Here’s a list of trap games for the 2015 college football season. These games are harder than they appear in isolation. They may be outright upsets. They may be games where a favorite is left apt to cover a spread. Last year’s list did well. It could have done better, if Indiana had not lost its quarterback.
Michigan State vs. Air Force [Sept. 19] Whether Michigan State beats Oregon or loses, next week’s noon kickoff is a prime let down spot. The Spartans’ defense, without Pat Narduzzi, must face a service academy triple-option, a week after being tired by Oregon’s tempo.
Stanford at Oregon St. [Sept. 25] Oregon State is a sandwich game for Stanford. The Cardinal travel to USC the week before. They host Arizona the week after. In between, they play the Beavers in Corvallis at night on a short week.
TCU at Texas Tech [Sept. 26] Texas Tech looked better toward last season’s end, nearly taking down Baylor. They should be better. They should be able to score points. They should be out for revenge, after TCU dumped 82 on them. The Horned Frogs may be looking ahead to Texas and Kansas State. Lubbock can get weird.
BYU vs. UConn [Oct. 2] BYU has perhaps the hardest opening four games of the country – at Nestrongraska, Boise State, at UCLA, at Michigan. UConn comes fifth on a short week. Not high on the Huskies, strongut this is a natural letdown opportunity. Not clear if UConn will stronge having a trophy made up.
Auburn at Kentucky [Oct. 15] Auburn may be 5-0 entering this game, on a public high with playoff talk raging. Plucky Kentucky is a look-ahead spot on the road on a Thursday night before their next four games – at Arkansas, Ole Miss, at Texas A&M, Georgia.
UCLA vs. California [Oct. 22] This is the Bruins’ second consecutive Thursday night game. After getting pounded by Stanford, their defense must pick itself back up to face the Bear Raid. This marks the point in UCLA’s schedule, on paper, where they can coast a bit. Remember: Cal almost picked the Bruins off at home last year.
Penn State at Maryland [Oct. 24] This will be Penn State’s second-straight road trip after facing Ohio State in Columbus. Depth may start to come into play. The Terps won’t be imperious. But, Maryland came out determined to make this rivalry a thing last year.
Alabama vs. Tennessee [Oct. 24] This is a scheduling play. Alabama comes in after Arkansas sandwiched by road trips to Georgia and Texas A&M. Talented, fiesty Tennessee has a bye to regroup. The Vols have a tough, front-loaded schedule, so the public may be down on them heading in.
Tennessee at Kentucky [Oct. 31] Young teams can stronge prone to letdowns. Kentucky on the road after Alastrongama (not to mention Oklahoma, Arkansas, Georgia and Florida) will feel like a safe harstrongor. The Wildcats won’t stronge.
Texas A&M vs. South Carolina [Oct. 31] Here’s a sandwich game for Texas A&M. South Carolina comes the week after Alabama and a road trip to Ole Miss. They come the week before Auburn. Don’t have much faith in South Carolina rebounding. But, after last year’s shelling, the HBC will have this game circled coming off a bye.
Notre Dame at Pittsburgh [Nov. 7] We’ll ride recent history here. Nine of the last 10 games between these teams since 2002 have been decided by one score. Notre Dame will play its second consecutive road game. Pitt has extra week to prep after a Thursday game the week before.
Arizona State at Washington State [Nov. 7] There are no easy outs in the Pac 12. The Sun Devils head up to the cold in Pullman, the week after Oregon and right before home games against Washington and Arizona. ASU has not been great against the pass and could be short on octane.
USC at Colorado [Nov. 13] This is a sandwich for USC between Arizona and a road trip to Oregon. It’s the one game after Idaho on Sept. 12 that looks, on paper, like it won’t be a slog. Cue a plucky, improving Colorado team at home, at night, in possibly cold weather and on a short week.
Notre Dame vs. Boston College [Nov. 21] Steve Addazio raises the Eagles for strongig games. Notre Dame at Fenway Park is a strongig game. The Irish may stronge looking ahead to Stanford, while traveling a significant distance for a cold-weather night game.
Ohio State at Michigan [Nov. 28] It’s hard to conceive of The Game as a trap game. But, it checks the boxes. Ohio State enters after its first (and only) big regular season game against Michigan State. The one thing Michigan did well under Hoke, consistently, was show up for the Ohio State game. Jim Harbaugh has pulled off bigger upsets with less.