After studying the Week One schedule closely and then checking up on each team, I have found five games that I think may have upset written all over them.
The list starts with No. 5 as the least impressive upset, and goes to No. 1, the most impressive upset.
Here we go.
No. 5: North Dakota State at Iowa State
I see this game being a surprising game for many reasons. First, Iowa State is not a very "good" team offensively, or defensively for that matter. Iowa State is on a 10-game losing streak, which is also not "good."
The biggest challenge for the team will be adjusting to its new coach, Paul Rhoads. It will take some time to get their new coach's game plan down.
I see Iowa State, in the next couple of seasons, playing in a bowl game again, but this just isn't the season.
North Dakota State isn't what I am making them sound like, though. In FCS, they aren't an Appalachian State, but they have proven they can keep it close against FBS teams. Last season they lost by only three points to the Wyoming Cowboys and finished the season with a decent 6-5 record—a winning season, which is more than Iowa State can say.
Even though the Bison are an FCS team and play FCS teams and Iowa State is an FBS team and plays FBS teams, there is an even possibility of either team winning.
If you don't already realize this, I see the North Dakota State Bison winning this game.
No. 4: Appalachian State at East Carolina
As seen in 2007, I see Appalachian State pulling off the FCS upset against an FBS school. This is a great squad, and I believe they will be invited into the FBS in future years.
In 2007, some of the same players on this team beat the nationally-ranked Michigan Wolverines by a field goal in the last seconds. This proved that the Mountaineers were the beasts of their conference.
On the other side of the ball, the Pirates had a great start to their season in 2008 but couldn't keep up with the hype.
They finished 8-4 at the end of the regular season. This wasn't a bad year, and they played in their conference championship and won. They were bowl eligible, and they went on to lose to the Kentucky Wildcats in the Liberty Bowl.
I think that Appalachian State will win this game in a tight battle.
No. 3: Maryland at California
Cal is going to be a ranked team going into this one, but not going out.
Yeah, that's right, I think the Terps can and will pull it off. This will be a barnburner, a classic, one of the best games of Week One. Just like last season, though, I think Maryland will pull off the close win and shock the world.
Nobody really expected the Terps to win last season either, but they did. They beat the nationally-ranked Golden Bears. The Bears' rushing attack will be the biggest problem for the Terps, but they will stop it just enough to pull off the win.
No. 2: New Mexico at Texas A&M
Texas A&M lives on hype, but they just don't have any coming into the 2009 season. New Mexico doesn't either, but how many upsets really go their way?
New Mexico is coming off a poor 4-8 season in 2008. They weren't even bowl-eligible at the end of the season. The Lobos have few good recruits, but I think that they can pull it off. This is the most passionate Lobos team there ever has been.
Texas A&M, on the other hand, has the hype of the Pittsburgh Pirates in pro baseball.
I'm not trying to put the Aggies down, because they have a great team, but there is nothing to work for. We all know with the strength of the Big 12 that they won't even get to win nine games.
Let's face it—they have everything and more to work for but just don't have the right tools to get the job done. This isn't the Aggies we have all grown to love and hate—for some, love to hate.
No. 1: Miami at Florida State
Miami may not have had the best season last year, but this is a whole new season with new teams to knock the pads off of and new players to help the team improve.
Miami had a decent recruiting class. This squad is trying to rebuild for the future, and that is not too long from now. In a couple of years, this team could very well be back in national championship contention.
Florida State had a great year last season, getting the job done on both ends of the field. Even though they lost two of their last three games, including the ACC Championship, they won their season finale against Wisconsin.
I don't think they will have as strong a team this coming season, though, and some may disagree. We will have to see how they fare against the rest of the ACC. This conference is only getting stronger every year.
I believe that if Miami can keep their minds on the right things and not worry about the Florida State crowd, then they can pull off the upset. They have to stay focused and practice, because this may be the best team in the ACC they are going up against.
I can't wait for this game!
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