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College Football 2008: The First Week Of The Upsets

Posted by Lil' Condo on September 30, 2008

This past week those in the college football world noticed an astonishing turn of events. USC lost its golden armor, UGA lost their strength, Florida lost its super powers, and the rabid Badgers could not handle the rabid Wolverines. This past weekend was the end of the road for one team and the beginning for others.

Let’s start with USC and Oregon State. USC came into this game with a little bit of arrogance. Everyone was talking about how they would run the table in the Pac-10 and that there wasn’t a team that could stop them this season. Well Oregon State heard what was being said and didn’t like it one bit. Oregon State jumped out to a 21-0 lead on the Trojans and took it from there. The one problem for Oregon State, however, was that they began to play, “let’s not lose the lead by turnovers” and went three and out on their next four possesions. USC, on the other hand, took their first two possesions of the second half and made it a 7 point game. Oregon State would intercept a Mark Sanchez pass and turn it in to a touchdown, saving what could’ve easily turned out to be a coemback win for USC. The lesson here is: if you’re beating a team at the end of the first half, continue doing what was working. If you’re winning because you’re attacking don’t stop attacking until the game is in hand.

Next we’ll go to the battle between Georgia and Alabama. There isn’t much that can be said about this game as Alabama came out ready to play and Georgia didn’t. Alabama jumped out to a 31-0 lead on UGA before Saban came down with a case of conservativitis. Though the Tide would only score 10 more points it prooved to be enough against the Bulldogs. The final score was 41-30 with UGA scoring two touchdowns in the final 5 minutes. Another lesson of what could possibly happen when you become too conservative: had Alabama not scored those ten points we would be looking at a 31-30 game where UGA would probably take the extra point on the first of their last two touchdowns leading to a 32-31 Georgia win. Granted Alabama scored 10 points but you can’t just change your game plan because you’re winning big in the first half. Keep doing what was working until the other team learns how to stop it or until the game is in hand.

Now we’re off to Gainesville, Florida — the site for the Rebels and Gators shoot-out. Florida would have problems with their offense yielding three fumbles and two turnovers-on-downs. Ole Miss threw one interception and had one turnover-on-downs of their own but they would also add a field goal and 4 touchdowns to compensate for their mistakes. The game was over when Urban Meyer decided to take a chance on 4th and 1 instead of giving their senior kicker, who hasn’t missed a field goal this season, a chance from 49 yards out. Florida had the lead going into the second half but Ole Miss came out in the third quarter and scored 17 unanswered points to take the lead again by 7. Florida scored to tie it in the fourth quarter but Ole Miss would answer for yet another 7 point lead. Florida drove down the field and put the ball in the end zone one last time but had their extra point blocked and their fate sealed. The lesson here is that no matter how good your team is, you can always be plagued by turnovers.

Our final stop is The Big House, where Michigan was playing their 500th game against the undefeated Badgers. Michigan lost four fumbles and threw an interception, all in the first half, and when Wisconsin took a 19-0 lead going into halftime, many people probably thought, “Jeez, this game is over. It’s 19-0 and Michigan has turned it over 5 times.” Don’t tell that to Rich Rodriguez and his team, though, as they came out in the second half with a passion. With a little over 2 minutes left in the 3rd quarter Kevin Koger would catch a Steven Threet touchdown pass drawing the score within 12, 19-7. With a little over 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter Brandon Minor would race 34 yards for another touchdown, suddenly making it a 5 point game. The first play of Wisconsin’s ensuing drive would give the Wolverines their first lead of the game, as Linebacker John Thompson would take an interception the distance for a score and 5 minutes later Sam McGuffie would punch in a two yard run giving the Wolverines a 27-19 lead. The game wasn’t over yet, though, as Wisconsin would score with 19 seconds left in the game, needing only a two point conversion to tie it up. Everidge would complete the two point conversion, but to an ineligible receiver. The illegal man downfield penalty would force Wisconsin back 5 yards for another attempt and this time the pass sailed high to clinch the Wolverines stunning 27-25 comeback. The lesson here is that no team is ever out of a game until that final whistle blows.

None of these teams are out of the National Title picture by any means, with the only exception likely being Wisconsin. The Badgers droped to 17 in the AP poll and 18 in the USA Today Poll. Florida is down to 12, while UGA is 11th and USC is 9th. Florida and Georgia have the best chances of getting back to the top considering strength of schedule and also assuming that neither team loses again. Granted one of them will lose when they play eachother but the team that goes undefeated the rest of the way will have a good chance at the National Championship game. USC also has a solid shot at making it back to the big game but they will have to hope that certain teams lose while they finish their Pac-10 schedule unscathed. Nonetheless it is shaping up to be yet another very exciting college football season.

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5 Responses to “College Football 2008: The First Week Of The Upsets”

  1. Baller said

    Hands down the biggest upset of course is SoCal’s loss to OrSt. The SEC losses are more expected and not “upsets” just because the talent level is so close top to bottom in the league. And Michigan over Wisconsin? Really? Does anyone care about “Big”10 football. Who really thought Wisconsin was going to run the table with no QB and a RB who is inconsistant ever since his Fr Year.

  2. Lil' Condo said

    The Michigan part is more about the comeback Michigan pulled off not the fact that they actually won the game but the fact that they poised a comeback after turning the ball over 4 times in the first half. The Florida one is more about how people were predicting that Florida would win the SEC if they beat Georgia and the Alabama-Georgia game was more to talk about how being too conservative with a lead can nearly lead to demise as well as the talk about the Oregon State USC game

  3. Condo said

    Actually Baller, a lot of people care about Big 10 football. Maybe not people who live in “SEC Country” but plenty of people care a lot more than you lead on to believe.

    Wisconsin has a better QB situation than Michigan for sure and probably a better QB situation then quite a few teams (including your Gamecocks). And I will give you the fact that PJ Hill is inconsistent, but again, he’s better than most RBs throughout the country.

    I just don’t understand why you, or SEC fans (generally speaking) have to take time out of their day to constantly rip the Big 10. It’s like you are jealous, when I think everyone realizes that you have NO reason to be jealous at all, in fact, I’d think it’s the other way around.

  4. Baller said

    Definitely not jealous. They are making comebacks finally in recruiting athletes up there. But until recently the BigTen didnt play anyone outside of the northeast. Northern football definitely is not the same as west coast or southern football. And I took the time out of my day because it shouldnt have been considered an upset because Wisconsin should not have been ranked that high.

  5. Condo said

    Fair enough Baller and I’m sorry if it seems I ‘ripped’ into you. It just gets frustrating as a fan of a Big 10 team (especially living in SEC Country) listening to the majority of fans rip the Big 10 constantly.

    I won’t disagree with you that Wisconsin was over-ranked, but they are not a bad ball club by ANY means and whether or not you think it was an upset or not, this season, I believe it ‘was’ an upset as Michigan is not a very good team this year, especially when you consider the fact they were down 19-0 in the 3rd quarter.

    On a side note… you made the comment about how Northern football is not the same as west coast or southern football, and you’re right, they play the game a different way up north and that’s because of the conditions that they play in. I would LOVE to see a southern team or a west coast team travel to face a team like Ohio State, Michigan State, Penn State, etc… late in November when the weather gets really cold and the ‘elements’ are put into play. It certainly would be interesting to see how those teams that are used to the warmer climate would ‘adjust’ not only themselves, but their game plan to the cold weather.

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