Full disclosure: I'm an obnoxious Arkansas State Red Wolves fan. And I'm the first to tell you, there is no such thing as a "moral victory," or a "good loss." A-State owns a smelly cardboard box full of those trophies, and the near-win against #22 Missouri in Week 2 is the latest plastic turd on that inglorious pile.
That said, the Red Wolves of the Sun Belt Conference nearly upended the defending SEC East champ.
The media spin following G5/FCS victories (or near victories) is a worn out formula that looks roughly like this: "(P5 Team) looked bad against a scrappy/playing over their heads/just plain lucky (G5 Team)." Never is it possible that the P5 was made to look bad by being thoroughly outplayed. God forbid! Arkansas was merely playing to Toledo's level! Boise St. was lucky to get Washington in a rebuilding year! Vanderbilt gonna be Vanderbilt!
Or maybe, just maybe, the Privilege Gap is closing instead of widening.
I'm not making this up. I crunched, uncrunched, and recrunched the data, just like a real scientist. The competition between G5/FCS victories over P5 opponents is clearly improving from 2014 to 2015, and the margins by which games are kept close (loss by one score or less) has remained relatively consistent.
Group of Five and FCS Schools Versus Power Five Programs (First Two Weeks of the Season)
This year, G5/FCS wins over "high resource schools" have doubled from this time last year. Of course, every year is different, but weren't we supposed to see a widening chasm between the haves and have-nots? The fact is, though the G5 barely even rates a preview from most national outlets, the Underdogs are taking juicy bites out of the Power Five.
True, blow-outs happen. But more and more often, P5 schools are tearfully writing big checks in exchange for a mark in the loss column. Perhaps this modest bump in success is a signal that the G5 is not only competitive at the highest level of college football, but is actually growing stronger.
Then again, as our man in the field, Jeremy Adcock points out, the G5 has a long way to go before shaking the challenge stick at anyone.
Missed out on a game earlier: Overall G5 vs P5 (53 games): 10-43. MAC: 2-10, CUSA: 2-9, MWC: 2-7, AAC: 3-6, Sun Belt: 0-11, Independent: 1-0— Jeremy Adcock (@cfoutpost) September 15, 2015
Ouch. That's cold. We could use some more #SunBeltHeat.