Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - When Cuba Gooding, Jr's character in the
film Jerry Maguire proudly proclaimed "Show me the money!", it became the
battle cry for the widely underappreciated, and grossly underpaid among us.
In an effort to line their coffers, many small colleges and universities are
more than willing to sacrifice their dignity when scheduling football games
against teams that are clearly bigger, stronger, faster and more talented, the
results of which are often laughable and raise the question as to whether or
not a substantial pay day is in the best interest of the players involved, and
the program in general.
With few exceptions, Appalachian State's win at No. 5 Michigan in 2007 and
James Madison's upset of No. 13 Virginia Tech in Blacksburg in 2010 being the
benchmarks, most times that a Football Championship Subdivision team takes on
its bigger, meaner brother at the Football Bowl Subdivision, the outcome is
decidedly lopsided, and the lasting effect on the losers can go well beyond
the field of play.
Case in point ... Savannah State opens the season with two such contests, the
first being last week at No. 19 Oklahoma State where as expected, the Tigers
lost. It's not the fact that they came up short against an obviously superior
opponent that rankles the purists out there, but that they weren't even
remotely competitive in suffering a humiliating 84-0 setback.
Adding insult to injury, the beleaguered squad will play at No. 6 Florida
State this weekend where the final score could be even worse.
There are some that argue that not only does Savannah State have no business
playing a team from the FBS, which it did for the first time last week, but
that the Tigers shouldn't even be playing in the FCS where they've lost far
more games than they've won since making the transition from Division II in
With few standout players in its history, Pro Football Hall of Famer Shannon
Sharpe (1986-89) being the most notable, Savannah State hasn't had much
success on the gridiron. In fact, the Tigers have reached the postseason only
once (1992 D-II playoffs), and they claimed their last conference crown way
back in 1956.
Embarrassed to say the least, Savannah State head coach Steve Davenport
wonders whether the $385,000 his school received for the Oklahoma State
debacle was worth it. While fully understanding that these large payouts help
fund the athletic department as a whole, he will have to do some serious work
counseling his players as they look ahead to more reasonable competition once
Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference play gets underway in a couple of weeks.
While there were few highlights to speak of, Davenport praised his players
after the massacre in Stillwater.
"There were some proud moments and sometimes you have to take baby steps. We
will watch the film, but there were some things we saw that we were proud of.
Our kids fought. We wanted to play until there were three zeroes on the clock.
I think for the most part we did that."
He also took a shot, albeit a veiled one, at the parties responsible for
shaping the team's schedule.
"Our number one goal was not to win either of these games. Our goal is to win
the conference championship. We have got another preseason game in Tallahassee
next week then our season gets underway. That is where we are."
That's actually a pretty sad statement considering every game counts in
college football. To know prior to even showing up that you're going to be
blown out of the water is demoralizing enough, but to have your coach
acknowledge as much publicly makes it even worse.
Would anyone blame even one Savannah State player for not showing up for these
games? Of course that's not going to happen as each and every guy on the
roster likely has enough pride in himself and his school to put forth maximum
In a world where we're constantly reminded that "only the strong survive", the
Tigers' current plight certainly hammers home that point.
The Sports Network