Monday, November 12, 2007

Enough already

Ok we get it, beware the upset, fear the low- and mid-major conferences, and don't forget about D-IAA or D-II schools (FCS in football). It was cute when Appy State took down Michigan in September. We were all schocked and amazed and it was like when your little cousin says something and it's so cute that everyone claps and awwwws. Once is enough. Or so I thought.

Now every week there are more than a couple outstanding upsets. Major upsets in college sports have become so common this football and very young basketball season that a ranked team beating an unranked team is starting to be the surprising part of the weekend. Texas actually beating Texas Tech surprises more people than say Maryland beating BC. Now when your cousin does that thing that made everyone laugh it's just not funny anymore and you really wish it would stop for your sanity sake.

It is expected that there will be more than a couple upsets every week. A year ago we would expect 1 maybe 2 upsets a week in the top 25 and usually somewhere in the neighborhood of 25-30 in a given season. Last season The Ohio State University went coast-to-coast as the consensus #1 the entire season and it wasn't too deep into the season when Michigan was #2 and rode that spot until they lost to OSU in the Big 11 Championship game, and OhState kept the #1 until the BCS Championship game vs Florida (who alledgedly shouldn't have been in that game) and lost, so too did Oklahoma lose to a "less worthy" opponent in Boise State and the Fiesta Bowl, maybe this was the start of it all, 2007 a wierd year for football. Things were just kind of expected last year, USC and Texas were the major powers ranked high early who fell to foes and dropped in the rankings in the big upsets and Florida just trudged along hanging out in the top 10 and top 5 for most of the season until the end. A few surprises and more than a couple upsets but an average College Football season. And as far as basketball is concerned, the upsets are a little more common since there are three times as many games but still it was a pretty typical season, especially early on when playing the softer out of conference schedules, almost no movement in the top 25 last season, Florida dropping in week three to #5 after a road loss to then #12 Kansas was a pretty common ocurrance, this is not a huge surprise on anyone's calendars.

Now fast forward to this year:

Appalachin State over #5 Michigan (@ the Big House), week 1, only major upset (Clemson also upset then #19 and highly overrated Florida State who barely see the top 25 again the rest of the season) and it was a pretty average week of College Football, but people who saw that game or score had a funny feeling. Sure Appy St. was an amazing FCS team and we all knew that Michigan was taking them lightly, but there is not enough excuses in the world to reason out why an FCS team should beat the #5 team in the country. Then week 2: #22 Boise State fell to Washington, #11 GA fell to South Carolina and #17 Auburn fell to S. Florida. still nothing setting off the Radar, this fulfilling the average about 1-2 upsets per week and we have 4 through 2 weeks with 1 huge surprise and 1 mediocre surprise (SF over Aub).

Then week 3 and the upsets started piling up but nothing too crazy, 3 more, Utah over #11 UCLA, Kentucky over #9 Louis-ville, and #21 BC over #15 Ga. Tech. People now start noticing this new trend of upsets.

Week 4: Miami over #20 Auburn, Syracuse over #18 Louis-ville, (left for dead) Michigan over #10 JoePa's, and #22 GA fighting back after the SoCar loss to upset #16 Bama. Starting to get a little stranger then ...

Week 5. The week that absolutely killed me in my poll:

#18 SF over #5 WVU, Illini over #21 JoePa's, Boulder over #3 Ok, Kstate over #7 Horns, GaTech over #13 Clemson, Maryland over #10 Rutgers, Noles over #22 Bama, and Auburn over #4 Florida. 5 top ten teams lose this week, 4 to unranked teams. Ok this season is officially starting to get crazy for the football fans but it can't continue at this pace.

Week 6: SoCar over #8 Kentucky, Illini over #5 Wisconsin, Kansas over #24 Kstate, Tennessee over #12 GA and Stanford over #2 USC. Two of the top 5 teams lost and 3 of the top 10, things aren't looking safe in the top 10 anymore. But all of the upsets are out of their system now, the rest of the season will go off with out a hitch right?

Week 7: Wake over #21 Noles, Iowa over #18 Illini, #17 Kentucky over #1 LSU, JoePa's over #19 Wisconisn, Oregon St. over #2 Cal, and Louis-ville over #15 Natti (from this point on Natti is almost always upset or upsetting someone else) Let me get this straight, Numbers 1 and 2 lose in the same week AND a # 2 loses in back to back weeks. For those of you counting at home in the last 3 weeks ELEVEN of the Top 10 teams (at any given week) lost.

For comparison sake let's look at Week 4's top 10 going into week 5: 1 USC, 2 LSU, 3 OK, 4 Fla, 5 WVU, 6 Cal, 7 TX, 8 OhSt, 9 Wisc, 10 Rutgers.

Now lets look at the top ten after week 7 was over (3 weeks later): 1 OhSt, 2 SF, 3 BC, 4 OK, 5 LSU, 6 SoCar, 7 Ore, 8 Kent, 9 WVU, 10 Cal

5 of the top ten fell out completely and others rebounded to only drop a couple spots. At this point all the upsets have to be over right. Wrong, we're in Conference Play where anything can happen, and this is usually the point of the upsets:

Week 8: Rutgers over #2 SF (third straight week #2 lost) Pitt over #23 Natti, Vandy over #6 SoCar, Bama over #21 Tenn, #15 Fla over #7 Kentucky, UCLA over #12 Cal, OkSt over #25 Kstate.

Week 9: MissSt over #14 Kentucky, #23 UCONN over #10 SF, #18 GA over #11 Fla, NcSt over #15 Va, Tenn over #16 SoCar.

Week 10: Natti over #18 SF, FSU over #2 BC (4th time #2 lost in last 5 weeks)

Week 11: Wisc over #12 Michigan (heartbreaking for Michigan after the effort to get back in the polls after 2 early losses to Appy St. and Oregon), MissSt over #22 Bama, Illini over #1 OhSt (at The Horseshoe, 2nd time #1 lost this season) and Natti over #13 UCONN.

Grand Total: 49 upsets this season, 19 top ten teams lost, 4 #2's, 2 #1's, 1 #4, 1 #3, and 3 #5s. And there's still a couple weeks and a few heated rivalry games and Conf Championships. Be prepared for more. Arizona over Oregon or Arizona State (quite possible in the Stoops era).

If that's not enought let's look at the first week of College Basketball Gardner Webb over #22 Kentucky, Mercer over #18 USC, Grand Valley State over #8 Michigan State, Findlay over Ohio State (though the last two were exhibitions, it's still an upset).

So how terrible is this to watch, that annoying cousin keeps saying and doing the thing/s that are driving you crazy. Every week someone is beating someone they're not supposed to. Well it completly ruins my football pool because you never know what's going to happen and there's nothing anyone can do about it. But as a fan, this has by far been one of the most exciting College Football seasons in recorded history, the Pac 10 getting some serious love, the Big East Fielding more than a couple ranked teams and climbing multiple teams into the top 10, the Big 11 fighting amongst each other constantly ultimately making the Big 11 Championship game between Michigan and OhSt less appealing as in past years but knowing each week Wisc, Illinois, Penn St, had a chance, that's fun. Watching highly touted programs falling to teams who before the game didn't even belong on the same turf.
And Then this can happen.

God I love this game.

On a side note this was one of the most fun times of my life being in the middle of that pack by the goal post after upsetting UCLA 52-14, and eventually just standing at the 50. Upsets and rushing the field are one of the highlights of college. If you never get to rush the field, I guess the only consolation is that your team is too good to necessitate such a thing, if it's because your team is so bad they don't win a game, then I'm just sorry.