In week where things could get weird, can Pitt pull off a stun­ner?

The Morning Call - - VARSITY - By Ralph D. Russo

No ranked teams are play­ing each other this week in col­lege foot­ball. This could go two ways: Very bor­ing or to­tally batty.

The last time there was a sched­ule like this was 23 months ago and the re­sult was the lat­ter. Seven ranked teams lost to un­ranked teams, six play­ing on the road and three that were fa­vored by at least two touch­downs.

The crazi­ness started on Oct. 13, 2017 — a Fri­day the 13th, just like this week — when Syra­cuse beat No. 2 Clem­son 27-24 at the Car­rier Dome. Later that night, No. 8 Washington State was blown out at Cal­i­for­nia, 37-3.

The beat went on the next day, though not all could be con­sid­ered up­sets. No. 24 Texas Tech and No. 25 Navy lost road games and were never ranked again that sea­son.

Some of the re­sults had se­ri­ous post­sea­son im­pli­ca­tions. No. 10 Auburn lost at LSU and then did not lose again un­til the SEC cham­pi­onship. Maybe the big­gest stun­ner of all came af­ter dark in the Pac-12 when No. 5 Washington lost 13-7 at Ari­zona State.

This week, Clem­son re­turns to Syra­cuse for the first time since that Fri­day night stun­ner. The Tigers are fa­vored by four touch­downs, one of four top-six teams fa­vored by at least two touch­downs on the road this weekend.

The picks (FBS-FCS matchups not in­cluded):


No. 20 Washington State (mi­nus 9) at Hous­ton

The Cougars play­ing a Fri­day night road game. What could go wrong? HOUS­TON 38-34, UP­SET SPE­CIAL.


No. 1 Clem­son (mi­nus 27) at Syra­cuse out The of this Or­ange game squeezed by get­ting the blasted in­trigue by Mary­land last week. CLEM­SON 52-20. No. 2 Alabama (mi­nus 25 1⁄2) at South Carolina

the You Tide might and Game­cocks re­mem­ber played the last in 2010 time as this The be Stephen The Ryan Gar­cia Hilin­ski Game. Game? Could ALABAMA 45-14. Arkansas State (plus 33) at No. 3 Ge­or­gia

The Bull­dogs are 25-5 with Jake Fromm as the start­ing quar­ter­back. GE­OR­GIA 42-14. No. 5 Ok­la­homa (mi­nus 22 1⁄2) at UCLA

UCLA drew just 30,000 at the Rose Bowl last week. Ex­pect a very crim­son crowd Satur­day. OK­LA­HOMA 45-21. No. 6 Ohio State (mi­nus 15 1⁄2) at In­di­ana

First road start for Buck­eyes QB Justin Fields. Those can be tricky. OHIO STATE 31-17. New Mex­ico (plus 34 1⁄2) at No. 7 Notre Dame

For­mer Ir­ish coach Bob Davie, now with New Mex­ico, won’t be mak­ing the trip af­ter a health scare a cou­ple weeks ago. NOTRE DAME 49-13. Kent State (plus 35) at No. 8 Auburn

Good chance for the Tigers to get QB Bo Nix go­ing. The fresh­man made a few big plays against Ore­gon, but he is com­plet­ing 47% at 5.6 yards per pass. Not good. AUBURN 56-10. No. 9 Florida (mi­nus 7) at Ken­tucky

Wild­cats snapped a three-decade los­ing streak to the Ga­tors last year, and try to make it two straight, but with­out QB Terry Wil­son (knee). KEN­TUCKY 24-21.

No. 12 Texas (mi­nus 32 1⁄2) at Rice No quar­ter­back has thrown more TD passes (eight) with­out an in­ter­cep­tion this sea­son than the Longhorns’ Sam Eh­linger. TEXAS 45-10. Pitts­burgh (plus 17) at No. 13 Penn State

Pitt’s run de­fense has been stingy so far (2.65 per rush al­lowed), and the Nit­tany Lions couldn’t get go­ing on the ground against Buf­falo. PENN STATE 31-16. Stan­ford (plus 7 1⁄2) at No. 17 UCF

The Knights have an on-go­ing quar­ter­back com­pe­ti­tion and fresh­man Dil­lon Gabriel might emerge as the man. UCF 34-24. Ari­zona State (plus 13 1⁄2) at No. 18 Michi­gan State

Like lineback­ers? En­joy Spar­tans All-Amer­i­can Joe Bachie and Sun Devils’ sopho­more Mer­lin Robert­son. MICHI­GAN STATE 23-17, BEST BET. No. 19 Iowa (mi­nus 2 1⁄2) at Iowa State

Hawkeyes have won four straight against the Cy­clones, en­ter­ing the most an­tic­i­pated game in the CyHawk ri­valry in years. IOWA STATE 24-23. No. 21 Mary­land (mi­nus 7 1⁄2) at Tem­ple

Un­der­rated QB matchup of Terps’ Josh Jack­son and Owls’ An­thony Russo. TEM­PLE 35-33. Hawaii (plus 21) at No. 23 Washington

Rain­bow War­riors try­ing to go 3-0 against the Pac-12. WASHINGTON 42-20. No. 24 South­ern Cal­i­for­nia (mi­nus 4 1⁄2) at BYU

Po­ten­tially tu­mul­tuous sea­son at USC only gets weirder if the Tro­jans rip off a bunch of vic­to­ries un­der coach Clay Hel­ton. USC 28-21. Florida State (plus 7 1⁄2) at No. 25 Vir­ginia

Des­per­a­tion can be a great mo­ti­va­tor. No team in the coun­try should be more des­per­ate than Florida State. VIR­GINIA 28-24.


North Carolina (plus 3) at Wake For­est, Fri­day — The win­ner gets @walk­erR­carey a 3-0 start and makes WAKE a FOR­EST case for 31-24. a spot in the Top 25. Kansas State (plus 7 1⁄2) at Mis­sis­sippi State — @bran­hadad

The Bull­dogs’ of­fense has been hum­ming, but the sta­tus of QB Tommy Stevens (shoul­der) is un­clear. MIS­SIS­SIPPI STATE 34-20. Texas Tech (mi­nus 2) at Ari­zona — @tbaum15

Col­lege foot­ball fans de­serve a latenight, Alan Bow­man-Khalil Tate duel in the desert. ARI­ZONA 45-42. Air Force (plus 3 1 ⁄ ) at Colorado — 2 @scott—cal­li­han

In-state “ri­vals” have not played since 1974. Buffs lead the se­ries 12-4. COLORADO 28-21. TCU (mi­nus 2 1⁄2) at Pur­due — @TK—on—the—Coast

Hard-to-fig­ure match-up of Big 12 and Big Ten teams, es­pe­cially with the Horned Frogs yet to play an FBS op­po­nent. PUR­DUE 35-34.


Sea­son: 39-9 straight; 21-24-2 against the spread. Up­set spe­cials: 0-2 (straight up). Best bets: 0-2 (against the spread).

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