That time of year has finally come again for sports fans across the country; the college football season is upon us. After four weeks, there have been several significant storylines surrounding the beginning of the season. Undoubtedly, the triumph of the underdog is one of the most common themes.
In week two, the unranked Appalachian State Mountaineers took on Texas A&M Aggies at Kyle Field, a game assumed to be an easy victory for the Aggies. In a game where A&M paid Appalachian State $1.5 million to travel to College Station, combined with the disparity in talent on paper, a win seemed like a given. However, the opposite happened. In a dog fight of a college football game, coming down to the last minute, the Mountaineers, led by their journeyman of a quarterback Chase Brice, came out on top 17-14, knocking off the #6 ranked Texas A&M Aggies. This outcome made it one of the most significant upsets in the past two decades of college football.
Following this stunning outcome, one could only imagine the upsets were over for the day; but a fan who thought that would be incorrect. In another game assumed to be a guaranteed victory, the #8 team in the country, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, faced off against the Marshall Thundering Herd. Coming off a respectable performance the previous week against Ohio State, in which the Buckeyes were favored by nearly three touchdowns, Notre Dame hung with them, only losing 21-10; perhaps a foreshadowing for future success. However, this was not the case. Leading 9-7 early on with no pressure, the Thundering Herd were happy to be in the game, let alone beating Notre Dame. With the combination of Tyler Buchner, Notre Dame’s quarterback perhaps shooting himself in the foot, and some solid plays by the Marshall defense, the Thundering Herd came out on top at the end, winning 26-21. For Notre Dame fans, this was not the ideal beginning to the Marcus Freeman era in South Bend.
Two other massive upsets occurred in week four when Middle Tennessee State knocked off #25 Miami, and #6 ranked Oklahoma, one of the favorites to make the college football playoff, was knocked off by unranked Kansas State. Lastly, one of the biggest underdog stories that has come out of college football is the undefeated, 4-0 start by the Kansas Jayhawks. For the first time since 2009, when they were last 4-0 and had a quality season, there have been flashes of greatness in Lawrence. The Jayhawks, led by quarterback Jalon Daniels, a not-so-highly-touted recruit out of high school, has undoubtedly made a name for himself. Kansas has knocked off West Virginia, Houston, and Duke, all respectable power-five opponents.
With only a third of the college football season in the rear-view mirror, one can easily be excited about what the rest of the season might bring.