Boston College is in position to be this season’s Iowa State.
That doesn’t necessarily sound like a compliment, considering the shape the Cyclones (2-7, 0-6 Big 12) are in this season. But only a few years ago — 2011 to be exact — Iowa State shook up the national championship race with the upset of the season.
Oklahoma State was undefeated and a couple of victories away from playing in the BCS championship game when the Cowboys were shocked 37-31 in double overtime by a Cyclones team that was just trying to become bowl eligible. The Cowboys ended up getting the BCS snub and LSU and Alabama rematched for the national title.
This Saturday’s schedule has very little appeal outside of the Pac-12 South. But nobody expected a Friday night game in Ames, Iowa, to be the biggest game of the year in 2011, either; which brings us back to BC.
The Eagles (6-4, 3-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) visit No. 1 Florida State already bowl eligible, with a victory against USC to its credit.
Still, they are 19 1/2-point underdogs. The Seminoles (10-0, 7-0) have mastered the art of the comeback, but continually flirting with disaster is a tough way to stay unbeaten.”
“I was a part of two national championship teams and there were some ugly wins along the way,” said BC coach Steve Addazio, who was an assistant at Florida under Urban Meyer. “These guys find a way to win and they play the best at their most competitive moments. That’s usually what great teams do.”
Looking for other possible upsets to playoff contenders? Colorado (2-8, 0-7 Pac-12) brings one of the worst defenses in the country to face Marcus Mariota and No. 3 Oregon. Indiana (3-7, 0-6 Big Ten) is at No. 7 Ohio State, where the hapless Hoosiers haven’t won since 1987. No. 4 Mississippi State hosts Vanderbilt (3-7, 0-6 SEC), which has reverted back to more traditional Vandy form this season. Should we even mention No. 2 Alabama plays Western Carolina?
Here’s one: Oklahoma State at No. 6 Baylor. The Cowboys (5-5) are scrambling to get bowl eligible in a down year against a Big 12 rival with championship hopes. Sounds familiar.
• THURSDAY NIGHT LIGHTS
No. 12 Kansas State (plus 2) at West Virginia — Mountaineers trying to keep a promising turnaround season from fizzling at the finish ... WEST VIRGINIA 31-28.
• BEST BET
North Carolina (plus 6 1/2) at No. 25 Duke — No basketball jokes anymore. Blue Devils are two wins away from second consecutive trip to the ACC championship game ... DUKE 38-24.
• PLAYOFF IMPLICATIONS
Boston College (plus 19 1/2) at No. 1 Florida State — QB Tyler Murphy (1,011 yards rushing) leads a BC offense that is run first — and second and sometimes third .... FLORIDA STATE 34-20.
Colorado (off) at No. 3 Oregon — Sophomore QB Jordan Gehrke could get first start for Buffaloes if Sefo Liufau (concussion) can’t go ... OREGON 52-21.
Vanderbilt (plus 30) at No. 4 Mississippi State — Commodores and Bulldogs haven’t played since 2009 ... MISSISSIPPI STATE 45-10.
Oklahoma State (plus 27) at No. 6 Baylor — Cowboys offensive line has been leaky and QB Daxx Garman doesn’t have much mobility. Bad combination ... BAYLOR 48-17.
Indiana (plus 33 1/2) at No. 7 Ohio State — Underrated running back: Hoosiers star Tevin Coleman ran for 307 yards against Rutgers as Melvin Gordon was getting 408 against Nebraska. ... OHIO STATE 56-17.
• UPSET SPECIAL
Minnesota (plus 10 1/2) at No. 21 Nebraska — Huskers return home humbled after being embarrassed at Wisconsin. How will they respond? ... MINNESOTA 28-21.
• CONFERENCE CALLS
No. 8 Mississippi (minus 3) at Arkansas — Razorbacks try to make it two straight after breaking long SEC skid ... MISSISSIPPI 24-14.
Rutgers (plus 22) at No. 10 Michigan State — Underrated receiver: Scarlet Knights’ Leonte Caroo averages 20.3 yards per catch with eight touchdowns ... MICHIGAN STATE 42-14.
No. 24 Southern California (plus 3) at No. 11 UCLA — Underrated quarterback: USC’s Coy Kessler has thrown 29 TD passes and three interceptions ... UCLA 31-23.
Washington State (plus 16 1/2) at No. 13 Arizona State — Cougars freshman Luke Falk has thrown for 817 yards and seven TDs in his first two career starts ... ARIZONA STATE 48-14
No. 14 Wisconsin (minus 9 1/2) at Iowa — Gordon is 719 yards behind Barry Sanders’ FBS single-season rushing record of 2,628 and could have four more games to get it if Badgers play for Big Ten title game. NOTE: Sanders set the record in 11 games. Gordon could play 14 ... WISCONSIN 31-14.
No. 15 Arizona (plus 4) at No. 20 Utah — Utes lead nation in sacks at 4.7 per game. Wildcats rank 79th in sacks allowed at 2.2 per game ... UTAH 27-21.
No. 18 Marshall (minus 20) at UAB — It’s not just Rakeem Cato making that Thundering Herd offense go; Devon Johnson is fourth in the country at 155.8 yards per game ... MARSHALL 42-21.
No. 19 Missouri (plus 3 1/2) at Tennessee — Tigers are two wins away from clinching second consecutive SEC East title; Vols are trying to get bowl eligible — and Tennessee is favored? Hmmm ... MISSOURI 24-21.
New Mexico (plus 22) at No. 22 Colorado State — Early loss to Boise State is only blemish on Rams’ record ... COLORADO STATE 45-21.
Kansas (plus 25) at No. 23 Oklahoma — Sooners will play again without QB Trevor Knight (concussion) ... OKLAHOMA 35-14.
• BONUS PICKS
Yale at Harvard — Bulldogs can earn a share of the Ivy League title with Crimson ... HARVARD 42-35.
Lehigh vs. Lafayette at Yankee Stadium in New York — 150th meeting of college football’s oldest rivalry ... LEHIGH 23-21.
Last week: Record straight: 8-7; vs. points 6-9.
Season: Record straight: 162-51; vs. points 97-113-2.
Best bet: 5-7.
Upset special: 4-9.