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Who is on Upset Alert in Week 4?

Top 10 teams on the road against undefeated opponents in Big Ten and Pac-12 could be in for some battles

This may have been the juiciest and most difficult upset alert to put together so far this season. It got difficult to choose between a couple of potential upset alerts so I ended up placing multiple teams on upset alert in two separate conferences. I typically try to name just one team on the highest upset alert in each conference every week, but the decision was too tough to make in the Big Ten and Pac-12 this week.

Note: All betting line sare according to average odds listed via Odds Shark at the time of this posting. This is not a sponsored post and Odds Shark has any influence on this post. This is simply for reference purposes.


Wake Forest (-4.5) at Appalachian State

There were a couple of games that intrigued me this week for potential ACC upset alerts, but it’s tough to look past Appalachian State getting a crack at a 3-0 Wake Forest at home. The Mountaineers may not have been able to give Georgia the battle that some expected (myself included), but at home against Wake Forrest could be a different story. Dave Clawson has the Demon Deacons playing very well early on, which is why they head to this game as a 4.5-point favorite.

The other game that should probably be monitored is Miami’s home game against Toledo. The top team in the MAC is not to be taken lightly at 3-0, and the two-week stoppage for Miami could leave the Hurricanes a bit rusty as they finally get back on the field after Hurricane Irma shut them down the past two weeks.

American Athletic Conference

Houston (-6) vs. Texas Tech

Like the ACC, there were a couple of games that were under consideration here, but we’ll go with Houston getting put on upset alert at home against Texas Tech. The Red Raiders bring a dangerous offense after having scored over 50 points in each of their first two games, including 52 against Arizona State this past weekend. Houston’s defense has played well, but this will be their toughest challenge yet in the early part of the season.

Tulane being a one-point favorite against Army is ripe for an upset alert too. SMU giving Arkansas State 4.5 points also screams upset alert.

Big 12

No. 6 Oklahoma State (-11.5) vs. No. 16 TCU

The easiest upset alert pick here is the only top 25 matchup of the week in the Big 12. West Virginia isn’t losing at Kansas, Texas Tech is putting another team on upset alert, and it would be a shock if Baylor decided now was the week to score its first win of the year (against No. 3 Oklahoma). That leaves just one game left to choose from in a light Big 12 week of action. The No. 6 Oklahoma State Cowboys are looking unbeatable so far, but No. 16 TCU has played well themselves. I don’t have a tremendous amount of confidence in TCU pulling off the win on the road in Stillwater, but they sure look like they have the best shot to pull the upset out of the three Big 12 underdogs in conference play.

Big Ten

No. 8 Michigan (-10) at Purdue

No. 4 Penn State (-12.5) at Iowa

The Big Ten is loaded with games that could sound the upset alarm this week. Honestly, I couldn’t decide which way to go with this one, so I put Michigan and Penn State both on upset alert. Top 10 teams going on the road in conference play against undefeated opponents (Iowa; Purdue is 2-1 with the lone loss against Louisville) through three weeks is as tricky as it looks, especially considering how much Purdue seems to have improved and the history of Iowa at home in primetime suggesting things will not come easily. Michigan’s defense is carrying the Wolverines, but Purdue’s offense has been much more confident this season. Penn State’s offense should have their stiffest test yet against the Hawkeyes, and we’ll see what impact Akrum Wadley has.

Conference USA

UTSA (-13.5) at Texas State

The season has started well for the Road Runners, and they hope to keep that going this week on the road against Texas State. Maybe I feel like UTSA is due for a loss or maybe I have just been burned by them before to know better, but I’ll take a shot at putting them on upset alert on the road against the Bobcats this week.


Eastern Michigan (-2.5) vs. Ohio

Eastern Michigan had the most successful season in a long time last year and now the Eagles are off to a 2-0 record heading into a home game against Ohio. I’m not ready to go all in on the Eagles just yet as a favorite in any game, so I’ll play it relatively safe here by placing Eastern Michigan on upset alert this week. There were a few games to choose from, including Buffalo giving FAU three points at home and Central Michigan (-2.5) at home against Miami Ohio. But we’ll go with Ohio putting the Eagles on alert this week.

Mountain West Conference

No. 22 San Diego State (-3) at Air Force

Could there be a letdown for the Aztecs? A week after carrying the Mountain West banner in a dismal week for the conference by knocking off Stanford late Saturday night, San Diego State is on the road to play a tough Air Force program. The Falcons gave Michigan a challenge in Ann Arbor and have been known to cause trouble in the MWC. This has letdown week written all over it for San Diego State, so putting them on upset alert was an easy call this week.


No. 5 USC (-16.5) at Cal

No. 7 Washington (-10) at Colorado

This was a similar scenario as I faced with the Big Ten schedule. And with that, I decided to put both USC and Washington on upset alert this week. Like in the Big Ten, we have two top 10 teams hitting the road in conference play against undefeated teams. I think the Big Ten upset alerts are more realistic, but there has been little that has impressed me with USC’s offense to think they avoid struggles against a Cal team that may be better than anticipated under Justin Wilcox. And Washington has yet to really be challenged, and Colorado getting a chance to host the Huskies in a Pac-12 championship game rematch could bring some energy to the Buffs.


No. 11 Georgia (-6.5) vs. No. 17 Mississippi State

After a dominating performance at home against LSU, the Mississippi State Bulldogs hit the road to take on Georgia in Athens. This will be a major test for Dan Mullen’s program to prove to any remaining doubters they should be taken seriously. Following up a win against LSU with a win against Georgia would continue to see Mississippi State move up the rankings and suggest once again the SEC East has some catching up to do in the conference.

And I wasn’t going to be bold enough to place Alabama on upset alert against the nation’s leading scoring defense on the road against an undefeated Vanderbilt the way I was willing to do in the Big Ten and Pac-12. I would consider putting Florida (-3) at Kentucky on upset alert, because that offense is bad enough to blow one in Lexington.

Sun Belt

South Alabama (-3.5) vs. Idaho

There are not a ton of games to choose from involving Sun Belt Conference members this week, so South Alabama was nearly picked by default. The Jaguars got in the win column last week after two losses against power conference opponents, and Idaho is looking to snap a two-game losing streak. Consider this one a toss-up in my book.

Who do you have on upset alert this weekend? Let me know and I’ll review some of your upset alert picks in an upcoming bumpcast. In the meantime, I am also putting together a mailbag for this week, so please feel free to submit your questions to me for a video and mailbag post.

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About the Author

Kevin McGuire
Contributor to College Football Talk on Also a contributor to Athlon Sports and The Comeback. Member of Football Writers Association of America and National Football Foundation. Follow on Twitter @KevinOnCFB.