Utah State Was Not Appalachian State Or Memphis State

Utah State was just two minutes away from becoming the latest version of Appalachian State, circa 2007 and we were so ready to crow in that victory.

Alas, it was not to be. Sometimes the thrill of writing is changing your direction midway through your thoughts and being more pleased with the finished product.

Appalachian State shocked Michigan in 1997. (Photo by NY Times)

Here we were, ready to write about Michigan in two different scenarios – the Appalachian State meltdown and the last time the defending college football champ was upset came in 1998 when … yup, Michigan lost.

Following the RichRod era, Michigan has enough to worry about without us dancing on their graves.

Yet, as the TV switched from Auburn escaping and USC playing Minnesota, there seemed to be enough similarities of Utah State’s near upset to the first game in 1991 when little-known Memphis State knocked off No. 16 USC.

Wait a second, you’re probably thinking. Who in the wide world of sports is Memphis State?

Well, back in 1991, Memphis was Memphis State. The university changed names in 1994.

There’s a lot of similarities to be made between Memphis, nee Memphis State, and the Utah State we saw on Saturday. (The biggest difference is that Memphis State won, 24-10 in Los Angeles, whereas Utah State blew a 10-point lead in the final 3 minutes or so.)

First, Utah State is known as a basketball school. As is Memphis. However, Stew Morrill is pretty much the exact opposite of Josh Pastner. Morill is old, wears suits from the 1980s and doesn’t look like he’s ever used a comb or an elliptical machine. Pastner is young, good-looking and dresses well.

Stew Morrill (Photo by collegeinsider.com)

Josh Pastner








Second, neither school is known for its football. Over the past three years Utah State has won 11 games, Memphis has won nine. For these programs, it’s typically been that way.

Third, both schools are hugely overshadowed in their own states by other powerhouses. Utah State is the redheaded stepchild of Utah and BYU. Memphis bows down to Tennessee.

Fourth, they both have loyal fans. Maybe because there’s no other activities for their fans to be bothered with in the immediate area.

While USC was not coming off a national title in the 1990 season, they did finish the season No. 20 in the nation and, as always, football has been king at USC and the team is routinely expected to finish in the Top-25.

The day that Memphis State beat the Trojans sent USC spinning into a downward spiral where the program won just 9 games once in the next 11 years.

While Utah State did not beat Auburn, it certainly sent a scare through the crowd where many supposed supporters were heading to the exits. Guess the shine of that national title wore off already.

Perhaps Auburn will head into a similar spiral as USC did. Of course, that could be quickly changed with a money-hungry father shopping his talented quarterback-playing son around.

Maybe the toilet paper used on Toomer’s Oaks could be used to clean up after Auburn nearly crapped the bed on Saturday the way USC did 20 years ago.


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