The biggest news/shock/upset/wildly improbable outcome in college football yesterday had nothing to do with the big-time hotshots (Alabama/Florida State, et al). It was this: Liberty 48, Baylor 45. Jesus (so to speak)!
That’s Liberty, as in Jerry Falwell, and Baylor, as in Ken Star.
Liberty entered the game as a 34.5-point underdog. Liberty is a division lower than Baylor (FCS vs. FBS, though Liberty is making its 2-year transition to FBS), has fewer scholarship players, fewer coaches, a smaller stadium, a fraction of Baylor’s recruiting budget, is located in Virginia, not Texas where great football players grow up, and has never been ranked in the Top 10 teams in the nation, as Baylor frequently has of late. Baylor is a Baptist college; Liberty is Evangelical Christian (Baptist, I think).
Baylor, of course, is trying to recover from one of the most significant rape/sexual harassment/coverup scandals in sports history. It’s coach was fired, President Ken Star (Bill Clinton’s good buddy) and the athletic director resigned. Its ex-coach can’t even get a job in the Canadian Football League.
The Flames have rarely made much of a mark outside their own bottom-dwelling Big South conference. Liberty was on the road for this game, which drew a more-than-capacity crowd (45,748 in its relatively small 45,000-seat stadium; Liberty’s stadium holds 20,000).
A few more details about these two: Liberty has 80,494 students (the overwhelming majority online), Baylor 16,707; it’s harder to get into Liberty, 21.6 percent acceptance, vs. 43.7; Liberty costs half as much at abut $20,000 a year; Baylor grads earn a lot more, median $48,200 vs. $35,600; Baylor students graduate at a 75 percent rate in six years, vs. 50 percent.
Back to football, there’s this one: Howard (often called “the Black Harvard”), a 45-point underdog, beat UNLV 43-40. That was the biggest point-spread upset in history. Howard’s coach is Mike London, who was the UVa coach until 2014, when he was fired. Howard’s QB is 5-foot-11 Caylin Newton, who did not receive a scholarship offer from a Division I college (Howard is FCS, Division 1AA). He is the little brother of Cam Newton.