It's now or never for teams wanting to reel in a big time upset before the season ends. Last week, we saw a lot of shakeup and close calls. If you happened to miss any of the action, here is a quick rundown:
Although Alabama was the favorite heading into the game, the Crimson Tide handed No. 1 Mississippi State its first loss of the season in a 25-20 victory.
No. 3 Florida State needed another second half comeback to avoid its first loss of the year. The Seminoles held on to beat Miami 30-26.
FSU was not the only team that needed a come from behind rally to avoid an upset. Kansas was unable to pull off a huge victory against No. 4 TCU. The Horned Frogs came out on top, 34-30.
Unlike the Sun Devils, No. 14 Arizona was able to avoid Washington's upset bid on a game winning field goal. The Wildcats won 27-26.
Arkansas snapped a 17-game losing streak to conference opponents by taking down LSU 17-0. The Hogs held the Tigers to just 123 total yards.
Notre Dame's season took a major hit following a 43-40 overtime loss at home to Northwestern. Two of the Wildcats' four wins were against top 25 teams.
That breakdown only consisted of teams that are or were previously ranked in the top 25. It will be a slower day of college football as teams prepare for rivalry week, but that doesn't mean it will be boring. There are still plenty of teams in danger of being upset:
Florida State (10-0, 7-0 ACC) has made our upset alert list a few times this season, which doesn't mean we think they will lose, just that they need to watch out. Last week, the Seminoles used another second half comeback to beat Miami. It was the fourth time all season that FSU was down at halftime and managed to win the game. Granted, they are not as talented as last year's national title team, but this still a very good team. So what's up with all the slow starts and strong finishes?
Well, it's hard to get off to a strong start when your quarterback is most effective in the second half. In Jameis Winston's last four games, he has a 2:6 touchdown to interception ratio with a 53% completion percentage. While Winston's numbers do improve in the second half, the emergence of freshmen Dalvin Cook, Travis Rudolph, and Ermon Lane has helped keep the Seminoles on track. However, you cannot expect Florida State to continue winning on comebacks. Something has to give.
Boston College (6-4, 3-3 ACC) is the last team you would expect to end Florida State's winning streak. With the exception of a big win over USC, the Golden Eagles have done little to prove that they are capable of pulling big upset on the road, but their record doesn't tell the whole story. Three of their four losses have been by 10 point or less.
We like Boston College to keep this game close because of their ability to control the clock. They have one of the best ground games in the ACC powered behind quarterback Tyler Murphy and freshman running back Jon Hilliman. In fact, Murphy is third in the conference in rushing yards. You do not have to be explosive to win. The Eagles can be effective just by moving the ball successfully and controlling the time of possession.
Minimizing Jameis Winston is the key for any team to beat Florida State. It will not be easy, but head coach Steve Addazio does a fantastic job of motivating his players in big games and Florida State is going to see BC at its best.
#8 Ole Miss at Arkansas
Line: Ole Miss -3.5
Ole Miss' (8-2, 4-2 SEC) second half of the season has not gone as planned. Once in position to make a playoff run, the Rebels need the cards to fall their way just to make the SEC Championship. It is not out of the question though. If Auburn beats Alabama and the Rebels beat Mississippi State then they can make it to Atlanta. Although it is debatable, you have to like a two-loss SEC Champion's chances at making the playoff.
None of this can happen if Ole Miss does not win out, which will be difficult to do. A lot of their late season struggles have been caused by offensive inconsistency. It will be challenging for Bo Wallace to be consistent without his best playmaker, Laquon Treadwell. At least the Rebels (or Landsharks) have one of the best defenses in the SEC. But even they will be put to the test against one of the best ground attacks in all of college football.
Arkansas (5-5, 1-5 SEC) was once referred to as "the best five loss team in the country." That statement is surprisingly true. After coming up short on a handful of upset bids this season, the Hogs' finally ended their conference losing streak in a 17-0 win over LSU. We often talk about how Arkansas likes to pound the ball, but their defense continues to improve. They have allowed an average of 259 yards per game in their last three matchups after giving up an average of 312 yards in the three games prior to that.
The defense has shown a much needed improvement, but they still have to move the ball on one of the best defenses in the country. In previous upset alert posts, we mentioned that Brandon Allen needed to get more involved in the game in order to balance out the offense. However, Allen has had more than 40 pass attempts in three games this season and all three resulted in losses. Offensive success will hinder on the performances of Alex Collins and Jonathan Williams.
We have known for a long time that Arkansas is better than their record shows. We also know that Ole Miss is one of the best two-loss teams in the country. The Rebels are fortunate to have gotten a bye week before this road trip because confidence is at an all-time high in Fayetteville.
#19 USC at #9 UCLA
Line: UCLA -4
UCLA (8-2, 5-2 PAC-12) worked its way back into the top 10 for the first time since week six. The Bruins are on a four game win streak since suffering back-to-back losses to Utah and Oregon. Their elite status has been questioned due to close wins and inconsistent play. They currently win by an average of 10.2 points, the lowest of any team ranked in the top 10.
They haven't quite meet preseason expectations, but quarterback Brett Hundley has failed to disappoint. His numbers are not eye-popping but he does leads the nation in completion percentage (72.1 percent). He has been a threat on the ground and through the air, and he is a big reason why the Bruins have managed to work their way back into the top 10. They like their chances of making it to the PAC-12 Championship, but a loss on Saturday would put those hopes to rest.
USC (7-3, 6-2 PAC-12) is also in the hunt to make it to the PAC-12 Championship. A win against UCLA would put them in good position to just that. The Trojans were a trendy underdog pick to make a playoff run until a road loss to Boston College completely killed those chances. Do not let that one loss fool you because, like we said earlier, Boston College has a tendency to play better in big games.
The Trojans are still one of the nation's top teams. They only lost by six points or less in each of their three losses and maintain one of the most balanced offenses in all of college football. Running back Javorious Allen leads the PAC-12 in rushing and quarterback Cody Kessler has thrown 29 touchdown passes to just 3 interceptions. While their defense is loaded with talent, they have struggled to find a rhythm, which has allowed other teams to hang around even when the offense is putting up a lot of points.
The USC-UCLA game is one of the most historic rivalries in college football. This year, there is much more on the line than just beating your rival. A PAC-12 Championship bid is up for grabs making it all the more dangerous for UCLA to be cautious on their home turf.