We are getting close to the time of year when you can count the number of undefeated teams on two hands. Currently there are 11 undefeated teams left in the country, with two of those unbeaten teams coming from the Big Ten. That number will dwindle even more next week when Michigan and Michigan State square off on October 30th.
Each of the last two weeks we have seen an undefeated top-five team suffer their first loss of the season. Two weeks ago Alabama was upset by Texas A&M in College Station. As if that wasn’t enough chaos, Purdue went into Kinnick Stadium on Saturday and dominated Iowa.
It’s going to be tough to get a third-straight week in which an unbeaten top-five team falls, especially since Georgia is off this weekend before they take on Georgia next week. Both Cincinnati and Oklahoma hit the road this week, with the Bearcats heading to Annapolis to take on Navy, while Oklahoma meets Kansas in Lawrence. Something will likely have to go horribly wrong for either of those teams to lose.
Today’s question: Which undefeated team will be the next to fall?
Brett’s answer: No. 22 San Diego State
The Aztecs are coached by Brady Hoke, which makes them an easy target since it’s natural to root against a former Michigan man. How San Diego State is still undefeated is beyond me, since they somehow beat Utah in triple overtime last month, and on Friday they survived San Jose State in double overtime. That doesn’t mean that the rest of the unbeaten teams in the top-25 are safe this week. There are some tricky matchups on tap as you work your way down the rankings which will likely make it tough for all of the remaining undefeated teams to stay perfect on the season. Of the other four wins by the Aztecs, do you know who currently has the most wins? Towson. That should tell you the type of competition San Diego State has played this season.
I know that San Diego State has been really good against the run this year, giving up just over 60 yards rushing per game. Air Force doesn’t have your normal rushing attack, though. The Falcons are rolling up 336 yards per game on the ground. If Air Force is able to put drives together they will wear down the San Diego State defense out, especially since the game will be played at elevation in Colorado Springs. The longer the Aztec defense is left out on the field, the more mistakes they’ll end up making.
It wouldn’t be a surprise to see San Diego State finish the season with 3-4 losses on the year, as they still have games against Fresno State, Nevada, and Boise State left on the schedule. Brady Hoke has benefitted from a very soft schedule so far. The Aztecs aren’t as good as their record would make you think, and that finally catches up with them this week. Air Force wins by at least a touchdown on Saturday.
Meredith’s answer: No. 8 Oklahoma State
Brett - I love the pick. Go Falcons! I’m feeling extremely confident after picking Purdue to beat Iowa last week (and Air Force as a bonus), so we’ll see if my streak continues. As an aside, all three service academies happen to be playing undefeated teams this weekend, with Navy facing No. 2 Cincinnati and Army battling No. 16 Wake Forest.
However, my pick is coming from the Big 12. Oklahoma State looks like the next undefeated team ready to fall. The eighth-ranked Cowboys travel to Ames to take on Iowa State this weekend. While the other OSU is sitting at 6-0 on the season, the jury is still out on their strength of schedule and, as a result, just how impressive the undefeated record is. The Cowboys had non-conference victories over Missouri State, Tulsa and Boise State (the last of which is definitely notable), and conference wins over Kansas State, Baylor and Texas.
While folks were certainly high on the Cyclones to start the season, Matt Campbell’s team is sitting at 4-2 on the season, including 2-1 in the Big 12. Iowa State’s two losses came by a combined 12 points against Iowa and Baylor. Iowa State has been better in its last two games with wins over Kansas State and Kansas.
Iowa State is favored by seven. And while the Cowboys are looking for their shot to win the Big 12, Iowa State is hoping to make up for what’s been a disappointing first half of the season.