The Big LeadThe Big Lead

Four College Football Teams On Upset Watch

SOUTH BEND, INDIANA - SEPTEMBER 14: Ian Book #12, Julian Okwara #42, and teammates sing the alma mater after defeating the New Mexico Lobos at Notre Dame Stadium on September 14, 2019 in South Bend, Indiana. (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)
Quinn Harris/Getty Images

The college football season is still very much in its formative stages, yet one can't help but notice the absence of a truly shocking upset involving a high-ranked team. Army came close at Michigan, yet couldn't finish the deal. Clemson and Alabama should be done by halftime this weekend, though LSU, a 24-point favorite at Vanderbilt, may be worth keeping an eye on.

Here, though, are some realistic options for moderate surprises which would shuffle the polls.

Oregon (-10) at Stanford

The Ducks allowed victory to slip out of their feathers against Auburn and will rue that all season as the playoff picture takes shape. They responded by murdering Nevada and pasting Montana. Justin Herbert has been spectacular, with 11 touchdowns and nary an interception.

Stanford has gotten pantsed in two straight weeks: at home against USC and on the road against UCF. The defense is, apparently, a sieve. The thing about David Shaw is that he's a damn fine coach leading a damn proud program. The Cardinal need to have a strong showing to save some face.

Something tells me this will be a four-quarter game with some sustained drives. Cameron Scarlett has the potential to be a battering ram and all trickery could be on the table for the notoriously conservative Shaw.

UCF (-15) at Pittsburgh

UCF is riding high. A Power Five just came into Orlando and was sapped of all its power. Dillon Gabriel has been electric and Josh Heupel is an offensive genius. He must tangle with Pat Narduzzi, who is known to be aggressive and fond of low-scoring affairs. The Panthers were a few coaching decisions away from shocking Penn State and will have homefield advantage.

Letdown City? Perhaps.

Notre Dame at Georgia (-14.5)

What everyone presupposes is that the Bulldogs are going to run all over the Fighting Irish. It'll be a zoo in Athens. An unbeatable atmosphere. Georgia has Jake Fromm, a suffocating defense full of NFL-caliber talent, and enough elite running backs to stock three teams.

But Notre Dame has looked good early. Ian Book has played in plenty of big games. This program will not be overcome by the moment. They're putting up over 500 yards per game, albeit against inferior competition.

This one's going to be a lot more entertaining than it's getting credit for.

Air Force at Boise State (-7)

The service academy squad went into Boulder and took care of Mel Tucker's team, which was flying high. And the Falcons looked like the better side from kickoff to final play. Air Force is putting up over 356 yards/game on the ground and keeping opponents to 243 yards total.

Boise State struggled to put away Marshall a few weeks ago on a Friday night and we could see a repeat.