We went 0-3 with our three upset calls last week with Connecticut being the only one to cover the spread in a narrow 10-7 loss to NC State. Let’s try and have a bust-out week here in Week 3.
UPSET #1: Notre Dame (+5) +170 at Michigan State – The Michigan State defense has certainly looked impressive, but Notre Dame’s freshman phenom quarterback Everett Golson passed for 289 yards last week vs. Purdue before getting shaken up and being relieved by last year’s starter Tommy Rees, who engineered the final game-winning drive. Golson is fine though and will start this week, and his additional running skills make him a nightmare for defensive coordinators, especially after the Spartans faced two pocket quarterbacks in their first two wins. Michigan State looked much better offensively last week than it did vs. Boise State in the opener, but keep in mind that improvement came vs. a bad MAC school in Central Michigan.
This is actually a battle of inexperienced quarterbacks at the college level with junior Andrew Maxwell taking over for Sparty after watching Kirk Cousins the last couple of years, but he is now facing a better defense than Central Michigan and he lacks the mobility that Golson possesses.
UPSET #2: Arizona State (+6½) +220 at Missouri – This upset call has as much to do with each team’s state of mind as it does with their talent level. Missouri was sky high for its first SEC conference game ever last week at home vs. Georgia, only to get overwhelmed in the second half of a 41-20 beatdown. Missouri was one of the better rushing teams in the Big 12 one year ago, but the Tigers only mustered 2.6 yards per carry in its inaugural SEC game. Besides coming off of an emotionally crushing loss, Mizzou also has a big conference game on the road at South Carolina next week. Arizona State is coming off of a 45-14 blowout of Illinois, outgaining the Illini 510-332 in total yards. This was after outgaining Northern Arizona 554-237 in the season opener.
Now we fully get that this is the Pac-12 vs. the SEC, but Missouri will take its lumps this season and it does not have an SEC caliber defense as of yet. The Sun Devils should be able to score points again here, while Missouri quarterback James Franklin looks mediocre when he is not getting support from the running game.
UPSET #3: Boston College (+3) +145 at Northwestern – The Northwestern defense played surprisingly well in an upset of Vanderbilt last week after winning a 42-41 shootout at Syracuse in the opener, but keep in mind that Vanderbilt quarterback Jordan Rodgers did not throw well in a driving rainstorm. The Wildcats are facing an improved Boston College passing offense here as Eagles’ quarterback Chase Rettig has passed for 660 yards and five touchdowns in two games while averaging 8.0 yards per attempt.
Meanwhile, Northwestern was outgained by 259 yards in the win at Syracuse and the Wildcats only outgained the Commodores by six yards and recovered two fumbles in Vandy territory. Barring more miserable weather, look for Rettig to prevent Northwestern from beginning the year 3-0.