KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -Millions of college football fans were shocked by Appalachian State's monumental upset of Michigan. Mack Brown is not one of them.
Neither are Dennis Franchione nor Gene Chizik, nor any other Big 12 head coach.
For years, they have been talking about the parity creeping into their sport. They've sensed the danger in scheduling so-called lower division programs to fatten the won-loss record and give players valuable tuneup experience for what fans consider the real challenges ahead.
``On any given Saturday, if one team plays its best and the other turns it over, anything can happen,'' said Brown, whose Texas Longhorns barely escaped a huge upset of their own on opening weekend against Arkansas State.
``It's probably good for the sport. It just makes coaches a lot older.''
Nevertheless, the college football world is still abuzz over what happened Saturday. There was mighty Michigan, ranked No. 5 and playing in front of more than 100,000 fans, ready to blow past poor Appalachian State and make another charge at a national championship.
Only Appalachian State had other ideas. The final score, Appalachian State 34, Michigan 32, marked the first time a ranked top tier team, formerly called Division I-A, lost to a team in what used to be known as Division I-AA.
``I think it's an eye-opener for everybody to realize there's a lot of other leagues that have great football out there,'' said Iowa State's Chizik.
M's Franchione: ``It's hard for people to grasp parity. It's hard for fans to understand that. As coaches, we do. At certain places, all losses are devastating and all wins are reliefs.''
Missouri coach Gary Pinkel, whose Tigers host on Illinois State on Sept. 22, agreed.
``If they're playing their game, they can beat anybody,'' he said. ``That's the choice you make in your scheduling. ``We made that decision. But there's no question we'd better play our `A' game or we'll get beat.''
Colorado knows the sting of losing to a team that's not a member of the upper division. The Buffaloes were 19-10 losers last year to Montana State.
Iowa State, which lost its opener to Kent State, will face a perennial lower-division power this week in Northern Iowa.
``It's great for us because it's an in-state rivalry that will excite people around the state,'' said Chizik. ``But when it comes to what Iowa State gains out of it, it's tough. Northern Iowa is good enough to beat you on any night. If you win, you're supposed to anyway. I'm not sure it's a great situation for anybody in any of the (major) conferences.
Chizik figures there's greater parity in college football than most people realize.
``There are a lot of great football teams out there that don't have 85 scholarships. They have 63,'' he said. ``The difference a lot of times comes with depth issues. If Appalachian State can beat Michigan, think how many other Division I schools Appalachian State can beat.''

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