Here is the countdown of the Top 5 upsets of Week 5 which features two AP Top 10 teams going down. Upset rankings are based on the point spread (per Covers.com) and I use the Sagarin Predictor spread to break ties.
South Alabama 24, Troy 18
Spread: Troy -6
South Alabama becomes the first team to show up twice in the Top 5 upsets this season as the victor, previously pulling off the #2 upset of Week 3 against San Diego State. This was just the fourth meeting of this young instate rivalry with it now being dubbed the “Battle For The Belt” and has an actual championship belt for a trophy. Based on the box score it seems USA should have won a handily as they had a 5 to 3.9 edge in yards per play and held a 3 to 1 turnover margin, with linebacker Kalen Jackson providing two of them by interception.
North Carolina 38, Georgia Tech 31
Spread: Georgia Tech -6.5
Georgia Tech’s season might be turning pear shaped in a hurry as this was their third straight loss and now back-to-back appearances in the countdown. Unlike the previous two weeks against Notre Dame and Duke, Tech found themselves with a large lead as they reached the end zone on their first three possessions to build a 21-0 lead early in the 2nd quarter. But after their defense forced punts on the first two UNC possessions, the Tar Heels proceeded to score on their next six possessions (five of them touchdowns) and only a missed field goal late ended their scoring onslaught. UNC quarterback Marquise Williams didn’t do a whole lot with his arm (13/24, 134 yards) but was lethal with his legs, running for 151 yards on 13 carries. He also added a 37 yard receiving touchdown on a reverse option pass from wide receiver Quinshad Davis which gave them their first lead of the game early in the 4th quarter. The 21 point comeback was the largest in school history and it was their first win at Georgia Tech since 1997 (eight games).
Florida 38, Mississippi 10
Spread: Mississippi -6.5
So I guess Florida is better than Alabama? While this wasn’t the biggest upset of the week the lopsided score may have been the biggest surprise of the week. Mississippi had seemingly survived a trap game in a closer than expected win over SEC bottom feeder Vanderbilt last week but after getting flattened by the Gators here maybe the Alabama performance was a bit of an aberration. This game was never close as the Gators jumped out to a 25-0 halftime lead behind four touchdown passes by Will Grier who was a tremendous 24 of 29 for 271 yards. Florida with an offense could be a scary proposition for the rest of the SEC as no one questions the stoutness of their defense. After averaging 6.7 yards per play in their win over Alabama, Mississippi was held to just 4.5 yards per play in this game, turned it over four times, and quarterback Chad Kelly was sacked five times.
Cincinnati 34, Miami 23
Spread: Miami -7.5
You know things are bad for you as a head coach when you can be 3-0 coming off a win over a Power Five opponent and yet you have a banner flown over the stadium you are visiting 1,124 miles away from home asking for you to be fired. After this loss Golden is a modest 31-23 in his four-plus years as Miami head coach and he’s coming off a 6-7 season with a roster that produced seven NFL Draft picks, five of them coming in the first three rounds. In the game Cincinnati held a 6.7 to 5.9 yards per play advantage but the big difference in the game was the Bearcats cashed in on their scoring opportunities while Miami did not. Six times Cincinnati drove inside the Miami 40 and they produced four touchdowns and two field goals. Miami on the other hand had eight such possessions but scored only two touchdowns with three made field goals, two missed field goals, and a turnover on downs after having 1st and Goal late in the 4th quarter. The win by Cincinnati was their first ever over Miami in 11 tries.
Arizona State 38, UCLA 23
Spread: UCLA -12.5
Through the first month of the season Arizona State had been one of the bigger disappointment as they were ranked #15 in the AP preseason poll and were a trendy sleeper pick to win the Pac-12. They were outclassed in a opening week showcase game against Texas A&M, followed that with two uninspiring performances against Cal Poly and New Mexico, and were crushed at home 42-14 in their conference season opener against against USC last week. But no one really wants to win the Pac-12 this season it appears as a conference heavyweight goes down at home for the second straight week. Neither offense was particularly efficient in this one with ASU holding a small 5.2 to 5 edge but they also ran 31 more plays from scrimmage than UCLA and had a 15 minute edge in time of possession. ASU had a rare two safeties in one game here with the first coming on a sack in the end zone of UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen to open the scoring in the 1st and then an airmailed punt snap out of the back of the end zone with under five minutes to go to give ASU a 31-23 lead in what would be UCLA’s final offensive play of the game. The win was sealed on a bizarre looking 23 yard rushing touchdown by Kalen Ballage that featured multiple UCLA defenders making a futile attempt to strip ball from him and some helpful pushing and pulling from his teammates.