In addition to my picks of the week entries, I will also be publishing my weekly upsets to watch out for again in 2011. While the first week is traditionally characterized by a bunch of blowouts, I have provided you with some upsets that could definitely happen this weekend. The lines below are ordered from smallest underdog to largest, and the value in each parentheses represents the number of points by which each team is currently an underdog according to the World Sports Exchange.
Ole Miss (+3.0) vs. BYU- The Cougars are the much better squad of the two, but you never know how BYU will react to playing a cross country, early season road game against an SEC foe.
Northwestern (+3.0) at Boston College- I have the Wildcats ranked much higher than the Eagles in my preseason rankings, and the only reason I didn’t include this game in my weekly top ten picks is because the Wildcats have struggled in road openers in each of the past four seasons. They failed to cover the spread in each of those games, and last year they almost lost to a very bad Vandy team. Still, the Wildcats are the more experienced and talented team and I think they may very well find a way to win this one.
Baylor (+5.5) vs. TCU- The Frogs hammered the Bears last season, but no one’s quite sure just how far TCU has fallen since last year’s magical Rose Bowl run. TCU has lost a lot of players from 2010 and taking a young team on the road for the season opener to play against the most athletic quarterback in the country (Robert Griffin) may come back to haunt them.
Colorado (+7.0) at Hawaii- The Buffaloes aren’t going to be very good this year, so typically I wouldn’t give them a very good chance of crossing the Pacific to play a road game against Hawaii. However, the Rainbow Warriors may also be slightly down this year and with news just coming in that two of their starters have been suspended following an ugly off the field incident, this game could get very interesting.
Double-Digit Longshot Pick of the Week # 1: Fresno State (+10.0) at Cal- See my analysis for this game in my picks of the week entry below.
Longshot Pick of the Week # 2: South Florida (+10.0) at Notre Dame- I personally don’t think either of these teams are worthy of the preseason hype they are getting. I don’t believe USF is a legitimate Big East title contender and I don’t think ND is a legitimate BCS bowl contender. Nevertheless, if South Florida is as good as people think they may be and B.J. Daniels plays as well he is capable of playing, the Irish’s “dream season” could be derailed before it even gets started.