No one in the college football world is giving the South Carolina State Bulldogs much of a chance against the Arizona Wildcats this weekend. And why would they? Essentially a Division-II school, the Dawgs are coming off a two-touchdown loss to Bethune Cookman at home and are facing a team that scored 59 points last weekend. The oddsmakers in Vegas haven't even set a betting line on the game.
As our Wildcats blog, AZ Desert Swarm, details, a win this weekend for South Carolina St. would not only be unexpected, but historic:
No MEAC program has ever beaten a BCS conference opponent, though the conference only began emphasizing such match-ups in recent seasons. MEAC members are scheduling non-conference dates with BCS conference programs both for the sizable paychecks, and for exposure to top tier football.
This philosophy has generated scrutiny this season, the result of Savannah State's 84-0 and 55-0 losses at Oklahoma State and Florida State.SSU is not indicative of the MEAC as a whole, though; the Tigers are perennial conference cellar dwellers, hoping to buoy the athletic department's finances with these trips.
Though winless in FBS games, conference members have built from them in the past. Norfolk State gave West Virginia a handful in the first half of their meeting last season, actually leading the Mountaineers at halftime. NSU used the loss as a springboard to the MEAC title and a bid in the FCS Playoffs.
None want to be the conference's first BCS trophy. For UA to avoid the pitfall, the Wildcats simply must take the field without complacency from reaching the Top 25 and handling the Bulldog defense early.
Here's hoping the coaching staff will have the Wildcats ready to go this weekend as a showdown with Oregon is just eight days away. Kickoff from Arizona Stadium is set for 7:30 p.m. on Saturday night.
For more on UA football, check out AZ Desert Swarm.