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Josh Furlong's AP Top 25: Upsets (and near upsets) as the SEC joins the football party

By Josh Furlong, KSL.com | Posted - Sep. 27, 2020 at 10:02 a.m.



SALT LAKE CITY — Nearly a month after the college football season started for some teams, the SEC joined the party — and the week got a little crazy. All 10 FBS conferences are now set to play this fall, and as a result, are eligible for the Top 25 rankings, which makes this week's shuffling a more difficult task.

My ballot will likely be very unpopular as I inserted several teams into the rankings that won't play for more than a month. Traditionally, I would rank a team based on its resume and the games they've actually played, but COVID-19 made that nearly impossible. Still, SEC teams stayed in the rankings despite a delayed start to the season.

Because a delayed start didn't preclude SEC teams from being ranked, there's no reason to keep out teams from the Big Ten and Pac-12, though we won't see how good they really are for some time. We're in uncharted waters, so consider my ballot a mixture of team projections and current resumes, which is why Minnesota, Utah and Iowa have been left off this week's ballot despite having them ranked in my preseason ballot.

Enough chaos could happen between now and until those respective schools resume play, so there's a chance each team finds a way back into the rankings before they take their first snap of the season.

But for teams that played this week, here is a brief recap.

Let's start with LSU, the defending national champions, who hoped to keep a winning profile after losing 14 players to the NFL draft. The Tigers knew another undefeated season was a difficult task to repeat, but they likely didn't see a loss in the first game of the season. Never doubt a Mike Leach-led team to destroy dreams. Mississippi State did just that as former Stanford quarterback KJ Costello torched 🔥 the Tigers for five touchdowns on an SEC record-breaking 623 passing yards.

Fun fact, the last time LSU lost a game was a seven overtime matchup against Texas A&M on Nov. 24, 2018.

And then there was Oklahoma. Over the last few seasons, the Sooners have plugged in new a quarterback and have found a way to dominate nearly every team they've played with a new guy leading the way.

Not in 2020.

Oklahoma entered its matchup as a 27.5-point favorite to a Kansas State team that was without so many players due to COVID-19 that the team didn't know if it'd have enough personnel to field a team. But Oklahoma QB Spencer Rattler threw three picks, and Kansas State took advantage of each en route to a 38-35 upset over the Sooners at home.

Also, Texas? The Longhorns staved off defeat (barely) against a Texas Tech club that led by 15 with 3:13 left in regulation. Texas managed two touchdowns (and a 2-point conversion) in the final 3 minutes of play to send the game into overtime. Texas scored first in the extra minutes before securing a fumble on Texas Tech's attempts to equalize. Texas keeps trying to prove it's back, but I'm having some early doubts — again.

Locally, BYU dominated a visiting Troy team looking for an upset. But those dreams faded rather quickly as junior quarterback Zach Wilson threw for a career-high 392 yards. The leader of the offense passed for two touchdowns while adding two more on the ground to pick apart the Trojans. It was all BYU in a physical affair despite missing a dozen players due to COVID-19.

BYU's schedule is light, but they're taking full advantage of the opportunity. It's hard to see the Cougars losing a game at this point, but it's still unknown what that will mean for the season's outlook and rankings. For now, ride the highs and celebrate a team that's ready to play.

Dropping Out: Army, Baylor, Kentucky, Louisiana, Louisville, Pittsburgh, Virginia Tech

Checking In: Michigan, Mississippi State, Ohio State, Oregon, Penn State, USC, Wisconsin

In Consideration: Baylor, Iowa, Kansas State, Minnesota, Pittsburgh, Utah, Virginia Tech

If you have a question about any of the teams I ranked (or missed), hit me up on Twitter (@JFurKSL) and I'll do my best to explain my reasoning.

Josh Furlong

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