As the first full weekend of college football arrived, there was certainly the opportunity for an upset.

It was really just a matter of when and where. As it turned out, it happened in Knoxville as Georgia State stunned the Tennessee Volunteers, a team most viewed as being on the rise.

The game was another example of why games are played on the field and not on paper. Don’t let the seemingly close-sounding 38-30 score fool you. The Panthers dominated the game, especially in the second half. A touchdown by Tennessee with two seconds left made it sound closer.

Few saw this outcome on the horizon. Georgia State was 2-10 last year and was picked to finish near the bottom of the Sun Belt Conference in 2019. Now one has to wonder if they might not challenge for a conference championship.

Games like this one are what make college football great. That is unless you happen to be a Tennessee fan of course.

Georgia, as expected, handled Vanderbilt with little issues. The Commodores are not a bad defensive team but continue to show little to no ability to do much offensively.

Overall it was a rough weekend for the SEC East. Georgia and Kentucky were the lone winners, although the Wildcats certainly did not look impressive.

Tennessee, of course, had an embarrassing loss and South Carolina lost to a rebuilding North Carolina. Missouri, picked as high as second in the East by some, lost to Wyoming on the road.

Wyoming gets no respect but may have one of the most underrated coaches in the country in Craig Bohl, who started a dynasty at North Dakota State before moving over to Laramie. It’s very tough to win at Wyoming (try recruiting players from Florida to live in a freezer several months of the year) but Bohl has done a solid job.

The Clemson-Georgia Tech game last week went about as expected. The Tigers simply had too much talent, too much depth and too much momentum for the Yellow Jackets at this stage.

It certainly didn’t help that Tech was going through a complete overhaul of its offensive scheme as the Triple Option has officially been pitched to yesteryear. And whether Yellow Jacket fans think that is a positive or not, it is going to take a minimum of three years for new head coach Geoff Collins to implement his schemes with players he recruits to run his scheme.

A long stretch of season remains in front of us but it will take something miraculous for Clemson not to be in the Final Four once again.

Most of you probably missed it but a hard-fought game between Minnesota and South Dakota State was played on Aug. 29. It was a matchup of teams at different levels but these are the ones where upsets are possible.

Minnesota is improving under former Western Michigan coach PJ Fleck while South Dakota State is a long-time FCS program that has reached the semifinals the last two seasons.

The Jackrabbits fell 28-21 but only did so after some costly self-inflicted wounds. Despite the loss the Jackrabbits earn some kind of award for having one of the best mascots in college football.

A late-night game Saturday that was intriguing was the Southern Cal matchup with Fresno State. USC has been an underperforming program since the departure of coach Pete Carroll.

The Fresno State Bulldogs were 10-2 a year ago and there was even talk during the day that if they defeated USC that Trojans coach Clay Helton might be fired immediately.

USC held on 31-23, however, after a fast start in the game. Still Helton’s seat has to be one of the hottest in college football.

The coach for another storied program could also be in trouble. Florida State let a big second-half lead against Boise State slip away and eventually lost.

Willie Taggert has struggled to find his footing at FSU, and it would be surprising if he survives past this season.

On the surface it may not seem fair, but big-time college football coaches make huge money. I would gladly accept the payout they receive for not performing to expectations.

Winder resident Chris Bridges is former sports editor of the Barrow News-Journal. He is a multi-time winner for column writing from the Georgia Press Association, National Newspaper Association and the Georgia Sports Writers Association. He welcomes feedback about this column at


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