We knew going in that this game against Florida A&M could get ugly, in terms of being a huge blowout. Obviously, it was exactly that.
In fairness, this game was only on the schedule because Vanderbilt backed out of a scheduled game against Ohio State, and when Athletic Director Gene Smith tried to find a team to replace Vandy, pickings were slim. Plus, at the time they agreed to the game, according to the Big Ten Network, Smith thought having the famous A&M band play followed by TBDBITL would be pretty entertaining for the fans.
Of course, that was before the death of a band member during a hazing incident and subsequent suspension of band activities at A&M. The band is back this season, in limited form, but it doesn’t travel. So much for that idea.
On the field, the game was over just a few minutes in and with the Rattlers ending the game with a total of 80 yard of offense, it was a ridiculous display of inequality. But, those kids from A&M earned their athletic department a nice $900,000 pay day, which goes a long way toward funding a FCS level program like this one. Looking around the country, we can see they were not the only team taking a beating in the interest of getting a payday. Is that good for NCAA football? I don’t know. Obviously, the games aren’t exactly interesting, but without these paydays, how many schools would have to shut down their football programs? I suspect we will find out after the FBS playoff rules go into effect, and these games hurt the strength of schedule, let alone when the Big Ten goes to a 9 game conference schedule.
These games also present a challenge in terms of whether you are running up the score. BTN announcer Glen Mason’s claims of classiness aside, Urban Meyer has not been a coach to want his team to step off the gas. (I’ll have more today about the announcers in this game in a later post) In this game, Urban had the OSU offense throwing he ball non stop in the first half, even with a 48-0 lead before the half, leading to a record day for backup QB Kenny Guiton. In the second half, the Bucks went pretty exclusively with the run, and slowed down to only adding 21 points on their 55 point halftime lead. Can you consider that running up the score? Can you really tell a kid who’s the 4th, 5th, or 6th string running back to not run hard when he finally gets a chance to shine in the Horseshoe? Do you see the possibility of a kid like Guiton breaking a school record and tell him he cant have it? Frankly, it would have been almost impossible to not run up the score in this game. The teams were simply not a competitive match.
At the end of the day, this was an exhibition game before starting the Big Ten schedule with a tough game against Wisconsin. We’ll have a much better idea of just how good this team is this time next week.