Not a horrible week in Week 4. Missouri covered, and Kentucky and Purdue both won outright at home in upset wins. Let’s keep moving forward with some big conference matchups this weekend! I present Upset Alert: Week 5 edition.
Syracuse at. 3 Clemson (-25.5)
Kelly Bryant’s transfer announcement has taken over the news cycle in Death Valley, but the Tigers shouldn’t let that overshadow that they welcome in a feisty Syracuse team. The Orange have gotten off to a 4-0 start behind senior QB Eric Dungey and a surprisingly aggressive defense. Trevor Lawrence is the real deal for Clemson, but in his first career start with no Bryant to back him up, there could be some growing pains. The biggest issue for Syracuse will be stopping a seemingly unstoppable Clemson defensive line. But let’s not forget, Syracuse did knock off Clemson last season. The Tigers are the first team on our upset alert.
7 Stanford at. 8 Notre Dame (-5.5)
The book is not out on Ian Book yet (haha). After a big first start against Wake Forest, Book will face a nasty Stanford defense and a Cardinal team that hasn’t lost to Notre Dame since 2014. Stanford is coming off a big comeback win against Oregon, and there is some reason to be concerned about a hangover game. However, Notre Dame has only beaten Michigan, Miami (OH) and Vanderbilt so far at home, and all were by less than 10. In a matchup between two tough defenses, I give the advantage to Stanford. Too much Bryce Love for the Fighting Irish to handle. Five and a half is a big ask between in a game between Top 10 teams. The Irish are on upset alert at home.
Baylor at. 6 Oklahoma (-23.5)
I think Oklahoma was woken up against Army. The Black Knights clawed their way to a 28-21 OT loss to the Sooners, and a week before Iowa State kept it to 37-27. Kyler Murray has been as impressive as ever, but Oklahoma has had some issues putting the ball in the endzone. On the flip side, Baylor has seemingly been lost in the mix for Big 12 teams. With so many teams clawing for the top of the conference, no one has taken the Bears into account. Charlie Brewer isn’t putting up Bryce Petty or RGIII Baylor numbers, but he has kept the offense churning. In its first test against Duke, the Baylor defense failed miserably. With a redemption game on the road against their rivals, I think the Bears can keep it closer than 24. The Sooners are on upset alert in their second conference game.
14 Michigan at. Northwestern (-14.5)
Michigan has been really, really good since their opening loss against Notre Dame. Northwestern has been really, really bad since their opening win against Purdue. But Northwestern has been historically good against Jim Harbaugh’s Wolverines, and even before, covering in six of the last eight meetings with Michigan. Pat Fitzgerald has been historically strong as a home underdog, and we all know about Michigan’s road struggles. This just seems like a game for Jim Harbaugh to lose. If Clayton Thorson can limit turnovers, the Wildcats have a legit shot to upset Michigan this weekend.
Virginia Tech at. 22 Duke (-4.5)
Much like the Boston College last weekend, Duke gaining Top 25 status smells of a trap game. Virginia Tech is coming off a historically bad loss against Old Dominion. After a 4-0 start last season, Duke went on to lose six straight. This is a different Duke team, but Virginia Tech has gone 12-2 against the Devils since joining the ACC. With both star quarterbacks out, there is no clear advantage for either team. Virginia Tech’s defense was uncharacteristically bullied last weekend, and I expect that to change this week. Watch out Duke, you could soon be kicked out of the Top 25.
South Carolina at. 17 Kentucky (-1)
Yeah, this is kind of a lame one as South Carolina-Kentucky has basically become a pick em. But as long as Kentucky is favored, hey, it’s an upset. I’m impressed with what Kentucky has accomplished this year, and Benny Snell is a beast and a half. BUT I also really like what South Carolina has done this year, led by QB Jake Bentley and WR Bryan Edwards. Dowdle and Williams present a more than capable backfield. Kentucky has been one-dimensional all season long, and stopping Snell is no easy task, but the Gamecocks should look to pressure the box and make Kentucky throw. I think this is the week the one-dimensional play bites the Wildcats. Watch out Kentucky, I don’t think it’ll be a 5-0 start this season.
Toledo at. Fresno State (-8)
It wouldn’t be a weekly upset alert article without some MACtion. I tried to call out Toledo on upset alert against Nevada last weekend and it didn’t work out for me. This week, I’m rolling with the Rockets. Toledo has a scary good offense that can put up big points. Fresno State does have a very good defense, but if Toledo can make it a shootout, anything goes. Any late kickoff can present some fun and weird endings. I think Toledo has a good chance in a big road statement game. Fresno State rounds out our list of teams on upset alert in Week 5.