Stanford Pulls Off Biggest Upset Ever
Stanford QB Tavita Pritchard
Stanford QB Tavita Pritchard
Posted Oct 6, 2007

With a shocking 24-23 win over USC, Stanford has pulled off the biggest upset of all-time, and now the field is wide open for the national title. Stanford QB Tavita Pritchard and his gutty fourth quarter play might have changed the college football world forever. Who's the biggest winner in the BCS Championship race?

By Pete Fiutak

Stanford beats USC 24-23

Move over Appalachian State; Stanford just one upped you.

Who are the big winners from USC's loss?
1. Ohio State
Now the Buckeyes, after the win over Purdue, basically know they can win out and end up in New Orleans.

2. Oklahoma
When it comes to one-loss teams, the OU loss to Colorado doesn't look as horrible now.

3. South Florida & Cincinnati
The Big East has eliminated one of the two key unbeatens out of the way.

4. Hawaii
Hawaii?! The Warriors have to go unbeaten, and have to blow away Washington, but USC's loss certainly doesn't hurt.

5. Boston College
This is starting to become the underground hot team. Now it has to start actually playing teams with a pulse, and will start to get more national attention.

ASU was a two-time defending national champion with a history of winning, and an excellent system in place, when it shocked the world with an upset over Michigan to begin the season. But as improbable as that was, it turns out Michigan just isn’t all that great. Also, if there’s usually going to be a big upset, it’ll come in the season opener when the supposedly superior team doesn’t have time to jell. After all, there aren’t any preseason games to use as tune ups.

There was no excuse for USC this week.

It had four games to get everything together. It had a huge, dominant win at Nebraska, and a blowout over Washington State, to get all the kinks worked out. It had a second-half letdown against Washington to be scared straight coming into this week. Sure, it was just Stanford, and all the Trojans had to do was show up and go through the motions, right?

That’s how it should’ve been, and that’s certainly how USC played in the second half. Still, there’s no excuse. USC’s third teamers are more talented than Stanford’s first team. The Cardinal didn’t have its starting quarterback, T.C. Ostrander, after he suffered a seizure this week. This is US-freakin’-C. This place gets its backups drafted by the NFL.

This is USC, you know, the program that had 31 players drafted in the last five years. The program with a BCS national championship, four BCS wins in five years, and had lost all of two regular season games in the last 45. The program that won 35 straight homes games, with the last loss coming to Stanford in 2001. The program was a 38 point favorite this week over the Cardinal. The juggernaut of juggernauts, with a talent-level that was unparalleled, thanks to a who’s who of blue-chip, five-star recruits.

Even superstars tend to screw up.

After the fact, the line on the ASU-Michigan game would’ve likely been Michigan -28ish, give or take a few points. Temple’s 1998 win over Virginia Tech was considered the gold-standard of upsets, winning 28-24 despite being 36.5 point underdogs. And now there’s this.

To understand just how big an upset this is, you have to remember where Stanford was at last year. This was being called the worst Pac 10 team in league history, setting records for futility on offense, and ineptitude on defense, cranking out just 127 points on the year and only coming up with one win. The program hasn’t had a winning season since 2001, and was coming into the game after getting outscored 141 to 51 in three Pac 10 games.

But against USC, the offense took advantage of every opportunity. USC QB John David Booty chose to air mail too many key throws, the Trojan defensive backs couldn’t handle the big Stanford receivers, and now the college football world has been turned upside down.

Yes, your world as you know it has changed, and this one win, this one Tavita Pritchard-to-Mark Bradford fourth-and-goal ten-yard touchdown pass will have a trickle down effect that could make this an extremely interesting next several months. And part of that, to come full-circle, might have something to do with Appalachian State.

Does this win mean Cardinal head coach Jim Harbaugh is the favorite over LSU head coach Les Miles for what’s assumed to be an open Michigan job at the end of this year, or at least in 2009? Does this ruin USC’s aura of invincibility, that wasn’t stripped away by losses to Oregon State and UCLA last season. Does this mean Ohio State is in the national title picture yet again, and does this open the door for a slew of unknowns, like Missouri, Kansas or South Florida, to possibly come up with a dream season?

Oh, this will be a fun next six weeks. Thanks, Stanford..


Related Stories
Instant Analysis: Stanford-USC
 -by  Oct 6, 2007
Bootleg Audio: "The Ultimate Upset"
 -by  Oct 7, 2007
USC/Stanford Game Notes
 -by  Oct 7, 2007

Add Topics to My HotList
Get free email alerts with news about your favorite topics. Click link to add to My HotList.
Football > Stanford
Football > USC
[View My HotList]