Potential Upsets Highlight College Football’s Opening Week

Potential Upsets Highlight College Football’s Opening Week

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Tonight, the first game of the college football season will be played. It will be the first of six consecutive days of action, giving fans more than enough gridiron action to keep themselves busy.

Three games feature teams that are heavy favorites, but still might lose if things go their opponent’s way. Florida State, Alabama and Ohio State should open the season with big wins, but not if Oklahoma State, West Virginia and Navy have something to say. We’ll break down three opening week games and look briefly at three others that might also yield some surprises.

Florida State v. Oklahoma State

This contest pits last year’s national champion against a middle-of-the-pack Big 12 team. On paper, the Seminoles are a 17-point favorite over the Cowboys. Odds are that FSU will cover the spread and then some with a statement-making win.

To pull the upset, the Cowboys will have to find a way to contain the reigning Heisman winner, Jameis Winston, a feat that seems impossible. OSU’s offense will have to play flawless, answering every Seminole attack with an effective counterattack. That the game is being played in neutral Dallas could diminish FSU’s effectiveness, what the Cowboys will have to exploit to pull off the upset.

West Virginia v. Alabama

Another neutral match has West Virginia taking on Alabama at the Georgia Dome. The Crimson Tide will be four touchdown favorites against the Mountaineers this Saturday afternoon in Atlanta.

Ever since leaving the Big East Conference, West Virginia has found a huge challenge in the Big 12 Conference. This year, they should finish ahead of Kansas and Iowa State, with a chance to overtake TCU or Texas Tech, but probably not both.

Mountaineer fans are pointing to last year’s contest against Oklahoma that resulted in a 16 to 7 Sooner victory. West Virginia played admirably on the road, scoring first and holding the explosive Sooners to just one touchdown. In the Sugar Bowl, the Sooners mowed down the Tide, 45 to 31, winning the critical turnover battle 5 to 1. The Mountaineer will need some Tide mistakes to help out and its defense must play as well as it did last year against Oklahoma if they are to have a chance.

Ohio State at Navy

The Buckeyes have better hope that Navy does not do to it this year what it did in the opening game of the 2009 season. Ohio State won, 31 to 27, but the game went down to the wire with Navy muffing a two-point conversion that would have tied it.

The Buckeyes went on to lose to USC the following week, a loss that coupled with a Purdue upset kept them out of the national title picture. Certainly, the Trojans had the strength to beat the Buckeyes and did, but Ohio State was clearly rattled following that narrow opening week victory.

Navy’s golden player is Keenan Reynolds, who follows Ricky Dobbs as the Midshipmen’s quarterback. Last year, he ran for 31 touchdowns and amassed more than 2,400 yards. He’ll be battling the Buckeye’s Braxton Miller for QB game honors, with the best player likely leading his team to victory.

Upset Alert

The first week’s action has a few other games that may provide an upset including BYU at UConn, Hawaii at Washington, and North Dakota State at Iowa State. The last contest may not be much of an upset as the Bisons are the defending FCS champions and the Cyclones are coming off of a 3-9 season.

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