The final weekend of college football action in October is upon us, which means the 2013 season is about to enter the home stretch.
Conference play is in full swing, and as last week in the SEC showed, upsets can happen at any moment.
Athlon’s editors are back with another edition of the upset picks, and there are plenty of teams on alert this week.
Utah, Oregon State and Texas are underdogs this week, but are three popular upset selections.
The favorites can't win every game each week, so it's no surprise one of the most popular discussion points every Saturday is upset picks. Each week on AthlonSports.com, the editors will give an upset pick for the upcoming week of action.
College Football Week 9 Upset Predictions
Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven): Utah (+6.5) over USC
Both teams enter this matchup with key injuries, so a low-scoring, ugly game isn't out of the question on Saturday. Utah quarterback Travis Wilson suffered a hand injury against Arizona last week but is expected to play against the Trojans. But the picture isn’t so promising in Los Angeles. USC’s injury report is lengthy, and the roster is simply depleted this week. Receiver Marqise Lee is nursing a knee injury and is questionable to play. Running back Justin Davis and linebacker Lamar Dawson are out for the year, while all three scholarship tight ends are injured and may not suit up against Utah. While both teams are dealing with injuries, USC’s problems are clearly more severe than the Utes. Even though Utah is 1-5 in its last six Pac-12 road games, with the Trojans dealing with a myriad of injuries and a struggling offense, the Utes’ defense should do just enough for Kyle Whittingham’s team to earn their fifth win of the season.
Braden Gall (@BradenGall): Oregon State (+4.5) over Stanford
The Beavers lost an emotion, physical battle with the Cardinal 27-23 in Palo Alto last season. Sean Mannion didn't play in that game other than one late fourth-quarter pass attempt, so this bout should look much different. The Cardinal are coming off a dominating performance over the UCLA Bruins at home, but Mannion is playing at an elite level and is at home. The Beavers have won six straight and have been blowing teams out by 30 and 40 points. Without a bizarre first week loss to Eastern Washington, this game might be viewed totally differently by the Vegas oddsmakers. This will be a test of strength (Stanford's front seven) on strength (Oregon State's dynamic passing attack) and the Corvallis crowd might play the deciding factor. Give me the Beavers.
David Fox (@DavidFox615): Texas (+2) over TCU
Case McCoy joked this week that Texas is a favorite of TCU because of him. At least the younger McCoy has a self-deprecating sense of humor. As bad as Texas was early in the season, TCU has been almost as bad this year, only TCU’s offense has been as ineffective as the Longhorns’ defense was in September. TCU is averaging 4.5 points in the first half against FBS teams in 2013. The only teams worse? UMass and Georgia State, teams that have one win between them. The Horned Frogs’ defense is about where it was the last two seasons (but nowhere near where it was during the BCS runs). Still, Texas has improved enough since early in the season I’m willing to trust the Longhorns on the road against a halfway decent defense.
Mark Ross: Wyoming (+7) over San Jose State
These two teams are similar in many ways, as both have the same conference record (2-1) and are very close in several different statistical categories. Two departments in which Wyoming does have the edge over San Jose State, however, is scoring (35.4 to 24.0 ppg) and running the ball (202.7 to 119.7 ypg). The Spartans have fared better in stopping the run, but the Cowboys boast the Mountain West Conference's top pass defense. Wyoming is coming off a bad home loss to Colorado State last week, while San Jose State was on bye, but I still like the Cowboys on the road. Wyoming quarterback Brett Smith is among the most productive dual threats in the country, and I think he will be too much for the Spartans to handle, while the Cowboys' defense is able to limit the damage SJSU quarterback David Fales does through the air.
Stephen Schindler (@SteveSchindler):Boston College (+7) over North Carolina
It’s hard to see how a 3-3 Boston College team is an underdog to a 1-5 Tar Heels squad that has only beaten Middle Tennessee. The Golden Eagles’ three losses are against USC, Clemson and Florida State. They only lost to the Seminoles and Tigers by an average of just 11 points. The North Carolina defense allows over 30 points per game, while the offense has struggled to consistently run the ball. In a matchup of senior quarterbacks, I actually like Chase Rettig to play a cleaner game than Bryn Renner thanks to a superior rushing attack. Boston College RB Andre Williams, who is eighth in the country with 838 rushing yards and seven touchdowns on the season, is the key to this game. Steve Addazio has brought a fresh energy to Chestnut Hill and should improve to 2-2 in ACC play.