College Football: Who Is This Year's Appalachian State?

Nic GulasSenior Analyst IJune 5, 2008

Last September, the unthinkable happened just three hours into the college football season.

On the debut of the Big Ten Network, a tiny school from Boone, North Carolina shocked the No. 5 team in the country—and the college football nation.

Appalachian State 34, No. 5 Michigan 32. 

A Football Championship Subdivision team had beaten a college football giant on its home field to set up the craziest college football season on record. 

There is no doubt that, after last season, the belief that anything is possible is stronger than ever.

With that in mind, what team has the best chance to be this year's Appalachian State and shock a Bowl Subdivision team? 

For starters, Appy State could easily be this year's Appy State. 

The Mountaineers open this season at LSU in a matchup of defending National Champions. 

LSU is without an experienced QB this season and faces some tough losses in the secondary, with only one upperclassman expected to start this season.  

Appalachian State faces the same losses in the secondary, but returns QB Amanti Edwards from last season's team. 

There is no way LSU will let this slip happen, having seen the results last season in Ann Arbor.

LSU also faces spread offenses this season from SEC foes Auburn and Florida, so this upset is unlikely.

Another choice could be Southern Illinois over Northwestern on Sep. 13. 

The Salukis have defeated a FBS team each of the last two seasons, taking down Northern Illinois last season and Indiana the year before that. 

Northwestern is coming off a 6-6 season but returns the most lettermen since 1992, including experienced QB C.J. Bacher and all four of the defensive front. 

Northwestern bringing in new offensive and defensive coordinators makes this an intriguing pick, but I see Northwestern pulling out a close game. 

So who will be this season's Appalachian State?  Look no further than the new home of Ryan Perrilloux, Jacksonville State.

The Gamecocks have gained the biggest recruit in school history—maybe even in the history of the former Division I-AA—who is coming in ready to play. 

Who will fall victim to the Fighting Perrillouxs? 

The upset of the year will be in week one yet again, as the Gamecocks travel the short distance to Atlanta to face Georgia Tech on a Thursday night. 

The Yellow Jackets finished last season 7-6 and have lost their leading passer and rusher from last season. 

They also return just four starters on defense.  This is the same defense that will have to prevent Perrilloux from escaping the pocket and running wild. 

A new regime in Atlanta with head coach Paul Johnson making his debut, combined with Jax State's new addition, make this game too good of a selection to pass up for upset of the year. 

The game can be seen on on Aug. 28 at 8 p.m. EST.

Once this upset is complete, who knows what kind of season we'll have in store?