When an upset isn’t really an upset

Believe it or not, I am a college student. Those that know me think I say some outlandish things, but I didn’t pay off anyone to get in here. That being said, let’s do some grammar homework.

Upset … what is the meaning of the word upset? Well, according to dictionary.com, an upset is…

1.The act of upsetting or the condition of being upset.

2.A disturbance, disorder, or state of agitation.

3.A game or contest in which the favorite is defeated.

Let’s focus on definition number three, and put in layman’s terms so that the average person can understand it. Nearly three weeks ago, your Northeastern University football team pulled what many called a “major upset” when they throttled the University of Ohio Bobcats 31-0. Winning the game? Oh, well that was an upset in itself, but critics want to point to the way they won the game. The Huskies forced four fumbles, including one returned for a 42-yard touchdown by my favorite football player, Art Smith. The Huskies made a mockery of this Division I offense, holding it to a pathetic 141 total yards. NU had 299 yards, 217 on the ground. So now you figure, “Oh shoot, that’s kind of cool… I wish this cat Evans was my 12th grade English teacher.”

Not so fast, my young pupil; let us look at this a little closer. Granted, the Bobcats play some heavy duty competition this season, facing off against such big names as Florida, Marshall, and Pittsburgh. They also play in the Mid-American Conference, which is by no means a powder-puff league. I know, so now you’re thinking, “Alright, I get the point. I know what an upset is!”

Hold on… but do you really? This Ohio team was 1-10 last season, and lost 14 starters from that sorry bunch. So far this season, Ohio is 0-4, and have lost to Division I doormats such as Connecticut…. the same Connecticut team that went 2-9 last year, and were outscored 370-192 on the year… and the same Connecticut who your own Huskies defeated 35-27 when they visited Storrs two years ago. After the game, members of the Bobcats chose such words as these to describe their feelings after the contest:

“I can’t say that I’m not embarrassed. I’m embarrassed for us and for the university. They blitzed us and confused us at times.” – Ohio senior tailback Chad Brinker

“This was an embarrassing, embarrassing night. Northeastern played tremendously well, we didn’t. They just made plays, we didn’t.” – Ohio head coach Brian Knorr.

Embarrassed? They should be no more embarrassed then they were when they lost to Connecticut, or Florida, or Pittsburgh for that matter. You occupy the bottom of the barrel, play a team in a lower division, and expect it to be less embarrassing? This is not Dragonball Z, there is no gravity chamber, and you don’t suddenly become stronger because you battle an opponent from a lower level. It’s okay, now you want to ask me, “So, the victory over Ohio was not an upset” don’t you? Well, that depends on your perspective.

Consider the game against UMass. Northeastern put on a clinic on how to force turnovers, and gain vindication after a 77-0 pasting at the hands of UMass from seasons of yesteryear. Though the Ohio game was considered a huge upset, chances are you won’t hear the local media talking about this game in the same light. Never mind the fact that it took Northeastern 16 games over the span of 19 years to get this win, or that this was the first Atlantic-10 contest for both teams in the young season.

Ask head coach Don Brown if he would rather go undefeated in league play, and get pasted in non league contests, or defeat all the D-I teams in the universe, but go winless in his own league. The answer should not surprise you, and neither should the victories over Ohio, and, more importantly UMass. If anything, the Minuteman thrashing was a greater upset, as it has larger implications on the immediate future of this burgeoning football program. What happened on Saturday was not some fluke thing; UMass is a good football team, and the Huskies served notice to all those prognosticators in the preseason that had them picked to finish next to last in the league.

Whether the team has arrived for good, again, is up for you to decide, but in truth, the only upset that took place in recent memory was not on the field, but next to it. In all honesty, I’ve never seen a more horrific attempt by a group of cheerleaders to do touchdown push-ups in my 20 years on this earth.

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