Upset Watch: Possible Week 10 Mid-Major and FCS Upsets
Three teams have a shot to become the next Cinderella story in college football with upset opportunities against Power Five competition in Week 10.
Last weekend saw upset after upset across the college football landscape, and of those surprises came in situations where either a Group of Five or FCS team was playing a Power Five favorite. That one win was Army’s 21-13 upset of Wake Forest on the road, a game that helped the Black Knights end a three-game losing streak against FBS opponents.
Meanwhile New Mexico State lost by six touchdowns at Texas A&M, while FBS Samford couldn’t keep up in a 56-41 shootout at Mississippi State. Luckily there are three more Power Five schools on upset watch this weekend. Can any of the trio get the win in Week 10? Let’s examine each of the three showdowns further in this week’s Mid-Major/FCS Upset Watch. (All kickoff times listed are Eastern.)
Navy v. Notre Dame in Jacksonville, FL (Saturday/11:30 am)
The annual Navy-Notre Dame game is taking place in Florida for the first time since 2000, with the Midshipmen and the Fighting Irish squaring off at EverBank Field in Jacksonville to kick off Saturday action across the country. Navy is coming off a disappointing loss at South Florida last week, but they have the advantage of taking on their rivals from South Bend at a nadir point of Brian Kelly’s tenure as head coach.
The Midshipmen will test the nation’s 60th-ranked rushing defense with their high-powered option offense that ranks fifth nationally in yards on the ground per game. Will Worth has also shown the ability to punish defenses that fall asleep in the secondary, and Notre Dame has been even worse in that category. The showdown on neutral turf has the best chance of providing an upset for fans looking to see David take down Goliath to start November.
Georgia Southern at Ole Miss (Saturday/12:00 pm)
Georgia Southern has been nowhere near as good as last year’s vintage, as the Eagles arrive in Oxford having lost four of their past five games. The only thing that might help turn things around against a tough SEC opponent on the road is the fact that the Eagles are ranked 36th in the country in turnover margin. If they can pick off a few Chad Kelly passes or force a fumble along the way, Georgia Southern will have an outside shot at the upset.
Of course, they’ll have to start scoring points. The Rebels enter the weekend with a losing record, but they are in the top 30 nationally with over five touchdowns scored per game and will test a mediocre Sun Belt defense. The chance of an upset in Mississippi is slim, but then again Ole Miss is ranked in the bottom dozen in the country in rushing yards allowed. Against the option offense of Georgia Southern, the Rebels could have some trouble and find themselves staring at a possible sixth defeat.
FCS Tennessee Tech at Tennessee (Saturday/4:00 pm)
Tennessee has been on the skids recently, losing three straight after opening the season 5-0. Both the offense and the defense now rank in the bottom half of the FBS in points scored and points allowed respectively. They have won despite abysmal statistical output, and have required an inordinate amount of luck just to arrive at November with a winning record. That said, it would be hard to see them losing to an in-state opponent from a lower division.
That they are playing a Tennessee Tech that is just 3-5 at this point of the season makes an upset even less likely. The Golden Eagles also feature a mediocre offense and a mediocre defense, but they are putting up these unimpressive numbers at the FCS level rather than in the SEC. Tech quarterback Michael Birdsong will have to play a perfect game for the Golden Eagles to have any shot at a season-defining victory at Neyland Stadium on Saturday.
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