Another week is in the books and the midpoint of the 2012 college football season is approaching. The arrival of October means more conference play, which often creates plenty of upset picks each week. Athlon's editors like Virginia, Georgia, Purdue, West Virginia and Utah State as solid upset predictions for Week 6.
College Football's Week 6 Upset Picks
Dave Bartoo (@CFBMatrix), CFBMatrix.com, Virginia (+1.5) over Duke
In very odd fashion, all but two of the AQ favorites this week match the CFBMatrix picks done back in March for week 6. The strongest of the two dogs is Virginia. After allow 30 unanswered at home last week to Louisiana Tech, the Cavaliers find themselves underdogs on the road at Duke. The numbers show talent and coaching in favor of UVA, so they are the pick to pull a week 6 upset. Too bad an SEC or Big Ten teams isn’t a good dog as the March picks are 95-10 year to date.
David Fox (@DavidFox615): Utah State at BYU (-7)
Confession: I’m all in on the Utah State bandwagon. The Aggies have already defeated Utah in overtime and gave Wisconsin a scare in Madison, and that was before playmaking running back Kerwynn Williams started to heat up as he has the last two games. BYU is a solid team with the home-field advantage, but this is a special year for Utah State. Aggies quarterback Chuckie Keeton has proven he’s plenty comfortable on the road, and he should be comfortable in Provo.
Braden Gall (@BradenGall): West Virginia (+7) over Texas
Georgia is technically an underdog and I like them to win over South Carolina, but the spread is 1-2 points and that doesn't really count as an upset. So I will go big and take the West Virginia Mountaineers to go into Texas and shock the college football world. Their offense is clicking on an unprecedented number of cylinders, but it's the Texas defense I have been surprised by this fall. And not in a good way. The Horns were supposed to dominate on that side of the ball this year but the rushing defense is 9th in the Big 12, the passing defense is 4th, the total defense is 7th and the scoring defense is 6th. This will be a high-flying affair with loads of points (no, not quite 133) as both quarterbacks will keep it rolling. But Geno Smith could take a stranglehold of the Heisman Trophy with a win this weekend. Give me the Mounties to stun Bevo in Austin.
Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven): Georgia (+2.5) over South Carolina
Nothing in Saturday’s Georgia-South Carolina game would surprise me. These two teams have played some crazy games in recent years, so it’s only fair the spread is right around three points. The Bulldogs have lost their last two matchups to the Gamecocks but have won seven out of the last 10. Although both defenses aren’t bad, this game could be a shootout. Georgia is averaging 48.2 points a game, but the offensive line will be tested by South Carolina’s defensive line, which is one of the best in the nation. If Aaron Murray has time to throw, the Bulldogs should be able to take shots at the Gamecocks’ cornerbacks. Neither team is particularly impressive in turnover margin, but a few mistakes could decide this game. Expect Saturday’s matchup to be close, but I think Georgia finds a way to earn a close win.
Mitch Light (@AthlonMitch):Michigan at Purdue (+3)
Purdue might be the most undervalued team in the nation through the first one-third of the season. The Boilermakers are 3–1 with their only loss coming by three points at Notre Dame. They did have some trouble with Marshall last weekend, but the final score (51–41) was a bit deceiving. Purdue led 42–14 at the half and 51–35 midway through the fourth quarter. We still don’t know too much about Michigan; the Wolverines are 2–2 with wins over Air Force and UMass and losses to Alabama and Notre Dame. Denard Robinson is doing his thing — he’s averaging over 200 yards passing and 100 yards rushing — but the rest of the offense is lacking playmakers. In its two losses, Michigan averaged only 284 yards and scored a total of two touchdowns. Purdue 34, Michigan 20
Mark Ross: Virginia (+1.5) over Duke
Duke is 4-1, off to its best start since 1994 and needs just two more wins to be bowl eligible for the first time in nearly two decades. The Blue Devils can move that magic number to one by beating Virginia in Durham, N.C., on Saturday, for what would be the third straight time. Last season, Duke was devastated by injuries to key players as it simply didn't have the depth to overcome those losses. This year's team appears to be deeper, but I think the injury issue will raise its ugly head again as senior starting quarterback Sean Renfree's status is unknown after suffering an elbow injury in last week's win over Wake Forest. Even though the Blue Devils have done a better job of running the ball this season, this is still primarily a passing-oriented offense and Renfree is the one who makes it hum. Without him, I don't see Duke's offense being as efficient or productive. On the other side, Virginia may turn its offense completely over to sophomore Phillip Sims, who has out-played junior Michael Rocco and served as a spark for the Cavaliers whenever he's been on the field. I think the switch happens Saturday and helps jump start a Cavaliers offense that's been inconsistent, but did pile up 38 points and 625 yards in their loss to Louisiana Tech last week. Virginia also has played tougher competition than Duke to this point, as its non-conference schedule featured games against Penn State, TCU and the aforementioned Bulldogs. Duke's non-conference slate saw the Blue Devils lose 50-13 to Stanford, and defeat FIU and Memphis, who are a combined 1-8. Duke has a better record and has performed better statistically to this point, but I think Virginia is more battle tested and will leave Durham on Saturday victorious.
Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman): Vanderbilt (+6.5) at Missouri
In the much-anticipated James Franklin vs. James Franklin battle, I believe the Commodores may surprise the Tigers. Vanderbilt has limped out of the gate to a 1-3 start, but those three losses were to teams who are 15-0. The much-needed VU bye week should help quarterback Jordan Rodgers and the offense get into a better rhythm, especially in the red zone where the Dores have struggled mightily. The Missouri attack has been limited as well, battling injuries to quarterback James Franklin and the offensive line. Both teams are very similar in offensive and defensive rankings, and this one should come down to a few plays in the fourth quarter. I’ll take Vanderbilt to make the difference with an improved passing game and surprise Missouri in Columbia, 23-20.
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