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  • Will Purdue take down Michigan? Could Oklahoma State run into trouble at home against TCU? It's the Week 4 upset watch.
By Joan Niesen
September 22, 2017

Well, we have come to the end of my ability to milk weather events for potential mismatches. It’s been fun, so take a minute to relish my prediction (suggestion?) of Miami’s demise. Beyond that MAC-ACC matchup, this week’s upset watch features some intra-conference contests, one that involves what may be college football’s biggest turnaround in 2017, the other a game that promises to be good year in and year out. And yes, this list does involve three ranked teams losing. You’re welcome.

Purdue over Michigan: Last week, Jeff Brohm’s Purdue team put a whooping on (not-so-good) Missouri. The 35–3 final score actually makes the game look less lopsided than it was if you watched (I did, all 60 minutes, and I still can’t quite tell you why), and though the quality of opponent wasn’t high, Purdue looked downright dominant. In Week 1, it gave Louisville a scare, and in Week 2, it won decisively, which means the Boilermakers certainly have a chance against a Michigan team that’s looked shaky early this season. Purdue’s offense is certainly good enough to go score-for-score with the Wolverines.

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Toledo over Miami: The Rockets head into Miami with a 3–0 record and wins over Elon, Nevada and Tulsa, while the Hurricanes have played just one game after having their last two matchups canceled. Sure, bye weeks are generally regarded as a good thing, but it’s hard to imagine Miami needed much rest after thumping Bethune-Cookman in Week 1, and two straight Saturdays off is enough to render a team something approaching stagnant. That trick of weather will work in Toledo’s favor, as will the fact that the Rockets have a balanced, talented offense. It’s hard to rule them out in this one.

TCU over Oklahoma State: Oklahoma State is good—but so is TCU. Both teams are 3–0, and though there was plenty more preseason hype surrounding the Cowboys and Mason Rudolph than there was for Kenny Hill’s Horned Frogs, the actual season is a great equalizer. Sure, I’m not massively confident in TCU storming into Stillwater and winning with authority. But this is one of those games where the underdog certainly has as good a shot as anybody, even with Oklahoma State being favored by 11.5 points. Both teams have potent offenses, and this one will be a shootout; Rudolph has already thrown for more than 1,000 yards, and TCU’s offense has been nearly as potent, so this may come down to which team can gain an edge on defense. That very well could be the Horned Frogs.

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