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Football's Upset Weekend

   by Al McMordie - 10/01/2007

There’s a reason they play the games, of course: You never know! That was certainly evident after this past weekend’s slate of wild games and crazy upsets. This past weekend the dogs were in full force in both the colleges and the pros.

It started with a Friday game as mighty West Virginia was a road favorite at South Florida. But this is a talented South Florida program on the rise under coach Jim Leavitt, and they showed that last season was no fluke (when they won at West Virginia as a big dog). The Mountaineers stumbled again with 6 turnovers in a 21-13 loss at South Florida. They take on Syracuse this weekend, a team that has a huge upset under its belt when it won at Louisville, 38-35. However, it’s clear that was a fluke as Syracuse returned to its losing ways with a loss at Miami of Ohio. By the way, West Virginia is 11-2 SU, 9-4 ATS its last 13 road games.

Auburn was a team already stung by South Florida this season, but they returned the favor with an impressive upset of Florida, 20-17. After turning the ball over 11 times in 3 games, they only had one turnover against the Gators. Auburn comes home to host Vanderbilt this weekend.

The upsets didn’t end there. In fact, they were just getting started! Kansas State went down to Texas and ripped the No. 7 Longhorns in a 41-21 win. Kansas State is in revenge mode coming up, hosting Kansas this weekend, a team they lost to 39-20 in 2006. Kansas State is 12-4 SU, 10-4 ATS its last 16 home games.

All of that was just a table-setter as out West Colorado was fired up after a 2-10 season with Oklahoma coming to town. The Buffaloes smacked around the mighty Sooners in a thrilling 27-24 upset on the final play. The Sooners were just 1-for-9 on third-down conversions. All of which put a damper on this week’s Oklahoma/Texas rivalry. "We were tired about hearing about the 1990 national championship team or the 2001 Big 12 championship," one Colorado player said. "This is our team. We were ready to make a statement." Colorado rolled up 381 yards against what had been the nation's fifth-ranked defense and maintaining possession of the ball for almost 39 minutes, a huge win for second-year coach Dan Hawkins. Many of the 50,031 Colorado fans leapfrogged the guardrail and rushed the field. There’s an old betting adage about going against a team the week after a huge upset where fans storm the field. Keep this in mind as Colorado travels to Baylor this weekend.

The upsets spilled right over to the NFL, as dogs went 8-4 to start the day! The defending NFC champion Bears are a mess, dropping to 1-3 after a 37-27 loss at Detroit. Rex Grossman was benched (and it’s about time) but backup QB Brian Griese was worse. An even bigger problem for the Bears is their defense, which has been decimated with injuries this season.

The Chargers, though, don’t have injuries as any excuse in their shocking 30-16 loss at home to Kansas City Sunday, which dropped them to 1-3. It was interesting that last week, in a loss at Green Bay, LaDainian Tomlinson was seen arguing with QB Philip Rivers on the sidelines. Rivers melted down again, along with the defense, as the Chiefs steamrolled them. It was not only a divisional loss, but the Chiefs have been positively miserable on offense in every other game, including preseason!

KC scored 24 straight points in the second half as Rivers was mercilessly booed. Those fans who weren't streaming out of the stadium chanted “Marty! Marty! Marty!â€쳌 late in the game. The Chargers have been disorganized under new coach Norv Turner, whose overall record in three NFL head coaching stints is 59-85-1. It’s hard to believe there are so many bad coaches in the NFL and Marty Schottenheimer is sitting at home. Marty has his faults, but his track record overall is very good as a head coach.

And this was supposed to be the easy part of their schedule! On the plus side, the Chargers play the Raiders, Texans and Vikings over the next four weeks. The bad news: After that they play the Colts, Jaguars, Ravens, Chiefs again, and up-and-coming Tennessee. That opening day win over the Bears, 14-3, sure seems like a long time ago. Good luck, as always...Al McMordie.

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