College Football Teams on Upset Alert in Week 13
College football never seems to disappoint. Multiple upsets continue to occur weekly and the rankings continue to be shaken up. Last week's upset victim was Stanford. The Cardinal watched its PAC 12 and national title hopes float away as USC placekicker Andre Heidari nailed a 47-yard field goal to seal a 20-17 victory. Maybe the top ranked teams in the country can stay unbeaten, but chances are they will not be able to continue their winning ways without a fight.
#4 Baylor at #10 Oklahoma State
There are few teams that can match the current winning streak Baylor is on. The Bears have won 13 straight going back to last year and the team is currently averaging 61 points and 685 yards per game. Quarterback Bryce Petty has suddenly entered the Heisman race as a dark horse candidate because of the numbers he has put up as a first year starter. Everyone knows what Baylor's offense is capable of, but how good is the defense? Well having the best total defense in the Big 12 is something to be proud of. An argument can be made that this is the best team in the country if you look at their statistics. The Bears have met their toughest challenge in Oklahoma State, and the Cowboys are also talented on both sides of the ball. Can Baylor take out a top 10 team in Stillwater on their quest to a Big 12 Championship and BCS bowl bid?
Oklahoma State started their season as a favorite to win the Big 12 until they were beaten by West Virginia. The team's hopes have stayed alive and a conference championship is almost guaranteed with an upset victory over Baylor. It is rare that the Cowboys are severe underdogs, but that is all the more reason to keep an eye on this game. First-year starting quarterback Clint Chelf has gotten better each week and is a dual threat quarterback with 11 passing touchdowns and five rushing touchdowns. Defensively, Oklahoma State is ranked fifth in the Big 12 and they will need their best game of the year to slow down Bryce Petty and company. Few could predict that the Big 12 would come down to Oklahoma State and Baylor now that Oklahoma and Texas are out of the race, but do the Cowboys have enough fire power to knock off the Bears?
Historically speaking, this is not a game the Bears should take lightly. Baylor has lost eight straight in Stillwater and are 2-14 against the Cowboys since 1997. In all reality, it is unjust to bring history into the mix because this is not the same Baylor team from the past. Head coach Art Briles has helped this team win on a consistent basis. Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy knows a couple of things about winning as well. This should be an exciting one from start to finish. Will history repeat itself or will the Bears begin to rewrite history?
#5 Oregon at Arizona
Oregon vaulted back to the front of the PAC 12 North standings with a Stanford loss to USC. The Ducks struggled with Utah in the first half of last week's game, but an explosive third quarter helped clinch a victory. They are now in control of their own destiny as they make their way to Arizona. Oregon's offense should shine against a particularly weak Arizona defense. Quarterback Marcus Mariota may no longer be a Heisman front runner, but he will play an important role in keeping this team on track. The shocking conclusions to the last two seasons are a reason to keep national title hopes alive, but can the Ducks keep their eyes on the prize and avoid misfortunes that would permanently end their chances of winning the crystal trophy?
Arizona has not had the exciting season they were hoping for, but a 6-4 record is not something to be ashamed of. The Wildcats are currently on a two-game losing streak and lost both of those games by a combined 12 points. Statistically they are in the middle of the pack on both sides of the ball in the PAC 12, but running back Ka'Deem Carey has continued to impress and averages 150 rushing yards per game. Head coach Rich Rodriguez understands that Oregon will be the toughest team they have played so the passing game will need to improve. Arizona has enough talent on offense and defense to challenge any team in the PAC 12 including Oregon, but because of their average season they are not a team that gets a lot of respect. Lack of respect is great motivation for any team, but can the Wildcats play well enough to pull of the big upset?
Oregon and Arizona is a game that features a top 5 team but not a lot of people are talking about it. It's hard to get excited about a game that features a 9-1 team and a 6-4 team, but it is this type of matchup that can be considered "a trap game." Oregon cannot be caught resting on this game just because Stanford lost. This is especially true when playing a team that has more talent than they are given credit for. It would be best if observers paid more attention to this game.
#19 Wisconsin at #25 Minnesota
Wisconsin is one of the best teams in the Big 10 and one of the most underrated teams in the country. If not for a seven-point loss to Ohio State earlier in the season, the Badgers would be looking at a Big 10 Championship spot. They are led by running backs Melvin Gordon and James White who have combined for a total of 2,462 rushing yards this season. While the running backs get most of the credit, the defense is second-best in the conference. Wisconsin seems well on their way to winning the rest of their remaining games and going to a nice bowl game, but they are facing a very good team in Minnesota this week. If the Badgers continue to play well they will be hard to beat, but Minnesota has a great chance to make this game a lot closer than expected.
Minnesota is currently 8-2 on the season and could possibly have a higher ranking if not for a blowout loss to Michigan earlier in the season. The Golden Gophers have picked up the pace and separated themselves from the lower tier of the conference. The sudden improvement in performance can be credited to head coach Jerry Kill. Kill has battled epilepsy throughout his coaching career and currently has to coach from the press box, but the Minnesota players have laid it all on the line every game in honor of their coach. This team has plenty of talented players such as running back David Cobb who has averaged 142 rushing yards per game in the last four games. A win at home over Wisconsin would mean a lot to the program and bring a lot of hope for the future. Will the Golden Gophers slow down Wisconsin and pull off the big upset?
This will be one of the better Big 10 games of the week even with Wisconsin being the heavy favorite. Both teams are 8-2 and he rivalry between the two makes this game even more interesting even though the Badgers have won nine straight. It is never easy beating a team in its own backyard and that is probably Minnesota's biggest advantage. Pound-for-pound the Golden Gophers are weaker but they will be more of a challenge than previously expected.