Week ten in college football was one filled with far less treachery than week nine, as the only core surprises in the top ten were Louisiana State’s game-controlling win over Alabama and Texas Christian’s 47-7 romp over Utah. With only three weeks left in the regular season, it is inconceivable that a team outside of the top ten of the Bowl Championship Series(BCS) rankings could play for the national championship. Therefore, instead of covering all possible top 25 upsets in-depth, only top ten teams in danger of losing will be analyzed. Favored teams are in bold font.
Indiana Hoosiers at #7 Wisconsin Badgers
Indiana has never been of Ohio State’s caliber as a football school, as evidenced by their 38-10 loss to the Buckeyes earlier this season, so it would seem counter-intuitive to predict a Hoosier win in Camp Randall after OSU’s 31-18 demise on October 16th. Circumstances change, however, and the contrasting styles of the pass-heavy Hoosiers and the traditional power offenses of Ohio State and Wisconsin. The recent injury of starting Wisconsin running back John Clay, the primary rushing weapon for the Badgers, puts the heart of the Wisconsin offense in jeopardy. Indiana only has a middling scoring defense (ranked 60th out of 120 FBS teams), but Wisconsin’s fairly unproven passing game (nine touchdowns to five interceptions) will be hard-pressed to fill the void left by Clay. Indiana’s offense has to play flawlessly, and its defense has to do a better job creating turnovers (they’re tied for 75th in the nation in interceptions) by intensifying its pass rush (tied for 101st in the nation). Such a combination is unlikely, but it is not impossible. Wisconsin must be careful, or it will fall into a trap on the 13th of November. Chance of Upset: 43%.
#6 Stanford Cardinal at Arizona State Sun Devils
Some may look at the 4-5 record of the Sun Devils and wonder how they could put surging Stanford on upset alert, but most forget that Arizona State held #1 Oregon to a season-low 42 points and came closer than any team (11 points) to beating the Ducks. I still think that Stanford will get by the Cardinal on Saturday because of the wondrous efficiency of quarterback Andrew Luck, but they must be wary of both the Sun Devils’ highly-ranked passing attack and the startling 6.2 yards per carry of ASU running back Deantre Lewis. Screen passing and halfback draws and counters could spell trouble for the Cardinal defense out of the spread; given Arizona State’s high-powered offense when playing at home, this will likely be a shoot-out which Stanford will eke out of with a win. Chance of Upset: 40%.
#1 Oregon Ducks at California Golden Bears
California has been plagued by inconsistency throughout its Pacific-10 Conference schedule, losing a defensive struggle 10-9 to Arizona before giving up 48 and 35 in their next two losses. Perhaps the most glaring defeat on the Golden Bears’ schedule occurred on September 17th, when they lost to Western Athletic Conference opponent Nevada, 52-31. The 5-4 Bears from Berkeley have clearly found their comfort level at home, defeating conference opponents UCLA and Arizona State by a combined score of 85-24; a 52-3 romp over lowly UC-Davis and a 52-7 rout of Big 12 Conference foe Colorado to begin the season give California a 4-0 home record so far. Berkeley will be alive for this one, as Oregon’s lowest point totals and smallest margins of victory have come on the road. Allowing only 8.5 points per game at home on the season, the Golden Bears have a legitimate shot of taking down the Ducks. The wave of confidence coming from their first conference road win of the season should make for a tough test for the number one team in the country. Chance of Upset: 56%.
Other top 25 match-ups that could result in upsets:
#19 Mississippi State Bulldogs at #12 Alabama Crimson Tide
#13 Iowa Hawkeyes at Northwestern Wildcats
Texas Tech Red Raiders at #16 Oklahoma Sooners
#24 Kansas State Wildcats at #17 Missouri Tigers
Southern California at #18 Arizona Wildcats
#20 Virginia Tech Hokies at North Carolina Tar Heels
#23 South Carolina Gamecocks at #22 Florida Gators
#25 Texas A&M Aggies at Baylor Bears