Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Upset watch: Week 13
By ESPN.com staff
Two of the three games on last week’s Upset Watch held true: The top game, Clemson at NC State, and the No. 3 game, Virginia at Florida State. The Noles fell out of the Top 25 in the BCS standings, and Clemson dropped from No. 7 to No. 17. The upset watch is a dangerous place to be in November. Again a reminder that these are not predictions, rather they are a look at which teams have the best chance of being knocked off their perch each week. Here’s a look at who faces the best chances of falling in Week 13:
1. Virginia at No. 5 Virginia Tech: The Hokies have owned this series, winning 11 of the past 12 and seven straight, but the gap between the two teams this season is nowhere near as far as the BCS standings would have you believe. Both teams can run the ball and have strong defenses. Both are very well-coached. And both are playing for more than just bragging rights and the Commonwealth Cup. The Coastal Division is on the line, and if Virginia is good enough to contend for it, it’s good enough to win it.
2. No. 17 Clemson at No. 12 South Carolina: The Gamecocks’ defense has been the strength of their team this season, and it could be the difference in this game, especially if Clemson continues to turn the ball over at the rate it has been in the past three games. The Tigers are lacking some confidence after their loss to NC State, but they have the talent to win this game if they limit the mistakes. Receiver Sammy Watkins is expected to return to the lineup and could be the spark they need. Nobody in that program wants to lose to South Carolina for a third straight season.
3. Maryland at NC State: Yes, if the Terps beat NC State, consider it an upset. If the Wolfpack plays the way it did against Clemson last week (nearly flawless), and Maryland plays defense the way it has all season (like a sieve), there is no reason NC State should lose this game. Maryland has lost six straight games and is a sunken ship in Randy Edsall’s first season. The Wolfpack, however, needs this win to become bowl eligible. NC State, though, has been wildly inconsistent this season. If you’ve followed the pattern, it wouldn’t be out of character for the Wolfpack to suffer a letdown on Saturday.