Is there a better time of year than the start of college football season? Some even love it more than Christmas. Unless, of course, the team you cheer for gets upset in week one because you'd be better off getting coal in your stocking.
Upsets are what make college football great. One upset can literally shake up the entire top 25. Now you may go a few weeks without out an upset, but chances are you will see at least one every week.
There is no correct way of predicting upsets. However, there is a way to show what teams need to be on the lookout. Each week you can check out Tide991.com and look for "Teams on Upset Alert" posts.
Here are the teams we are putting on upset alert in week one:
Fresno State at #15 USC
Line: USC -22
USC is getting a fresh with new head coach Steve Sarkisian. The Trojans return their leading passer, rusher, receiver, and tackler from last season's 10-4 team. Their season opener against Fresno State seems like an easy win to prepare them for the next week's game at Stanford. However, USC is in the middle of media frenzy due to the suspension of starting cornerback Josh Shaw. This is a huge distraction for all USC players because Shaw was considered a team leader, and his absence, especially one caused by a lie, may cause the Trojans to overlook Fresno State.
Fresno State knows exactly what they are getting into as they prepare for this matchup. They lost to USC in the Las Vegas Bowl after winning 11 games in the regular season. The Bulldogs also have to replace quarterback Derek Carr, but do not rule them out just yet. Fresno State returns their leading rusher and top 6 tacklers from last year. Head coach Tim DeRuyter is in his third season, and continues to get better and better.
The good news for Fresno is that they catch USC in a week that has been nothing but a media swirl. The bad news is they have lost 17 straight games against ranked opponents going back to 2005. USC has more talent on both sides of the ball, but Fresno State has just enough mechanics to put the Trojans on upset alert.
Arkansas at #6 Auburn
Line: Auburn -19
Can a team that was winless in the SEC last season really upset the defending SEC Champions? Probably not, but we won't rule it out.
Auburn will be playing without quarterback Nick Marshall for the first half of their matchup against Arkansas. Arkansas will take advantage of this and try to jump on the Tigers early. The Razorbacks struggled last season, but do not forget their close losses to Mississippi State and LSU to end their year. Quarterback Brandon Allen returns along with their bruising tailbacks Alex Collins and Jonathan Williams so do not be surprised to see them try to eat up a lot of clock.
Arkansas will try to burn some time off the clock while Auburn tries to score as quickly as possible and wear down their opponent (which is a strategy that Bret Bielema is not a fan of). Marshall's suspension will play a factor, but the Tigers have plenty of other offensive weapons like Sammie Coates, Cameron Artis-Payne, and Corey Grant. Arkansas may not have the defensive personal to handle the Tigers, but the same thing was said about Texas A&M before their upset over South Carolina on Thursday night.
#1 Florida State vs. Oklahoma State
Line: Florida State -19
Just imagine what would happen to college football if the number one team in the country was knocked off in the first week of college football.
Florida State has been the consensus #1 team in every major college football ranking. The defending national champions return Heisman winning quarterback Jameis Winston and will try to take care of the undersized Cowboys. However, the Seminoles lose their top rusher and their leading three tacklers from last season. It is also worth mentioning that defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt is also gone. So while FSU has plenty of returning talent, they also have to a fill voids to fill going into this game.
In recent years, Oklahoma State has been one of the top contenders in the BIG 12. It is does not appear that they will continue that trend this season because they return such few starters. They do have quarterback JW Walsh and running back Desmond Roland which is a good start. No one gave Mike Gundy and the Cowboys a chance against Baylor last season, but it was Oklahoma State that came out on top 49-17. It will not be as easy to pull the upset over the Seminoles, but this game wouldn't be mentioned if it wasn't at least a possibility.
Utah State at Tennessee
Line: Tennessee -6
The official line for the game does not make this out to be an upset type game. Do not be fooled. If a Mountain West team beats any SEC team (except maybe Kentucky) it is considered an upset, and you could see one in this rare Sunday night college football game.
Tennessee is doing everything they can to to be competitive in the SEC West. Butch Jones has done a phenomenal job recruiting players for a new era of Volunteer football, but it is just not their time. They lose every starter on both offensive and defensive line. Before you name Utah State the outright winner, do not forget Tennessee also returns linebacker A.J. Johnson along with one of the best receiving corps in the SEC.
To be fair, Utah State loses a good bit of talent from last season as well. The key difference is the Aggies are losing starters from a team that went 9-4 last season. hey do return their quarterback and one of their best receivers. Overall, both teams are inexperienced. There will be miscues and turnovers which is common in week one games. The Aggies are expected to keep it close, but can they pull the upset in Neyland Stadium?