September scheduling in college football often resembles a roller coaster ride. One moment you're high in the air, and the next thing you know you've plunged below ground.
For example, look at TCU and Clemson's respective schedules. After Saturday night's bloodbath with LSU, TCU turns around to host Southeastern Louisiana. The Frogs will go from slight underdogs to six-touchdown favorites. Following Clemson's defeat of Georgia, the Tigers are 52.5-point favorites against South Carolina State.
Of course, swings like that, wild as they may be, are commonplace in college football.
But what Sam Houston State opens the season with is anything but common.
The Bearkats, ranked fourth nationally in the FCS Coaches' Poll, opened its season Saturday against Houston Baptist. It was the first game in the history of Houston Baptist's football program and, as one may expect when a brand new team faces one of the top programs in its division, the Bearkats clubbed Houston Baptist by a score of 74-0. Sam Houston pulled its starters after one quarter, and scored touchdowns on its first five possessions. Houston Baptist travelled zero or negative yards on eight of its 16 possessions; its longest drive of the game was 26 yards. Sam Houston outgained the Huskies, 455-90. Again, this is all stuff you'd expect from a top-five program playing a team taking its first steps as a college football program.
And that brings us to this week.
On Saturday night, Sam Houston State travels to Kyle Field to take on Texas A&M. While Houston Baptist would love to walk away from one of its seven games this season with a win, the Aggies will end the year disappointed if they don't come home with the Sears Trophy.
College football data hound Jeff Sagarin rates every single team in Division I together. In this week's ratings, Texas A&M checks in at No. 6. Houston Baptist is No. 252. This is where I point out there are exactly 252 spots in the rankings. I don't have the numbers to prove it, but I still believe jumping 246 spots in one week has to be some sort of a record. (For what it's worth, Sam Houston State checks in at No. 134.)
Seven days after winning by 10 and a half touchdowns, the Bearkats are seven-touchdown underdogs.
After changing altitude that quickly, you'd almost expect Sam Houston State players to arrive at Kyle Field with a nose bleed.