When the mighty Michigan Wolverines lost their home opener this fall to Appalachian State most of the college football world was stunned. Though this was an upset the events which followed since that opening weekend have shown that this was not a complete fluke.
Appalachian State won its third straight national title in the Football Championship Subdivision last night, beating Delaware State 49-21. Appalachian State finished 13-2 on the year. Now it is true that Michigan should not have lost this game but Appalachian State should be given its proper due. This is a very fine football program, especially since they win at the level they must play week-in and week-out and also knocked off a Big Ten powerhouse, who admittedly had a down season.
Sports Illustrated listed its top ten football upsets for the season this week. The list is more than interesting for real fans. Here is is:
1. Appalachian State 34 Michigan (No. 5 at the time) 32
2. Stanford 24 USC (No. 2 at the time) 23
3. Pittsburgh 13 West Virginia (No 2 at the time) 9
4. Colorado 27 Oklahoma (No. 3 at the time) 24
5. Louisiana-Monroe 21 Alabama 14
6. Syracuse 38 Louisville (No. 18 at the time) 35
7. Arkansas 50 LSU (rated No. 1 at the time) 48
8. Illinois 28 Ohio State (No. 1 at the time) 21
9. Arizona 34 Oregon (No. 2 at the time) 24
10. Western Michigan 28 Iowa 19
For me, looking back over this season, I think the biggest upset of them all was Stanford beating USC in the Coliseum. I still think USC might be the best team in the country but they lost their chance to prove it when they lost to Stanford. The second biggest shocker, and I am clearly biased here, was Louisiana-Monroe beating Alabama in Tuscaloosa. Third was probably Pittsburgh beating West Virginia at Morgantown.
One thing I do know. It didn’t much pay to be ranked No. 1 or No. 2 during this season, at least until the very end. Are LSU and Ohio State the two best teams left? I don’t think so. I would love to see Georgia play USC myself. But, and I’ve said this all season, this is why every game truly matters. The "best" team at the end of the year will often not be the team that wins it all. You have to come to play every single Saturday in the big-time college game. This is part of the intrigue. How do you keep a team focused, train young kids to think as one, and then get them "up" week-by-week for big games and possible upsets? The human factor here can not be determined by computers and stats. I like that myself.
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Please note, Appalachian State beat DELAWARE, not Delaware State! (Delaware beat Delaware State in the first round of the playoffs, in the first-ever meeting of the schools). It makes a big difference when you’re from Delaware.
The Appalachian State victory over Michigan was a special event for us down here in southwest Florida. We were all on our feet when Cory Lynch blocked Michigan’s field goal attempt. He attended Providence Christian School in Cape Coral, where I now teach and also taught two of his brothers since 2003—both fine Christian young men from a fine family.