7 FCS teams that were paid handsomely to win

McNeese State blasted South Florida 53-21 in Tampa on Saturday night. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
McNeese State blasted South Florida 53-21 in Tampa on Saturday night. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)


Bad dates are always worse when you’re stuck with the check.

That was the case for seven Football Bowl Subdivision (Division I-A) teams that lost to Football Championship Subdivision (Division I-AA) programs on the first weekend of the 2013 season. FBS schools bring FCS schools into town to collect an easy win, and thus, they must pay those little schools hundreds of thousands of dollars to make the trip worth their while.

However, what was once a major upset — Appalachian State over Michigan was quite the stunner a few years ago — is becoming far more commonplace. Below are the seven upsets from Week 1, with the credit going to ESPN’s Brett McMurphy for the find, as well as the dollar figure each school received for the victory.

Note: Georgia State lost 31-21 to Samford, but GSU is still transitioning from FCS to FBS, so that one isn’t included on the list

(Read more: UGA didn’t beat themselves, Clemson beat ’em)

Eastern Washington 49, No. 25 Oregon State 46

This could have been the most devastating of the upsets because nationally-ranked Oregon State had reasonably high hopes for this season. That all came crashing down when the Eastern Washington Eagles had a 23-point second quarter and never looked back. ESPN says it’s just the third time in the 21st century that an FCS team beat a ranked FBS squad.

Payday: $450,000

McNeese State 53, South Florida 21

South Florida’s Marcus Shaw went for 80 yards and a touchdown early in the first quarter, then the McNeese State Cowboys scored 40 (!!!) unanswered points over the next two quarters. If you’re letting a FCS school hang 53 points on you, it’s going to be a long year. Luckily, the USF Bulls play in the American Athletic Conference, where the competition is largely weak.

Payday: $400,000

North Dakota State 24, Kansas State 21

The North Dakota State Bison are the two-time defending national champions at the FCS level, and they extended their streak to four seasons with a victory over an FBS opponent. That’s right — each of the last four years, an FBS school has paid NDSU hundreds of thousands of dollars to come beat them. You’d think these guys would learn eventually.

Payday: $350,000

Northern Iowa 28, Iowa State 20

Iowa State always seems like they’re building toward something, but then they do something like this. The Northern Iowa Panthers, who nearly upset No. 12 Wisconsin to start last season, went 5-6 in 2012. The ISU Cyclones will have to rebound against the Iowa Hawkeyes next weekend. Iowa will be dealing with its own problems — the Hawkeyes dropped their season-opener to Northern Illinois, 30-27.

Payday: $350,000

Eastern Illinois 40, San Diego State 19

The Eastern Illinois Panthers traveled halfway across the country to dole out a shocker to the San Diego State Aztecs. EIU scored 21 unanswered points to end the game, and SDSU’s five turnovers were too many mistakes to overcome. EIU went from a 2-9 record in 2011 to a 7-5 record last season, so they may be building something in Charleston, Illinois.

Payday: $325,000

Towson 33, Connecticut 18

We all figured UConn wouldn’t be anything special this year, but losing to Towson in the season-opener? Few thought it was possible. It was the first big upset of the weekend, done on a Thursday night when most schools were still days away from their first kickoff. It must have been a lonely feeling, Huskies. Like being Mark Richt right about now.

Payday: $275,000

Southern Utah 22, South Alabama 21

The Sun Belt’s South Alabama Jaguars were upset in underwhelming fashion on Thursday night when the Southern Utah Thunderbirds eeked out a 1-point victory in Mobile. South Alabama only won two games last season, and it looks like this year will be another tough one.

Payday: $225,000

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