We’ve already had a great day of college football and the real action is just about to begin. While most people will be watching the Notre Dame Fighting Irish visit the Oklahoma Sooners or the Mississippi State Bulldogs take on the Alabama Crimson Tide, I think you’ll want to keep your eye on three games going on at the same time. You might even be able to make a few bucks while doing so. These are my three “off that radar” upset watch games for the late slate, this week 9.
Syracuse Orange at South Florida Bulls (-7 1/2): So this game doesn’t have a lot of hype or watchability but there’s a good chance we’ll see an upset! Syracuse is led by quarterback Ryan Nassib who will be playing on Sundays next year. He’s got a great arm and can really spread the ball around to receivers Alec Lemon and Marcus Sales. Those two might be the best 1-2 combo in the Big East actually. Syracuse is on a bit of a roll winning their last two of three. Outside of the USC Trojans game, most of their loses came down to a play or two. Meanwhile, South Florida has had the bottom completely fall out. I expected them to be pretty decent this year but BJ Daniels just hasn’t stepped up. He’s the guy you keep waiting for to breakout but it never comes. However, he does have a nice rhythm with receiver Andre Davis on the outside. They won the Nevada Wolfpack thanks to a late presnap adjustment. South Florida’s young D is so reliant on turnovers and Syracuse can move the ball on almost anyone as it is. I’ll take the Orange 28-24.
Texas A&M Aggies (-7) at Auburn Tigers: Everyone loves Johnny Manziel. Despite his off the field issues, he reminds the old timers of Fran Tarkinton. That’s fine but it also means you’ve got to take the good with the bad. I just don’t trust him yet on the road. Despite Auburn being hot garbage and Gene Chizik‘s job clearly under fire, Jordan-Hare Stadium is still not an easy place to play. Of course, the Tigers have major issues at quarterback as it is but they shouldn’t even try to throw it much. Running back Tre Mason has been explosive nearly every time he’s touched the ball. Yet for some reason the coaching staff isn’t giving him the lion’s share of carries. That’ll change tonight. They want to quell a fan base ready to explode. He’ll be effective and the Tigers shorten the game but come up short late thanks to some Manziel magic. Probably after he throws 3 picks too! Texas A&M 21-20.
Oregon State Beavers (-4) at Washington Huskies: Oh late games on the west coast, how much I love you. That’s what ever college fan says to themselves as a great way to end another awesome Saturday. This one should be very interesting. Oregon State had trouble putting away the Utah Utes last week at home in what should have been an easy win. Now they have to travel to Seattle to take on a potentially explosive but inconsistant Huskies squad. Both quarterback Keith Price and running back Bishop Sankey could play for nearly anytime in the country. Problem is they can’t protect Price and that forces Washington into a lot of 3rd and long chances. Also, while the switch to a 3-4 defense initially showed some promise that has all gone away recently. Desmond Trufant is solid corner but you can’t hold up if you don’t pressure the quarterback. Meanwhile for Oregon State, Sean Mannion is back at quarterback. He was off to a great start before sitting out two games with a bad back. The receiving core of Markus Wheaton and Brandin Cooks should make his life easier. I expect the Beavers to take some shots early but Mannion will be rusty. It’ll take a late field goal for Oregon State to keep their undefeated season alive as they await the Oregon Ducks to wrap up the season in what should be a de facto playoff game.