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Appalachian St. Shocks Michigan

by Mike Mitchell
September 2, 2007

Note: For results from Monday, Sept. 3rd games, go here.

Michigan got a lot more than they bargained for when they scheduled Appalachian State as a cupcake opener. Instead, the Wolverines began the season with a pie in their face as the two-time defending championship division Mountaineers handed them a 34-32 defeat in the Big House. The loss extinguished Michigan's chances of playing in the national title game and turned up the heat on head coach Lloyd Carr's hot seat.

That game was easily the top upset of opening weekend, towering over Georgia Tech's 33-3 destruction of Notre Dame in South Bend. Comparatively, Nicholls State's 16-14 win at Rice barely registered a tick on the college football upset meter. As for Central Florida's 25-23 defeat of N.C. State? - forget about it - the computer picked that one. It also foretold of Kent State's 23-14 triumph at Iowa State.

The Appalachian State win was one for the ages - maybe the biggest upset ever. It even relegated Virginia Tech's opener to the second biggest story of the weekend.

The Hokies struggled past East Carolina, 17-7, in the biggest event on campus since the April 16 massacre that saw 32 students and faculty members killed by a deranged student assailant who then committed suicide. Twenty-five others were wounded in the attack. Many of the roughly 66,233 who sold out Lane Stadium were returning to Blacksburg for the first time since that horrific tragedy. They came to see their beloved team play, but their priority was to help the school turn the corner toward recovery. The pre-game atmosphere was electric, yet heavy with emotion, and thousands delayed their post-game party to file silently past the memorial to pay homage to each of the victims. (CollegeFootballPoll.com was in Blacksburg and filed a special feature story).

Elsewhere, the weekend was dotted with a few good games, a number of blowouts, and a few contests that were much closer than expected.

Minnesota's first game under new head coach Tim Brewster resulted in a 32-31 overtime loss to 16-point underdog Bowling Green.

Texas began their 2007 campaign with an inexplicably narrow 8-point win, 21-13, over expected patsy Arkansas State from the mighty Sun Belt conference whose members went 0-7 in non-conference games.

At least some of the Sun Belt members put up a fight. Arkansas fell just short of the spread in a 46-26 win over Sun Belt powerhouse Troy. South Carolina was a 30-point favorite over Louisiana-Lafayette, but the Gamecocks only managed a ho-hum 14-point victory by a final score of 28-14. The game was tied at 14-apiece until South Carolina scored with just 24 seconds left until halftime.

Southern California only registered a 38-10 win over an Idaho team that was playing under its third head coach in three years (Tom Cable in 2005, Dennis Erickson last year, and now Robb Akey).

Auburn was taken to the wire by two-touchdown underdog Kansas State. The Tigers rallied from a 13-9 deficit at the start of the 4th quarter to win 23-13, but the win wasn't secured until the defense scored on a fumble return with 2:01 left in the contest. Before that play occurred, the Auburn fans were wondering if they would have a reason to conduct the post-game victory ritual of rolling Toomer's Corner.

Notable blowouts were filed on Saturday by Oklahoma, Hawaii and West Virginia. The Sooners racked up a 79-10 win over North Texas; the Warriors obliterated lower-division Northern Colorado 63-6; and the Mountaineers broke the Western Michigan Broncos 62-24.

Meanwhile, Boston College gave new head coach Jeff Jagodzinski a 38-28 win over ACC Atlantic Division rival Wake Forest. The Eagles outscored the defending conference champions 17-7 in the second half.

UCLA took the early lead in the PAC-10 standings, rolling past Stanford 45-17 in Jim Harbaugh's debut as head coach of the Cardinal.

UNBEATEN TEAMS
As the list narrows later in the year, we'll help you keep tabs with those teams that are still on track for an undefeated season. Last year, Boise State (13-0) was the only team that accomplished the task.

WINLESS TEAMS
Duke and FIU each did their part in providing consistency to college football.  Both teams started off the season with lopsided losses after going winless (0-12) last year. Connecticut beat Duke 45-14, and Penn State blanked FIU 59-0.

1-A vs. 1-AA
The divisions were re-named late last year. 1-A was given the new moniker of Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) while 1-AA was labeled the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS).

The lower division teams were 2-17 on Saturday after going 0-4 in their Thursday night openers. Nicholls State beat Rice 16-14 while Appalachian State laid a monumental 34-32 shocker on Michigan.

Championship subdivision teams were 7-71 in 2006 against their higher-classified brethren. Since the start of the 2003 campaign, bowl subdivision teams hold the upper hand by a huge margin, 241-27 (.899).

This season, 78 bowl subdivision teams face schools from the championship subdivision. WAC members New Mexico State and Hawaii double-dip. The Aggies beat Southeastern Louisiana 35-14 on Thursday, and the Warriors trounced Northern Colorado 63-6 on Saturday. NMSU plays Arkansas-Pine Bluff on September 29 while Hawaii entertains Charleston Southern on September 22.

STREAKS
Ohio State won its 19th regular season game by downing Youngstown State 38-6. Ohio State coach Jim Tressel won four national titles at the 1-AA level in his 15 seasons as head coach of the Penguins.

Boise State has won 14 straight games over-all after its 56-7 win over Weber State. The Broncos have won 15 straight regular season games, and 37 consecutive regular season home games. The Broncos have never lost a home game to a WAC opponent (24-0).

BYU has won 11 straight games after a 20-7 victory over Arizona.

USC has won a nation's-best 34 consecutive home games after beating Idaho 38-10.

Duke has lost 21 games over-all, and 23 straight to 1-A teams after its 45-14 loss at home to Connecticut.

FIU has dropped 13 straight games after a 59-0 thumping at Penn State in Mario Cristobal's debut a head coach.

NEW COACHES
The 2006 season featured 11 new head coaches. Five led their team to a bowl game.

This year, there are 24 coaching changes for the highest number since 2001 when there were 25. We'll track their progress throughout the season.

Air Force, 1-0 under Troy Calhoun, beat 1-AA So. Carolina St. 34-3.
Alabama, 1-0 under Nick Saban, beat 1-AA Western Carolina 52-6.
Arizona State, 1-0 under Dennis Erickson, beat San Jose State 45-3.
Army, 0-1 under Stan Brock, lost to Akron in Cleveland 22-14.
Boston College, 1-0 under Jeff Jagodzinski, beat Wake Forest 38-28.
Central Michigan, 0-1 under Butch Jones, lost at Kansas 52-7.
Cincinnati, 1-0 under Brian Kelly, beat 1-AA SE Missouri St. 59-3.
FIU, 0-1 under Mario Cristobal, lost at Penn State 59-0.
Idaho, 0-1 under Robb Akey, lost at USC 38-10.
Indiana, 1-0 under Bill Lynch, beat 1-AA Indiana State 55-7.
Iowa State, 0-1 under Gene Chzik, lost to Kent State 23-14.
Louisiana Tech, 1-0 under Derek Dooley, beat 1-AA Central Arkansas 28-7.
Louisville, 1-0 under Steve Kragthorpe, beat 1-AA Murray State 73-10.
Miami (Fla.), 1-0 under Randy Shannon, beat Marshall 31-3.
Michigan State, 1-0 under Mark Dantonio, beat UAB 55-18.
Minnesota, 0-1 under Tim Brewster, lost to Bowling Green in overtime 32-31.
North Carolina, 1-0 under Butch Davis, beat 1-AA James Madison 37-14.
N.C. State, 0-1 under Tom O'Brien, lost to Central Florida 25-23.
North Texas, 0-1 under Todd Dodge, lost at Oklahoma 79-10.
Rice, 0-1 under David Bailiff, lost to 1-AA Nicholls State 16-14.
Stanford, 0-1 under Jim Harbaugh, lost to UCLA 45-17.
Tulane, 0-0 under Bob Toledo, was idle opening week and hosts Mississippi St. 9/8.
Tulsa, 1-0 under Todd Graham, beat Louisiana-Monroe 35-17.
UAB, 0-1 under Neil Callaway, lost at Michigan State 55-18.