games that reached the 70-point threshold. Louisville whitewashed Florida International, 72-0, with most of the second half played with a running clock; Urban Meyer went for a score as to not humiliate Florida A&M in a 76-0 rout; and Miami shortened the fourth quarter to 12 minutes to end its 77-7 mercy killing of Savannah State.
So what is the point? Actually, there isn't one.
You can partially thank the BCS for the pointless exercise of beating an overmatched opponent to a pulp. The setup made conference championships less meaningful and magnified the importance of winning every single game in order to a) play for the BCS title, b) earn a BCS bowl bid and secure a windfall, or c) get six wins to qualify for a bowl, any bowl.
Needless exposure to potential losses are now greatly discouraged, so cupcakes—whether of FBS or FCS variety—come to be in great demand.
The MEAC certainly has emerged as the conference of tackling dummies. This weekend alone, three members participated in ritual beatings by a combined scores of 207-13, for the pleasure of accepting a total of $1.75 million in handouts from Ohio State, Miami and Florida State, which only beat Bethune-Cookman 54-6.
It's all just part of a September to forget. In this season's first four weeks, there have been just seven games pitting ranked opponents, with two each week until the single game this week. In contrast, in the inaugural BCS season of 1998, there were eight games matching ranked opponents in the opening weekend alone, per the BCS Guru blog.
This week takes the cake in that there was not a single upset. The only compelling game involving a ranked team was Michigan's high-wire act against Connecticut, as it overcame a 21-7 second-half deficit for a 24-21 win.
In fact, we all owe the Wolverines a debt of gratitude as they're the only team striving to keep things interesting. They blew a big lead before hanging on to beat Notre Dame two weeks ago, then barely survived lowly Akron on the game's final play last week.
As a result, Michigan most likely will drop in the polls for a second consecutive week—in spite of winning. But aside from that, don't expect to see much shifting in the simulated BCS standings, since just about everything remains status quo (and more or less by design).
This upset-less landscape has become commonplace in the BCS era, and it's unlikely to change for the foreseeable future even after BCS 2.0—College Football Playoff—officially kicks in next year. Until we have a clear indication that nonconference strength of schedule will account for something, expect the mismatches to continue throughout September in the years to come.
But at least we're making progress. A year ago, there also wasn't a single upset in Week 1, either, with the most lopsided score being Savannah State's 84-0 loss to Oklahoma State. At least the Tigers managed to score this time around.