COUNTDOWN TO KICKOFF | Top 5 upsets to watch for in Week 1


The emotions continue to build as we head into the 2016 college football season.

With two days until kickoff, we at ASN have created a list of the Top 5 Upsets in Week 1 for you, the fans.

It’s happened before. Remember when Appalachian State stunned Michigan in 2007?

Tennessee, you’ve been warned.


7:30 p.m. Thursday

The last time Indiana opened up their season away from home was in 2011 and it resulted in a 24-17 loss to Ball State. Who’s to say that their opening game against FIU in Miami couldn’t take the same turn?

FIU brings back a handful of talent including quarterback Alex McGough, running back Alex Gardner, wide receiver Thomas Owens and tight end Jonnu Smith. With this type of experience it’s not crazy to think that the Golden Panthers could expose the Hoosier defense — which, by the way, is sporting a brand new defensive coordinator.

IU is also breaking in two new starting quarterbacks, which could be a gift to an FIU defense that has lost a solid amount of depth. All of these factors seem to be a potential recipe for disaster for the Hoosiers. Could FIU stun this Big Ten squad in their first game of 2016? It wouldn’t be the first time a team from the Power 5 Big Ten team lost to an opponent in the Group of 5. Just ask Bowling Green.


Noon Saturday on ASN

The Ragin’ Cajuns have been dubbed the sleeper team in the Sun Belt, and that could definitely apply to their opening game against Boise State. Louisiana will also play host to the Broncos, always an advantage, especially in the first game of the season.

The Cajuns finished 4-8 record last season, but they went four consecutive seasons with 9-4 record from 2011-14. Their biggest strength this season is running back Elijah McGuire. This kid is the real deal and he has the speed and size to prove it. The question mark is the Cajuns’ defense and whether it can stop an offense led by Brett Rypien.

They’re a longshot to beat the Mountain West’s Mountain Division preseason favorite. But with the right amount of Cajun home cookin’ you never know what kind of magic could happen in Lafayette.


Noon Saturday

This game will turn heads the moment the whistle blows. Both teams are stacked with quality players, but what Houston brings to the table is their dual threat quarterback Greg Ward Jr. — the guy who is also a potential Heisman Trophy candidate.

Cue flashbacks to the last time Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops watched a Heisman candidate and dual threat quarterback stomp all over his Sooners’ defense — Clemson’s Deshaun Watson in the College Football Playoff semifinals.

Houston will try to expose that weakness again. The Cougars also will be at home, so they are going to be amped to get this season started after hearing so much about their potential in the offseason.


7:30 p.m. Thursday

App State brings back quarterback Taylor Lamb after a strong 2015 season along with an experienced offensive line and backfield. Marcus Cox is one of the top running backs in the country and he will give the Vols a run for their money.

In 2015, the Mountaineers defense cracked the top 20 in scoring, total yards allowed, and passing yards allowed — not to mention, they are returning nine starters in 2016. So this team is pretty well-rounded.

And don’t forget Appalachian State scored one of the biggest upsets in college football history 10 seasons ago, knocking off Michigan on the road. Can the Mountaineers do it again?


9 p.m. Saturday

Ah yes, that beloved season opener where the ACC and SEC come head-to-head – what a way to kick off some college football, right? No. 2-ranked Clemson has everything to lose and are playing at Auburn.

Auburn’s weakness is offense. But what they lack on offense, they make up for on defense. They are definitely going to need it against Heisman contender Deshaun Watson.

It’s a tough way for the 2015 national runner-up to open the season — the crowd, the atmosphere, the pressure and the uncertainty.

But it’s what we love about college football. Anything can happen.

Contributing: Doug Chapman

(All times Eastern)

• • • 

OK, fans, now it’s your turn to be heard.

What's your choice for the No. 1 upset in Week 1?

  • Appalachian State at Tennessee (38%, 15 Votes)
  • Indiana at FIU (26%, 10 Votes)
  • Oklahoma at Houston (23%, 9 Votes)
  • Other (8%, 3 Votes)
  • Auburn at Clemson (5%, 2 Votes)
  • Boise State at Louisiana (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 39

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Above: Appalachian State stunned Michigan in 2007. Can the Mountaineers do it again this year at Tennessee? (Courtesy University of Michigan Archives)

Kenzie Stanford

Kenzie Stanford is social media producer for