Wednesday, March 12, 2008

2007 Season Review (The Upsets)

The Upsets

The first Saturday of the season is always the toughest day of the season for me. Hunting season and Opening Saturday always seem to pull me in two directions.

This year one score in particular kept me at home that Saturday afternoon. For some reason I kept seeing ASU (who?) on top of #5 Michigan.

Thanks, to the wonderful marketing machine that is the Big Ten Network, only a certain few people were getting to watch the seemingly greatest upset of all time as it happened.

I continued watching some game I had no concern about (that's a lie, I have concern about all of them) just to watch the ticker hoping and praying that this Appalachian State, whoever they were would pull off the upset. It didn't seem possible. A should-be dominant Michigan seemed to awaken from its sleepwalking first half and pull back within striking range. They finally did pull ahead.

Predictably, of course.

Then Armanti Edwards somehow drove the Mountaineers back down for a field goal to go up 34-32.

It was too quick. Surely they wouldn't hold on. This doesn't happen.

It's never happened.

No 1-AA has ever beaten a ranked team, nonetheless against a top 5 team. It wouldn't happen, especially against Michigan, the winningest team in College Football.

Then it happened.

A block. Appy state did it. The 1-AA from the hills in North Carolina rolled into the Big House and knocked off the #5 team in the nation. Greatest upset of all time? Maybe. Maybe not. Only time will tell.

What we do know is that it began the craziest season of upsets in recent memory.

Over 20 teams cycled through the top 10 including Rutgers, Boston College, South Florida, Arizona State, South Carolina, and Illinois.

Oh, yeah, Kentucky and Kansas made it up there. No, I didn't switch to talking about basketball there (see what I did there?).

Not exactly the murder's row of teams. Each of the above teams pulled off some upsets that shocked the country at the time.


Kentucky and Arkansas pulling off OT wins over LSU.
Kansas beating VT in the Orange Bowl
South Florida taking out WVU early in the season.
Illinois knocking off top ranked OSU

It was even argued that the two greatest upsets of all time came in the same season. The first being the aforementioned Appalachian State. Then Stanford pulled off the improvable upset of 40 pt. favorite USC. It wasn't that Stanford was that horrible (they were), but that USC was supposed to be THAT good. The combined stars on Stanford's sideline during a time out didn't add up to the USC second string backfield. But in a hard fought game the Cardinal did just enough to pull off what would be the upset of the century in any other century.

The season seemed to calm down on the home stretch to lead to nice finish. Ohio State was ranked #1 with several teams foaming at the mouth for the #2 spot. Then the spread came to Columbus and ruined the perfect season. Boston College beat Virginia Tech only to lose the next week to a struggling Florida State. LSU was outlasted by Kentucky.

A Big XII team seemingly guaranteed themselves a spot in the big dance. Mizzou, and Kansas had both secured top 5 spots with only each other to finish out the season. #4 Oklahoma had a trip to Lubbock to take on the Red Raiders before Bedlam with Oklahoma State. They had won the south regardless of the outcome of the final two games. Again, in the year of sheer randomness, Mike Leach and his pirates of the South Plains pulled off another upset.

Now somehow, a Big XII team could end up outside the MNC game. The winner of Mizzou and Kansas would earn a game with the Sooners in the Big XII championship game. Mizzou beat Kansas to earn a chance to face the Sooners for the second time this season.

Mizzou defeated Kansas and earned a #1 spot after climbing back up the charts after a tough loss to Oklahoma. Mizzou had improved significantly since that loss and headed to San Antonio to avenge that loss in the conference championship game. #2 WVU, which lost all hope after a loss against USF earlier in the season, just had to beat a lowly Pittsburg to earn a trip to New Orleans. Both of them fell short.

Somehow against all odds. Ohio State and LSU had moved back up to #1 and #2 respectively. Somehow in the most unpredictable season in recent memory, something predictable happened. Good grief that was cliche.

Go figure.

Some of the more entertaining games (not necessarily upsets):

Texas A&M over Texas

Kentucky over Louisville

Cal over Oregon (not an upset... but heck of a game)

Arkie over LSU

Illinois vs. OSU

Up Next: The Players

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