College Football Rankings, Week 8: Trap Week

October 26, 2015

It’s already week 8. At this point, you would expect lots of games on the schedule, matching up elite opponent with elite opponent. One look at the schedule, however, and one can easily tell that this week features very few games of interest. Elite teams could be caught by weaker opponents, looking ahead to future games against higher quality teams. Let’s take a quick look at the games matching up Elite teams against unranked opponents, and the likelihood of these matchups actually turning into an upset.

Game: #1 Utah @ USC

Why it could be an upset: USC is led by an experienced and elite senior quarterback, Cody Kessler. The Trojans will be at home at night on national television, and the crowd will be relentless. The Utes have played two straight games against very good opponents, and may be a bit fatigued coming into the game. However, USC is also coming off a game on the road against Notre Dame. Utah has proven themselves to be a strong team this season, and don’t have any games upcoming that they may feel the need to already be preparing for.

Chance of Upset: 35%.

Game : Tennessee @ #9 Alabama

Why it could be an upset:  Tennessee is much improved this season and has a lot of talent on the roster, including QB Joshua Dobbs. This matchup is a classic trap game for an elite team. The crimson tide have a huge game vs. LSU next week, and is coming off of a big win at Texas A&M. Tennessee’s losses this season have been very close, and this team was considered a contender in the preseason. Alabama should win, but this game could be much closer than some may expect.

Chance of Upset: 35%

Game: Indiana @ #7 Michigan State

Why it could be an upset: We all know how the Spartans won last week’s game @ Michigan. The emotional aftermath of that shocking ending could have taken away time for their preparation for this game against Indiana. The Hoosiers are improved this season, and have already challenged a top 10 team down to the finish line, losing to Ohio State 34-27. However, Michigan state is at home, and it seems doubtful that Indiana really has enough to pull off a shocker on the road.

Chance of upset: 5%

Game: Iowa St. @ Baylor

Why it could be an upset: Just to be clear, I seriously doubt this turns into an upset. However, the Cyclones have a respectable offense capable of putting up a bunch of points. Baylor, obviously, is the better team by far, but at some point they will have to play a bit of defense. With a tough November schedule, could the Bears get caught looking ahead? This is a bit of a stretch but anything can happen in college football.

Chance of upset: 1 %

Game: #3 Clemson @ Miami (Fl.)

Why it could be an upset: Miami, led by their star Sophomore QB Brad Kaaya, is having a solid season, they have beaten the teams that they were expected to beat, while losing in a close game to rival Florida State on the road. At home this time around against another top tier opponent, the Hurricanes will look to prove their worth in this game. Clemson has a game against Florida state in two weeks, and if both are undefeated at that time it could determine the playoff fates of the two teams. The question is, can the hurricanes spoil Clemson’s chances at the playoff this week?

Chance of upset: 5%

Game: Western Kentucky @ #2 LSU

Why it could be an upset: Most readers have probably never heard of this “Western Kentucky” team that I speak of. Yes, they are an FBS team. The Hilltoppers are led by their star senior QB Brandon Doughty, who has thrown 24 touchdown passes this season in leading WKU to a 6-1 record so far. That being said, they will have to play at LSU at night, obviously a tough environment. Don’t be shocked if the Hilltoppers find a way to keep this one close or even pull out a W.

Chance of Upset: 25%

Team                                        Notes                                                            Last Game                  Next Game

  1. Utah (6-0)
The Utes hold the top spot after a win over ASU. W 34-18 vs. Arizona St. 10/24 @ USC
2) LSU (6-0) The Tigers’ win over Florida jumps them up to #2 W 35-28 vs. Florida 10/24 vs. Western Ky.
3) Clemson (6-0) Look forward to Clemson’s matchup with undefeated FSU on Nov. 7. W 34-17 vs. Boston College 10/24 @ Miami (Fl.)
4) Baylor (6-0) Teams may need to score 60+ to beat the Bears. W 62-38 vs. West VA. 10/24 vs. Iowa St.
5) Ohio St. (7-0) QB JT Barrett needs to be the full time starter if the buckeyes expect to win. W 38-10 vs. Penn St. 10/24 @ Rutgers
6) TCU (7-0) QB Trevone Boykin can only do so much, this team needs to play more defense. W 45-21 vs. Iowa St. 10/29 (Thurs. ) vs. West Va.
7) Michigan St. (7-0) No words… Could this be a team of destiny? W 27-23 @ Michigan 10/24 vs. Indiana
8) Stanford (5-1) The Cardinal won again vs. UCLA, making it 5 straight since a season opening loss to NW. W 56-35 vs. UCLA 10/24 vs. Washington
9) Alabama (6-1) A blowout win vs. T A&M keeps the tide in the playoff discussion. W 41-23 @ #15 Texas A&M 10/24 vs. Tennessee
10) Iowa (7-0) A blowout win vs. NW puts the hawkeyes in the top 10. W 40-10 vs. Northwestern 10/31 vs. Maryland
11) Florida St. (6-0) The Seminoles still haven’t faced a ranked opponent. W 41-21 vs. Louisville 10/24 @ Ga. Tech
12) Notre Dame (6-1) The Irish play 2 straight ranked teams after this week’s bye. W 41-31 vs. USC 10/31 @ #19 Temple
13) Florida (6-1) The Gators won’t play a currently ranked team until their last game vs. FSU. L 28-35 @ LSU 10/31 vs. Georgia
14) Memphis (6-0) The Tigers’ win over Ole Miss gains them respect as an elite football team. W 37-24 vs. Ole Miss 10/23 (Fri.) @ Tulsa
15) Texas A&M (5-1) The Aggies need to rebound against Ole Miss this week to stay in the playoff hunt. L 23-41 vs. #9 Alabama 10/24 @ Ole Miss
16) Oklahoma (5-1) Oklahoma smashed K-State last week after being upset by Texas. W 55-0 @ Kansas State 10/24 vs. Texas Tech
17) Oklahoma St. (6-0) The Sooners are undefeated, but have 4 wins by 11 points or less. W 33-26 vs. West Va. (OT) (10/10) 10/24 vs. Kansas
18) Michigan (5-2) Toughest team to rank this week. How far can they be punished for that loss to Mich. St.? L 27-23 vs. Mich St. 10/31 @ Minnesota
19) Temple (6-0) The Owls should stay undefeated heading into their matchup with Notre Dame on Oct. 31. W 30-16 vs. UCF 10/22 (Thurs.) @ East Carolina
20) Houston (6-0) The schedule toughens up after this week’s’ cupcake vs. UCF. W 42-7 vs. Tulane 10/24 @ UCF
21) Toledo (6-0) The Rockets play their final saturday game this week. The rest of their games are either on Tues. or Fri. W 63-20 vs. East Michigan 10/24 @ UMASS
22) Duke (5-1) Duke only plays one more team currently ranked this season, #24 Pitt. W 44-3 @ Army (10/10) 10/24 @ Virginia Tech
23) California (5-1) Cal QB Jared Goff is a top NFL prospect. L 24-30 @ #1 Utah 10/22 (Thurs.) @ UCLA
24) Pittsburgh (5-1) The Panthers make their first appearance in the rankings after a win over Ga. Tech. W 31-28 @ Ga. Tech 10/24 @ Syracuse
25) North Carolina (5-1) Carolina slides into the rankings pretty much because there weren’t any other good options. W 50-14 vs. Wake Forest 10/24 vs. Virginia

Waiting List: Ole Miss, Georgia, Northwestern, UCLA, Arizona St., Arizona, Mississippi st., Navy, Missouri, Miami (Fl), Utah St.

 

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