There might only be about seven teams that can win the national title this year, but there are about 30 quality teams that could pull off a massive upset over a conference leader on any given week. The beauty of collegiate athletics is that almost every team has a few ultra-talented players that could play out of their minds and tilt the scale for an under-achieving team against a larger foe. Year in, year out, there are 3 to 4 loss teams that fly under the radar and sneak up on a monster and pull the upset.
I am an NC State season ticket holder. Through the years, I have witnessed the Wolfpack upset multiple Top 10 Florida State teams, a Heisman winner’s Louisville team, and almost take down mighty Ohio State in Columbus (3 overtime game with Philip Rivers). These are the type of teams that come up on a schedule sandwiched between bigger, “more important” games. Below are a few of these teams to keep an eye on. They might not make it to the College Football Playoff, but they will put a scare into a few big named teams and end up with 8, 9, or even 10 wins.
Here are a few stealth teams that will sneak up on someone this year:
Iowa – Aside from a 28-17 loss to highly touted Wisconsin, the Hawkeyes look like a very strong team. Nate Stanley is a solid quarterback who gets to throw to the top Tight Ends crew in the country in Noah Want and T.J. Hokenson. Penn State better be ready later this year because Iowa could steal a win and finish with a one-loss season.
Utah State – Their only loss is to a tough Michigan State team, 38-31. They have beaten BYU and Air Force. They finish season at Boise State. All things point to a potential double digit win total.
Utah – Don’t let the close losses to Washington and Washington State fool you. This Utah team is tough as nails. They are going to put a huge scare into Oregon, USC, Colorado and Arizona State. They have the potential to win them all.
Houston – At 5-1, one would probably point to Ed Oliver as being their main attraction. Don’t tell that to Houston’s quarterback D’Eriq King and his offense. Their lone loss is to Texas Tech, 63-49. They have scored at least 40 points in every game this season. They have South Florida at home. Keep an eye on the Cougars.
Now, for my picks for this week. Much like the teams above, they might not be popular picks with some of you squares out there, but they will produce quality wins!
Temple -3 vs. Cincinnati – The Bearcats come into this game at 6-0 and they are a three point dog to a three loss Temple team? Hmmmmm…..Something stinks. Sign me up.
Temple 26 Cincinnati 21
Central Florida -21.5 at East Carolina – Homecoming at ECU. That is the only thing keeping Pirate fans interested in this train wreck. McKenzie Milton is good. Too good for ECU to keep pace with.
Central Florida 45 East Carolina 20
Washington -17 vs. Colorado – Before last week, everyone was talking about the undefeated Buffs. Too much, too soon. Washington’s D overwhelms them.
Washington 34 Colorado 13
Nebraska -4 vs. Minnesota – The Huskies are bound to win a game for Scott Frost. Now is the time. Every week they are getting closer to the elusive W. I think they lay the hammer down on the Gophers this week.
Nebraska 30 Minnesota 24
Oklahoma -8 vs. TCU – The Sooners are coming off a really tough loss to Texas. They had the bye week to think about it. They replaced D-Coordinator Mike Stoops with Ruffin McNeill. I think they make a statement to get back into the playoff hunt.
Oklahoma 35 TCU 24
Clemson -17 vs. NC State – I truly believe this will be a close contest for three quarters. The Wolfpack defense doesn’t have the depth to keep pace in this track meet. The Tigers break away late.
Clemson 41 NC State 20
Mississippi State +6.5 at LSU – The Tigers have been rolling this year. Coming off that emotional high last week of a 20 point drubbing of UGA, I expect a bit of a letdown as the Tigers will be looking ahead to Bama.
LSU 23 Mississippi State 21
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