Every team can be beaten.
If the last two college football seasons have taught us anything, it's that any game can be like quicksand to the top teams in the country. It's almost like "The Upset" is a new trend in college football.
Sure, before 2007 there were some remarkable wins by teams that had no business winning them. But the upsets in the 1990s and early 2000s didn't come as frequently as they have in recent years. Teams of the One-Double-A variety are coming into big time stadiums against big time teams and competing. Conference bottom feeders are coming out of nowhere and knocking off their elite counterparts in Interleague Play.
Every college football fan can conjure up images of that sunny September day in Ann Harbor, Michigan. Appalachian State came into the Big House with inferior athletes, about 300 of their fans, and a $400,000 check signed over to them by UM.
The coin was flipped, the ball was kicked off, and Appalachian State carved up the Michigan defense like a pumpkin on Halloween. The mountaineers scored 21 points in the second quarter alone. Appalachian State’s quarterback, who isn't tall enough to ride most roller coasters at the theme park, outperformed All-Big-Ten-Conference quarterback Chad Henne. The thrilling 34-32 game ended on a blocked Michigan field goal that would have won the game for them.
Five weeks later, No. 2 USC hosted Stanford, a 41-point underdog, in a game that most of the country didn't bother watching.
There were a lot of things in that game you would expect. The Trojans moved the ball up and down the field to the tune of 450-plus yards of offense. They held the opposing quarterback to 11/30 passing for under 150 yards. Even Stanford head coach Jim Harbaugh gave USC all the love in pre-game, declaring them the greatest team of all time. But five Trojan turnovers doomed them in the end. As the game clock hit zero, Coach Jim Harbaugh got the Gatorade bath; sealing the upset for the Cardinals and drowning USC's chances for a National Championship.
Will the string of improbable upsets continue this year? Will each week bring a new jaw-dropping loss by a national title contender?
Ten of the best football teams going in to the 2009 college football season should look out for these games as possible upsets.