College Football Spoiler Alert: Week 9
Technically, my upset special, Miami over Clemson, was correct last week...in that it caused me and, presumably, my readers to be very upset.
So who should be scared of an upset on Halloween? Could an undefeated school suffer the biggest scare of all? Let's take a look, in this week's CFSA
(All times EST; All rankings reflect AP Top 25)
South Florida (4-3, 2-1) @ Navy (5-1, 3-0)
Of course, the majority of praise for The Artists Formerly Known as the Big East (aka the American Athletic Conference, but isn't that nickname so much more fun?) goes to the undefeated titans of Memphis and Temple. But here, we have two schools floating under the radar. For USF, Willie Taggart has the Bulls headed toward their first winning season since 2010. Meanwhile, the Midshipmen are working toward their quest of winning their first conference title in their first year in a conference. Expect a rushing clinic to go down in Annapolis, especially between QBs Quinton Flowers of USF and Keenan Reynolds of Navy. With two touchdowns, Reynolds will tie the FBS record for most career rushing scores. However, USF has allowed just 8 rushing touchdowns all year, and have an impressive backup plan if the Midshipmen bottle up Flowers in RB Marlon Mack. It's not the biggest upset, but I see USF pulling it off on the road.
UPSET SPECIAL: South Florida
Virginia Tech (3-5, 1-3) @ Boston College (3-5, 0-5)
12:30 PM, Espn3.com
In a battle of two once proud ACC schools that have fallen on tough times, the winner very well could reach a bowl game this December, while the loser surely sees their chances go up in smoke. Virginia Tech, losers of four of their last five, is coming off a tough quadruple-overtime loss to Duke, and their battered defense will be a welcome site for the Eagles, who have greatly struggled on offense this season. Despite their offensive woes, the BC defense has been extraordinary thus far on this season, allowing 217 yards per game. The Eagles could quite frankly be 6-2 right now had their offense let them down. The defense deserves better than this 0-5 debacle. Expect them to let off some steam on Saturday.
The Pick: Boston College
USC (4-3, 2-2) @ Cal (5-2, 2-2)
3:00 PM, FOX
People expected two completely different things for these Golden State schools in recent weeks. Completely different results, however, have the Trojans trending up and the Bears trending down. USC, still trying to recover from the Steve Sarkisian nightmare, scored one of the biggest upsets of the season with a defeat of then-#3 and then-undefeated Utah, while the Golden Bears, finding themselves in the Top 25, fell in consecutive weeks to the aforementioned Utes and later UCLA, both on national primetime stages. USC has dominated the recent stretches of this rivalry, penciling in victories over their in-state rival since 2003. Right back in the thick of things when it comes to the PAC-12 South race, expect the Trojans to continue that streak as they enter what's sure to be an exciting November under interim coach Clay Helton.
The Pick: USC
#12 Oklahoma State (7-0, 4-0) @ Texas Tech (5-3, 2-3)
3:30 PM, ESPN
Football has taken a backseat for the Cowboys, who mourn the tragic deaths due to a careless drunk driving accident at the homecoming parade. They will temporarily turn their focus back to the game on Saturday, when they take on a talented Texas Tech team. Here, we have a matchup of two different teams who have different approaches in 2015. OSU feels like a team ready to win now, while the Red Raiders are still a year or two away. Coach Kliff Kingsbury has TT headed in the right direction, but the Cowboys are simply too good of a team to see their undefeated streak, and chances at a Big 12 title end like this. Expect high scoring hijinks, but in the end, anticipate an expected result.
The Pick: Oklahoma State
Vanderbilt (3-4, 1-3) @ #18 Houston (7-0, 3-0)
7 PM, ESPN2
For some reason, the Cougars aren't getting the same attention AAC brethren Memphis and Temple. Sure, the schedule does leave much to be desired (their best win is probably over Louisville) but there's no denying their success, especially considering their quarterback transferred to Michigan before the season started. A visit from Vandy, while not exactly a matchup with Alabama or LSU, is actually rather big for the Cougars, as it'd a big boost for them to pick up a win over an SEC opponent. The Commodores actually do have a solid defensive unit, one that the offensive minded Cougars could throw on in an attempt to impress College Football Playoff voters. Houston more than likely be one of the four teams left standing on New Year's Eve, but a win over an SEC team, no matter how small, could help when it comes to their quest to becoming the Group of Five rep in a New Year's Bowl.
The Pick: Houston
Miami (FL) (4-3, 1-2) @ #22 Duke (6-1, 3-0)
Who would've thought we'd see the day where the Blue Devils were 12.5 point favorites over the Hurricanes...in a football game? After last week's debacle, the infamous 58-0 beating at the hands of Clemson, many are counting the Canes' season all but over, but a new coach in Larry Scott, as well as an opportunity to crawl back into the ACC Coastal division race. However, this could be the best squad that David Cutcliffe has had yet in Durham. If you thought the Canes struggled last week against the Tigers, it's hard to imagine what they'll do against Duke's defense, which allows a mere 14 points per game. The Canes have shown they can hang tough with ranked teams, but for now asking them to win of these games is just too much.
The Pick: Duke
#15 Michigan (5-2, 2-1) @ Minnesota (4-3, 1-2)
Michigan comes into the annual Little Brown Jug game still seething from the infamous botched punt defeat two Saturdays ago. A common theme in the Wolverines' couple of losses is that they have trouble running the ball, as they're 0-2 when they fail to tally 100+ yards on the ground. They should be able to get back on track against a Gophers team that's been inconsistent all season long. While Michigan wept two weeks ago, the Gophers had a shot to get back in the considerably weak Big Ten West but were instead blown out by Nebraska. Lord help the beleaguered Minny D against the Wolverines offense, who will no doubt be insane having had two weeks to stew on the Michigan State loss.
The Pick: Michigan
Tennessee (3-4, 1-3) @ Kentucky (4-3, 2-3)
7:30 PM, SEC Network
Could this be a game that the Vols use to determine head coach Butch Jones's fate? UT entered the season ranked and full of high expectations, but have stumbled to losing records both in conference and overall. The past two weeks have been somewhat kinder to the Vols, featuring a win over a then-ranked Georgia team and a close call with mighty Alabama. Tonight, they travel to Lexington to face off against a schizophrenic Wildcats team that is actually enjoying a sold season by their recent standards. They own a win over a ranked team (over then-#25 Missouri in September) but have also needed overtime to knock off Eastern Kentucky. Jones may not have a job in Knoxville by season's end, but expect him to leave Lexington with a win. UT-UK is one of those rare rivalries in college football that has its own Wikipedia page, so I see another win being added to the Vols' tally.
The Pick: Tennessee
#9 Notre Dame (6-1) @ #21 Temple (7-0, 4-0)
8 PM, ABC
Who would've thought that College GameDay would be headed to Philadelphia in late October at the beginning of the season? It's nice to see what Matt Rhule has been able to do with the Owls' program, one that won just two games two years ago. However, with Notre Dame, the Owls may have bitten off more than they can chew. There's no denying that Temple is a fine time, and could well end up representing the Group of Five on New Year's. But they'll be facing off against an ND team that had it not been for a comeback that fell short against Clemson, would still be undefeated. Besides, with an Irish offense averaging just under 500 yards per game, the Owls will have their hands full. Temple may be a fun story, but for now, asking a win over a team of Notre Dame's caliber is simply asking too much.
The Pick: Notre Dame
Arizona (5-3, 2-3) @ Washington (3-4, 1-3)
11:00 PM, FS1
A bit of a PAC-12 underachiever bowl goes down in late night, with both teams getting off to slow starts in their respective divisions. Zona is coming off a shocking loss to Washington State...at home no less....while the Huskies have had upset bids fall short in back to back games against Oregon and Stanford. This weekend, I see the Huskies' finally scoring that upset. Arizona came into the season with high expectations, but their struggles have them on the outside looking in the PAC-12 South. These Huskies are young and talented, and will contend for the PAC-12 North for years to come. We'll get a taste of what's possibly to come on Saturday night....if you're still awake that is.
The Pick: Washington
Last Week: 6-4
Upset Specials: 3-5
Geoff Magliocchetti stopped doing the score picks because, quite frankly they weren't even close. If you want them back, let him know on Twitter @GeoffMags5490.
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