An undefeated season. It's the ultimate dream of every college football team when the year begins, yet very few accomplish it. Every week a new batch of unbeaten teams suffers their first defeats, making the exclusive club even smaller.
Week 9 won't be any different. Several undefeated teams face tricky tests, and while some of them will survive, there are going to be a couple that don't. With that in mind, let's break down three teams that will come up short of that ultimate goal due to losses this week.
Louisville Cardinals (7-0)
Louisville has been playing with fire for more than a month. Of the team's last five victories, only one has come by more than a single score. That's going to catch up with the Cardinals against the underrated Cincinnati Bearcats on Friday night.
Cincinnati ranks better than Louisville in both scoring offense and scoring defense. The Bearcats also have a blowout victory over Pittsburgh, a team the Cardinals only beat by 10, under their belt. They are definitely a formidable opponent.
The three-headed rushing attack of George Winn, Ralph Abernathy and quarterback Munchie Legaux should be able to find a lot of running room against a Cardinals defense that's allowing 126 yards per game on the ground. That will lead the upset charge.
Which team has the best chance of staying unbeaten?
Mississippi State Bulldogs (7-0)
The Bulldogs have taken full advantage of a lackluster schedule, rattling off seven straight wins with most of them in convincing fashion. That comes to an end on Saturday when they travel to face off with top-ranked Alabama.
Mississippi State is a very a good team. The Crimson Tide are an elite team. Add in home-field advantage and it's extremely tough to think of a scenario where the Bulldogs are able to pull off the upset and shake the BCS landscape to its core.
Not only does Alabama once again have the nation's top defense and a rock-solid running game, but A.J. McCarron has thrown 16 touchdowns without an interception. The Tide are a complete team, and the Bulldogs won't be able to keep up.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish (7-0)
Notre Dame already has victories over Michigan State, Michigan and Stanford, earning the Fighting Irish the fifth spot in the BCS rankings. It's been a terrific run for Manti Te'o and company, but Oklahoma will bring an end to it.
It's a matchup between the Sooners' high-powered offense and Notre Dame's dominant defense. The Irish haven't faced anything like they'll see on Saturday, however, which is why the edge goes to homestanding Oklahoma.
The only loss suffered by the Sooners came against Kansas State, which has gone on to reach No. 3 in rankings. Oklahoma knows a victory will help in its quest to become the top one-loss team. Expect them to take advantage of that chance against the Irish.