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Interesting, unintentional fact about the top 5 “money games”:

They’re all during Week 1. September 1st ought to be fun.

See #’s 10-6 here

In case you missed yesterday’s opening to the ranking, I’m looking for 3 areas: travel distance, opportunity to pull the upset, and prestige of the team being played.

Without further ado…here are the top 5.

This game mirrors my number 6 pick almost exactly, with one slight difference: If I wanted to, I could drive to Tallahassee. Murray State is going up against another team with National Championship aspirations (although it seems like Florida State has those every year, only to fall short) and a team with one of the top defenses in the nation, and as most of us know, defense tends to have the advantage in the early weeks of the season, until the offense can get into sync.

I really want to like this game, because I think it’s likely the best chance that the OVC has to pull of a FBS upset. But that’s mostly because…Memphis is so bad. The University of Memphis has been as much (if not more) of a football laughing stock than Duke. Sure, UT Martin might win. So?

Still, note the grade: a marketed improvement from the #5 slot.

I wanted to like this matchup more, but a 10-hour drive nearly kills the score. Jacksonville State has had a fair amount of success versus the SEC in the past, and Arkansas has a lot of…let’s call them distractions, going into this year. I still think Jacksonville State could give Arkansas a good game, I’m just not wholly sure how good Arkansas is going to be. Shame the schools are so far apart.

I’m not going to go so far as call the upset, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see this be a one touchdown game in the fourth quarter. This has most of the earmarks of a classic FCS over FBS upset. Middle ground FBS team, check. Top tier (possibly) FCS team, check. Early season, check. Good running team vs not great defensive team, check check. If you can put up the money for two tanks of gas, I suggest checking StubHub for tickets the week of the game: I’m betting there will be some good seats available cheap.

WKU is coming off their best season ever. Sure, they haven’t “arrived” in FBS, but 7-1 in the Sun Belt is far from horrible, i.e. almost every other season the Hilltoppers have spent in the Sun Belt. They’re a good team, but it still feels like their beatable. Plus, this is the only game of these 10 you would want to gather the whole family, and bring your kids to a road game. This could very well be my Week 1 destination, and if you’re a Govs’ fan, there’s no excuse for this not to be yours too!

That’s it, that’s the list. Agree? Disagree? Vote in the poll below, and let me know where you’ll be Week 1 in the comments!

Which "A" or "A-" money game is the best?

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  1. @mamberso:
    Nice list. I think EKU and UTM have the best opportunity to pull the upset. Both should be good, for different reasons. Both will be facing beatable opponents. Of course, a win over Purdue would be much larger than one over Memphis. I don't like JSU's chances of winning at Arkansas or Florida. If I had to pick, I believe the Florida game is much more winnable. This is mainly because the game falls a week before the FSU game. But, as you pointed out, JSU will walk away with two nice paychecks, win or lose.
    • ovcball:
      Great point about Florida...didn't even think to see who they might be looking ahead to. Arkansas in Week 1 is interesting...because so much of the media will be focused on the whole scandal this spring with Petrino. Have they moved past it...etc, etc. New coach as well. I just wonder how focused they'll be out of the gate.
  2. As an FYI: Memphis is no longer in the C-USA...
  3. Another FYI: JSU plans to fly to Arkansas. Even offering fans a ticket on the plane with the team...
    • ovcball:
      No surprise the team plans to fly...and sure, fans can to, but I'm sure it's still prohibitively expensive
OVC Ball
Compiling all OVC non-conference games

2016 Football Standings

OVC Overall
Jacksonville State 7-0 10-2
UT Martin 6-2 7-5
Tennessee Tech 5-3 5-6
Tennessee State 4-3 7-4
Eastern Illinois 4-4 6-5
Murray State 4-4 4-7
SEMO 3-5 3-8
Eastern Kentucky 2-6 3-8
Austin Peay 0-8 0-11

2016-17 Basketball Standings

OVC Overall


Belmont 15-1 23-7
Morehead State 10-6 14-16
Jacksonville State 9-7 20-15
Tennessee State 8-8 17-13
Tennessee Tech 8-8 12-20
Eastern Kentucky 5-11 12-19


UT Martin 10-6 22-13
SEMO 9-7 15-18
Murray State 8-8 16-17
Austin Peay 7-9 11-19
Eastern Illinois 6-10 14-15
SIUE 1-15 6-24