Several games stand out as true potential upsets this week - none greater than North Dakota State at Iowa, and Miami (Fla.) at Appalachian State.
Iowa hopes to give visiting North Dakota State a rude welcome on Saturday, but don't expect the Bison to be scared. NDSU has won 5 consecutive national championships in the FCS and, not so ironically, defeated its only FBS opponent in each of those seasons. The Hawkeyes will be their stiffest competition yet as they enter this contest ranked 12th in the Congrove Computer Rankings, 13th in the sportswriters (AP) poll, and 11th in the coaches' (USA Today) poll.
North Dakota State's wins have come against:
Kansas by a score of 6-3 in 2010
Minnesota, 37-24 in 2011
Colorado State, 22-7 in 2012
Kansas State, 24-21 in 2013
Iowa State, 34-14 in 2014.
North Dakota State did not face a Football Bowl Subdivision team in 2015 when the team went 13-2. The Bison are 85-5 since 2011.
The computer doesn't give NDSU a shot, favoring Iowa by 44.80 points. But the Bison were no less than 22-point computer underdogs in each of those previous 5 wins.
This is one of those games where you look at the schedule, scratch your head, and ask why Miami is playing in Boone, North Carolina. The answer is that Miami still needed a game to fill their schedule when the Mountaineers came calling last November. Appalachian State will return the favor with a trip to Miami in 2021.
Now here's the biggest surprise about this game - the computer favors the one-time Michigan slayers by 7.38 points. The monumental victory at Michigan Stadium occurred in 2007. In 2014, Appalachian State returned to "The Big House" and accepted a 52-14 punishment for its prior sin.
Appalachian State and Miami have never met.
The Seminoles go on the road to a hostile environment against what is believe to be a really good team. The Cardinals are a true wild card threat to challenge FSU and Clemson for the ACC Atlantic title. The Seminoles already survived one critical wake-up call when they fell behind 28-6 to Ole Miss in the first half of their opening game vs. the Rebels in Orlando.
The second biggest problem Jimbo Fisher's squad has is that it really can't know what it's truly up against. Louisville hasn't played anyone, and hasn't broken a sweat in demolishing Charlotte 70-14 and Syracuse 62-28.
As good as Louisville may be, Florida State has a depth chart whose backups would be the envy of just about any FBS school.. Still, the computer has this as a tight battle with the 'Noles favored by a mere 2.63 points.
For whatever reason, the Rebels have had 'Bama's number for the last 2 seasons. And now, Hugh Freeze gets Nick Saban back in Oxford where his boys took down the Tide 23-17 in 2014 before following up that upset with a 43-37 win last year in Tuscaloosa.
Ole Miss showed for a half that it has the guns to play with, and even run over, the big boys. But it also didn't survive that fight against FSU, coughing up a 28-6 lead and ultimately falling 45-34.
The computer doesn't believe Alabama will fall 3 times in-a-row to Ole Miss and has the Tide favored by 17.08 points.
The computer actually nailed the margin in 2014 and only favored Alabama by 3 a year ago.
The Cowboys could still be licking their wounds after the controversial loss to Central Michigan when the Chips won on an untimed down Hail Mary pass that never should've happened. But worse than the fact that the play did happen, is that Oklahoma State couldn't stop the 51-yard hook and ladder. And worse than that is the game should have never been that close as the Cowboys were favored by roughly 20 points in Vegas. The computer won this game against the spread, but still had OSU favored by 14.64.
This week, the computer projects Oklahoma State to win by 6.78.