I'm quite sick of games like Washington's Week 3 victory over USC being called an upset...unless upset means that pundits don't know what they were talking about and they're upset about being red in the face. An upset should be one team surprising another team not an embarrassed supposed football guru.
What's safe and easy for TV's talking heads, periodical pundits and newspaper nitwits is to look at what happened the year before and guess how things would be this year. What they failed to see with Washington is that they not only had most of a losing team back, but they had they heart of the offense returning (Locker and Polk) and the soul of the defense back (Savannah).
And what does 'ripe for an upset' mean? It must mean that experts don't have the testicular gallantry to venture out of their own comfort zone of sticking with what's easy and safe.
Case-in-point: Washington 16, USC 13. The cupboard was supposed to be empty when Coach Steve Sarkisian arrived in Seattle. But that's not the case and that's what frustrated die-hard Washington fans knew all along last year. What changed from last year to this year?
Former Washington Coach Tyrone Willingham moaned about not having bullets to fire, but that's not what local observers saw. We saw overweight offensive linemen trying to run a spread offense. That's not lacking ammunition, that's misfiring. Then having the player who his offense is built upon throwing a block down-field is not just misfiring and shooting yourself in the foot, it's coaching suicide.
Five very important changes:
Jake Locker is back, Chris Polk is back, EJ Savannah is back, leadership and motivation are back, and, perhaps most importantly belief is back.
Locker went down early in the season against Stanford leaving the backfield empty as Polk had was sidelined in game two. Savannah never even made it to the season. Having those three guys back is as close to free-agent pick ups as a college team can get.
With those guys back on-board, a fresh scheme, experience and hunger that's not a recipe for an upset that's a cause for concern for the rest of the Pac-10.