The oddsmaker is a curious bedfellow; but when he is correct in establishing the all important “line” he is indeed a friend of the football fan.
This is not a discussion about gambling or potential financial windfalls gained from the predicting of college football games. No, this instead is about a great and passionate devotee who looks to the “line” to gauge his or hers’ confidence in the upcoming matchup between their beloved team and the next opponent.
This is more important than cash; this is about being a real college football fan.
The “line” in your favor gives you, as the enthusiast, a certain level of assurance, a degree of certainty, or, if nothing else it acts as a sleeping aid to get you through the week until game day.
However, this stated, your team being favored via the “line” paints a target on your back and adds a certain level of stress and is a cause to wonder; if your team does not win the game they are expected to win, well this is truly the worst case scenario.
The wider the spread, the more confidence is delicately intertwined with dread and the more faith is tainted with the looming sensation that something very bad could happen.
Of course, alternatively the fan of the team on the other side of the crucial odds makers “line” has the opposite set of concerns. He or she has less initial confidence, more early dreading and trepidation but underlying all of these emotions this devotee has a certain level of hope, a heady dream and just maybe a chip on their shoulder; yes, something to prove.
If it comes off poorly, as expected, this fan can brush the loss off as “predictable.” But, if it instead the result somehow unexpectedly becomes a victory, proving the oddsmaker incorrect, this aficionado has the best seven days of their year; those spent in the warm glow of the aftermath of an upset.
It is difficult to determine who has the upper hand in this historic struggle between those who toil above the oddsmakers’ line and those who live beneath it.
Regardless, we know it will happen; week in and week out, a team or teams will astonish the football world by being on either the giving or receiving end of the “upset.”
Indeed, if the oddsmakers were infallible then why would teams even take the field and play the game?
Who could forget NC State knocking off No. 2 ranked Florida State in 1998 or Stanford’s 2007 triumph over then No. 2 USC? And, of course there is the infamous 2007 season opener where Appalachian State marched into the Big House and demoralized an entire football program by beating No. 5 Michigan 34-32. Nobody saw that coming.
And when the shake-up does occur, fans on both sides anguish and celebrate respectively; representing the apex and the rock bottom experiences of a precious season of football.
Meanwhile, the rest of college football looks on with great curiosity, staring and wildly rubbernecking as if passing by a horrific wreck on the interstate. Slowing down even the most critical of tasks to look wide eyed at the aftermath of a terrible misfortune pooled with an unforeseen triumph. It is titillating.
The first week of the college football season features an absolute mass of opportunities for upsets.
FBS teams often face FCS teams as do the perennial powerhouses of BCS conferences often meet those of the smaller FBS schools and conferences for the all important “warm up game” (that could backfire).
Of course, there are also those games (where kudos should be given) where “somebody actually plays somebody” and two great programs full of hope and confidence clash in Week 1 giving the entire nation something to cheer for.
Upsets are difficult to predict and though the predictor will more than likely be wrong and branded a fool it is an entertaining process to attempt to forecast who will lose a game that they should win.
The following slideshow attempts to do just that, identify the potential upsets of Week 1 of the 2010 college football campaign.
These potential bombshells are listed in an order indicating the confidence of the pick; No. 8 representing the prediction with the least assurance and No. 1 being the most confident or the weekly “lock.”