It doesnt happen very often, but it did yesterday. Saturday was only the second day since I began this blog that I didnt write a post. But a Saturday at Keeneland, followed by a night of football will do that to you. The night of football was amazing and contained one of the best games we have seen in recent years, with the showdown in the Bayou between the Gators and Tigers. With both teams coming to Lexington in the next two weeks, there is no doubt that we will be in for a treat.
However the story of the night, matter fact the story of the season, continues to be the proliferation of major upsets throughout college football. There was a time that I used to make the claim, with some validity, that there simply were not huge upsets on the college gridiron. Even though great teams might lose on the road to good teams, the best teams simply did not lose at home to bad teams and thus the “Chaminade over Virginia” experience was an unbelievable rarity that simply was not present in college football. However this year has proven me wrong as college football has gone topsy-turvy. Take yesterday, where I took favorites in 4 games that I saw as LOCKS, even taken into consideration the spread. I placed four wagers on four teams (Miami, Rutgers, Kansas St and Alabama), all of whom struck me as guarantees to cover their low spreads and make big bucks for daddy. In the end none of the teams covered and three were beaten out right. College football is simply out of sorts this year, which makes it one of the more exciting seasons ever. With that then, the five upsets that have thrown me off the most:
(5) Illinois over Penn St/Wisconsin
Anyone who has listened to the radio show over the years knows that for reasons I cant really explain, I am a fan of Ron Zook. In part I think it is because he looks like a hero of Westerns from years past and in part because he finds a way to recruit at an unbelievable clip, but I just tend to pull for ol Ronnie boy. However even I am shocked at what he has done this year. The Illini are 6-0, headed to a bowl for the first time in ages and are now looking like a real contender in the Big 10. Over the past two weeks, the golf shirted one has beaten two teams that were thought to be the Class of the Big 10, mainly by overpowering them. And now Zookie has the folks in Champaign believing, which is great because the school is now home to one of the best (Zook) and worst (Bruce Weber) recruiters in America. Go Zook……
(4) Syracuse over Louisville
At the time this was number 1. Here were the supposedly Big Bad Cardinals, fresh off the disruption to their national title fantasies, playing arguably one of the worst teams in Division I. My assumption was they would win by 1,000 points and the Card fans would continue chirping that the Kentucky loss was meaningless. What happens….the hapless Orange DOMINATE the Cards in every phase, get a 24 point lead, hang on in the end and begin the fire Kragthorpe chants that now dominate the city. At the time, it was the biggest upset in Vegas history as the Cards went off as 38 1/2 point favorites. Truly embarrassing.
(3) Utah over UCLA 44-6
I am still stunned by this one. Utah, fresh off losing their starting quarterback and running back, loses their first two games and then brings a hot UCLA team into their place. Sure an upset can happen here…..but 44-6? That is a massive beatdown that could one day spell the beginning of the end for the UCLA coach and the downfall of a once-rising program. Now since then of course, UCLA has lost to Notre Dame and Utah has beaten Louisville (but then again who hasnt besides Mike Archer), but that score is still one of the more unbelievable that I have ever seen.
(2) Appalachian State over Michigan
If you know football, you know that Appalachian State is a very good 1-AA team. And if you know football, you know that Michigan is perpetually overrated. But to lose in the Big House on opening day, when the Wolverines have visions of a national championship dancing in their heads…..well that is simply unfathomable. What is even more amazing is that if you took the players’ uniforms off (which wouldnt be nice) and gave them the same color jerseys (which would be confusing), you wouldnt have been able to tell which team was which. Appy St was simply better at every position…..and took home a win for the ages in the process.
(1) Stanford over USC
Simply put, the biggest upset of my lifetime in college football. A little perspective here….in the entire history of Vegas making sports lines, this is the biggest college football upset ever (40 points). Stanford is dreadful…..I mean dreadful. Jim Harbaugh is a great motivator (and was a crappy Bears quarterback, although we would take him in a minute now), but he has no players….AT ALL. USC has maybe 25 guys on their roster who will play in the NFL. Harbaugh said before the game that USC may be the best team ever….which is a bit of an exaggeration, but not the most absurd statement ever. They have 10 GUYS who were All-Americans on their roster…..ALL AT RUNNING BACK. And they lost at home….to Stanford. It is inconceivable……add in the story of the receiver who caught the final touchdown losing his dad this week….and well, some things are just meant to be.
We have more later tonight, including news on the “Boot Camp” that the UK basketball players just went through…..