Here is the countdown of the Top 5 upsets of Week 7 where you won’t find USC beating Utah as that was not an upset, Trojans were a 6.5 point favorite. Upset rankings are based on the point spread (per Covers.com) and I use the Sagarin Predictor spread to break ties.
San Diego State 48, Utah State 14
Spread: Utah State -4
That was a quick ending to Utah State’s standing as the top dog in the Mountain West. Coming off a statement win over Boise State last week, the Aggies could probably be forgiven for a letdown but they were slaughtered in this one. After forcing a staggering eight turnovers last week they were in the giving mood on Friday night turning it over three times in the first half which San Diego State cashed in for 17 points on their way to a 34-7 halftime lead. The usually stout Utah State defense was run over by the Aztec rushing attack lead by Donnel Pumphrey who had 181 of their 344 yards on the ground. After a rough start to the season that featured a stunning home loss at the hands of South Alabama, the Aztecs have a hit a groove winning all four conference games by at least 14 points and are now the lone unbeaten in Mountain West conference play.
UTEP 27, Florida Atlantic 17
Spread: Florida Atlantic -4.5
On the surface the spread of this games looks a little strange considering UTEP was at home and had a better record coming, 2-4 to FAU’s 1-5. But UTEP’s two wins were by three points over perennially terrible New Mexico State and by ten points over something called Incarnte Word. And while Florida Atlantic is not good they’ve had a couple of heartbreaking losses this season, first an overtime loss to Tulsa in their season opener and then blew a 12 point 4th quarter lead to Rice a couple of weeks ago. This was another frustrating loss for them as they dominated the game on a per play basis holding a 7.7 to 5.3 edge. As is common when a team losses a game with that sort of edge it’s comes down to turnovers and missed scoring opportunities which FAU had two key ones. On their second possession of the game they marched from their own 9 to the UTEP 2 but on 2nd and Goal quarterback Jaquez Johnson fumbled at the goal line which UTEP immediately capitalized on three plays later with a 76 yard catch and run by Tyler Batson. In the 3rd quarter trailing 21-17 on another 2nd and Goal Johnson threw an interception to kill another scoring opportunity. UTEP did a good job of keeping FAU’s offense off the field as they had a 77 to 53 plays from scrimmage edge that was aided by converting a 11 of 20 third downs.
Georgia Tech 22, Florida State 16
Spread: Florida State -5.5
After beginning the year ranked #15 in the AP poll and being the prohibitive favorite to win the ACC Coastal division, Georgia Tech has been one of the biggest disappointments in college football this season. They were in the midst of their longest losing streak since 1994 and their streak of 18 consecutive bowl seasons was in doubt. But in what was only the second craziest ending of the college football season the Yellow Jackets knocked off the longtime alpha dog of the ACC to potentially salvage their season. The loss for Florida State snapped their 28 game conference winning streak and will now need to win out and get some help to make a return trip to the playoffs. Tech was a match for FSU in this one as they held a modest 5.6 to 5.1 per play edge and if it wasn’t for two first half Justin Thomas interceptions in their own territory to setup FSU scores they might have won it without the drama. Tech did a pretty good job of containing FSU’s explosive running back Dalvin Cook (148 rush ypg, 8.17 ypc) as he gained only 81 yards on 17 carries and FSU did not score in the second half. The biggest play of the game, well until you know what happened, was on a 4th and 6 with under three minutes go when Thomas found a wide open Brad Stewart on a wheel route for a 36 yard gain to setup the tying field goal and the eventual finish.
Washington State 45, Arizona 42
Spread: Arizona -6.5
Break up the Cougs! They will probably still end up on the wrong end of the biggest upset of the season, at least based on the point spread, when all is said and done but I don’t think they really care about that now. Since the Portland State debacle they’ve won five of six, the lone loss a winnable game at Cal that they let slip away, and now find themselves in a battle for 1st place in the Pac-12 North next week against Stanford. This was also their third consecutive win in conference which they hadn’t done since 2003 and also happened to be the last time they finished a season with a winning record. As always with Wazzu their success begins and ends with quarterback Luke Falk who was 47 of 62 for 514 yards and 5 touchdowns, giving him 16 in the last three games. It continues to be a disappointing season for Arizona as they drop to 2-3 in conference play with only one game home left on the schedule against Utah.
Northwestern 30, Nebraska 28
Spread: Nebraska -7
Northwestern has an odd resume which probably lead to them being a touchdown underdog here as no one is quite sure what to make of them. They have wins of the current #8 (Stanford) and #22 (Duke) teams in the AP poll but in their prior two weeks they were annihilated by the current #15 (Michigan) and #10 (Iowa) teams by the combined score of 78-10. After those two games people assumed Northwestern had returned to being Northwestern. Of course no one should be counting on Nebraska in any game this year as they are the most snake bitten team in the country. Their five losses this season have now come by a combined 13 points which seems like it might be some sort of record for close game futility. In this one they had an opportunity to tie it up after scoring touchdown with 4:30 left but could not convert the two point conversion and Northwestern was able to burn the rest of the game clock. After being held to under 3 yards per play in the past two weeks Northwestern’s offense gained 6 yards per play and quarterback Clayton Thorson had 139 yards rushing. The loss ensures Nebraska their worst season since at least 2007 and losing four games every year now doesn’t seem so bad.