Last year the University of South Florida got the season rolling with not one but two big upsets and this year the Beavers have fittingly popped the proverbial ... cork off the upset champagne.
Last night's upset by the Beavers got me thinking that the stars may be aligned for another ULTIMATE UPSET EXTRAVAGANZA or whatever ESPN's committee in charge of naming things ends up calling it.
First, the Nation's top teams are psyched that USC lost. They know this opens the door for either a Big 12 or SEC champion and they are so excited they want to check Orbitz for good prices on airplane tickets and hotels. Focus sing on Sister Mary's college for the blind will be a little harder with images of crystal footballs dancing in their eyes.
Secondly, this weekend is being described as a one game weekend. Alabama v. UGA. All the other games aren't "compelling" enough for sophisticated NFL fans or over-weight radio personalities. The last time I recall a weekend full of dull uninteresting automatic wins was week 5 of last season and that ended up including three major upsets to Florida #3, Oklahoma #4, and West Virginia #5. Again the first week of Autumn brings us a seemingly benign weekend of less than compelling matchups that may just fly under a better teams radar.
And thanks to the brilliant 40 second play clock idea, the games have about two-thirds as many plays as they did last season so upsets are a lot more likely. Does Oregon State hold on under last year's rules? It's hard to say but Pete Carrol sure would like his chances if his offense had 15 more plays.
Wisconsin is favored against Michigan at the Big House but the Badgers better watch out if they think they can walk into Ann Arbor and dominate the Wolverines. Badgers are no match for a Wolverine in the wild and things like this can't be overlooked. The Badgers haven't won in the big house since 1994. Its not that easy for a program to overcome that kind of domination. ie Florida needed the Wyatt Sexton miracle to win in Tallahassee. Michigan meanwhile has won 22 straight Big Ten home openers. (do they start off with Northwestern every year?) I predict the Rodriguez spread will look a little more in sync than it did against Utah and Notre Dame and the Wolverines will give their unemployed fan base something to cheer about - or is that Michigan State? I can never remember who Flint residents root for.
Next on upset alert is the mighty Univeristy of Florida. Gator fans know that Ole Miss owns them in a weird kind of perpetual upset - Britain owning Germany - sort of way. Though Florida won last year, the rebels destroyed the Gators secondary and forced Florida to run Tebow on 70% of their plays. Tebow threw on the other 9 plays. not actually true. Add to that fact Florida's freshmen class was born the same year Ole Miss rocked the pre-swamp astro-turf laden stadium's jean-short wearin', mustache growin' crowd to its knees ushering in the "Bench Kyle Morris" era, soon to be followed by the "lets go deep era." The fact that no one at Florida remotely remembers this game tells me that the old adage about ignoring history and repeating it may come true for the Gators.
LSU is going against a Mississippi State team that held Auburn to only 3 points. If anyone deserves to get Croomed it is Les Miles. I chalk this one up to Karma. end of story. Did I mention I hate Les Miles?
Oklahoma faces TCU at home in the house that Barry built. Switzer not sanders. Last time the horn frogs were in Norman (OU is in this tiny little town with a church a stadium and a wal-mart) they shocked the Sooners with a 17-10 smack down. The TCU coach admitted that he watched a tape of the Oklahoma spring game all summer. This has prompted Bob Stoops to stop practicing his offense for fear that TCU will watch the practice and beat him. Actually, playing a team that beat you the last time you played should make you more focused but I'm going to ignore that obvious fact. Heck USC had plenty of reason to pay attention to Oregon State and they still couldn't stop 'em. The Horn Frogs get in the head of Bobby Stoops and stun the Norman Kiwanis Club stadium crowd.
I have more bi*ches, Texas, the school in the other steers and queers state, hosts the Arkansas Razorbacks in a make-up game. And that is the key to this one, make-up games are historically ripe for upsets. Just take the Florida-Tennessee game in 2001. Every blue blooded Gator knows the Vols had no business winning that game, but due to the 9/11 attacks it was rescheduled from September to November and the whole complexion of the game changed. Phil Fulmer apparently coaches a lot better in November, and Florida never had a chance with Phil coming off a hearty Thanksgiving meal. I digress. Here we have an Arkansas team that was embarrassed by Alabama but that only helps their chances against an unknown Texas team. Its easy to overlook someone when the only film you have of the offense is their angle of pursuit following an interception. Arkansas awakens the ghost of Felix Jones and Darren McFadden to upset the Longhorns and fuel another ten years of SEC arrogance.
And that brings us to Alabama Georgia. if Alabama beats Georgia that would technically be an upset, though everyone is jumping on the Alabama band wagon quicker than you can say "I'm not going to be Alabama's coach," I seem to remember a certain John Parker Wilson being something of a headache to the Bama faithful last year. If JPW can bring his "A" game and play well on critical downs the Tide have a chance to beat the dawgs - black jerseys aside.
OK so there it is, my upset special. Of course predicting upsets in all of this weekend's games is kind of like saying a hurricane will strike 9 major cities. . . at once; but hey someone's got to do it. And with these new rules the games are so short the coin toss might predict the outcome. I mean did USC even get the ball last night?