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 (-9) at Houston – The Cougars playing a Friday night road game. What could go wrong? ... HOUSTON 38-34, UPSET SPECIAL.
No. 1 Clemson (-27) at Syracuse – The Orange squeezed the intrigue out of this game by getting blasted by Maryland last week. ... CLEMSON 52-20.
No. 2 Alabama (-25½) at South Carolina – You might remember the last time the Tide and Gamecocks played in 2010 as The Stephen Garcia Game. Could this be The Ryan Hilinski Game? ... ALABAMA 45-14.
Arkansas State (+33) at No. 3 Georgia – The Bulldogs are 25-5 with Jake Fromm as the starting QB. ... GEORGIA 42-14.
No. 5 Oklahoma (-22½) 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 (-15½) at Indiana – First road start for Buckeyes QB Justin Fields. Those can be tricky. ... OHIO STATE 31-17.
New Mexico (+34½) 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 (+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 (-7) at Kentucky – Wildcats snapped a three-decade losing streak to the Gators last year, but has to play without QB Terry Wilson (knee). ... KENTUCKY 24-21.
No. 12 Texas (-32½) at Rice – No quarterback has thrown more TD passes (eight) without an interception this season than the Longhorns’ Sam Ehlinger. ... TEXAS 45-10.
Pitt (+17) at No. 13 Penn State – Pitt’s run defense has been stingy (2.65 per rush allowed), and the Nittany Lions couldn’t get going on the ground vs. Buffalo. ... PENN STATE 31-16.
Stanford (+7½) 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 (+13½) 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 (-2½) 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 (-7½) at Temple – Underrated QB matchup of Terps’ Josh Jackson and Owls’ Anthony Russo. ... TEMPLE 35-33.
Hawaii (+21) at No. 23 Washington – Rainbow Warriors trying to go 3-0 against the Pac-12. ... WASHINGTON 42-20.
No. 24 Southern California (-4½) 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 (+7½) 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.