College Football 2011: 10 Games with Potential Upsets Written All over Them
The 2011 college football season is under a month away from kicking off and the schedule is loaded with huge matchups, both non-conference and conference games alike. Obviously, once the SEC in-conference play starts, every weekend is full of huge games as well as with the new-look Big Ten, the Big 12 and the Pac-12.
With all of these big games, that only means the higher the risk for a big upset.
The season could very well end up being a lot like last year with the No. 1 spot shifting between a number of different teams, or top-dog Oklahoma might just run the table, but every game is a must-win and here are 10 games with upset implications written all over them.
10. Georgia over Boise State, Week 1
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What a huge opening game. Georgia is looking to resurrect its program and show that it isn't the 6-7 team from a year ago, while Boise State is looking to prove it can play with the big boys.
The 22nd-ranked Georgia Bulldogs have a slight advantage in this game against the seventh-ranked Boise State Broncos. It's a home game for them and Boise State is coming into SEC territory.
On paper, it would seem like Boise State should handle them. All the Broncos do is win and they've won in the big games, but this being the first game of the year against an SEC opponent has upset implications.
Georgia will be reloaded at most positions, and while A.J. Green won't be on the field it brought in a very talented recruiting class and the Bulldogs have arguably the best quarterback in the conference in Aaron Murray.
Don't be surprised to see Georgia start the season off on a high note by beating Boise State.
9. Baylor over TCU, Week 1
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Another big game to kick off the 2012 season. Baylor finished the 2011 season with a winning record and and a bowl trip. It will be looking to build off that momentum, and what better way to do that than to defeat TCU in its first game of the season?
Robert Griffin III is entering his senior year and the talented quarterback is one of the best players in the country that nobody talks about. This game will give him a chance to showcase his talent on a national stage and it will give him the chance to prove why he's one of the best.
Then there's TCU, the team that finished undefeated last year and capped the season off with a Rose Bowl win over Wisconsin. The Horned Frogs have to replace Andy Dalton, which will be a near-impossible task.
TCU will have to play at Baylor, which may end up being a tough contest and it could result in a loss. Baylor is in a great position to make some noise in Week 1 and it has the potential to win against TCU and start off another successful season.
8. Florida State over Oklahoma, Week 3
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This might just end up being the biggest game of the season. The No. 1-ranked Oklahoma Sooners go into Tallahassee to face the fifth-ranked Florida State Seminoles.
Title implications will be on the line: Oklahoma's No. 1 ranking being challenged and a chance for Florida State to show that it is officially back and ready to contend for national championships. This is also a chance for Oklahoma to prove it can hold onto the No. 1 spot for an entire season.
Florida State has had this game circled since last season when it traveled to Norman and was embarrassed on the national stage. The Seminoles will be looking for sweet revenge against Oklahoma and they have a great chance to do it.
Florida State has been one of the most hyped teams in the offseason and Jimbo Fisher has things moving in Tallahassee.
Florida State has everything it takes to beat Oklahoma, so don't be surprised when it wins and prove it is a legit contender.
7. Penn State over Alabama, Week 2
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This upset prediction isn't as crazy as it seems. Lately, Penn State has been an every-other-year kind of team and the Nittany Lions are always full of surprises.
Alabama has the look of a powerhouse yet again, which isn't surprising; Nick Saban is the head coach after all.
Penn State has quarterback questions, but it will have a stout defense as usual and that will help against Alabama's new-look offense.
Alabama will have arguably the best defense in the country to shut down Penn State's offensive weapons so this might just be one of those 10-7 kind of games.
'Bama has to go into Penn State, which isn't nice to any team.
This may not have the look of an upset, but it certainly has the potential.
6. Miami over Ohio State, Week 3
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Ohio State is going to miss Terrelle Pryor, but they are going to miss Jim Tressel even more. His leadership and poise helped his teams during his coaching duration and that element will be missing in Ohio State's first real contest of the year.
Miami, on the other hand, will be looking to have a bounce-back year. The last game of the year was a bowl-game disaster against Notre Dame where we saw Miami get beaten in every aspect of the game.
Miami still needs a quarterback to step up. Jacory Harris was supposed to be the answer, but he simply hasn't panned out. Harris looks to be the guy again this year, but that's not set in stone.
Miami has some great athletes coming back and the benefit in this contest is that it doesn't have to travel to Ohio State. The Buckeyes have to go into Miami and that's going to be tougher than they think.
This game gives Miami a chance to show it hasn't gone anywhere and is still worthy of being talked about.
5. Clemson over Florida State, Week 4
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Whether or not Florida State beats Oklahoma the week before this contest is irrelevant. Florida State just doesn't play very well at Clemson and the Oklahoma game is going to take a lot out of them both mentally and physically.
The key for Clemson is to capitalize on that. Florida State will be in a vulnerable position and Clemson will have to strike right away.
Clemson brought in a great recruiting class including some recruits it steered away from Florida State and this rivalry never fails.
Clemson will be hungry for an upset and if history tells us anything, an upset is written all over this game.
4. Texas over Oklahoma State, Week 7
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Texas must redeem itself from a very bad and very surprising 5-7 season from a year ago. The Longhorns brought in another great recruiting class, but they are somewhat in the underdog role this year—and quite frankly, they have something to prove.
Oklahoma State is going to have one of the best offenses in the country. It has Big 12 Championship goals and may even have national championship hopes in its sights.
Texas is almost the little brother of the Big 12 right now. Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas A&M are all looking to have huge seasons and Texas has the potential to ruin all of their hopes.
Texas also needs consistent quarterback play and that will determine much of its potential success.
Texas will get the Cowboys at home and if everything falls into place for the Longhorns, they will upset Oklahoma State.
3. Stanford over Oregon, Week 11
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Stanford lost just one game last season—and that was to Oregon. Oregon would go on to an undefeated regular season and would come up just short against Auburn in the national championship.
Both teams are ranked in the top 10 with Stanford being ranked sixth and Oregon being ranked third. Since this is a late-in-the-season game, these rankings could be different, but one thing is for sure: Stanford will be looking for revenge.
Stanford will be boasting the best quarterback in the country. Andrew Luck is almost a lock to win the Heisman and a win over Oregon will ensure that he gets that award. Not only that, Stanford will be in the driver's seat for a national championship appearance with a win over Oregon.
This will be one of the best games of the season and with both teams powered by dynamic offenses, it's sure to not disappoint.
2. Iowa over Nebraska, Week 13
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This is the game that Iowa and Nebraska fans have wanted for years: the border war. Nebraska is the new face in the Big Ten and it has a loaded team that is poised for a great season. Bo Pelini himself predicted a Big Ten title, but this will be the game everyone will be waiting for.
Iowa is entering the 2012 year in a rebuilding mode. Rick Stanzi is gone, so it will need to break in a new quarterback, but it has a prize in running back Marcus Coker.
The game will be in Lincoln and Nebraska rarely loses at home, but this will be the start of a very bitter rivalry.
Iowa could make some huge noise in this game and they could end up winning against Nebraska, which would be a great way to start this rivalry.
1. USC over Oregon, Week 12
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Ever since USC was put on suspensions and wasn't allowed to play in the postseason, the Trojans have been somewhat forgotten. That will change in 2012.
Southern California has a great quarterback at the helm in Matt Barkley and it is loaded at wide receiver. The real challenge for the Trojans will be bettering their defense, a unit that gave up 400 yards a game. That could be a huge problem against Oregon, whose high-powered offense will likely be at the top of the college rankings yet again.
USC has a huge opportunity here. The Trojans can show that they may be forgotten, but they haven't gone anywhere. They can show they are ready to stick their heads back into the conversation as one of the best programs in the country and the only way to do that is to win a huge game.
USC has a lot of work ahead of it, especially if it wants to beat Oregon, but it is the underdog now and the Stanfords and Oregons have passed it by. It's the Trojans' turn to play the upset card, and what better way to do that than to beat Oregon at home?