Michigan could have opened the season at home last year against Hawaii.
It opted to play host to Appalachian State.
Seemed like a smart move. . . . Oops.
In one Ann Arbor afternoon, the notion that a blue-blood program could “schedule” a paycheck win against a non-major program got turned on its Appalachian cart.
Appalachian State’s 34-32 victory win at Michigan over Labor Day weekend will reign as an all-time upset, blossoming as a love story and a cautionary tale.
The defeat dropped Michigan from No. 5 in the preseason to out of the polls. The Wolverines had a new coach, sort of, by Christmas. College football’s winningest program also had an Appalachian asterisk.
A question entering 2008: Could it happen again?
We offer a handicap of “watch-out” opening weekend games:
Charleston Southern at Miami
Upset potential: Miami hasn’t been Miami for years and might be looking ahead to Florida on Sept. 6.
Reality check: Charleston Southern went to Hawaii last year and got trounced, 66-10.
Western Illinois at Arkansas
Upset potential: Bobby Petrino haters in Atlanta show up to game wearing Michael Vick masks.
Reality check: Western Illinois returns 18 starters, so the Leathernecks might be able to hang, well, tough.
Western Michigan at Nebraska
Upset potential: Have you seen Nebraska’s defense this century?
Reality check: Cornhuskers Coach Bo Pelini wouldn’t dare lose his debut with Athletic Director Tom Osborne sitting in the press box.
Youngstown St. at Ohio State
Upset potential: Ohio State looks so far ahead to USC on Sept. 13 it affects team’s national-title vision.
Reality check: Ohio State isn’t Michigan.
Villanova at West Virginia
Upset potential: West Virginia was also heavily favored to win its last home game . . . against Pittsburgh.
Reality check: Howie Long played at Villanova, but that was a long time ago.
Maine at Iowa
Upset potential: Maine beat Mississippi State, in Starkville, in 2004.
Reality check: With all its problems, Iowa had better not take the lobsters lightly.
Chattanooga at Oklahoma
Upset potential: Only if every Oklahoma player gets food poisoning during pregame meal.
Reality check: Bob Stoops isn’t the sentimental type. Oklahoma beat North Texas, 79-10, in last year’s season opener.
Georgia Southern at Georgia
Upset potential: Georgia Southern beat Appalachian State last year.
Reality check: “Win one for Uga!” is all the motivation Georgia needs.
Northern Iowa at Brigham Young
Upset potential: Talk of BYU being this year’s Bowl Championship Series bowl-crasher could give Cougars a false sense of Provo power.
Reality check: Northern Iowa beat Iowa State last year.
Appalachian St. at Louisiana St.
Upset potential: LSU isn’t the only team entering this game as defending national champions.
Reality check: C’mon, Appalachian State couldn’t do it again . . . could it?