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Predicting the first loss for every undefeated team

Photo: AP/Bill Haber

There are currently 17 undefeated teams in the FBS division of college football as we head into week seven. This is going to make for some exciting football down the stretch as we watch some of these teams face off against each other, some of these teams suffer heart-breaking defeats and maybe, just maybe, some of these teams reach the end of the regular season with their perfect record in tact. For fun, let's assume that every one of these teams will drop at least one game before the end of the season. Here are the undefeated teams and their most likely first loss….

 

Alabama Crimson Tide 5-0

Toughest Remaining Games: 10/19 vs Arkansas (3-3), 11/9 vs LSU (5-1), 11/30 at Auburn (4-1)

Most Likely First Loss: 11/9 vs LSU

LSU has actually won two of the last three regular season meetings between these two teams and four of the last five that have taken place in Tuscaloosa. LSU is sporting a nice and shiny new offense this season and this game might not resemble some of the low scoring affairs these two rivals have had over the last few years.

 

Baylor Bears 4-0

Toughest Remaining Games: 11/7 vs Oklahoma (5-0), 11/16 vs Texas Tech (5-0), 11/23 at Oklahoma State (4-1)

Most Likely First Loss: 11/7 vs Oklahoma

Baylor has been one of the most impressive teams so far this year but they've always had trouble with OU. The gap has definitely closed over the last few years but the Bears have won just once in the last ten tries against the Sooners and that was with a Heisman winner at QB.

 

Clemson Tigers 5-0

Toughest Remaining Games: 10/19 vs FSU (5-0), 10/26 at Maryland (4-1), 11/30 at South Carolina (4-1)

Most Likely First Loss: 11/30 at South Carolina

The FSU game on 10/19 looms very large but Clemson is at home in that game and as they've shown in the recent past (see also: Georgia game), they are very good at home. I'm pegging the South Carolina game as the most likely first loss for the Tigers. The Battle of the Palmetto State has not been kind to the Tigers recently as the Gamecocks have won four straight.

 

Fresno State Bulldogs 5-0

Toughest Remaining Games: 10/19 vs UNLV (3-2), 10/26 at SDSU (2-3), 11/2 vs Nevada (3-3), 11/9 at Wyoming (3-2), 11/29 at SJSU (2-3)

Most Likely First Loss: 10/26 at San Diego State

The toughest games are behind the Bulldogs and their next loss very well could be in the first ever Mountain West Championship Game or later. San Diego State has been disappointing this season but the last time Fresno State went down to Qualcomm Stadium they lost by 7. After an early season loss to an FCS school and then losses to Ohio State and Oregon State, the Aztecs have slowly started to right the ship and they also have 15 days off between games to prep for the Bulldogs.

 

FSU Seminoles 5-0

Toughest Remaining Games: 10/19 at Clemson (5-0), 11/2 vs Miami (5-0), 11/30 at Florida (4-1)

Most Likely First Loss: 10/19 at Clemson

The way FSU looked this past Saturday, they might not lose during the Jameis Winston era. But, they do have a big game coming up on the road at Clemson and we all saw how Clemson played at home in their opener against Georgia. FSU will have an extra week to prep for Clemson, but they will also have an extra week to read their own press clippings.

 

Houston Cougars 4-0

Toughest Remaining Games: 10/19 vs BYU (3-2), 10/26 at Rutgers (4-1), 11/9 at UCF (4-1), 11/16 at Louisville (5-0)

Most Likely First Loss: 10/19 vs BYU

I bet you didn't know Houston was undefeated, did you? The Cougars wins have been over Southern, Temple, Rice and UTSA. They haven't played a team that's going to hit them as hard and as often as BYU will on the 19th. In this battle of the Cougars, I expect BYU to come out on top.

 

Louisville Cardinals 5-0

Toughest Remaining Games: 10/10 vs Rutgers (4-1), 10/18 vs UCF (4-1), 11/16 vs Houston (4-0), 12/5 at Cincinnati (3-2)

Most Likely First Loss: 10/18 vs UCF

Like Fresno State, Louisville is one of the most likely teams that will go unbeaten in the regular season. The Cardinals are a very good team, maybe even a great team, but with this schedule there just aren't a lot of tests. Right now, Rutgers is probably the game that the Cards have circled since the beginning of the season but once they get past the Scarlet Knights they will have to face a UCF team that has talent and will take them to the limit. UCF has 12 days to prepare for this game and George O'Leary will have them ready.

 

Michigan Wolverines 5-0

Toughest Remaining Games: All of them.10/12 at Penn State (3-2), 10/19 vs Indiana (3-2), 11/2 at Michigan State (4-1), 11/9 vs Nebraska (4-1), 11/16 at Northwestern (4-1), 11/23 at Iowa (4-2), 11/30 vs Ohio State (6-0)

Most Likely First Loss: 11/2 at Michigan State

Is Michigan the worst undefeated team left in the FBS? That's the question some are answering and the Wolverines will be tested every week for the rest of the season. Every game left on the schedule is going to be a battle. With the exception of last years two point win in Ann Arbor, Michigan State has dominated their recent rivalry games with Michigan winning four of the last five and two straight in East Lansing. 

 

Miami (FL) Hurricanes 5-0

Toughest Remaining Games: 11/2 vs FSU (5-0), 11/9 vs Virginia Tech (5-1), 11/29 at Pittsburgh (3-1)

Most Likely First Loss: 11/2 vs FSU

The Noles are in control of this rivalry winning the last three and six of the last eight. Until the Canes prove they can beat the Noles on a consistent basis, this will be FSU's game to lose.

 

Missouri Tigers 5-0

Toughest Remaining Games: 10/12 at Georgia (4-1), 10/19 vs Florida (4-1), 10/26 vs South Carolina (4-1), 11/30 vs Texas A&M (4-1)

Most Likely First Loss: 10/12 at Georgia

Missouri has started out quickly but now they have the SEC East version of the gauntlet as they get Georgia, Florida and South Carolina in back-to-back-to-back weeks. If one doesn't get them then the other will. Georgia has opened as a ten point favorite for the game this weekend so that is the most likely first loss for these Tigers.

 

NIU Huskies 5-0

Toughest Remaining Games: 11/13 vs Ball State (5-1), 11/20 at Toledo (3-3)

Most Likely First Loss: 11/3 vs Ball State

NIU won their first three games by ten points or less but they've started to distance themselves and are poised for another potential BCS bowl game. Ball State is the best team left on the schedule and in my opinion the only team (besides Toledo) that stands a chance to beat them before the MAC Championship Game.

 

Ohio State Buckeyes 6-0

Toughest Remaining Games: 10/19 vs Iowa (4-2), 10/26 vs Penn State (3-2), 11/16 at Illinois (3-2), 11/23 vs Indiana (3-2), 11/30 at Michigan (5-0)

Most Likely First Loss: 11/30 at Michigan

The Buckeyes looked very beat able this past weekend in Evanston but they survived and advanced. Ohio State's remaining schedule is filled with good but not great teams. Potentially every team could play a great game one week and knock off the Buckeyes but none of them look likely to do it. If you have to pick one game then it's always good to go with a rivalry game where anything can happen. In 2011, Michigan knocked off the Bucks and in 2012 Ohio State won by just five so there isn't a lot separating these teams and the game is in Ann Arbor.

 

Oklahoma Sooners 5-0

Toughest Remaining Games: 10/26 vs Texas Tech (5-0), 11/7 at Baylor (4-0), 11/7 at Oklahoma State (4-1)

Most Likely First Loss: 10/26 vs Texas Tech

Two years ago, the Sooners dropped one to the Red Raiders at home by three. With Baylor looming on the schedule, does OU take their eye off the prize and drop one to the Red Raiders and their young coach?

 

Oregon Ducks 5-0

Toughest Remaining Games: 10/12 at Washington (4-1), 10/26 vs UCLA (4-0), 11/7 at Stanford (5-0), 11/29 vs Oregon State (4-1)

Most Likely First Loss: 10/26 vs UCLA

If there is a team that can keep up with Oregon on the scoreboard it is UCLA. They put up 28 points on Nebraska in the third quarter of their comeback win and the Ducks haven't seen this version of the UCLA offense since they didn't play last season.

 

Stanford Cardinal 5-0

Toughest Remaining Games: 10/19 vs UCLA (4-0), 10/26 at Oregon State (4-1), 11/7 vs Oregon (5-0), 11/30 vs Notre Dame (4-2)

Most Likely First Loss: 11/7 vs Oregon

Both teams have a week off before this Thursday night showdown but you have to think that the Ducks want to avenge their loss last season to the Cardinal.

 

Texas Tech Red Raiders 5-0

Toughest Remaining Games: 10/26 at Oklahoma (5-0), 11/2 vs Oklahoma State (4-1), 11/16 vs Baylor (4-0), 11/28 at Texas (3-2)

Most Likely First Loss: 11/2 vs Oklahoma State

From an odds perspective the most likely first loss is definitely the Oklahoma game but since I said the Red Raiders would be the most likely defeat for the Sooners picking them here would be a bit of a cop out. Texas Tech has dropped four straight to the Cowboys and the last two haven't even been close. Until they prove they can win this series, you have to give the edge to Mike Gundy and his team.

 

UCLA Bruins 4-0

Toughest Remaining Games: 10/19 at Stanford (5-0), 10/26 at Oregon (5-0), 11/15 vs Washington (4-1)

Most Likely First Loss: 10/19 at Stanford

The upcoming two-game stretch of road games at Stanford and Oregon is just brutal. If they come out of that unbeaten they should vault to the #1 ranking but the odds are against them and the Cardinal beat them twice last season.

Kevin Causey

About Kevin Causey

dry humorist, beer snob, occasionally unbiased SEC fan, UGA alumni, writer for Crystal Ball Run and founder of College Football Zealots

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