The 2009 college football season kicked off this past weekend, and with it came the surprise – and ultimately, inevitability – of a few upsets. Already in the first week, Boise State took down a strong Oregon team (with the surprise there being the lack of offense from the Ducks), and then BYU upset an Oklahoma team that was favored to make a run at the National Championship. Some people are saying that the injury to Heisman winner Sam Bradford was the reason for the upset, and that’s fine. One excuse that fans usually make for a letdown is injuries to key players. It’s a valid argument, but to be frank, injuries should be the least of everyone’s worries this year.
Instead, let’s focus on the one problem that could prove to be this year’s ultimate BCS buster. The H1N1 virus, or as it’s more commonly known “Swine Flu.” That’s right, this flu has the potential to be the cause of some serious upsets if it can’t be controlled. Imagine Texas losing in the final weeks of the season because Colt McCoy and Jordan Shipley can’t get out of their beds. It’s a situation that is very likely with recent reports of the flu breaking out across colleges all over the country.
As the flu spreads across campuses it no doubt will make its way into athletic departments. In fact, Kelly Whiteside at USA Today reported that the virus has already been confirmed to have affected athletes at several schools across the country. The latest reports of the flu are coming out of 6th-ranked Mississippi. Apparently 17 players, including Quarterback Jevan Snead, have reported symptoms of the virus and 15 of those players missed practice yesterday. Lucky for Mississippi, this week is their bye, but it’s not that hard to imagine some other highly-ranked schools not having the same luck later in the season.
According to Health officials, swine flu is very contagious and spreads quickly once it is introduced to a population. Combine that with the fact that college locker rooms can tend to get on the unsanitary side at times, and you’ve got yourself a recipe for a yearlong supply of upset pie.
Before this season started the chances of team like Troy beating a powerhouse like Florida would have been given the same chance as seeing a pig fly. Well guess what, swine flu.