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The Most Shameful College Football Games of 2016

Jim McElwain

Jim McElwain

Not all games between major college football teams and their brothers in the lower division are created equal.

There’s plenty of evidence for this beyond just the handful of FCS-over-FBS upsets each year. Five-time FCS champion North Dakota State has a five-game winning streak against FBS competition that predates the Bison’s national title streak. One of the quarterbacks of those teams, Carson Wentz, went second in the NFL draft. FCS quarterbacks — like Vernon Adams and Dakota Prukop — have been coveted graduate transfers.

Then there is the other side of the coin: Power programs using FCS teams for easy wins, glorified scrimmages and schedule filler.

As usual, the games that make our most shameful game list are between Power 5 programs and clearly overmatched FCS opponents. Extra “shameful points” were awarded to FBS teams asking an FCS opponent to travel across state lines to do the deed.

It is also worth mentioning that we factored no extenuating circumstances in this ranking: We don’t care if this game falls in a tough part of the schedule or if the FBS school got into a bind making its schedule. These games are here and they’ll be ugly.

10. UC Davis at Oregon, Sept. 3

Scheduling out West can be tough, with only the Mountain West around for non-conference games. The Ducks are scraping the bottom of the barrel for a UC Davis team that is 4-18 the last two seasons. This will be a reunion of sorts — UC Davis coach Ron Gould is a former Oregon player and GA — but it won’t be an enjoyable one.

9. Missouri State at Kansas State, Sept. 24

Early in Bill Snyder’s tenure, Kansas State was renowned for its light non-conference schedules. Yet in recent years, Kansas State has faced Auburn, Miami (twice) and UCLA in September. The Wildcats open 2016 at Stanford. A game against Missouri State proves K-State can still find room for a patsy. Missouri State won only one game last season — against Division II Chadron State — and lost by a combined score of 140-14 to Memphis and Arkansas State.

8. Furman at Michigan State, Sept. 2

Furman went 4-7 last season but actually ranked higher in the Sagarin Ratings (No. 182) than Eastern Michigan (No. 184) last season. The shameful part of this game is Michigan State — winners of two of the last three Big Ten titles — importing an FCS team from South Carolina for a Friday night game to open the season.

T-7. Idaho State at Colorado, Sept. 10

T-7. Idaho State at Oregon State, Sept. 17

Idaho State is a regular for shameful games. And, yes, Oregon State and Colorado need all the wins they can get. Few wins are more automatic than Idaho State. The Bengals lost 52-0 to Boise State last season and 80-8 to UNLV a week later. Aside from an 8-4 season in 2014, Idaho State is 16-85 since 2006.

6. Austin Peay at Kentucky, Nov. 19

Kentucky coach Mark Stoops might need a game like this to get to bowl game and perhaps save his job. Of course, any sign of struggle against Austin Peay would be a red flag for Stoops. Austin Peay went 1-34 under former coach Kirby Cannon and replaced him with 30-year-old Will Healy.

5. Delaware State at Missouri, Sept. 24

Missouri brings in the second-best FCS team in Delaware for an easy September win. The Hornets have gone 3-20 the last two seasons. At least second-year coach Kenny Carter has plenty of major college experience as a former assistant at Louisville, Florida, Vanderbilt, Penn State, Pittsburgh and LSU.

4. Chattanooga at Alabama, Nov. 19

Chattanooga isn’t a bad team. Actually, the Mocs are pretty good. They’ve won three Southern Conference titles in a row and ranked No. 100 in the Sagarin Ratings last season — ahead of teams bowl teams like Akron, Colorado State, Nevada and Georgia State. The Mocs are a good enough team to upset a handful of FBS teams, and the SEC vs. FCS challenge in late November is a tradition at this point. But this is Alabama, and there’s nothing to gain from a game against an opponent the Tide beat by a combined score of 94-0 in 2009 and 2013.

3. Northwestern State at Baylor, Sept. 3

Northwestern State actually beat an FBS team in 2014, defeating Louisiana Tech 30-27 — a game that happened to be just two weeks after a 70-6 loss to Baylor. The result won’t be much different this year. Baylor can’t even grab a good FCS team for its annual routs against the lower division. Northwestern State has had just one winning season since 2004.

2. Nicholls State at Georgia, Sept. 10

Kirby Smart’s first six weeks as a head coach will be brutal: North Carolina, at Missouri, at Ole Miss, Tennessee and at South Carolina. The Nicholls State game is the breather his team will need, but it doesn’t make the game any less shameful. Nicholls State, a Southland Conference from Thibodaux, La., has lost 24 of its last 27 games. Five of its last six games against FBS competition have come by scores of 47-0 (ULM), 49-0 (Colorado), 77-3 (North Texas), 73-7 (Arkansas) and 70-7 (UL Lafayette).

1. Presbyterian at Florida, Nov. 19

If Steve Spurrier were to take a shot at Florida, it might go something like this: “You can’t spell BYE without Presbyterian.” Indeed, this game is a glorified bye week for the Gators in between the SEC finale against South Carolina and a road trip to Florida State. Presbyterian went 2-9 in 2015, finished 218th in the Sagarin Ratings, and scored more than 20 points only twice (23 against Campbell, 21 against Western Carolina) last season. Only two years ago, a decent Presbyterian team that finished 6-5 played three FBS teams, losing by a combined score of 145-3 to Northern Illinois, NC State and Ole Miss. Despite sharing a state with FAU, FIU, UCF and USF — not to mention a decent FCS program in Bethune-Cookman and legacy program in Florida A&M — Florida is importing a bad FCS team from South Carolina for an easy "W" in November.