It’s the five-year anniversary of Appalachian State’s epic upset of Michigan, and there have already been a bevy of articles about that historic game. Everyone of them includes a fact along the lines of:
“Appalachian State was the first ever FCS (I-AA) team to defeat an AP ranked FBS (I-A) team.”
It’s a fine statement, and it makes quite a pop. The only problem is that it’s wrong.
So who was the first FCS (I-AA) team to defeat an AP ranked FBS (I-A) team?
Way back in 1983, Cincinnati defeated No. 20 Penn State 14-3. Am I losing my mind you might ask. Cincinnati is in the FBS.
That wasn’t the case in 1983. The NCAA temporarily levied I-AA (FCS) status on the Bearcats that season.
There status as an I-AA (FCS) team might have been temporary, but it’s important to note that Cincinnati was the first FCS (I-AA) team to defeat a ranked FBS (I-A) opponent.
This is Cincinnati’s history to claim.