Here is the countdown of the Top 5 upsets of Week 6 where every game in the countdown was decided by a touchdown or less. Upset rankings are based on the point spread (per Covers.com) and I use the Sagarin Predictor spread to break ties.
Oklahoma State 33, West Virginia 26 (OT)
Spread: West Virginia -5
Always a little odd when a ranked team scores an “upset” victory against an unranked opponent. Likely oddsmakers and bettors were taking a wait and see approach with Oklahoma State who had escaped by the skin of their teeth in wins over Texas and Kansas State the previous two weeks by a combined five points. This game probably won’t convince anyone that the Cowboys are now poised to take a run at Baylor and TCU for the Big 12 title but they are setting themselves up for a good bowl game. They won this game despite quarterback Mason Randolph finding the hands of West Virginia’s excellent secondary three times and completing only 50% of his passes. In fact it felt odd to watch a game between two offensive coaching gurus in Mike Gundy and Dan Holgorsen be largely decided by defense. Both teams averaged only 4.5 yards per play and there were seven turnovers, with West Virginia committing four. One of those was a fumble recovery for a touchdown by Oklahoma State in the end zone for the first score of the game which ultimately may have decided it.
Wake Forest 3, Boston College 0
Spread: Boston College -9.5
Wake Forest doesn’t win many ACC games these days but when they do they drag their opponent to football hell in the process. This was just the second win in 11 tries for head coach Dave Clawson in conference play and in those two wins the combined score is 9-3. Last season they upset Virginia Tech in a game that ended regulation with a 0-0 tie and lead to a funny screen capture of Tech head coach Frank Beamer that became a favorite meme of college football fans. Since 2000 only 14 teams have won a game by scoring six or fewer points with Wake pulling off the trick twice in their last eight games and this game was the first to end in a 3-0 final since the 2008 Sun Bowl. I’m not even going to bother recapping anything about this game, instead here’s a clip of the final 18 seconds that pretty much sums up the whole experience.
Texas 24, Oklahoma 17
Spread: Oklahoma -15
The term “throw out the record books” is an overused cliche when it comes to college football rivalry games…and well it’s still cliche here as well in the Red River
Shootout Rivalry Showdown. This was the second time in three years an unranked Texas team upset a ranked Oklahoma team but in the previous 14 meetings prior to 2013 the higher ranked team had won 12 times. So while we may want to romanticize the idea that records don’t matter in rivalry games this truly was an upset. Texas’ season had been a disaster this point which has featured two heartbreaking losses to Cal and Oklahoma State in part due to two huge special teams miscues. Those two losses were sandwich between two road blowouts at the hands of Notre Dame and TCU by the combined score of 88-10 which had emphasized how far removed Texas is from college football’s elite. But on Saturday they simply were the better team beating out Oklahoma 5.3 to 4.3 in yards per play. Probably the most important sequence of the game occurred in the 1st quarter after a Texas touchdown. Oklahoma kick returner Alex Ross gave the ball right back to Texas on a fumble (only turnover of the game) that set up Texas for another touchdown and 14-0 lead that surprisingly proved to be insurmountable.
Washington State 45, Oregon 38 (OT)
Spread: Oregon -15.5
Going into the season the prospect of Washington State beating Oregon on the road would be too preposterous to even consider. One would also have assumed if this were to happen it would possibly end being the biggest upset of the year and maybe the biggest in the Pac-12 since the 2007 Stanford upset of USC. But here we are and it’s not even the biggest upset of the week. It barely even warranted much attention nationally, just a game between two lower division Pac-12 teams that will struggle to become bowl eligible. And speaking of Oregon becoming bowl eligible, according to the Sagarin Predictor they will be the underdog in all but one of their remaining games, their season finale rivalry game against a very green Oregon State team. From national title runner up to possibly a 4-8 season is a stunning turn of events for one of the most consistently strong programs of the past decade. Washington State on the other hand has to feel good about being 3-3 after their season started with an embarrassing home loss to 30 point underdog Portland State. They won the game despite being gouged for 419 yards on the ground by Oregon, 246 of those from Royce Freeman. Wazzu trailed 31-21 with under nine minutes to go but their defense stepped up late forcing two three and outs, allowing quarterback Luke Falk (with a very Mike Leach QB stat line of 50/74 for 505 yards) just barely enough time to tie it up with seven seconds left to send it to overtime where they would prevail.
Washington 17, USC 12
Spread: USC -17
Great week to be a school from Washington and this is the second straight week an L.A. school ends up on the wrong end of the biggest of the week. This loss marked the first time USC has dropped back-to-back conference home games since the Paul Hackett era. Being compared to Hackett though is probably the least of Steve Sarkisian’s concerns these days. The usually strong Trojan offense was rendered impotent by the better than you might think Washington defense which held USC to almost 2.5 yards per play below than their season average and didn’t reach the end zone until the 4th. Highly touted USC quarterback Cody Kessler had one of the worst games of his career completing 16 of 29 passes for only 156 yards and was intercepted twice. While down five with under four minutes to go and only one timeout remaining, Sarkisian made a questionable (drunken?) decision to attempt a 46 yard field goal rather than go for it on 4th and 9. The field goal was short and Washington would successfully run out the clock for the win.