It's difficult to put a team on upset alert before the season, because the best upsets materialize over a steady interval. Injured players, breakout stars and other in-season developments play a huge role in setting the stage.
Still, in perusing the schedule each preseason, a handful of games manage to jump off the page as potential upsets-to-be.
This can happen for a number of reasons.
Sometimes, a certain underdog matches up well against a certain favorite. Its strengths nullify the favorite's strengths and/or magnify the favorite's weaknesses.
Sometimes, the underdog catches the favorite at the most opportune time. It gets the favorite tired on the heels of a close game and/or looking ahead to the following week.
Other times, it's as simple as having the best player on the field: a weapon that the favorite can't stop. Football isn't basketball, where the best player on the court out of 10 has a disproportionate impact, but we have seen heroic one-man efforts lift a team.
All three of those upset types have been included in this article, albeit to varying degrees. We also made an effort to include all different magnitudes of upset: some that we think actually will happen but others that we admit are far-fetched.
Even if it is the latter, though, that doesn't mean the favorite should get a pass. There were still enough elements of an upset to put it on notice—especially since the biggest upsets of every season are the ones that sound "admittedly far-fetched" in August.
Sound off below with any games you think I might have left off.