College Football Upsets You Might See This Season
Every college football season there are a handful of upsets that can be detrimental to ranked teams' chances of making it to a BCS bowl game. A true upset requires distance in ranking and causing a serious blow to the opponent's ranking. I am not stating an upset will occur, but don't be surprised if you see one happen here and there.
With that in mind, here is a list of potential upset games to watch out for this season; there is one game chosen for each week...
Aug. 30—Tennessee at UCLA
Once again, Tennessee heads out to the Bear state for its season opener, this time against a different opponent. The Vols look to leave the West with a win while UCLA looks to start the season with an upset. With Rick Neuheisel as its new coach, it wouldn't surprise me if UCLA upsets a couple teams this season. Don't get me wrong, though, last year's SEC East champion has a very solid squad with a handful of upperclassman who vow not to take any steps backward.
Sept. 6—Wisconsin at Fresno State
For a team looking to get past the Outback Bowl and enter the BCS bowl series, things aren't off to a good start. Running back Lance Smith has been dismissed from the team for off-the-field issues. Fresno, which looks to be this year's Hawaii, has similar hopes, and will battle it out in Week Two in a BCS elimination game. Defeating a team that returns nine on offense and seven on defense on the road will truly be a hard test.
Sept. 13—Georgia at South Carolina
Last season, the Gamecocks came into Athens and spoiled things early for the Dawgs; this season they head to Columbia for their SEC season opener. Georgia can’t afford any slip ups this season or its quest for the national title game will be erased early once again. Knowshon Moreno and Matthew Stafford will try to avenge last season’s upset while Jasper Brinkley and company look to prove everybody wrong.
Sept. 18—West Virginia at Colorado
We all remember when Oklahoma came to Boulder as the No. 4 team in America and left with a big "L" on its record last season. Colorado will be improved this season, and, with the return of center Daniel Sanders, the line will be one the best in the country. With the Mountaineers coming into unfamiliar territory, this has all the ingredients for a possible upset. Keep an eye on West Virginia running back Noel Devine, though; with his speed, he will make a name for himself this season.
Sept. 27—Virginia Tech at Nebraska
In 2008, Nebraska looks to get back on track and reassert itself in the Big 12, while the Hokies are once again ranked because of their defense. It will take more than a year for Nebraska to join Texas and Oklahoma’s elite status, but the Huskers will not be the same bad team as last year. Senior running back Marlon Lucky will try to expose the Hokies' weakness on defense, which lies at the linebacker position with the losses of Xavier Adibe and Vince Hall. With the ACC being weak right now, you can consider this game one of their toughest this season.
Oct. 4—Arizona State at California
With one of the nation’s top offensive lines, Cal looks to shake up the Pac-10 and make things rougher for Arizona State. ASU must remain focused and can’t overlook Cal in anxiousness for its road game at USC. With senior quarterback Rudy Carpenter leading the offense, taking down the No. 15 team won’t be an easy task, but is definitely within reason.
Oct. 18—Texas Tech at Texas A&M
Texas Tech has emerged as one of the nation’s top offenses in the country, led by senior quarterback Graham Harrell and the nations’ top wideout, Michael Crabtree. Many also believe that is the season Tech breaks through to the BCS and removes its name from the “other” teams in Texas. Mike Sherman will try to put A&M back where it's used to and will attempt to improve the decent passing game. This game is more about an in-state rivalry and will go to the team that wants it more.
Oct. 25—South Florida at Louisville
Matt Grothe proved last season his size was not going to hold him back as he led South Florida to one of its best seasons in school history. Coach Steve Kragthorpe and Louisville look to improve on their disappointing 6-6 record last season and to get back on track this year. Look for plenty of points to be scored as two experienced quarterbacks aim to lead their team to victory.
Nov. 1—Pittsburgh at Notre Dame
Both these teams could be two of the biggest surprises in the 2008 season. I’ll be shocked if Notre Dame loses more than seven games compared to nine last year. Pitt should contend for the Big East title this season, which is a huge improvement from last year's 5-7 record. Look out for Pitt running back LeSean McCoy, who should prove to be one of the nation’s top backs, while Charlie Weis and the Irish hope for Jimmy Clausen and Robert Hughes to get their offense into gear.
Nov. 8—Penn State at Iowa
Penn State is a team full of question marks resulting from off-the-field issues. Coach Joe Paterno’s kids seem to be uncontrollable, which is a shame, because they are a talented group of guys. The Nittany Lions have plenty of experience on both sides of the ball; the defense will miss linebacker Dan Connor and cornerback Justin King’s experience and leadership, though. Iowa has also faced some off-the-field issues, and probably won’t make a whole of noise in the Big 10, but should get an upset in at home. Penn State will have to prove it isn't as vulnerable as everyone thinks it is.
Nov. 15—Ohio State at Illinois
Illinois is the last roadblock the Buckeyes face, which, if they make it through Southern Cal, could be their key to the BCS title game. Illinois was considered the breakthrough team last season and even looks to be better despite losing NFL running back Rashard Mendenhall. Juice Williams will look to spoil Chris Wells and Todd Boeckman's title run and make their own plans for the BCS. It won’t be a simple task by any means; Ohio State returns nine starters on each side of the ball.
Nov. 22—BYU at Utah
Not many people have heard of this rivalry, but it does exist and is one of the more underrated ones in college football. Each school will battle it out for a season of perfection to make a BCS bowl game. One problem: Only one team can go undefeated. The last time this happened was in 2004 by Utah. Each has the schedule to make the goal possible, but one will get their hopes and dreams crushed at the end of the season. BYU should be favored, but, with the teams so similar, all bets should be off, especially with playing at Utah.
Nov. 29—Florida at Florida State
Without question, Urban Meyer’s boys are bigger, faster, stronger, and more talented than Bobby Bowden’s group this year, but there is nothing better than an in-state rivalry game, especially when these two meet. Florida looks to be the team to beat other then Georgia in the SEC this season, and will not only have to beat non-conference opponent Miami, but also head to Tallahassee for the season finale.
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