September 27, 2008
What does anyone know?
Hype, stubbornness, blind faith, wishful thinking, history, and ignorance.
All reasons we, as college football fans, will believe what we hear. Afterall, if you hear it a lot and from plenty of people, then it must be true.
But, it rarely is true. And when a weekend like this comes along it should remind us all that we know nothing.
Anything can happen. That's why this game is so great.
So Saturday, September 25, 2008 will officially be known as "the day of the upset". The day the 2008 college football season changed.
And let us never forget again.
I believe congratulations are in order. Because although many will talk about how certain teams lost the game, what we should be talking about is who won these games. So let me be the first to say:
Congratulations Oregon State and Ole Miss. Way to go Navy and Maryland. Well played Michigan and Houston. Welcome back Alabama.
Oregon State 27 — No. 1 USC 21 Corvallis, Oregon
The Beavers came into the game as 25 point underdogs and rode the back of their virtually unknown tailback Jacquizz Rodgers. After a 186 yard performance against a Trojan defense many considered to be the best in the nation, Rodgers is no longer unknown.
No. 8 Alabama 41 — No. 3 Georgia 30 Athens, Georgia
Alabama used a dominant defense and John Parker Wilson's accurate passing to establish a jaw dropping 31-point halftime lead.
Wilson was 13-of-16 passing for 205 yards with one touchdown, while Glenn Coffee ran for two scores in a game that wasn't nearly as close as the final score. Georgia scored two touchdowns in the waning minutes.
Although many the Crimson Tide entered the game No. 8 in the country, many thought Georgia would prove to tough a test for the young team. Instead, it's Bama who proved to tough for Georgia and with the win Nick Saban's team has established itself as a legitimate national championship contender in his second season.
Ole Miss 31 — No. 4 Florida 30 Gainesville, Florida
Ole Miss made Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow look very ordinary. The Rebel defense forced three Gator turnovers, including a fumble by Tebow. Tebow was sacked three times because he held on to the ball for too long and he overthrew at least four receivers on deep routes, including two in the final drive.
Finally, facing fourth-and-one and trailing by one at the Ole Miss 32 yard line with 40 seconds left in the game, Urban Meyer elected to put the ball in the hands of his most trusted player. Everyone in the Swamp and millions watching knew that Tebow would keep the ball. But Tebow was hit in the backfield and never even got back to the line of scrimmage.
Michigan 27 — No. 9 Wisconsin 25 Ann Arbor, Michigan
Michigan went into the locker room down by 19 points. They had failed to move the ball at all in the first half and had turnovers.
After halftime, the Wolverines seemed doomed to lose their first season opener in 22 seasons and spoil the celebration of Michigan Stadium's 500th game.
But, with 2:22 left in the third quarter the Wolverines found a spark. Steven Threet connected with tight end Kevin Koger for a 26-yard touchdown. Michigan Stadium was brought back to life.
On Michigan's next possession Brandon Minor would get a strong 34 yard touchdown run and the Wolverines took a 20-19 lead on John Thompson's 25-yard interception return for a touchdown with 10:27 left in the fourth quarter, just seconds after Minor's touchdown.
Sam McGuffie's 3-yard touchdown run made it 27-19 for Michigan with 5:11 left. The defense would hold on and the Wolverines turned a stunned and silent crowd into a euphoric one with the largest comeback in Michigan Stadium history.
Navy 24 — No. 16 Wake Forest 17 Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Wake Forest lead the nation in turnover margin and quarterback Riley Skinner hadn't thrown an interception in nine months. Then the Midshipmen came to town and six turnovers (including four interceptions and a fumble by Skinner) later Navy was celebrating it's first win over a ranked team in 23 years.
Eric Kettani rushed for a career-high 175 yards and backup quarterback Jarod Bryant scored the decisive touchdown late in the fourth quarter, after Skinner's fourth pick, as Navy survived despite losing quarterback Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada in the second quarter.
Maryland 20 — No. 20 Clemson 17 Clemson, South Carolina
At the half the Terps found themselves down 17-6 and knew they had to get the momentum back if they were going to steal a road victory away from the Tigers.
They got the momentum when on 1st-and-10 from Maryland's 20, Darrius Heyward-Bey ran around an open right side, cutting back through the middle of the field to the left sideline and by the time he was forced out by Clemson safety Michael Hamlin, Heyward-Bey was on the Tigers 4 and had gained not only 76 yards, but the momentum of the game back.
Two plays later, Chris Turner found Torrey Smith on a 6-yard touchdown pass to close the gap and fire up his teammates.
Da'Rel Scotthad the winning score, a 1-yard run, early in the fourth quarter. But there was no minimizing the lift the Terps got from Heyward-Bey's run, the longest allowed by Clemson in eight years.
Houston 41 — No. 23 East Carolina 24 Greenville, North Carolina
East Carolina was used to being on the other side of the upset and had become America's new favorite team with huge wins over then No. 17 Virginia Tech and then No. 8 West Virginia. Now the Pirates know what heartbreak feels like after two devastating losses in the last two weeks.
On this Saturday, Houston was upset minded and they got the job done and then some. Quarterback Case Keenum and the Houston offense racked up 621 yards against the Pirates with Keenum throwing for 399 of those yards.
The Houston defense held the Pirates quarterback Patrick Pinkney to just 100 yards passing and forced three turnovers on the day.
Hangover from a topsy turvy 2007?
It seems as though those who thought the up and down, upset filled 2007 season was a fluke were mistaken.
Only five weeks into the 2008 season and in one weekend, we've seen seven top 25 and four top 10 teams go down in defeat.
What will this mean for the rest of the season?
I'm sure many a pundit will provide some answer to that question, but the smartest response just may be... I don't know.
For all the guessing and speculating has got us nowhere.
USC was supposed to be the best team in the country, but they are not.
Georgia was supposed to prove they were a valid pre-season No. 1, but they were not.
Florida was supposed to conquer they're favorable schedule, but they did not.
Wisconsin was supposed to finally get over the hump, but they could not.
Wake Forest was supposed to be the ACC's poster team, but they are not.
Clemson was supposed to rebound from an opening season loss, but they did not.
East Carolina was supposed to bust the BCS party, but they will not.
The one thing we all should learn from this upset weekend is: We know nothing.
And you should never forget it.