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Just The Sports: Not Really An Upset

Just The Sports

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Not Really An Upset

Those who have decided to call Tennessee's win over California an upset and get overly excited about the Volunteers need to slow down just a bit. There is no such outcome as an upset in the first week of the football season because no one really knows how these teams will play once they face plays in a different-colored uniform. All that anyone can go on is how good he or she thinks a team is and that is worth very little at the end of the day. The prudent thing would be to hold off on even ranking teams until they play a significant portion of their schedule, but then television networks would be unable to hype up their games endlessly so I know that will never happen.

But I did have another point to this post so let me go ahead and get to it. In 1999, the first week of the season, No. 3 Arizona faced No. 4 Penn State in what was supposed to be a close game. Penn State demolished Arizona by 34 and one could have called that an upset, but one by closer ranked opponents. Well, by the end of the season, this blowout win looked a lot less impressive since Arizona finished the season with a 6-6 overall record and 3-5 in the Pac-10 Conference. Penn State did win 10 games that year while losing only three, but they only went 5-3 in the conference losing their last three Big 11 games.

California in 2006 have a similar problem than Arizona in 1999 and that is not having a clear-cut starting quarterback. Nate Longshore played poorly and Joe Ayoob led the Golden Bears to 18 points, but they came late in the game when Tennessee may have been sitting out a lot of their starters. While Arizona was on the slippery slope from being ranked #3 in the country to not being ranked at all, they split time between their two quarterbacks for most of the season. Smith was the leading passer for 8 of Arizona's 12 games, but it was practically even between he and Ortege Jenkins in a couple of those games demonstrating the coach was not really sold on either one. If California has a similar quarterback struggle, they might find themselves suffering the same fate as Arizona so let us all reserve judgment on this game until the end of the season when we can see how good both of these teams turned out to be.


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