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Week 7 Upset Alerts: Buckeyes, Bulls in Trouble?

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Week 7 Upset Alerts: Buckeyes, Bulls in Trouble?

Icon Sports MediaWith the Top 25 looking increasingly like a "Who's Who" of colleges and universities—I dare you to identify a player on South Florida not named Matt Grothe—the tired old cliche still applies:

This is the craziest football season ever.

Period.

The nation's top programs have ceased aspiring to be the best of the best; instead, they've begun to compete for the title of "The Team Who Can Look Bad on the Fewest Number of Saturdays."

No matter how often the upper-echelon programs are warned, they still sleep on teams that can beat them—and they continue to go down for lack of preparation, discipline, and focus.

Plus, there's that pesky "parity" thing.

In any event, it's become clear to me that the top teams need a wake-up call—and I'm going to be the one to deliver it.

Each week, I'll put five top programs on upset alert. They'd do well to heed the warning:

Like Michigan, Oklahoma, and USC before you, if you don't show up to play, you might as well not show up.

Because if you come unprepared, you might not like what you see.

Icon#1 Ohio State vs. Michigan State

CAUSES FOR CONCERN

Ohio State's schedule is a complete joke. It's conceivable the Buckeyes could play only one ranked opponent all year.

The defense has put up good numbers—against clearly inferior opponents. The only quality team OSU has faced is Purdue, which had padded its stats against cupcakes before running into a brick wall two weeks ago.

Michigan State is coming off of a phenomenal performance against Indiana (no longer a Big Ten doormat), in which the Spartans' formidable running game helped them dominate the time of possession.

MSU Tailback Javon Ringer is the second-best back in the conference, and he has gone over the century mark in four straight games. The Ohio State defense will finally face a true test from the Spartans' 14th-ranked offense.

REASONS TO RELAX

The OSU defense has been filthy. Although LSU may have more talent, the Buckeye D is statistically the best in the nation.

Todd Boeckman, while relatively unimpressive, has managed games well—sort of the way Craig Krenzel did a few years back.

MY TAKE

I think the Buckeyes will win on the strength of defense and home-field advantage. Still, don't count the Spartans out.

Icon Sports Media#2 South Florida @ Rutgers

CAUSES FOR CONCERN

Rutgers won this same type of game last year on a Thursday night against Louisville.

This time, they face unbeaten and second-ranked South Florida—a team that doesn't know yet how to deal with success.

Ray Rice is the nation's fifth-leading rusher, and ran for 202 yards against the Bulls last year. Mike Teel is the nation's fifth-most efficient passer. Together, they can keep an opposing defense on the field for a long time.

In addition, Greg Schiano knows how to motivate his team for big games.

REASONS TO RELAX

The Bulls' defense has been ridiculous. They're ranked 11th in the country, and DE George Selvie leads the nation in sacks with 11.5.

Matt Grothe is a surprise Heisman front-runner who can make plays with his feet or with his arm. He reminds me of a speedy Brett Favre with his ability to buy time in the pocket and make good throws.

USF is the '07 version of Rutgers—the new kids on the block trying to show they belong. They have every reason to get up for this one.

MY TAKE

This should be a fabulous game, with a late field goal probably providing the difference. The key will be Rutgers' ability to maintain possession and keep Grothe off of the field.

Icon#4 LSU vs. #17 Auburn

CAUSES FOR CONCERN

LSU has played two tough games in a row—a great win over Florida and a heartbreaking triple-OT defeat at Kentucky.

That has to take a physical and psychological toll on a football team, even one as talented as the Tigers.

Auburn has a top-10 defense in almost all major categories, so LSU may have some struggles moving the ball.

Brandon Cox is a leader. He's not flashy, but he knows how to win. Forget about stats—this guy can flat out get it done.

Key stat: Auburn is 14-1 in its last 15 SEC road games.

REASONS TO RELAX

LSU is still the most imposing team in America. Their physical prowess will help them recover from the two-week stretch they've just endured.

Glenn Dorsey is a beast. Don't even try to run the ball against him—no matter how impressive your stats have been.

The game is in Baton Rouge. Enough said.

MY TAKE

It'll be tough to beat LSU at home, but if anybody can do it, it's Cox and Auburn. This one should be better than the experts think.

Icon Sports Media#7 Kentucky vs. #15 Florida

CAUSES FOR CONCERN

Kentucky isn't accustomed to playing meaningful games this late in the season. Now they'll face a desperate Florida team that's trying to avoid a third straight loss.

The Wildcats had an emotionally-draining victory over then-No. 1 LSU last week. It will be difficult to muster the same kind of effort against the Gators.

Tim Tebow is a dual threat—eighth in the country in total offense and the leading rusher for Florida. Watch for him to make a play or two to spark his team.

REASONS TO RELAX

The win over LSU convinced just about everybody that the Wildcats are for real. They showed real maturity in converting big play after big play at the end of the game.

Andre' Woodson is still Andre' Woodson. He'll do some great things with his right arm to put Kentucky's underrated rushing attack in position to eat up chunks of yards.

Rich Brooks still thinks his team is being disrespected. Example: Florida is favored at Kentucky by a touchdown—even after back-to-back conference losses.

UK will be ready to play, that's for sure.

MY TAKE

This should be another good matchup, with Woodson and Tebow battling all game long. Expect a shootout—and watch for the defense that can make the biggest play.

#13 Kansas @ Colorado

CAUSES FOR CONCERN

Kansas hasn't played anybody yet besides Kansas State. This much-improved Colorado team snuck up on Oklahoma earlier this year.

Kansas State was Kansas' only road game. The environment in Boulder will provide a test.

REASONS TO RELAX

Kansas has been really good thus far on both sides of the ball. They're seventh in total offense and fourth in total defense.

More dominance: The Jayhawks are second in scoring offense and second in scoring defense.

Colorado has a fairly pedestrian offensive, and hasn't been able to score points consistently.

MY TAKE

This seems like a cakewalk for the Jayhawks, but their strength of schedule is a complete joke. The need to play well on the road before anyone can crown them.

I think the Buffs have a shot if they can score points early and make Kansas play from behind.

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