3 College Football Teams on Upset Alert in Week 10
Those who cheer for underdogs were likely disappointed in week nine. The large number of close calls was just enough to keep us on the edge of our seat, but the favorites prevailed in the end.
If you missed any of the action, here is what you missed:
- Washington State almost made College Gameday regret not coming to Pullman. The Cougars gave Stanford everything they could handle, but the Cardinal came out on top, 30-28.
- Temple did just enough to make Gameday not regret their decision to come to Philadelphia. Notre Dame needed a late interception to seal a 24-20 win over the Owls.
- Questionable clock management by Minnesota allowed Michigan to defeat the Golden Gophers, 29-26.
- The only top 25 team to lose in "upset fashion" was Duke. Miami put together a crazy last second kickoff return to win the game. Replays showed, however, that the Blue Devils should have won the game.
The number of high profiles games in week 10 will draw some attention away from the potential upset alerts this week. Lucky for you, you can check out this week's list and find out which games to flip through if want to watch the big games and the potential upset specials.
**Note: All stats, unless otherwise noted, are courtesy of cfbstats.com**
It may seem counter intuitive to put an SEC team on upset alert when they are playing another SEC team. Ole Miss has little room for error if they plan on making it to the SEC Championship, so a loss in this game would be a major upset to their postseason hopes.
The Rebels' strength this season has been their passing game. Chad Kelly has 800 more passing yards than the second closest quarterback in the SEC. The downside to those pass happy numbers being that Kelly is also tied for most interceptions thrown (12). Arkansas has a knack for creating turnovers, so this could play a major factor in the outcome of the game.
Forcing turnovers is just one of many steps that the Razorbacks need to take to secure the upset. They must move the ball effectively and take advantage of scoring opportunities, which they have struggled to do this season. Their red zone conversion percentage ranks 13th in the SEC, a trend that cannot continue if they plan on winning. They can stay ahead of the curve if they keep their balanced offensive attack against Ole Miss' front seven.
The Rebels are ranked far behind division rivals Alabama and LSU, but they still can win out and safely make it to SEC Championship. However, Arkansas could be a major roadblock for this Atlanta trip.
Would it even be considered an upset if TCU lost to an undefeated? The answer is yes. The Horned Frogs have the playoffs on their mind, so a loss from any team would be considered a major blow.
TCU has already seen a few close calls this season, so we know that they do have weaknesses even if it does not seem like it. Gary Patterson has strayed away from his "defense first" philosophy and has put the pressure on his high scoring offense. This is not a bad thing to do when you have a quarterback like Trevone Boykin. However, this plan has made the Horned Frogs weaker on pass defense, a problem that you cannot have in the BIG 12.
Oklahoma State's story is almost the complete opposite of their opponents. The Cowboys have relied on a heavy pass game to power them through in recent years, but a strong defense is getting the job done this season. They have the second best defense in the conference. That is a great thing to have when facing Boykin and company. This game could still turn into a shootout, but the team with the best defense will prevail.
TCU has just one win on the road that came by more than seven points. Stillwater is known for becoming a hostile environment especially in big games like this. The Horned Frogs are definitely in danger of losing this weekend.
There is a reason why Vegas oddsmakers only favor Michigan State to win by four despite playing a team that is just 3-6 on the year. The Spartans have already had a lifetime's worth of close calls this season, but we could see another close one on Saturday.
MSU's high number of close calls appears to be a result of a weaker defense. The Spartans have been a top-10 defense nationally in each of their last four seasons, but they are currently ranked 40th nationally. They will face off against a Nebraska offense that is putting up almost 450 yards of offense per game. There is a little bit of comfort knowing that Mark Dantonio may not have to rely completely on his defense. After all, Connor Cook is one of the nation's most efficient quarterbacks.
The Cornhusker's have a big time quarterback of their own in Tommy Armstrong. Armstrong is a big time threat through the air and on the ground. He does, however, have a problem with turning the ball over. If there is one thing that will absolutely kill the Cornhusker's chances of pulling the upset it will be turnover. They will need to string together long drives in order to keep Cook off the field, so they will need to remain as balanced as possible.
Michigan State has won their last two road games by a combined 11 points. Meanwhile, an upset of this magnitude is exactly what Nebraska needs to reboost their season. This is one to keep an eye on.