First of all, I live in North Carolina, and only get to go to one or two games a year, and watch a few on T.V. and most of the rest in the internet. However, CBS's All Access was down this past Saturday and I had to listen to the Southern Illiniois game via WMUL's broadband broadcast.
Anyway, after reading alot of comments that we didn't look good, but at least it was a win and thoughts of how "in trouble" the Herd would be the rest of the year. I want to comment on my thoughts as of putting this win in perspective.
Starting with Southern Illinois confernce rival N. Iowa, I watched most of that game as they outplayed #20 Iowa and a 1 point win was preserved by Iowa by coming up with not one, but two blocked field goal attempts. East Carolina looked to be poised to run away with the game against App. St. who was playing without Amanti Edwards (the Championship Subdivision's 2008 Player of the Year). However, App. St. made this game close with 17 fourth quarter points and East Carolina had to hold on to a 29 to 24 win.
Also in C-USA UCF had to come up with a 4th quarter touchdown after going back and forth with Samford for a 24-21 win.
Additionally, WVU held on to a 13 point victory Liberty (2008 Big South Champion). In the ACC, Virginia and Duke both lost to Championship Subdivisions schools in William & Mary and Richmond respectively. Of course both teams are expected to have long seasons. Other close games involving Championship Subdivision schools were Kansas St. held on to a 4 point with against U. Mass.; Indiana with a 6 point win against E. Ky., and Hawaii coming from behind for a 5 point win against Central Arkansas.
It doesn't mean you didn't have the Florida, Tennessee and Air Force blowouts, but with the scholarship reductions and what I beleive is better trained and more high caliber football recruits available, the gap continues to close. Even when Marshall made the jump, they dominated the MAC from day one. Your top 10 schools in the lower subdivision would probably finish in the top third of most mid-major conferences. After seeing the first weekend, actually feel the Herd will do better than previously thought. I predict an 7-5 to 8-4 regular season.