20 for 2020: 20 key offseason topics: No. 12. 35 most dangerous upset alert games for Power Five teams vs. Group of Five programs.
If you’re a Power Five – ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12, SEC – college football program, it’s just never okay to lose to a Group of Five team.
The American Athletic, Conference USA, MAC, Mountain West and Sun Belt teams all might have the potential to come up with a win over the Power Fiver on the slate, but it’s not always that easy.
But the Group of Five is equal to the Power Five, right?
Including bowl games – and including Army, BYU, Liberty, UMass and New Mexico State – the Group of Five was a lousy 24-85 last year against the Power Five programs, but there are wins out there to be had.
In last year’s version, we missed big on one of the top five upset alerts, two of them were close battles, and two were on the Group of Five side.
Here are 35 dangerous ones to watch out for.
35. Utah at Wyoming, Sept. 19
It wasn’t all that terribly long ago that this would’ve been a Mountain West league battle. Utah has come a long way since 2010, but Wyoming is dangerous at home – just at Missouri, who lost last year’s opener in Laramie 37-31.
34. Buffalo at Kansas State, Sept. 5
It’s the first ever meeting between the two, and it’s going to be a dangerous one for Kansas State. It shouldn’t be too bad – it’s better than Buffalo – but it’s going to be a dangerous opener against a potentially the potentially high-powered Bulls.
33. Appalachian State at Wisconsin, Sept. 19
Wisconsin is a killer at home against Group of Five programs – it destroyed Central Michigan an Kent State last year by a combined 109-0. Appalachian State, though, beat North Carolina and South Carolina last year, and it’ll be fantastic again.
32. NC State at Troy, Sept. 19
Is NC State past all of the problems of last year’s 4-8 clunker? It’ll be coming off the ACC opener against Louisville and a battle with Mississippi State before going on the road to deal with Troy. It was a few years ago, but the Trojans shocked Nebraska 24-19.
31. Arizona State at UNLV, Sept. 12
As bad as UNLV was last season, it was able to tag Vanderbilt on the road in a 34-10 shocker. This is just the second time is has ever faced Arizona State, but it won the other meeting back in 2008.
30. Eastern Michigan at Missouri, Sept. 26
How long will it take to get everything up and going at Mizzou under Eli Drinkwitz? Last year’s team started out losing at Wyoming, but this year’s sandwich game comes between SEC East road games at South Carolina and Tennessee. EMU managed to stun Illinois on the road last season.
29. Temple at Miami, Sept. 5
Manny Diaz had the Temple head coaching job for about 30 seconds before the Miami gig opened up. Coming off a rough year, his Canes have to rock in the opener against a program that beat Maryland and Georgia Tech last season. The Owls are 1-13 all-time in the series, only winning the first game 34-0 back in 1930.
28. Washington State at Utah State, Sept. 3
Just how good will Wazzu be out of the gate under new head coach Nick Rolovich? There’s no Jordan Love around anymore for Utah State, but it gets the Pac-12er home. The last time the two met, the Aggies won 34-14. Okay, it was in 1961, but …
27. Louisiana Tech at Baylor, Sept. 26
New Baylor head coach Dave Aranda can’t let his team look ahead to the road game at Oklahoma the following week. Louisiana Tech is good enough to be the biggest star in Conference USA, welcoming back a slew of parts that helped beat Miami to end last year.
26. Houston at Washington State, Sept. 12
There’s no D’Eriq King at quarterback this time around for Houston, but it should be a better all-around team in Year Two under Dana Holgorsen. It was a 31-24 Wazzu win last year, and this time – even though it’s at home – it’ll be coming off a road trip to Utah State.