Can Steele Jantz beat Iowa once again?
Week 2 of the 2012 college football season doesn’t feature many marquee matchups and with a handful of BCS teams heavily favored, there are few opportunities for upset picks. Athlon’s editors hit on Ohio’s win over Penn State last week but missed on Western Michigan beating Illinois and Indiana State knocking off Indiana.
College Football's Week 2 Upset Picks
Braden Gall (@BradenGall): Nebraska (-5.5) at UCLA
If Florida (+1.5) beats Texas A&M or South Florida (+1.5) defeats Nevada, no one will be shocked, but most would be startled if UCLA starts the year 2-0 with an upset win over Nebraska. Jim Mora Jr., has instilled some toughness along both lines of scrimmage and quarterback Brett Hundley has added some much-needed balance to the Bruins offense. Yes, it was Rice, but it was on the road and UCLA's offense looked fantastic. If the Bruins can hold their ground at the point of attack, they have a great chance to pull the upset at home. Especially, if the Cornhuskers are without their offensive heart and soul in star tailback Rex Burkhead. He is questionable with a sprained MCL.
Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven): Florida (+1.5) at Texas A&M
With a spread of 1.5 points, this game is essentially a pick’em. Florida did not have a great showing in its Week 1 opener against Bowling Green, while Texas A&M’s game was canceled due to Hurricane Isaac. Although the Gators looked sluggish against the Falcons, their defense should create some problems for Aggies’ quarterback Johnny Manziel in his first start. If Florida can run the ball and keep quarterback Jeff Driskel out of third-and-long situations, I like the Gators to sneak out of College Station with a victory. Considering this is Texas A&M’s first SEC game, there should be a great crowd and a lot of momentum on the Aggies’ sideline. However, I think Florida finds a way to edge out Texas A&M for a 24-20 victory.
Mitch Light (@AthlonMitch): Iowa State (+4.5) at Iowa
Iowa State scored a total of 15 points en route to losing three straight to Iowa from 2008-10. Last year, however, the Cyclones erupted for 44 points in a three-point win in Ames. The ’12 season got off to good start offensively for Paul Rhoads’ club. The Clones, a surprising home underdog to Tulsa, rolled up 441 yards in a 38–23 win over the Golden Hurricane. Yards will be tougher to come by in Iowa City this weekend. Iowa gave up only 201 total yards (73 on one play) in an 18–17 win over Northern Illinois in Chicago. Take out that one big play — a run by NIU quarterback Jordan Lynch — and the Iowa defense gave up an average of 2.4 yards per play. Iowa State, however, has a few more weapons than Northern Illinois, which returned only three starters. Steel Jantz played well in the opener, and the Clones have some talented options at tailback.This rivalry game often doesn’t go as expected. This is just a hunch, but I like the Clones on the road. Iowa State 21, Iowa 20
Mark Ross: Louisiana-Lafayette (+3) over Troy
Both teams enter this Sun Belt clash 1-0 as Troy defeated C-USA representative UAB 39-29 on the road, while UL Lafayette shut out FCS member Lamar 40-0 at home last week. Even though the Trojans produced more total offense against seemingly tougher competition in its opener and will be the home team for this conference tilt, I think the Ragin' Cajuns are the more balanced team, which will be the difference in the end. Last season the Cajuns defeated the Trojans 31-17 even though Troy out-gained ULL in terms of total offense. This season's ULL offensive attack is even more potent with senior Blaine Gautier under center and it will be too much for Troy's defense to slow down.
Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman): Iowa State (+4.5) over Iowa
The Hawkeyes are coming off a fortuitous 18-17 win over Northern Illinois in Week 1, while the Cyclones had a solid 38-23 victory against Tulsa. ISU quarterback Steele Jantz threw for 281 yards and two touchdowns in the opener, while running back Shontrelle Johnson rushed for 120 yards on just 18 carries. They will face a much tougher defense this week versus Iowa, but I like the offensive balance the Paul Rhoads’ club showed against Tulsa. The Hawkeyes will look for another solid performance from tailback Damon Bullock, who totaled 150 yards and a touchdown versus NIU. The key to winning his year’s Cy-Hawk Trophy will be taking advantage of red-zone opportunities. The Cyclones have shown a penchant for winning as an underdog under Rhoads, and I’ll take Iowa State to make it two in a row over the Hawkeyes by the score of 24-23.
David Fox (@DavidFox615): Auburn (+3.5) at Mississippi State
This upset pick was too tantalizing given the recent history of the SEC West rivals: Auburn has won 10 of the last 11 meetings. Although Mississippi State has been within a touchdown or less in four of the last five seasons, Auburn hasn’t lost in Starkville since 2000. Auburn’s game last week wasn’t always pretty -- 528 yards allowed, two turnovers, 11 of 27 passing from Kiehl Frazier -- but Auburn led Clemson by a field goal in the fourth quarter. If Auburn can limit a Clemson offense to field goals for three quarters in a neutral site game, I can get on board with a road upset over Mississippi State. I realize Clemson was without Sammy Watkins, but do the Bulldogs have anyone to match Tajh Boyd or Andre Ellington? I doubt it.
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