These are ones to watch on ‘watch-out’ weekend

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?