There were few upset picks that jumped out on the Vegas lines early last week, but there's a handful of intriguing college football upset possibilities for Week 3. Utah State upset Utah last Friday night and should give Wisconsin all it can handle. Ball State, Notre Dame and Memphis are popular picks with Athlon's editors for this week, while Western Kentucky against Kentucky is another matchup to watch.
College Football's Week 3 Upset Picks
David Fox (@DavidFox615): BYU (+4) at Utah
Utah is adapting to a career-ending shoulder injury to quarterback Jordan Wynn, the second time in two seasons the Utes have turned to backup Jon Hays. Perhaps I’m a little over optimistic, but I have trouble seeing Utah fall to third in the state after losing to Utah State a week ago Last season, Jon Hays was uneven in stepping in for Wynn, but he mistakes were fewer as the season went on and Utah was a realistic threat to represent the South in the Pac-12 title game. Wynn threw six interceptions in his first two conference starts (against Washington and Cal), but he threw only one more pick the rest of the season as Utah took the burden off his shoulder sand put it on John White’s. Travis Wilson, a 6-7 highly regarded freshman, could also be a nice change of pace at quarterback. I’m also not totally bought into BYU, whose best days last season came against some weak competition. The same could be said for BYU’s season-opening win over Washington State I’m sticking with the home underdog here.
Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven): Ball State (+2.5) at Indiana
I’m tempted to take Western Kentucky to beat Kentucky, but I think Ball State picks off Indiana for the second year in a row. The Cardinals knocked off the Hoosiers 27-20 in the season opener last season and are just under a three-point underdog. Ball State won its opener against Eastern Michigan but fell in Week 2 to Clemson. Indiana is improving under second-year coach Kevin Wilson, but the Hoosiers suffered a setback with the loss of quarterback Tre Roberson for the season in the win over UMass last week. Expect a lot of points between these two teams, but I have to give an edge to Ball State, especially with the uncertainty surrounding Indiana's quarterback situation.
Mitch Light (@AthlonMitch):Utah State (+14) over Wisconsin
One team is fresh off one of its best wins in school history. The other must regroup after a surprising loss on the road. Utah State snapped a 12-game losing streak to hated rival Utah, knocking off the Utes, 27–20, in overtime Friday night. Meanwhile, Wisconsin managed a total of 207 yards of total offense — including a shocking 35 on the ground — in a 10–7 loss at Oregon State. Danny O’Brien hasn’t been very Russell Wilson-like at quarterback, and Monte Ball, the nation’s leading rusher last season, has netted only 181 yards and one touchdown on 47 carries. Last week, Utah State did a solid job against John White, limiting the Utes’ senior tailback to 96 yards on 27 carries (3.6 per). If the Aggies can keep Ball from going crazy — which he hasn’t done yet this year — they’ve got a decent chance to escape Madison with a win. Utah State 24, Wisconsin 23
Mark Ross: Memphis (+3.5) over Middle Tennessee State
Yes, MTSU has made it into the win column, something Memphis has yet to do this season, but I think that changes on Saturday night at home in the Liberty Bowl as these two in-state mid-majors meet. Both teams lost their season openers to FCS teams at home and even though MTSU beat FAU last Saturday, I would make the argument that Memphis showed more improvement in its loss to Arkansas State. The Red Wolves are the favorites to repeat as champions of the Sun Belt, which is also MTSU's conference, and they needed a late touchdown to hold off the Tigers, 33-28, in Jonesboro, Ark. MTSU is nowhere near as explosive on offense as Arkansas State is, so I think Memphis will be able to hang with the Blue Raiders throughout the game. The Tigers will then make the big play or two that matters most in the fourth quarter, earning Tigers head coach Justin Fuente his first career victory.
Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman): Notre Dame (+6) over Michigan State
Road dogs Ohio and Iowa State were winners in the first two weeks, and I’m going for another one in Week 3 with Notre Dame to upset Michigan State in East Lansing. Purdue stacked the box against the Irish and dared quarterback Everett Golson to throw, and he responded with 289 passing yards while accounting for two touchdowns. On defense, Notre Dame’s strength — the front seven — should match up well with Michigan State power running game. The Irish won the rushing battle in last year’s 31-13 win, and the Spartans do not have Kirk Cousins to sling it around this season. This game should be close late, but I’ll take the big play ability of the Irish to surprise the Spartans, 24-23.
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