College football: 5 potential week-one shockers

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Somewhere along the line, we probably need to revise the word “upset.” The word indicates people aren’t happy with the occurrence, when in reality, pretty much everyone but the fans of the team losing is happy with it. It’s why people in bars (in Daytona at a beach, perhaps) go nuts when Vermont clips Syracuse in the NCAA tournament or why they holler at the moon when Stanford beats Southern Cal as a 41-point underdog.

At any rate, you all can come up with the name. I’ll just tell you teams that might beat other teams and make everyone other than the losing team’s fans happy. Shockers, maybe. We can go a lot of ways with this one, but we seriously need to retire “upset.” Here are a few shockers you could see in week one. In the nature of being “shocking,” though, these are not high-percentage calls. If even one of these picks hit the mark, call this effort a success.


6. Bethune-Cookman over Miami

Just kidding. Trying to lighten the mood. Miami by 50.

5. Minnesota over TCU


That said, Minnesota is at home, has probably the best defensive backfield in the Big Ten, has stability at quarterback, runs the ball well, and is looking down the barrel at a pretty big season that might come close to a berth in the Big Ten Championship Game. TCU is awfully good, though. That said, I think this joint comes down to one possession either way.

4. Louisville over Auburn

The Bobby Petrino Bowl, and I feel Gene Chizik should flip the coin. These are two similar teams on offense … we’re sort of wondering what we’re going to get out of the skill position players after major departures need to be replaced. Auburn’s defense was sketchy last season, and anyone thinking Will Muschamp can work miracles needs to send him over to negotiate peace in Eastern Europe. A Cardinal win wouldn’t be beyond the realm of imagination.

3. BYU over Nebraska

I don’t see this one happening, but BYU is a veteran team led by all-world QB Taysom Hill, and Nebraska is in its first game under Mike Riley. The Huskers are one of the more intriguing teams this season. We’ve seen what Riley can do in Corvallis. Now, he enters a program that can point to and get what recruits it wants. His short, accurate passing game will probably be too much in the end, but it shouldn’t knock your socks off if BYU wins one week in advance of big, bad Boise State rattling into town.

2. Virginia over UCLA

The Hoos return four offensive linemen, their top three pass catchers, and a host of defensive players from a defense that wasn’t that bad last season. This one would probably move the meter, because by most accounts folks have UCLA ranked and Virginia heading to the guillotine after this year. Whoever gets the nod at QB … Matt Johns or Connor Brewer by way of Arizona … it’s reasonable to expect the Cavaliers to be markedly better.

1. Northwestern over Stanford

For one, it’s at noon Eastern time, and be wary of the West Coast team playing several hours earlier than it’s used to. Messing with football games at 9 a.m. Pacific, especially in the first game of the season, can be a recipe for sluggish performance. Both teams are well-coached, and obviously the Tree have the roster you’d expect to win … but this is one of those years when Northwestern feels like it could surprise. There’s no better way to go about doing it than the first week of the season in their home state before most of Stanford’s campus is awake.