TIME: US | UK
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THE AMERICAN MAGAZINE ONLINE
Features & Blogs
"Life in the UK"
• Sideline: Yes, Non–Conference Games DO Count
• NCAA Preview 2009
• Sideline: Time For The Talking To Stop
• Sideline: In Memory of Air McNair
• Sideline: Will Goodell Hand Out Hard Time?
• Sideline: Marshall's Not Joshing
• NFL Draft: No Rush To Judgment
• NFL Draft Analysis 2009 (Part 2)
• Sideline: NFL Draft Thoughts (Part 2)
• Sideline: NFL Draft Thoughts
• Sideline: Will Play For Food
• Sideline: Wonderlic Scores
• Sideline: Manning and Sanchez
• Sideline: 2010 Leagues Sci–fi, or Fantasy? / March Madness
• Sideline: Break Out The Brackets
• Sideline: LaDainian Tomlinson On The Record
• Sideline: The Incredible Sulk Continues
• Sideline: Guildford Heat Fired Up
• Sideline: Super Bowl thoughts from the Valley of the Sun
• Sideline: I know I came in here for something
• Sideline: College Football National Signing Day
• Sideline: 27 Points — 27 Super Bowl thoughts
• Sideline: An Epic QB Matchup?
• Sideline: Appreciating Arizona for What They Were
• Sideline: NFL Divisional Weekend Preview
• Sideline: Bowl Season Hangover
• Sideline: Six weeks Later
• Sideline: Wildcard Weekend Preview
• Sideline: Santa's Sackings
• Sideline: A Weis Decision ...for Now
• Sideline: Eye on the Ticker
• Sideline: Lions — An Anagram of Losin
• Sideline: Ready for the Turkey
• Sideline: Making it to the Big Dance
• Sideline: Brighter Days Ahead for Chargers?
• Sideline: Unnecessary Hits To The Pocket / Upset: BYU
• Sideline: Romo's Pause / Seattle Seahawks
• Sideline: Weekend Prep: Red River and More
• Sideline: College Football's 'Crossroads' Weekend
• Sideline: Gramatical Error
• Sideline: Turning The Page
• Sideline: So Cal 'Quizzed
• Sideline: 3rd Tuesday Panic / Forté Yard Dash
• Sideline: Two and Oh; Oh and Two
• Sideline: No More NCAAffeine
• Sideline: Week 1 College Football
• Sideline: How To Spell Heisman / Chad Ocho Cinco
• Sideline: A Second Slice
• Sideline: The Favre story STILL won't go away
• Sideline: Olympic Notes / Ricky's Still Relevant
• Sideline: Committee Meetings
• Sideline: Let the QB Battles Begin
• Sideline: Slinging The Slinger — More Favre
• Interview: Clint Dempsey
• Sideline: Welcome to the 2008 season
• Sideline: Plus One
• 2008 NFL Draft Review
• Sideline: Draft: The Morning After
• Sideline: Draft: Thinking the Unthinkable
• Sideline: Draft: Ready For The Long Haul
• Sideline: Sofa–bound Sport
• Sideline: Post–Winter Wonderland
• Sideline: Six Impossible Things
• Sideline: Brady's Misdirection Play
• Sideline: Colorful Language
• Sideline: Let the Romo–bashing begin
• Sideline: Bowl Bites: The Wrap
• Sideline: All About The Coaches
• Sideline: Bowl Bites 3
• Sideline: Bowl Bites 2
• Sideline: Bowl Bites 1
• Sideline: Coach Situations Vacant
• Sideline: For Some, The Playoffs Are Now
• Sideline: A Certain Lack Of Welcome
• Sideline: Unrelated Notes
• Sideline: Two Thanksgiving thoughts
• Sideline: Halftime: NFC
• Sideline: Halftime: AFC
• Sideline: London / A Tale of Two Chads / Intimidation
• Sideline: Damp Squib / Other London Notes
• Sideline: Rock 'Em, Sock 'Em / Dolphins – The Aftermath
• Sideline: The Dolphins Did What?
• Sideline: Notes on the Defenses
• Sideline: Habits to be Broken
• Sideline: Overtime
• Sideline: This Week's Starters
• Sideline: USF: Covering The Spread / Fantastic Football
• Sideline: Grossman: The Final Act? / McNabb, the Epilogue
• Sideline: Eagles QB in Slight Controversy
• Sideline: Leftwich's Parting Gift / Boos cruise
• Sideline: Notre Dame M.I.A.
• Sideline: Looking Beyond NFL Wk. 1
• Sideline: Best Hope For Heisman
• Sideline: Coaching Hot Seats / AP Poll Feeling ’Appy
• Sideline: The NFL’s Prime Cuts
• Sideline: Michigan Falls to Killer Apps
• Sideline: Look Out Couch / The Taint's On You, Bud
Observations, Opinion & Occasional Silliness by Richard L Gale
When Appalachian State felled mighty Michigan in surely the greatest upset in college football's long history, they shook not only the national preseason polls, but roused every potential underdog in the land. This season could be dangerous for favorites, because if Appalachian proved anything, they proved that sharp execution and preparedness levels the playing field. Most commentators spent their preseason sleep-grumbling their way through their annual diatribes on how big, ranked powerhouses shouldn't be padding the win column by scheduling 1-AA teams. It was as much as the commentators could do to remember not to still call them '1-AA'. Well, so much for foregone conclusions: No.5 Michigan fell to a team that isn't even a member of their 119-team brand of football.
And that's why they play the games.
If many people weren't aware of Appalachian State, or didn't know where Boone, North Carolina is, they do now. A glance back at the February issue of The American:
"You know what? ... Division 1-A and Division 1-AA don't even officially exist, the Division 1 board of directors abandoning the labels in favor of 'Football Bowl Subdivision' and 'Football Championship Subdivision'. You know who the NCAA football champions are? Appalachian State. I'm not kidding"
Apparently, the Michigan Wolverines don't subscribe – they ambled into the game expecting to just roll these 1-AA Mountaineers. But A-State brought their 'A' game and the confidence of BEING national champions. The Wolverines defense couldn't contain their spread offense, their special teams didn't execute, and penalties contributed to their woes.
The Wolverines' hope of national championship contention died right there, in front of their own 110,000-strong crowd. Shocked into action, they could run the table from here, win the Big Ten, defeat Ohio State, and finish 11-1. But nobody's letting them into the BCS title game. Nobody is going to forget this, and no poll voter is going to admit in three months that a team that lost to a FCS school is either no.1 or no.2 in the FBS even if all of that came to pass.
Despite the numbers from their almost-comeback, it's questionable RB Mike Hart (188 yards, 3 TDs) will be able to hide the result from his Heisman resumé. The only way QB Chad Henne (19-37, 233 yards, 1 TD, 1 int) gets to own a Heisman is if O.J.'s turns up on eBay.
And as for Wolverines coach Lloyd Carr? Well, Carr-watch is officially on. His inability to beat Jim Tressel had already warmed his seat going into this season, and he needn't even dream about job-salvaging redemption against Ohio State at the other end of the schedule; between now and November 17, Michigan face Oregon, Penn State, Wisconsin, not to mention Notre Dame, Northwestern, Eastern Michigan (you still think those are gimmes, after Appalachian State?)
And yet a deeper theme may yet emerge than the fate of Michigan's coach. With Boise State's astonishing victory over Oklahoma highlighting January's bowl games, and now Appalachian's taming of the Wolverines to start the new season, can any team under-estimate a 'lesser' opponent.
Indeed, in the wake of Boise State and Appalachian State, how many other underdogs may yet be inspired to victory? And how many more before poll voters start to re-evaluate the difference between major, mid-major and lesser conference opponents?