SaturdayBlitz.com editors Kyle Kensing and Luke Brietzke assembled various topics for the upcoming season. Operating from the same jumping off point, they compiled their results separately. Neither has knowledge of the other’s answers. Here is what they concluded for the first topic, biggest upset games of 2013.
LUKE BRIETZKE, ASSOCIATE EDITOR
1. Florida at Miami (Sept. 7)
For far too long, the Hurricanes have played third fiddle to Florida and Florida State in the Sunshine State. Stephen Morris is a senior quarterback, Miami boasts a powerful run game behind Duke Johnson that is capable of dominating and it should have an improved defense. Florida, meanwhile, lived on the edge far too much in 2012. The Gators are young on defense and might need more time to mature.
2. TCU at Texas Tech (Sept. 12)
The Horned Frogs are projected among the conference favorites, so losing at one of the teams picked at the bottom of the Big 12 is still an upset. This has all the makings of a difficult game for TCU. Playing in Lubbock is never easy. Plus this will mark Kliff Kingsbury’s first conference game at home and it’s on a Thursday night. This should be an electric atmosphere. Look for the Red Raiders to hang in this game into the second half and find a way to win in the end.
3. Clemson at North Carolina State (Sept. 19)
For a second consecutive Thursday night, a new coach in a new league gets an opportunity to take down a huge team in the conference. The Wolfpack has proven it can beat big boys in the ACC – take a look at last year’s Florida State game. The crowd should be energized behind first-year coach Dave Doeren and the Tigers could easily come into Raleigh overconfident and believing the hype that it has a one-game season to win the conference.
4. Boise State at Fresno State (Sept. 20)
Be careful, Boise State. You are no longer untouchable and you are especially not untouchable on the road. Derek Carr is waiting for you. He has this game circled on his calendar. There aren’t many Heisman games sitting on Carr’s schedule. A home game on national television against a team of Boise’s stature? It doesn’t get bigger than that. This one should be very difficult for the Broncos.
5. Florida at Kentucky (Sept. 28)
Mark Stoops will open Year 1 looking for a huge marquee win. Since the Wildcats go to both Athens and Columbia, S.C., this one draws the attention. So then we look at a few things: Is Florida good enough to blow out the Wildcats? Possibly. Are the Gators good enough in the passing game to take advantage of what should be a weak secondary? Not that we’ve seen so far. Can Florida be exploited on defense? If it can, it would be in September. This has all the makings of a potential upset game for the Gators.
6. Texas at Iowa State (Oct. 3)
Perhaps fans haven’t noticed, but teams playing in Ames are in jeopardy every time they fly into Iowa. The Cyclones took down Oklahoma State a couple years ago, ruining the Cowboys’ chances of qualifying for the BCS National Championship Game. The Cyclones have an opportunity to wreck the season for the Longhorns this year as well. This is a Thursday night game and the Iowa State crowd gets especially pumped for nationally televised games.
7. Texas A&M at Ole Miss (Oct. 12)
Remember, the Aggies were especially fortunate to have escaped Oxford with a victory a year ago. It took some key turnovers and great play from the offense, led by Johnny Manziel, to steal the victory. Look for the Rebels to be one quarter better in 2013 and for them to take down Texas A&M a season later.
8. Auburn at Texas A&M (Oct. 19)
Going against my usual formula, I’m taking Auburn on the road against a team with a fantastic home-field advantage. Here’s the reasoning: Auburn should have had an opportunity to become battle-tested and find its quarterback. Texas A&M, which scored 70 points against the Tigers, might easily be coming off getting upset in Oxford and will never seem them coming.
9. Clemson at Maryland (Oct. 26)
A week after the only game anyone seems to talk about on Clemson’s schedule, the Tigers travel to Byrd Stadium to take on Maryland. It would be surprising if Clemson is even remotely prepared following a victory over Florida State, meaning a Maryland team that should be game will have a chance to make a statement early. Look for the Tigers to jump back into the game but for Maryland to have enough answers to steal a huge win.
10. Louisville at Cincinnati (Dec. 5)
First-year Cincinnati coach Tommy Tuberville has built his reputation on his ability to defeat highly ranked teams. He very well could have another opportunity at the end of 2013 when the Bearcats host heavy AAC favorite Louisville. There could be plenty on the line for the Cardinals, but remember, they lost twice in Big East play last season and Cincinnati narrowly missed a win in the game last year.