Upset Watch: Week 3

Submitted by Maize_in_Spartyland on September 13th, 2011 at 10:45 PM

Last week, college football fans saw thrillers in Ann Arbor, Auburn, and Columbus (among others) saw games come down to the last play of the game, with the home team prevailing in each. As typical with the Watch, we’ll review the picks from last week, noting the bad picks, and point out a few games to give the underdog some credit in, even if it is only in Vegas. 

As an added twist, we’ll look at a sure-fire favorite and attempt to preview the Michigan game.


1. The Good

Florida International +4.0 @ Louisville. Result: Florida International 24 Louisville 17.

Utah +9.0 @ USC.Result: USC 23 Utah 14. [Push, so technically no props here.]

2. The Bad

Connecticut +2.5 @ Vanderbilt. Result: Vanderbilt 24 Connecticut 21.

@ Georgia +2.5 South Carolina.Result: South Carolina 45 Georgia 42. [Props to: dennisblundon, Lets Get Denarded, and hajiblue72 for calling for South Carolina to cover as the favorite.]

3. The Ugly

Boston College +7.0 @ UCF. Result: UCF 30 Boston College 3. 

4. Poster Picks

A number of posters mentioned the Michigan (+3.5)/Notre Dame game. A few mentioned Toledo (+19) against Ohio (elaydin, Gulo Gulo Luscus, Picktown GoBlue, and M-Glow-Blue). Filthy Dilithium correctly chose BYU (+7) against Texas. Jamiemac took Missouri (+7.5) against Arizona State.


This Week

There are some really intriguing matchups this week, especially in the Big Ten - Penn State @ Temple, Pittsburgh @ Iowa, Michigan State @ Notre Dame, Arizona State @ Illinois, and Ohio State @ Miami (YTM). Outside of the Big Ten, LSU travels to Starkville on Thursday night, Boise State travels to the Glass Bowl on Friday, capping off the weekend with Oklahoma visiting Chief Osceola on Saturday night. 

Can you think of a better Saturday night game to follow up what might be the most thrilling Saturday night game of the year?

Upset Watch

@ Toledo (1-1) +19.5 Boise State (1-0). Toledo Coach Tim Beckman is 6-6 against the spread as a dog. Boise Coach Chris Peterson is 35-22 against the spread as a favorite. The Broncos blasted the Rockets last year on the Smurfturf, winning 57-14, covering the 38.5-point spread. Since then, Boise State has lost Titus Young and Austin Pettis to the NFL draft, but returned Heisman candidate Kellen Moore and, Pre-Season All Mountain West First Team, Doug Martin at running back. The Rockets have a history of pulling upsets in the Glass Bowl, having beaten the No. 9 Pitt Panthers in 2003, Kansas in 2006, and Minnesota in 2001. If history is a guide, the game should be close. Toledo may not pull the upset, but they should beat the spread.

Washington State (2-0) +5.5 @ San Diego State (2-0). Last meeting was in 2007, with Wazzou dismantling the Aztecs in Pullman, 45-17, covering the 14 point spread. First year Coach Rocky Long is 1-1 as a favorite against the spread this year. More telling stats: The last time the Aztecs opened 3-0 was in 1981 and they have lost eight straight when hosting a BCS conference opponent. Try to contain your laughter, but Washington State is a program on the rise. Yes, Coach Paul Wulff is only 7-32 at Washington State, but the defense should improve from having given up an average of almost 36 points per game in 2010 (38 points per game in 2009 and 44(!) points per game in 2008). Cougs QB Marshall Lobbestael is 38-51 for 591 yards and 7 passing TDs through the first two games. Jeff Tuel was 32-58 for 416 yards and 3 passing TDs through the same number of games last year.

Colorado State (2-0) +7.5 Colorado (0-2). The Rocky Mountain Showdown will be played in Denver. Last two games have been upsets, with Colorado winning 3 of the last 4. The Rams have won 8 of the last 14 against the spread. Colorado State is 9-3 straight up coming off a win, under Coach Steve Fairchild.

@ Vanderbilt (2-0) +1.5 Mississippi (1-1). The Rebels have not won an SEC opener since 2003 (lost in 2010, 2008, and 2007 to Vanderbilt) and have lost 4 of the last 6 to the Commodores. Mississippi Coach Houston Nutt is 12-13 as a favorite against the spread at Mississippi, but is just 3-5 on the road as a favorite against the spread. Vanderbilt has already matched their win totals from 2008 and 2009. If Vanderbilt can get better QB play from Larry Smith (50% completion against Connecticut), the Commodores can start 3-0 for the first time since 2008.

@ Temple (2-0) +7.5 Penn State (1-1). Temple has not beaten Penn State since 1941, with the Nittany Lions winning 28 straight! Despite the streak, Temple has been the pick against the spread the past two years (29.5 point dogs in 2009, losing 31-6 and 14 point dogs in 2010, losing 22-13). Penn State is STILL sorting out its quarterback situation. Temple has outscored opponents 83-10 this year (vs. Villanova and @ Akron). First year Coach Steve Addazio is 2-0 against the spread and now finds himself as an underdog against Penn State. Temple should keep this one close, but Penn State likely extends the streak to 29 straight.


Sure-Fire Favorite

@ Cincinnati -34.5 Akron. I’m not sure how to be nice about this, but Akron is bad, really bad. The Zips returned six starters on offense and eight on defense, from a team that was 1-11 last year. Give second year Coach Ianello credit, he at least is competitive against the spread, a record of 4-8 against the spread as an underdog and 5-9 overall (0-2 this year). In two games (@ Ohio and vs. Temple), the Zips have scored THREE points and gave up 83. Akron walks into a hornet’s nest on Saturday, with Cincinnati having lost at Neyland Stadium 45-23. Second year Coach Butch Jones is 4-4 against the spread as a favorite. Cincinnati hung 72 on Austin Peay week 1. Akron isn’t much better than Austin Peay; take the Bearcats.


Gameday Prediction

Ron English is 4-22 straight up at Eastern Michigan, including a 2-0 start this year. Coach English is 8-14-2 against the spread as an underdog and 9-16-2 against the spread overall. 

Brady Hoke is 49-50 straight up (13-12 at San Diego State, 34-38 at Ball State). Coach Hoke is 25-14-2 against the spread as a favorite and 40-22-2 overall since 2006.

Coach Hoke is 2-1 against Eastern Michigan, against the spread (3-0 overall).

Since 1998, Eastern Michigan and Michigan have met four times, with Michigan winning all four meetings (3-1 against the spread). Average margin of victory for Michigan against Eastern Michigan is 33.25 (average score of 48-14.75).

@ Michigan -29.5 Eastern Michigan.

Michigan 48 Eastern Michigan 17





September 13th, 2011 at 10:54 PM ^

Ill keep riding the Toledo bus. (14-2 penalty difference was the only thing stopping the upset of Ohio State) Ill take them against the spread but I doubt the upset comes this week.


Comment on a Big Ten game mentioned. State should cover spread in South Bend and pull the "upset" (Not sure why its an upset, 2-0 ranked team vs 0-2 unranked) State has a history of winning in South Bend and the way Notre Dame keeps giving the ball away in the red zone they drop to 0-3.


September 13th, 2011 at 11:09 PM ^

I think Colorado is going to smash CSU.  They have played a tough opening schedule (travel to Hawaii and took Cal to OT at home) and look like they are starting to get things figured out with that new coaching staff.  There is also zero chance the Rams can cover Paul Richardson.

As for upsets, I like Auburn getting three points at Clemson (their young guys have shown an ability to make plays and have responded in the clutch, Clemson just feels like things are about to implode), Tennessee getting 9.5 at Florida (Are the Gators really that good?), and MSU getting 4.5 at ND (When is the last time ND beat State by more than 3-4 points?).

Just saw that somehow OSU is a three point dog at Miami as well.  That seems like free money to me.




September 13th, 2011 at 11:17 PM ^

Richardson is a top tier wideout for sure, unfortuantely he is on an awful team. I don't see Hawaii matching their 10 wins from last year (but Hawaii is still good, no disrespect) and I feel like this is Coach Tedford's swan song; so in that regard, I disagree about the tough opening schedule. FWIW, I have Colorado winning this game, just not covering.

"MSU getting 4.5 at ND (When is the last time ND beat State by more than 3-4 points?)." As and you shall receive - 2004, 31-24. I agree on MSU though, I think they drop ND to 0-3 and South Bend starts panicing.


September 13th, 2011 at 11:35 PM ^

To me that is more about the entirety of the situation.  Getting on a plane and traveling thousands of miles to play a run-n-shoot team in a weird (shitty old stadium, etc.), hostile environment is just a tough way to start the season.  I also think Hawaii is pretty solid.  They went to Seattle and fell behind 21-0, but came all the way back to make it 38-32 before a PAT got blocked and returned for two points last week. 

Cal beat down Fresno State (who gave Nebraska loads of trouble last week) in their opener and had absolutely destroyed CU a year earlier.  For the Buffs to come back from a halftime deficit and force OT to me showed that they are shaking off the mental malaise of the Hawkins era.  They have some experienced guys like Stewart and Hansen who are making plays and the defense seems to have found some athletes in the front seven.  I just don't see a CSU team that squeaked past New Mexico giving them too much trouble.


September 13th, 2011 at 11:42 PM ^

Fair enough, I'll give you that on Hawaii. I think CSU is a bowl team this year; Fairchild will make strides with the team. Having the game they did against UNM doesn't look good, but they still got the W. With Colorado, they are 2-3 years away from being competitive. Richardson can only do so much.


September 13th, 2011 at 11:38 PM ^

Utah +9.0 @ USC.Result: USC 23 Utah 14. [Push, so technically no props here.]


Actually this depended entirely on the sportsbook or casino you wagered through. Most casinos paid to Utah when the clinching TD was wiped off the board by the Unsportsmanlike penalty, but once the PAC-12 re-instated the TD, it was a crapshoot. Many sportsbooks and casinos declared the scoring change the result of a "protest" and therefore by standard boilerplate rules, the new 9 point margin wasn't upheld for betting purposes (important since most places were only offering Utah +8/8.5). Overall it led to some Utah people getting "erroneousl"y paid, some USC people getting "screwed," and everything in between.


September 14th, 2011 at 12:08 PM ^

MSU to win outright in another high-scoring game.  I'm sure Kirk Cousins saw the ND secondary not able to find Denard's jump balls and started salivating. 

Boise to cover against Toledo.  Toledo had a lot of things (like the punt block, and Bauserman not being able to throw) go their way against OSU.  It's also a tough loss to bounce back from. Kellen Moore will eat them alive.

Auburn winning outright at the eternally disappointing Clemson. 

Pitt to win at Iowa. 

Is Illinois really favored against Arizona St?  I'll take the Sun Devils in that one.

I disagree with an earlier post that OSU is free money as an underdog.  I think Bauserman is a mediocre QB, and without Herron they don't yet have a dangerous running back.  Miami will win an ugly, mistake-filled (on both sides) game.

Michigan to win 45-7, with Gardner taking most of the second half snaps and doing a lot of handing off.  Prop bet: over/under on Jack Kennedy snaps at 3.5.  I'll take the over. 

Number 7

September 14th, 2011 at 3:36 PM ^

I'd take Northwestern to cover (-8) at Army; USC to cover (-17) versus syracuse; and Navy to keep it within the 17 points they're gettings against South Carolina.  I see auburn'sluck running out, too: Clemson to win outright.

The Michigan spread seems about right -- no money to be had there:  M 42, EMU 15.


September 14th, 2011 at 3:49 PM ^

I like Clemson, too. I think they have more talent than Auburn, but the coaching is the great equalizer; Chizik is a better coach. Navy's style of offense gives teams fits and the Gamecocks could be on a let down after a big win at Athens. LY South Carolina came off a big win against Alabama and promptly lost to Kentucky (granted Lattimore got hurt in the first half).


September 15th, 2011 at 7:53 PM ^

Clemson for the win. Auburn is playing sloppy this season and has barely escaped in their two wins. Clemson has thier own problems but I think they get the win.


As to the game in the glass bowl. Toledo is 4-0 against top 25 teams at home. Boise also has a lot to prove still, they beat a Georgia team that may turn out to have a losing season.  While I do agree that BSU >> osu, 20 point spread is too large, I think Toledo covers but losing by 10.