Everybody knows that one of the best parts of being a sports fan is debating and dissecting the most (and least) important questions in the sporting world with your friends. So, we’re bringing that to the pages of LGHL with our favorite head-to-head column: You’re Nuts.
In You’re Nuts, two LGHL staff members will take differing sides of one question and argue their opinions passionately. Then, in the end, it’s up to you to determine who’s right and who’s nuts.
This week’s topic: What was your favorite Week 2 upset?
While not expected to be a pivotal week in the college football landscape, Week 2 provided plenty of drama, and plenty of fireworks. A number of ranked teams dropped non-marquee matchups, and a few of the teams that did win were forced to hang on for dear life. Such is life in the often crazy world of CFB, and that is why we love it... as long as our team is unaffected, and somehow manages to avoid the upset shrapnel.
Ohio State did exactly that. The Buckeyes were on the outside looking in, at least when it came to the chaos that was Week 2. They took care of business during a sleepy noon kick against an inferior opponent, and came out none the worse for wear. As fans, we’ll take it. Because on the other end of the spectrum, we could have been cheering for a once-storied program that has completely lost its way, or another that has recently attempted to buy its way into CFB’s VIP lounge. In this case, the latter is a reference to Texas A&M, and I can’t say I feel bad for the Aggies. Their upset at the hands of mighty Appalachian State was my favorite chaotic moment of the past weekend.
A&M hired Jimbo Fisher in 2018 with hopes that he would lead them to a national title. Fair enough I guess, given that he had won it all with Florida State recently... if we’re calling 2013 recent. Fisher enjoyed another great season in 2014, but dropped three games in back-to-back seasons after that, and bottomed out with a 5-6 record in 2017. So why exactly did A&M hire him away from Tallahassee with a 10-year deal? And let’s not forget: That deal was signed on Dec. 1, 2017 — the day before FSU was scheduled to finish their regular season. Fisher left that program high and dry, which is another reason I enjoyed watching the Aggies fall on Saturday.
Since Ol’ Jimbo joined the SEC, A&M has been... relevant? Maybe I have a lower opinion of the team than most, but nobody can argue that the Aggies have been great. Far from it, actually. They have not exceeded nine wins in any of his four seasons, and only once did they finish the season ranked inside the top-15. That was in 2020, also known as the fluky pandemic season. A&M is 3-0 in bowl games, and they did upset No. 1 Alabama last year, but aren’t you just getting into Iowa territory at that point? On the precipice of competing, pulling off the occasional upset, with a coach fans generally know of, but never really making it beyond that? However, relevancy is clearly not enough for the A&M program, so they have attempted to spend their way to the top.
Because not coincidentally, the school landed 2022’s top recruiting class. AKA, the first class really eligible (wink, wink) to enjoy the benefits of NIL. And good for them. Same goes for the players who chose to attend A&M. But let’s not act like it comes down to anything other than money. It’s not coaching. It’s not recent success. It’s not the sights and sounds, although I’m sure College Station is awesome. A&M just has greater bandwidth for recruiting, as well as more NIL incentives to offer. But what is that “currency” backed by? No proven track record, no history of success. The school went big on promises, and now we’ll see if they can keep it all together. But don’t try to tell me that A&M’s 2022 class is/was anything other than some anomaly.
During Fisher’s time at the school, their recruiting classes were ranked 17, 5, 6, and 9 prior to 2022. Their 2023 class is currently ranked No. 24. So was it Fisher and the campus that enticed this year’s signees, or was it something else? And A&M can’t even lean on Texas being a talent-rich state as the reason, because six of the top ten signees hail from outside of the Lone Star State. The program cast a wide net, made a bunch of promises, and they will now hope that their investment pays off. But last Saturday, it certainly did not.
Appalachian State was too physical for No. 6 A&M. Too physical! The Sun Belt darlings controlled the ball, rushed it 52 times, played strong defense, and won the turnover battle in their 17-14 upset. And this is a team that gave up damn-near 100 to North Carolina in Week 1. They imposed their will on the Aggies, knocking off the SEC’s third or fourth best team. Again, how’s that ROI looking for A&M?
I love to see a good upset. Said upset is made even more enjoyable when a team like App State, which has worked their way up from the FCS and built a program the right way, takes down a “powerhouse” program attempting to take a shortcut. So go Mountaineers, and please stay the hell away from Columbus!
As Josh and I discussed on the podcast this week, so many times its the seemingly lackluster college football slates that lead to the most chaos. When previewing the Week 2 schedule, it was hard to ignore the lack of ranked matchups and the hefty betting lines. Outside of the Alabama-Texas game and the pair of AP Top 25 showdowns — Kentucky-Florida and Baylor-BYU — it sure seemed like we were headed for a week of some lackluster football. Instead, we got quite the opposite.
The biggest upset of the day, as Josh discussed, was App State stunning No. 6 Texas A&M in College State as 18-point underdogs. It was far from the only upset of the day, however. We also saw the likes of No. 8 Notre Dame fall to Marshall, No. 12 Florida lose to No. 20 Kentucky in the Swamp, No. 19 Wisconsin come up short against Washington State. In addition, No. 9 Baylor lost a thriller to No. 21 BYU, however its tough to call that an upset when the Cougars were favored in the game despite being the lower-ranked team. All of these results are enticing to choose from, but my favorite Week 2 upset came between two unranked teams.
For that we look to the Big Ten, where Nebraska was defeated — at home — by Georgia Southern, leading to the subsequent firing of Scott Frost. The Huskers entered the matchup as 23.5-point favorites, but it was yet another one-score loss for Frost, and despite his buyout dropping significantly at the start of October, the administration could not wait another second before letting the failed head coach go.
I can’t say that I watched all of this game, but it was definitely one that caught my eye while scrolling through the box scores, and eventually I put it on to watch another Nebraska meltdown in the fourth quarter. Tied 35-35 entering the final frame, the Eagles quickly got on the board with a field goal to take a 38-35 lead. It wasn’t until there were about three minutes remaining that Nebraska finally answered with a score of their own, with Casey Thompson’s 1-yard touchdown scamper giving the Huskers a late lead, 42-38. It was at this point that seemingly everyone knew what was about to happen.
Georgia Southern put together an 11-play, 75-yard drive in 2 minutes and 29 seconds, capped by a 8-yard touchdown run from Kyle Vantrease with just 36 seconds remaining in the game. It was at this point that everything started to become real. It was happening again. The Scott Frost one-score game nightmare was taking shape in front of our eyes. Nebraska was able to work the ball down to the Eagles’ 34-yard line with 1 second left on the clock. However, the 52-yard field goal attempt to tie the game was no good, and the Huskers fell to 1-2 on the season with an embarrassing loss in their own stadium.
It was a perfect way for the Scott Frost era to end. Frost went 5-22 in one-score games during his time at Nebraska. In that same timespan, no other FBS team suffered more than 16 one-score losses. Overall, Frost never put together a winning season with the Cornhuskers, never winning more than five games in a single year and finishing with an overall record of 16-31 (10-26 in Big Ten play).
It’s nothing against Frost personally, but watching Nebraska continue to lose the exact same game week after week for multiple seasons with different personnel and coaching staffs was simply a sight to behold. I was actually excited to see the Huskers take on Oklahoma this week, a game that would be even more hilarious if they were able to win. The Nebraska administration has robbed us of that possibility, but the move had to be made before things really spiraled out of control.