This college football season has brought a dose of changes in the Top 25 with each passing week. This past Saturday was no different, with five teams losing games in upset fashion.
What’s next for these squads may not be completely clear, but with the wins and losses that have mounted so far through the first few weeks, they still have a chance to impact the national stage. These teams could still be title contenders.
The biggest surprise came with a NC State win over Florida State, but a number of other victories paved the way for a huge upset Saturday. Here are a look at the expectations now facing LSU and the other upset victims of Week 6.
Florida State was in firm control of its game against NC State on Saturday when it took a 16-0 lead into halftime.
The Wolfpack apparently decided to change their fate at halftime, coming out on fire for the final two quarters, riding the big-play arm of quarterback Mike Glennon. Glennon finished the game with two touchdowns and 259 yards through the air.
Florida State was not terrible in the loss—Chris Thompson finished with 141 yards on 25 carries—but they lacked consistency and urgency in the late quarters.
Of all the teams in the Top 25 that fell to upsets yesterday, Florida State will have the easiest climb back to relevance. The Seminoles face only one ranked team the rest of the season—a season-ending home game against instate rival Florida—and could run the table inside the ACC.
FSU didn’t need this wake-up call to happen, but it did. This was a bad enough loss on paper to keep voters away from the Seminoles in future voting, hurting their chances on the national scene regardless of their final record.
LSU has played inconsistent football throughout the first few weeks of the season, and it caught up to the Bayou Bengals on Saturday.
The Tigers took to Gainesville and the not-so-friendly confines of Ben Hill Griffin Stadium where a talented and prepared Florida Gators team was waiting to pull an upset.
Florida jumped to a 7-6 lead after a slow first half. Mike Gillislee took a 12-yard run into the end zone. The Gators wouldn’t look back.
LSU could not convert third downs and held the football 15 minutes less than Florida. The Bayou Bengals only mustered 200 total offensive yards, almost all of it through the air.
The Tigers still have a tough road ahead with a game against South Carolina coming next week at home, and Alabama, Mississippi State and Texas A&M all waiting down the road. LSU could climb back into the title hunt if they win the rest of the games on their schedule.
Nothing is impossible, but with how the Tigers are playing right now, returning to relevance for 2012 seems like a daunting task.
Northwestern was in the driver’s seat in the Big Ten, heading into this past Saturday with an undefeated record.
The Wildcats traveled to Happy Valley to take on Penn State, falling short of a sixth straight victory this season. The game was a battle that went deep into the fourth quarter, but it was a game that seemed controlled by the Wildcats for the majority of the game.
Penn State came away with a major stat win, controlling the clock nearly 19 minutes more than the Wildcats. That one stat was the key to the game. As the contest wore on, the Wildcats wore down.
Northwestern was bad offensively, only gaining 247 total offensive yards in the game.
This Wildcats team has a tough climb back onto the national stage with Michigan, Michigan State, Nebraska and Iowa all waiting down the line. This team isn’t out of the Big Ten title talk; a win against Nebraska in two weeks could vault them back into the conversation.
Georgia produced the most embarrassing and surprising loss of the weekend when the Bulldogs were throttled by South Carolina in Columbia.
The Bulldogs were taken out of the game early with three big scores that came early for the Gamecocks. South Carolina took a 21-0 lead into halftime, and Georgia was never able to recover when play resumed.
Georgia only accounted for 224 yards offensively, but the defense gave up 392. Aaron Murray had his worst day ever, finishing the game 11-of-31 with 109 yards and one interception.
Throughout the contest, the Bulldogs looked overmatched. They get the chance to bounce back against Kentucky after a much-needed bye, but a game against Florida awaits in three weeks.
The Bulldogs have a very moderate schedule after Florida. Win the game in Jacksonville, and this team is back in the hunt. Lose, and this season is another disappointing one for Mark Richt and Co.
Just when we thought that UCLA could actually be a legitimate Cinderella in the Pac-12, they get smashed by Cal on the road. By the way, Cal is now a 2-4 team.
If it could have gone wrong, it did go wrong for the Bruins on Saturday. UCLA gave away six turnovers, and despite leading early, allowed the Bears to leave them in the dust during the second half.
UCLA has a long road to redemption, if it can be obtained. The Bruins finish the season with home games against USC and Stanford. They also face the dangerous Utah, Arizona and Arizona State teams on the way.
While the Jim Mora Jr. led squad gave a valiant effort to start the season, it won’t likely finish well in So-Cal for the Bruins. No Pac-12 title talk will be whispered in their direction this season.
Iowa State saw a team in trouble and smacked the Horned Frogs in the mouth from the get-go in this game. The Cyclones led the Horned Frogs early, and didn’t pull off.
TCU faced a major letdown this week when starting quarterback Casey Pachall was indefinitely suspended for a DWI arrest in Ft. Worth. Pachall has faced a lot of adversity and issues in the past few years, narrowly escaping trouble on a number of occasions.
The loss hurt the Horned Frogs offense, but they still produced yards against Iowa State. The key were the turnovers by stand in quarterback Trevone Boykin. Boykin is a freshman, and it showed.
TCU faces a gauntlet to finish this season. The final four games on the schedule are against ranked opponents. West Virginia, Kansas State, Texas and Oklahoma are all waiting for a piece of the Frogs.
Barring a small miracle, these Horned Frogs may finish with four or more losses on the season. Losing a star quarterback to boneheaded decisions always hurts.