Being a part of an upset is one of the greatest feelings in the world. When you play a team who thinks they are going to come in and kill you and you end up beating them, it’s the biggest “F you” that you can give to a team.
However, there are a couple things that are pretty important in every upset.
No. 1: Is your team home or away?
The home crowd can make a huge difference and affect anyone’s mental toughness and playing skills. While it’s not impossible for your team to pull off an upset if they are on the road, it’s easier to occur if they are the home team.
No. 2: Turnovers
If your team can force turnovers and give up fewer turnovers than the other team, you have a good chance of pulling off the upset. If your team can win the turnover battle, your defense stays off the field and momentum shifts in your favor.
No. 3: Is your defense good?
This kind of goes hand-in-hand with “can your team force turnovers?” Many teams find out how good their defense actually is late in the season after already playing 8-9 games and having the toughest part of their schedule coming up. Clemson, while I despise them, has proved their defense is the real deal and can neutralize any offense there is. We also found out that Michigan’s defense is not as good as advertised as they could not stop Ohio State all day last weekend, allowing 500 total yards. Or Oklahoma’s defense, who allows nearly 40 points a game (in their last 4) which may hurt their chances at a College Football Playoff spot if it comes down to it.
No. 4: Does your team have a playmaker?
It is usually a quarterback who steps up and picks apart a defense, but it can also be a running back or wide receiver. A player like Kyler Murray can dominate and take control of a game, or even a player like Alabama’s Najee Harris (who you may not recognize just yet) can impact a game to wear a team down, so teams like the Tide don’t have to throw as much and the running game can catch defenses off guard.
When watching college football this weekend, look for these aspects of an upset to be able to predict one coming. Not all of them need to be present, but at least 2 of the 4 need to be in order for an upset to occur.
The one game I am really looking forward to now is the ACC championship. While Clemson has been dominant all year, this is Pitt’s championship game as they don’t really have anything else to play for but a meaningless bowl game. I think this has a potential to be a massive upset that may cost Clemson a spot in the College Football Playoff. While Georgia over ‘Bama wouldn’t be a massive upset, this could happen too, as Georgia is desperately trying to keep their CFB Playoff hopes alive.