College football teams on Upset Alert in Week 2
Many teams survived Upset Alert in Week 1, but others were not as fortunate.
The first full weekend of college football brought us some surprises. Perhaps the biggest was in Knoxville, Tennessee, where the Volunteers were stunned in a loss to Georgia State, a team that had never beaten a Power Five opponent in school history. After being favored by 25 points over Georgia State, the Vols lost to a program that didn’t exist beyond a decade ago.
Tennessee was not the only SEC East team to suffer an upset, though. South Carolina was defeated by North Carolina in a neutral-site meeting in Charlotte. Wyoming also defended home field by upending the Missouri Tigers, thought to be a potential sleeper team for a division crown in the SEC East, 37-31.
Those teams, and others, will try to bounce back in Week 2. But could some other teams end up on the wrong end of an upset? As a result of the Week 1 action, the preseason expectations for some programs have already been reset. That can be reflected in some of the point spreads for this weekend’s matchups, and there are several favorites that should not take their opponents lightly.
Scroll up to see 10 games worth taking a closer look at with favorites on Upset Alert in Week 2.
Marshall @ Boise State
Boise State coach Bryan Harsin (Photo: © Melina Myers, USA TODAY Sports)
Latest line: Boise State -14
Why this matchup is upset-worthy: The Boise State Broncos were responsible for one of the upsets we saw in Week 1. Boise State, a slight underdog on the road, shut out Florida State during the second half in 36-31 victory. The Broncos now face a Marshall team for their home opener. Marshall is 1-0, although the win came in a blowout of the Virginia Military Institute. Riding the high off a big win, it will be pivotal for Boise State to remain locked in for a meeting against a double-digit underdog.
Boise State defeated Marshall 14-7 on Friday night.
Vanderbilt @ Purdue
Vanderbilt coach Derek Mason (Photo: Frederick Breedon, Getty)
Latest line: Purdue -6.5
Why this matchup is upset-worthy: Purdue traveled to the West Coast for a season opener against Nevada last week. The Boilermakers lost a 34-31 game, and now they return home for a season opener against Vanderbilt. The Commodores opened with an uninspiring loss to the No. 3 Georgia Bulldogs, but Georgia will make a lot of teams look like that this season. Purdue has to be prepared to match Vanderbilt’s physicality, or the Commodores could make a bid for an upset.
West Virginia @ Missouri
WVU QB Austin Kendall (Photo: Ben Queen, USA TODAY Sports)
Latest line: Missouri -13.5
Why this matchup is upset-worthy: Will Missouri get upset two weeks in a row? Tigers fans certainly hope that is not the case. They will host a West Virginia team that almost suffered an upset of its own at the hands of James Madison in Week 1. West Virginia pulled out a 20-13 win under first-year coach Neal Brown. Missouri’s defense will have to play a lot better than it did against Wyoming, or this one could be a lot closer than the point spread suggests.
Western Michigan @ Michigan State
Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio (Photo: Mike Carter, USA TODAY Sports)
Latest line: Michigan State -16.
Why this matchup is upset-worthy: Michigan State is a 16-point favorite, as the Spartans play their second game in a row at home to begin the 2019 schedule. The Spartans comfortably beat Tulsa last week thanks to a stifling defensive effort, which included a defensive touchdown in a 28-7 win. The offense did not click like Michigan State fans would have hoped, though. That could leave the Spartans vulnerable if Western Michigan find a way to put some points on the board. The Broncos, led by senior quarterback Jon Wassink, scored 48 points in Week 1, although that was against FCS opponent Monmouth.
Nevada @ Oregon
Oregon coaches on sideline (Photo: © Matthew Emmons, USA TODAY Sports)
Latest line: Oregon -24
Why this matchup is upset-worthy: In theory, the Oregon Ducks should be a motivated team after they let a late lead slip away against the Auburn Tigers in Week 1. It would have been a pivotal win in a potential run to the College Football Playoff, but it’s in the past now. Oregon must be able to get over the loss quickly with Nevada coming to town for the Ducks’ home opener. The Wolf Pack are confident coming off a 34-31 win against Purdue in Week 1.
Rutgers @ Iowa
(Photo: Ed Mulholland, USA TODAY Sports)
Latest line: Iowa -20
Why this matchup is upset-worthy: Rutgers overcame an early deficit against UMass to win in Week 1. The Scarlet Knights have already matched their win total from last season heading into their Big Ten opener against Iowa. It is just the second all-time meeting between the teams. Iowa defeated Rutgers 14-7 in 2016, the first season for Rutgers head coach Chris Ash. That was one of the closest games the 2016 Rutgers team (2-10) played all season. Conventional wisdom says pick Iowa since Rutgers has gone winless in Big Ten play in two of the past three seasons, but crazier things have happened.
Texas A&M @ Clemson
(Photo: Bob Levey, Getty)
Latest line: Clemson -17
Why this matchup is upset-worthy: Clemson blew out Georgia Tech in its season opener, while Texas A&M made easy work of Texas State. Texas A&M nearly upset eventual national champion Clemson last season at Kyle Field, losing 28-26. Still, Las Vegas is not giving the Aggies a lot of love as a 17-point underdog on Saturday. Texas A&M returns quarterback Kellen Mond and continuity at wide receiver, so it would not be a surprise to see the Aggies hang close with Clemson once again.
BYU @ Tennessee
BYU coach Kalani Sitake (Photo: Joe Robbins, Getty)
Latest line: Tennessee -4
Why this matchup is upset-worthy: Despite an embarrassing Week 1 loss to Georgia State, Tennessee is still a favorite for its Week 2 home matchup against BYU. Some of that might be because BYU did not play well in a 38-12 loss to Utah last week. Utah is among the top defenses in the country, though, so BYU may be able to get something going if the Vols show up with a similar effort to the one they displayed against Georgia State. It is hard to know what to expect from Tennessee at this point, so you have to leave the Vols on upset alert for now.
Louisiana-Monroe @ Florida State
(Photo: © Melina Myers, USA TODAY Sports)
Latest line: Florida State -22
Why this matchup is upset-worthy: If Florida State plays like it did in the first half against Boise State in Week 1, then this matchup versus Louisiana-Monroe shouldn’t be a problem. But if the Seminoles that did not score a point in the second half arrive, Louisiana-Monroe may have a shot to pull off a stunner. We have learned not to count on anything thus far in the Willie Taggart era, and the Seminoles only beat FCS opponent Samford by 10 points last season. We’ll see if things have changed in year two.
Army @ Michigan
(Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Latest line: Michigan -22
Why this matchup is upset-worthy: The potential for an upset here looked more appetizing before Army struggled in Week 1 to beat Rice, a team that won just two games last season. Michigan fans should be more at ease following that result, but triple-option teams often find a way to stay in games by limiting the amount of possessions their opponent gets. Eventual Playoff participant Oklahoma needed overtime to beat Army last season, so Michigan will have to be efficient with its chances on offense. If not, Army may make an upset bid in The Big House.