The University of Southern California was the undisputed best team in the nation. They received virtually every No. 1 vote in the AP poll last week.
But Mike Reilly, coach of the Oregon State Beavers, must have thought his team had a chance, creating the perfect game-plan as a supposedly inferior opponent.
After all, Penn State had just defeated the Beavers by 31 points. How could an upset ever be possible?
At a different venue, in Corvallis, Ore., it all became possible. The legs of freshman running back Jacquizz Rodgers shredded through the USC defensive line, perhaps the most physical defense in all of college football. But it was possible.
USC's defense broke down and is in shambles, especially with the injury of star linebacker Ray Maualuga. His injury came late in the game, but it will be the most haunting loss for the Trojans as they go on.
Eight teams in the Top Five lost last year and this is the first casualty for the 2008 season.
But it wasn't possible, right? Down 21-0 at halftime, the Trojans looked unjustifiably confident, breaking down in a huddle before they broke for the opening kickoff. Must have been a great halftime speech by Pete Carroll, but to no avail.
It was possible.
It just goes to show you how a sleeping team, as clearly the Trojans' offense and defense were, can be stopped in its tracks by an determined, opposing squad. These superpower teams seem to have trouble against the small, annoying teams.
So now the college football title is up for grabs. Sure, LSU lost twice last year and still were national champions, but are we going to see the same amount of upsets by Top Five teams as we saw last year?
This certainly opens the door for Oklahoma if they run the table in the Big 12. What about Georgia, Florida and LSU, all in the Top Five and in position to make a run in the SEC? They'll probably beat up on each other as they did last season.
Now the Big Ten looks great. (Let me take that back...Michigan is pitiful, Ohio State can barely beat the likes of Troy and Ohio University.) But seriously, if Wisconsin or Penn State puts together a strong run, they must argue that they belong in conversations.
Especially Penn State. Their offense is unbelievable, scoring more points in a four-game span than any team in the history of Nittany Lion football.
Their defense has been very impressive, keeping games out of reach all season long. Could Joe Paterno be in position to coach in another national championship game as an 81-year-old coach?
The great part of all this is, one little determined game plan from Riley allowed all this speculation to now occur. The college football aura has been restored for the 2008 season.