Here is the countdown of the Top 5 upsets of Week 6 with all upsets featuring a touchdown or more underdog. Upset rankings are based on the point spread (per Covers.com) and I use the Sagarin Predictor spread to break ties.
Michigan State 27, Michigan 23
Spread: Michigan -7
Don’t see too many Top 10 teams being a touchdown underdog to a lower ranked opponent. Michigan State had been elevated to the #2 spot in the AP poll after their Week 2 win over Oregon that at the time was thought to be a potential playoff preview. But after Oregon’s descent and two close wins over Big Ten also-rans Purdue and Rutgers, the Spartans had slipped to #7 and really were only still in the Top 10 based on the fact they hadn’t lost a game yet. Michigan on other hand came in red hot on the strength of a devastating defense that had shutout their last three opponents. There was every reason to believe Michigan would prevail but it’s certainly not a shock the Spartans won the game, save of course how the game ended. There’s no point in even recapping the ending and it seems perfunctory to even post a YouTube clip of it but I’m going to do it anyways. Their incredible luck aside the Spartans did outplay Michigan on a per play basis holding a 5.4 to 4 edge. I won’t be the first to point out that Michigan punter Blake O’Neill had an outstanding game with 44.6 punt average, including an 80 yarder, and pinned the Spartans inside their own 10 three times. He was a big part of the huge field position edge Michigan held throughout the game (average field starting field position of 38 to the Spartans’ 24) that nearly was the deciding factor in the game if it weren’t for those fateful final ten seconds.
Utah State 52, Boise State 26
Spread: Boise State -7.5
Barring an unusual set of circumstances there will be a new team this year getting the “Group of Five” automatic bid to a New Year’s Six bowl game with Boise State effectively eliminated after this pummeling. Boise tried the difficult task of trying to win a game in which they turned it over seven times in the first half and it went as well as could be expected as they trailed 45-10 at the half. Boise had been a bit of a white whale for Utah State as they had not beaten them since 1997 where in nine of the previous ten meetings they had allowed at least 45 points and had never finished within single digits. Their defense held Boise to a season low 4.16 yards per play and currently rank 11th in the nation in the category.
Memphis 37, Mississippi 24
Spread: Mississippi -10
From one team out of the race for a major bowl bid to a team in Memphis that is now in the thick of it after a signature win over Mississippi who just four weeks earlier had won on the road against college football’s mightiest of juggernauts. Memphis won this game despite trailing in yards per play 6.1 to 4.9 but they also ran 25 more plays from scrimmage than the Rebels. Maybe the most important sequence of the game was the final four minutes of the first half. With Mississippi up 14-10, receiver Markell Pack had a Chad Kelly pass bounce off his hands and into the more secure hands of Memphis’ Dion Witty which set them up at the Mississippi 30. They’d cash that opportunity in for a touchdown less than a minute later. On the ensuing possession Mississippi coach Hugh Freeze made a questionable decision to go for it on 4th and 1 at their own 34 and Kelly was stopped short of the line on a quarterback sneak which would lead to another Memphis touchdown before halftime. This was the biggest win for Memphis since their upset of Peyton Manning and #6 ranked Tennessee back in 1996.
Idaho 19, Troy 16
Spread: Troy -10
You know your program doesn’t get much respect when your a 10 point dog to a 1-4 team. Coming into this season Idaho had four straight 10+ loss seasons and there was little indicating that would change this year based on their early season results in which their only win was a three point squeaker over Wofford. If you love field goals, this was your game! There were a total of seven between Idaho’s Austin Rehkow, who’s also one of the best punters in the country, and Troy’s Jed Solomon. But the fickle nature of college kickers struck late in the game as Solomon missed a 32 yard attempt with under a minute to go that would have tied the game. Idaho is only one win away from snapping their 10+ loss streak and this game snapped a streak of 24 consecutive road losses.
Georgia State 31, Ball State 19
Spread: Ball State -14
I think I’m safe in assuming that no program has ever had a win over Ball State be the biggest win in their history. Of course the major caveat being that Georgia State has only had a football program for six years, joining FBS in 2013, and had never beaten an FBS school before this season. They already cleared that hurdle a little over a month ago against New Mexico State and considering that game didn’t end up in the upset countdown tells you how bad New Mexico State is. But now with win over a team with with a slight pulse Georgia State has it’s first two win season in FBS. This game was all about quarterback Nick Arbuckle who was 28 of 38 for 412 yards and three touchdowns (1 pass, 2 run).