Through the first six weeks of the 2019 college football season, things have largely gone to script. The chaos that often finds its way into Saturdays hasn’t yet this year; 10 of the top 14 teams in the AP Top 25 are still undefeated, and the four teams that have a loss all received it from another team in that group.
Will this be the week that the upset alert warnings go off on television sets around the nation? With five of the top 11 teams in college football playing away from home against ranked opponents this Saturday, the rankings are about to receive a much needed shake-up, with or without the help of some upsets elsewhere in the nation.
Two potentially playoff-defining showdowns
Going off as 2.5-point underdogs at home last Saturday against the then No. 7 Auburn Tigers, the Florida Gators rode their defense to a 24-13 win in the swamp to take over the No. 7 spot in the AP Top 25. Kyle Trask threw two touchdown passes for the third straight game since taking over for the injured Feleipe Franks, and the defense forced four turnovers with one fumble recovery and three interceptions. Florida is 5-0 straight up and 4-1 against the spread in its last five games on the road.
Can the Gators pull off another upset this Saturday as 13-point underdogs visiting the No. 5 LSU Tigers? Joe Burrow is firmly entrenched in the Heisman Trophy race this season with 22 touchdown passes and only three interceptions through five games, and another strong performance against a defense like Florida’s would only strengthen his case. LSU is 12-1 SU in its last 13 games overall and 9-0 ATS in its last nine home games played in the month of October.
Speaking of Heisman Trophy contenders, Jalen Hurts will have the opportunity to make his case this Saturday at the Cotton Bowl when his Oklahoma Sooners (-10.5) take on the Texas Longhorns. Hurts has 14 passing touchdowns and seven rushing touchdowns so far in 2019. Sam Ehlinger has also been sharp this season with a 17-to-2 touchdown-to-interception ratio.
Five of the last six Red River Showdowns between these two Big 12 rivals have been decided by a touchdown or less. Oklahoma is 4-2 SU in those six contests but just 1-5 ATS over that stretch.
Two other Top Ten teams facing ranked road tests
The No. 10 Penn State Nittany Lions are 4.5-point road favorites this Saturday facing the No. 17 Iowa Hawkeyes. Points should be at a premium in this one; Penn State ranks second in the nation in scoring defense (7.4 points per game against) and fourth in total yards allowed (240 per game) while Iowa ranks third in scoring defense (8.8 PPG) and fifth in total defense (254 yards allowed per game).