Though unsurprising, every top team is liable to slip up every now and again. In Week 9, two top-11 teams were upset by unranked teams in college football. Upsets have become a staple of the game, especially entering the last month of the regular season as teams fight for four playoff spots and conference title spots as well.
Here are five teams who will be on upset alert entering Week 10 of the season.
Five Teams on Upset Alert in Week 11
Texas Longhorns (Home Against Kansas State Wildcats)
Every year, this always seems like a close game, but the Texas Longhorns always seem to have the Kansas State Wildcats’ number. Kansas State hasn’t beaten Texas since the 2016 season, with the Longhorns controlling the series lately.
This season’s game could be different as while Texas is having one of its best seasons in recent memory, they do have a dilemma they are facing.
Quarterback Quinn Ewers missed last week’s game with a shoulder injury, throwing Maalik Murphy into the starting quarterback role last week against BYU. Murphy played decently in his first start, throwing for 170 yards with two touchdowns and an interception in their 35-6 win over the Cougars.
Ewers’ injury is week-to-week and there is a high chance that the redshirt freshman Murphy will make his second career start for the Longhorns.
MORE: Big 12 Standings
Kansas State has been red hot the last three weeks, winning each of the last three games by double-digits and allowing a combined three points in the last two games alone. The Wildcats have shown a great balance of running and passing the ball, as well as dominating the time of possession. They had had time of possessions lasting between 32 to 38 minutes in the three-game winning streak, keeping the defense fresh and the offense rolling.
Texas already had one hiccup with the loss to Oklahoma and another loss for them would essentially knock them out of playoff contention. The Wildcats are well known for playing spoiler at the end of the season, especially almost knocking TCU out of the playoffs last season by beating them in the Big 12 Title Game.
If the Longhorns can’t keep their offense on the field and beat Kansas State in time of possession, the Wildcats could be poised for an upset.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish (Away Against Clemson Tigers)
Even in a down season for the Clemson Tigers, no one can count them out of a game as they will always be competitive. The Notre Dame Fighting Irish enter the game as only three-point favorites against Clemson.
Despite a 4-4 record, Clemson is sixth in the country in total defense, allowing over 30 points in a game once this season. Their defense is led by leading tackler Jeremiah Trotter Jr. (54) and sack leader T.J. Parker (four). The Tigers are riding a two-game losing streak after one-possession losses to Miami (FL) and NC State.
Notre Dame went through a four-game stretch of playing Top 25 games between Ohio State, Duke, Louisville, and USC. They lost to Ohio State and Louisville before showing some fight in the last two games with blowout wins against USC and Pittsburgh. One struggle for the team in the last three games has been quarterback Sam Hartman’s performance, throwing four touchdowns and five interceptions in that span.
With Hartman having a rocky last three games for Notre Dame, a top defense like Clemson knows this is an opportunity for them to take over the game. The Fighting Irish have struggled against top teams outside of USC. Clemson’s offense has been lackluster, but they have all the talent to compete with Notre Dame and can force a big upset and get the Tigers’ season back on track.
Utah Utes (Home Against Arizona State Sun Devils)
Okay, let’s get a little crazy on this one, but also may not be as crazy as some might think. Utah is a decently sized favorite in this game against Arizona State, as the line is -11.
It’s no secret that the Utes’ defense has been one of the best in the country, allowing over 20 points in a game just once this season. Where they have struggled is on the offensive side of the ball, especially at quarterback, with Cam Rising not playing this season.
Utah has only scored over 30 points twice and is coming off their worst offensive performance of the season in a 35-6 loss to Oregon.
MORE: Pac-12 QB Rankings
The Sun Devils have been surprisingly more competitive than people give them credit for. They’re coming off a 38-27 win over Washington State and, just two weeks ago, held the mighty Washington Huskies offense to a season-low 15 points. Arizona State has had their own struggles at quarterback, leaning more on running back Cameron Skattebo to help the offense.
This one feels like Utah has more talent and will be looking for a bounceback after last week’s blowout loss to Oregon.
The Sun Devils are a sneaky, competitive team with a chance to cover the spread, as it could end up being a close game. Arizona State could surprise the country with a close Pac-12 game in an early Saturday afternoon matchup.
Oklahoma Sooners (Away Against Oklahoma State Cowboys)
The Bedlam Series never seems to disappoint, even though the Oklahoma Sooners have had the Oklahoma State Cowboys‘ number historically and recently, as Oklahoma has won seven of the last eight matchups together. Oklahoma comes into the game as 5.5-point favorites against the Cowboys.
After a wildly disappointing 2-2 start that included a blowout loss to South Alabama in Stillwater, Oklahoma State has hit their stride, winning four straight games, including wins against Kansas and Kansas State.
Running back Ollie Gordon is a big reason for that, as he has rushed for 553 yards and six touchdowns in the last two games. Gordon leads the nation in rushing yards with 1,087 and has five straight games of over 100 yards rushing. The Cowboys’ offense is built around the run and will remain a staple of their system.
Oklahoma was undefeated until last week when the Kansas Jayhawks were able to take down the Sooners 38-33. Quarterback Dillion Gabriel has been the catalyst for the offense, scoring 27 total touchdowns on the season and playing a key role in the Sooners winning games. Since the Texas Longhorns win, though, the Sooners have been in tough matchups against UCF and Kansas.
Their defense has also decreased in their performance compared to the beginning of the season.
On paper, the Sooners are the better team, but sometimes it is about getting hot at the right time. Both teams haven’t had the toughest of schedules, so for each team, this will be among their toughest challenges of the season. If Oklahoma lets Gordon run for another 200-yard game on Saturday, the Cowboys have a good chance of pulling off a rare win against their rivals.
Oregon State Beavers (Away Against Colorado Buffaloes)
One of college football’s most talked about teams is looking to stay in survival mode, hoping to pull off an upset to stay in bowl season contention. The Colorado Buffaloes need to break their losing ways as they host the Oregon State Beavers, who are favored by 13.5 points.
Oregon State heads into the game off a 27-24 upset loss to Arizona after climbing up in the rankings at No. 11. The Beavers are still in the running to make the Pac-12 Championship Game but have the challenge of closing the regular season with Colorado, Stanford, Washington, and Oregon.
Losing another game before the Washington and Oregon matchups would kill any chance for a conference title.
Coach Deion Sanders’ Buffaloes team is on life support after losing four of their last five games, hoping to inch two more wins to get into a bowl game. Their last two games have been tough but encouraging as the defense has shown glimpses of playing well outside of the second-half loss to Stanford, and the offense keeps trucking along, with Shedeur Sanders continuing to be one of the top quarterbacks in the nation.
While Oregon State is heavily favored in this game, fans have seen in the past that Colorado is pretty good at overcoming big odds.
The Buffaloes passing offense will give the Beavers’ secondary fits, but Oregon State should be able to put up points and yards on the worst defense in the Pac-12. This should be a high-scoring game that will go down to the wire if the Colorado defense can make even just one or two stops; it could be a good idea to put your money on Sanders to produce the numbers needed for an upset.