Well, what looked on the surface to be an unexciting opening weekend of college football providing only one exciting game ended up producing an unimaginable shocker. Here are my thoughts on the opening weekend, and might I point out how great it is to have college football back in full swing again!

  • I was reminded when I woke up Sunday morning that yes, Appalachian State had still defeated Michigan. The college football gods hadn’t gone back and changed the score while I was asleep; indeed, the scoreboard still said 34-32. Final. Make no mistake, this was without question the biggest upset in the history of college football and probably in the history of college sports. In the twelve game virtual single elimination tournament that is the college football season, this loss is season-ending for Michigan. Sure, they could still win the Big Ten and earn a trip to Pasadena, but the Ann Arbor faithful had much bigger plans for the Wolverines this season. This loss was on par with the shock waves that would resonate after a #16 seed beat a #1 seed in the NCAA Basketball Tournament. That of course has never happened. You have to wonder why teams like Michigan even choose to schedule games like this that seem to create a lose-lose situation. In the best (and seemingly 99% probable) case scenario, Michigan wins the game but doesn’t benefit from a strength of schedule perspective. In the worst case scenario, the unthinkable happens, and the “easy” home opener turns in to a devastating and embarrassing mark in the “L” column. It just doesn’t seem to create a situation that has very good risk for reward characteristics. I’m not sure what will happen to Michigan as far as the polls are concerned, and I doubt they care too much at this juncture. I dropped them from 4th to 25th. Having said that, you still have to give Appalachian State a lot of credit. They made big plays on offense and blocked two field goals, either one of which would have won the game for Michigan. In the end, it looks like Michigan’s biggest weakness turned out to be a lot weaker than anyone guessed, as its defense gave up a nearly insurmountable 28 points in the first half. This was truly a game that the outcome of which was beyond words.
  • Cal got its revenge Saturday night and launched an offensive attack that was far too powerful for Tennessee to match. The Golden Bears look to have an even better offense than last season, and a serious Heisman contender in DeSean Jackson. The Vols actually seemed to move the ball fairly impressively, but if they don’t get a few questions answered on defense, they are going to be in for a long season. For Cal, probably the best news was the impressive rushing production by Justin Forsett, who ran for 155 yards and one touchdown.
  • Could you imagine what the reaction would have been from the nation at large if not one, but two top five teams lost to Division 1-AA opponents? Thanks to a lethargic effort by Texas at home against Arkansas State, this almost played out. The Longhorns were able to hold on for an uninspiring 21-13 victory, but that performance has got to be a red flag. Of course, maybe what we are seeing is similar to the phenomenon of mid-major success in college basketball, and these 1-AA teams really are closing the gap. Where exactly does a team like Appalachian State, two-time defending 1-AA champ, rank against 1-A teams? Is it possible that the best 1-AA teams have Top 50, or even Top 25 potential at the 1-A level? Based on the results of the opening weekend, it certainly looks like one could make that argument.


Wake Forest at #15 Nebraska, 11:00 CST, ESPN: Wake Forest got a tough break after starting quarterback Riley Skinner went out last week. He’ll have to miss this game, which hurts the Deacons chances a lot. It’s still a decent early season matchup between the rising Huskers and the Orange Bowl contestants from last season. Nebraska ought not look ahead to next weekend’s showdown with USC.

Miami, Fla at #11 Oklahoma, 11:00 CST, ABC : Two storied programs collide to start the day. The Canes are looking to start clean this season after last year’s disaster. This offers a big challenge, but a big opportunity to put the program back on the right track. The Sooners could be vulnerable without a proven quarterback, although they didn’t seem to struggle against their Division 1-AA team.

Oregon at #25 Michigan, 2:30, ABC: The pressure will be heavy and the tension will be decimating. If Michigan can’t find a way to beat the Ducks, you can bet they’ll be calling for Llyod Carr’s head in Ann Arbor. The Wolverines shouldn’t have much trouble scoring points, but could struggle against Oregon’s productive spread offense. It will certainly be worth keeping an eye on.

Notre Dame at #13 Penn State, 5:00, ESPN: Oh dear. Has a game ever lost more luster in one weekend than the September 15th matchup between Notre Dame and Michigan? If the Wolverine’s hadn’t blown their season against Appalachian State Saturday, the score that would have jumped off the screen would have been Notre Dame’s hapless effort in a 33-3 loss at home to Georgia Tech. They won’t have it any easier heading into Happy Valley against a tough Penn State team that has revenge on its mind.

TCU at #4 Texas, 5:00 CST: Texas had better improve upon last weekend’s effort or they’ll have their hands full with a tough Horned Frog defense.

#7 Virginia Tech at #2 LSU, 8:15 CST, ESPN: Arguably the two best defenses in America will meet in the Bayou for a great nighttime battle that holds national championship implications. Don’t expect a lot of scoring, but the hard-nosed defensive play should make for an interesting game, the winner of which may control its own destiny.

Top 25:

  1. USC (1-0)
  2. LSU (1-0)
  3. West Virginia (1-0)
  4. Texas (1-0)
  5. Wisconsin (1-0)
  6. Florida (1-0)
  7. Virginia Tech (1-0)
  8. Rutgers (1-0)
  9. California (1-0)
  10. Louisville (1-0)
  11. Oklahoma (1-0)
  12. Arkansas (1-0)
  13. Penn State (1-0)
  14. Hawaii (1-0)
  15. Nebraska (1-0)
  16. Texas A & M (1-0)
  17. Boston College (1-0)
  18. Georgia (1-0)
  19. Georgia Tech (1-0)
  20. Ohio State (1-0)
  21. Tennessee (0-1)
  22. UCLA (1-0)
  23. Oregon State (1-0)
  24. TCU (1-0)
  25. Michigan (0-1)


  1. Darren McFadden, Arkansas
  2. John David Booty, USC
  3. Brian Brohm, Louisville
  4. DeSean Jackson, California
  5. Colt Brennan, Hawaii
  6. Ray Rice, Rutgers
  7. Mike Hart, Michigan
  8. Steve Slaton, West Virginia
  9. Pat White, West Virginia
  10. Jamaal Charles, Texas
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