In last week’s “upset alert” column, three of my five picks came true.
Florida got a big win against No. 5 LSU in The Swamp, vaulting the Gators up to No. 14 in the AP Poll.
No. 8 Auburn went over the Starkville, and got thumped by unranked Mississippi State 23-9. It was a big win for first year head coach Joe Moorhead, whose team has been very up-and-down.
Iowa State only had one win entering last weekend’s game, but flashed the offensive ability from last year’s breakout season in a 48-42 win at Oklahoma State, knocking the Pokes from the rankings.
Here are the five teams on “upset alert” heading into College Football Week 7.
We start with a fun game that kicks off from the Lone Star State tonight.
TCU Horned Frogs (-7.5) vs. Texas Tech Red Raiders
TCU has been one of the Big 12’s more consistent performers since joining the conference, and it is hard to do better than Gary Patterson. The hasn’t looked like one of his better Horned Frogs teams though. Since a hard-fought but decisive loss to Ohio State, the team dropped to Texas 31-16, and edged by Iowa State.
On the other side, Texas Tech is as explosive as ever, and may be improved enough on defense to be very dangerous. The team scored big wins over Houston, and dominated Oklahoma State in Stillwater before losing by eight to a Top 10 West Virginia club last week. TCU’s offense isn’t nearly as potent as the Mountaineers’.
Utah Utes (-13.5) vs. Arizona Wildcats
Utah is getting a ton of credit for its win against Stanford based on this line, and that’s not totally unfair. The Cardinal couldn’t move the ball with star running back Bryce Love out, though. Arizona is starting to figure things out, with three wins in the last four weeks after a brutal start.
Last week, the Wildcats knocked off a solid Cal team 24-17. Khalil Tate hasn’t been the same dual-threat nightmare that he was last week, but J.J. Taylor has 600 yards on the year, and nearly put up 250 yards a few weeks ago against Oregon State.
No. 10 UCF Knights (-4.5) at Memphis Tigers
UCF is riding an 18-game winning streak. That very nearly came to an end against the Tigers last season. UCF outlasted Memphis 62-55 in a double-overtime classic in the AAC Championship Game.
The Knights look great once again, but Memphis’ resume is a bit deceptive. SB Nation’s Bill Connelly’s metrics gave Memphis a 98-percent chance to beat Navy based on how the Tigers played in that game. The Midshipmen snuck out a 22-21 win. They did have an ugly loss to Tulane a few weeks ago, but Tiger fans should be extremely fired up at home as they look to become the first team to beat UCF since the 2016 Cure Bowl.
No. 12 Michigan Wolverines (-9) vs. No. 15 Wisconsin Badgers
The biggest knock on Jim Harbaugh at Michigan has been the team’s inability to win huge games. While most of the focus has been on the Ohio State and Michigan State rivalries, this home game with Big Ten West favorite Wisconsin should still qualify.
The Badgers suffered a bad home loss to BYU, but the team isn’t going to beat itself, will get plenty of production on the ground, and play some of the best defense in the country. A team with a similar profile, pre-Ian Book Notre Dame, had its way with Michigan in Week 1. The Wolverines definitely shouldn’t be laying nine points against the Badgers, and this is very much a potential upset spot.
BYU Cougars (-11.5) vs. Hawaii Rainbow Warriors
Hawaii football is famously one of the hardest programs to win at for a number of reasons. Head coach Nick Rolovich has done an excellent job since taking the team over, and this season has been impressive in particular. Hawaii is 6-1, and features one of the most prolific passing games in the country with quarterback Cole McDonald throwing for 2,100 yards and 24 touchdowns in just seven games.
Hawaii lost its long, long trip to a very good Army team 28-21, but has won in the Mountain region, beating Colorado State in Week Zero. The Rainbow Warriors have been jumping all over teams this season, and while BYU is pretty steady, the Cougars may not have the offense to recover in Hawaii runs out to a big early lead, even if the Hawaii defense has looked rough down the stretch in some of its wins.