College Football Upset Alert: 10 Teams Who Should Be Worried in Week 12
Upset Alert: 10 Teams Who Should Be Worried
It's coming down to the wire. The bowl season is looming and the BCS bowl match-ups are starting to take shape. With only a few weeks left in the regular season, the stakes are higher, the competition greater and the chances of coming back from a loss next to zero.
The top three teams in the country seem likely to retain their spots this weekend. Alabama, Florida State, and Ohio State are all heavy favorites over their opposition. But as we all know anything can happen in college football, and a team with nothing to lose is the greatest threat to a team with everything to lose. So they better stay focused as a defeat at this point will most certainly eliminate any chance of playing for a national title.
Further down the ranks are the teams playing for a bowl berth of some kind, and that's where things get interesting. There are some solid one loss teams (as well as one no-loss) who are poised to move up should one of the big three fall. But they need to win first. Their opponents are also looking to move up or in some cases just make it to the post-season. And the further down you go the more even the playing field gets. So expect some highly competitive action at the lower levels.
No matter how you look at it upsets are inevitable. The only question is who and when. Here are some of the teams that look good on paper but might get an unwelcome surprise Saturday.
10. Louisville vs. Houston
Louisville may be its own worst enemy. As dominating as their offense is they tend to undermine their progress with silly mistakes, particularly when passing the ball. On top of that, Houston's secondary leads the nation in interceptions. So Cardinals QB Teddy Bridgewater needs to throw with laser-like precision and not panic in the pocket because the Cougars can and will take advantage of that.
9. Arizona State vs. Oregon State
If Arizona State wants to survive this match-up they need to abandon the running game and focus on passing. Oregon State defensive ends Scott Crichton and Dylan Wynn are highly capable of taking down even the fastest of running backs. They also have many weapons on offense, not the least of which being Brandin Cook who has the athleticism to take it to the end zone with every possession. The Sun Devils need to keep an eye on him and fellow receiver Richard Mullaney or the game could get lopsided real quick.
8. Michigan State vs. Nebraska
Michigan State is rolling this year. They're even projected to finish their bowl season against the OSU Buckeyes in the Rose Bowl. This is why it's imperative they don't let their guard down against Nebraska. The Cornhuskers' offense may be struggling, but they were ranked atop the Big Ten early in the season. Couple that with an extremely tough secondary that has stopped 48.5 percent of their opponents' passes, and the Spartans might lose the battle before they even get to the war.
7. Oklahoma State vs. Texas
Don't mess with Texas. The Longhorns face off against the Oklahoma State Cowboys in an old west-style dust up. Like the Florida - South Carolina series, Texas has the historical edge winning 23-4 overall. And don't let the rankings fool you. Texas may be 12 spots behind, but they've only lost one more game this season than their opponent. The Cowboys better keep this in mind if they don't want to get gored.
6. South Carolina vs. Florida
It's probably the boldest prediction of the bunch. How can Florida possibly overcome a South Carlina team that is primed a ready to play for the SEC East title -- especially riddled with injuries? Pride, that's how. The Gators have a solid reputation as one of the elite teams in the NCAA. Granted, they haven't lived up to it this season, but they've dominated the Gamecocks 24-6 overall. Tomorrow night could very well be win number 25.
5. Baylor vs. Texas Tech
Baylor has definitely earned the right to be in the top 5. They are undefeated so far, averaging a whopping 45.6 points over their opponents. They also beat No. 10 Oklahoma in convincing fashion last week, but that game took its toll. With several key players injured their normally impenetrable armor now has a few chinks in it, and Texas Tech knows this. A win for the Raiders would be huge for them and their young coach, Kliff Kingsbury, and catastrophic for the Bears.
4. Oregon vs. Utah
Make no mistake: Oregon is still amongst the best teams in the country, but their loss to Stanford last week seems to have demoralized them. If they plan on redeeming themselves against Utah they'd better remember who they are and fast because they are about to face a team that's notoriously good at pulling off upsets.
3. Auburn vs. Georgia
The "Deep South's Oldest Rivalry" definitely lives up to its reputation. The series between Auburn and Georgia is tied 54-54 overall. The Tigers can move the ball with the best of them, but the Bulldogs can stop it almost better than anyone. And with each team vying for a spot at the SEC Championship game in Atlanta it's still anyone's contest.
2. Stanford vs. USC
Southern California suffered a few losses this season -- most notably at the hands of Arizona State in September. However, with three straight wins going into this game they have some momentum. The Trojans also have a storied rivalry with Stanford that goes back more than a century. And with bowl eligibility in the balance you can bet they're going to do everything in their power to knock the Cardinal from their perch.
1. Alabama vs. Mississippi State
It might sound crazy, but it could happen. Alabama could lose this weekend. Mississippi State has racked up a school record 459.2 yards in total offense this season. And yes, they've lost five times this year, but all five were against ranked opponents and they still managed to score an average 21.1 points before going down. Will the Bulldogs' tenacity be enough to turn the Tide? Doesn't seem likely on the surface, but Alabama better not underestimate the power of the undertow or they could come crashing down.