10 College Football Teams Who Are On Upset Alert In Week 8
10 College Football Teams Who Are On Upset Alert In Week 8
College football is a sport unlike any other in that each and every game is truly up for grabs. On any given day, one of the top teams is liable to lose to a team that everyone thought had no chance to win. This has repeatedly played itself out in each and every college season of recent memory, and last year specifically as we saw three different teams that were ranked No. 1 -- USC, Alabama and Oregon -- in the nation fall to an underdog.
During the 2013 season, this trend of upsets has continued, both in the form of FBS schools losing to FCS schools and top-ranked teams losing to their rivals. These losses to FCS schools have came from a number teams in high powered conferences -- including Oregon State, Kansas State, South Florida and Iowa -- and display that no game can be considered an easy win any longer. This notion was further expanded upon as a number of intra-conference upsets have occurred in recent weeks, including the high-octane Stanford Cardinal losing to underwhelming Utah last week. All of these losses by the big dogs of college football shows that the gap between the haves and have nots is only getting smaller with every passing week.
Heading into Week 8 of the college football season, it is likely that the upsets we are seeing will trend toward the upsets of the big dogs, as conference play is in full effect for nearly every BCS league. With conference play also comes the big rivalries that college football fans, players, coaches and the media all love to be around, but these can also be nerve-wracking because of the fact that rivalries pay no attention to what is supposed to happen.
With this nerve-wracking period of college football in mind, we have decided to compile a list of the 10 teams who are on upset alert in Week 8 of the college football season.
10. Northern Illinois
As arguably the most surprising undefeated team remaining in college football, there is no doubt that each team Northern Illinois faces the rest of the way will bring their A-game. First up is MAC opponent Central Michigan, who sit at an uninspiring 3-4 record in 2013. This record will likely make this game be treated as a de-facto bowl game for Central Michigan, who will look to ride the momentum of their home crowd to make their mark on the 2013 College Football season. Expect Central Michigan to put up a fight against Northern Illinois this Saturday when they face off at 3:00 p.m. EST on ESPN3.
After a debilitating 43-40 quadruple-OT loss to Penn State in Week 7, it would be understandable if Michigan comes out of the gates a bit slow when they host Indiana in Week 8. Indiana will look to use their extra bit of energy and one of the best passing units in the nation, led by impressive sophomore Nate Sudfeld, to get out to a quick lead. Doing this would force Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner to throw the ball, which has been a recipe for disaster in 2013 as he has thrown 10 interceptions in six games. Getting this quick lead will immediately make this game tough for Michigan, and could turn this game into one of the biggest upsets of the 2013 college football season. Tune into Big Ten Network at 3:30 p.m. to catch the action.
8. Fresno State
Fresno State comes into Week 8 of the college football season with a 5-0 record, putting themselves in a perfect position to make a run both for the Mountain West Conference Championship and a spot in a BCS Bowl. What these ambitions will also do, however, is put them the No. 1 target of every other team in the Mountain West Conference, which makes every game much more difficult. This weekend's opponent is UNLV, who will look to use their offense that scores more than 33 points a game to make life miserable for Fresno State's defense that lets up more than 33 points per game. Putting big points on the board will likely make this game a very tight affair, as Fresno State has won the three games in which they let up more than 37 points by a combined six points. Eventually, this luck in close games will not continue and makes it plausible that this will be the weekend Fresno State finally falls.
Despite not being ranked, it can not be doubted that the 5-0 Houston Cougars are an exceptional team, as they rank in the top 22 nationally in points allowed and scored. This perfect record and strong performances on both ends of the ball make them a moderate favorite against BYU team, although this will by no means be an easy game. BYU ranks in the top 15 nationally in both running the football and keeping teams off of the board, and historically have had their way with highly-ranked teams. They have never shown a willingness to go down without a fight, and with a strong, physical brand of football it is hard to take them down at all. This will make life extremely tough for Houston, who will try to maintain their perfect record on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. on ESPNEWS.
6. Texas Tech
After riding a relatively easy first six games to a perfect record in 2013, it is clear that the second half of the season will be a litmus test on Texas Tech's ability. Questions are bounding over whether their offense, which averages 408.8 yards per game, can continue to produce at this level, and if their defense that has let up 17.3 points per game is really a shut down unit. Heading to West Virginia will be a very stern test for both units, as even with a 3-3 record, the Mountaineers seem to eternally step up their game at home. Just this year, West Virginia beat an undefeated Oklahoma State team at home, and it stands to reason that they will attempt to get in their opponents face and use the crowd to their advantage. Doing this effectively will undoubtedly put Texas Tech in a difficult position, as freshman quarterbacks Baker Mayfield and Davis Webb have yet to get in an uncomfortable situation. One can bet that this will change come Saturday, and will make tuning into Fox Sports 1 at 12 p.m. a must.
Oregon will go into their Week 8 matchup against Washington State looking to get away what seems to be a perennial second half trap door. Over the last two seasons, this proverbial door has resulted in two late-season slip ups which cost the team a chance to compete in the National Championship, and make it impossible to overlook any game. In order to beat Washington State, the first thing they must do is stop quarterback Connor Halliday, who ranks third in college football in passing yards in 2013. If Oregon cannot do this early and gets caught in a tight game, it will be interesting to see how they respond, as none of their six games this year have been remotely close. Tune in to Fox Sports 1 at 10:00 p.m. to see if Washington State can be the team to spoil Oregon's national championship aspirations in 2013.
Throughout the 2013 season, Melvin Gordon and James White have been catalysts for Wisconsin, and they will have to perform to the best of their potential to beat Illinois this weekend. This will be no easy task, as the Fighting Illini will be playing in front of their home fans, and will look to ride an offense which has averaged 36 points per game to a victory. Scoring big will be crucial to victory for Illinois, as they have let up 27.6 points per game, and opening up the field will require Wisconsin to revert away from their running game to score quick points. This strategy has previously worked for Arizona State and Ohio State, and stands likely to work again when Wisconsin travels to play Illinois this Saturday at 8:00 p.m. on Big Ten Network.
Coming off of two crushing defeats to Stanford and Oregon, a game against Arizona State this weekend could be viewed as a cake walk for 20th-ranked. Washington Huskies. Unfortunately for Washington, they will be facing an Arizona State team that loves to air the ball out and will relish turning this game into a shootout. If they are able to do this, the game will automatically be up for grabs, and Washington will be in danger of losing a third-straight game after a promising 4-0 start to the 2013 season. For those that are searching for a high-scoring game this Saturday, tuning into Pac-12 Network at 6 p.m. will be a must.
When UCF travels to Louisville on Friday night, common sense would say that the home side will cruise to an easy victory, but that underestimates their pesky opponents. During the 2013 season, UCF has beaten a solid Penn State team and almost garnered a shock victory over South Carolina on the backs of a defense that ranks 11th in the nation in points allowed, so it can be assured that they are no pushovers. This defensive unit will be crucial for UCF against Louisville, as they have absolutely no chance if the game turns into a track meet. If UFC can contain Teddy Bridgewater, who is arguably the best quarterback in college football, this game could flip Louisville's season on its head. The chances of this happening are not as far-fetched as they may seem, and make tuning to ESPN on Friday at 8 p.m. a must.
1. Texas A&M
While it would not be hard to think that any time Johnny Manziel takes the field for Texas A&M they are an undoubted lock to win, that is not the case this weekend against the 24th-ranked Auburn Tigers. It now is shaping up to one of the biggest surprises of the week. Auburn sports a dominant running game that has the potential to cause fits for Texas A&M's defense, which in turn could keep Manziel and company off the field for large parts of the game. Auburn's defense has also not been too shabby, allowing an impressive 18.8 points per game. The effectiveness of these two units will at the very least cause Texas A&M fits, and could potentially cause an epic upset. Tune into CBS at 3:30 p.m. this Saturday to catch a game that could alter the college football landscape.