Which cupcake has best chance to upset an SEC team today?
It’s Cupcake Week in the SEC, a Saturday when six conference teams should theoretically have their easiest game of the season. We say “should” because not all of these matchups are a piece of cake; just ask South Carolina, which on the same weekend a year ago lost at home to The Citadel 23-22.
It’s a pretty safe bet that every SEC team will devour its cupcake of an opponent late today. But there’s also a chance that at least one of these non-conference visitors will win.
Here’s a look at today’s half-dozen cupcakes, ranked from best to worst in terms of their chances of pulling off a Citadel-like upset:
1. Louisiana Lafayette (at Georgia): The Ragin’ Cajuns (4-5) have beaten McNeese, South Alabama, Texas State and Georgia Southern. But two of those wins were on the road, which is where they have played their best.
They lost 41-39 in four overtimes at Tulane on Sept. 24 before falling 37-31 to New Mexico in double overtime the following week. So they could have been 6-3 entering Saturday’s visit to Georgia.
Meanwhile, the Bulldogs are coming off their biggest win of the season, a one-score victory over Auburn at home. And they have Georgia Tech in Week 13.
If the matchup against Louisiana Lafayette doesn’t grab you, maybe what Georgia is going to wear on Saturday will do the trick. The Bulldogs are breaking out their black jerseys for the first time since 2008.
2. Texas San-Antonio (at Texas A&M): With their visit to College Station, the Roadrunners (5-5) are capping a three-game road trip that they kicked off by beating Middle Tennessee, 45-25. Last week, in a showdown for first place in Conference USA’s West Division, they lost at Louisiana Tech by four touchdowns.
Earlier this season, UTSA battled Arizona State before eventually falling to the Sun Devils 32-28. A year ago, Oklahoma State routed Texas San-Antonio 69-14 in the Roadrunners’ last game against a ranked team.
Meanwhile, not only is Texas A&M coming off a devastating loss to Ole Miss, it is going into Saturday’s game with a hobbled Myles Garrett. Nevertheless, the Aggies should be pretty fired up after blowing a 15-point, fourth-quarter lead to the Rebels.
3. Western Carolina (at South Carolina): Two weeks ago, the Catamounts (2-8) snapped a six-game skid by beating VMI 32-29. But they followed that up by falling at Furman 49-21.
Meanwhile, if South Carolina wants to become bowl eligible with a win, this is its best chance to do it. The Gamecocks visit Clemson in their regular-season finale.
Will Muschamp wasn’t around for last year’s loss to The Citadel. But he’s probably reminded his players about it all season long.
4. Alabama A&M (at Auburn): Texas A&M has had its share of injuries, but is there a more beaten-up team in the SEC West than Auburn? Kamryn Pettway and Stanton Truitt will miss Saturday’s game against this set of Bulldogs due to injuries, and both Kerryon Johnson and Sean White are still nursing them following last week’s loss to Georgia.
The Tigers are so short-handed at running back that Rudy Ford is taking snaps in practice this week at the position, which he played in high school. Even with the Tigers being clearly less than 100 percent, they should have no issues with Alabama A&M (4-6).
5. Chattanooga (at Alabama): At 8-2, the Mocs have the best record among this week’s SEC-visiting cupcakes. Coincidentally, Chattanooga has lost to The Citadel and Wofford, both by eight points.
Meanwhile, even though Alabama has clinched the SEC West and won 22 straight, don’t expect a letdown.
Nick Saban will find something about this performance he doesn’t like.
The Crimson Tide are the only FBS team – besides Western Michigan – without a loss and can control its destiny for a College Football Playoff spot by winning out.
6. Austin Peay (at Kentucky): Mark Stoops and Kentucky will never be in a better position to clinch bowl eligibility for the first time since 2010. Austin Peay (0-10), which has lost 26 consecutive games going back to 2014, visits Lexington this afternoon.
The Wildcats can’t possibly mess this up, right? Wait, don’t answer that.