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The best upset picks for Week 2 of the College Football season

Profile Picture: Dan Halverson

September 6th, 2021

The college football season gave us a wild opening weekend as six FCS teams upset massive FBS favorites. Most alarming of the group was Washington, as the Huskies were expected to compete in the Pac-12 but fell to Montana 10-7. Vanderbilt looked predictably awful in a 23-3 loss to East Tennessee State, and many other upsets across college football set the stage for another wild season.

As we head into Week 2, let’s take a look at five more contests that appear ripe for upsets.

Iowa vs. Iowa State

Sat, September 11 2021, 8:30 PM

Iowa State

Moneyline

-200

Spread

-3.5

Total

O 45

Iowa

Moneyline

+150

Spread

+3.5

Total

U 45

In the state of Iowa, there is one game on the calendar each year that means more than any other. And unlike many of the nation’s best rivalry games it takes place early on in the schedule, which thankfully provides us the game of the week as the Iowa Hawkeyes travel to Ames to take on the Iowa State Cyclones.

The Hawkeyes are 3.5-point underdogs, but have a dominant history in this series. Last year was cancelled due to COVID-19, but the Hawkeyes have won the previous five meetings.

The Hawkeyes looked impressive in their win against Indiana last week, while the Cyclones' offense appeared rusty in a narrow 16-10 victory over Northern Iowa. If the Hawkeyes defense shuts down a slow-starting Cyclones offense and exhibits the strong power running game they rolled out against the Hoosiers, the Cyclones will be on upset alert in a game they traditionally aren’t accustomed to being favored in.

Toledo vs. Notre Dame

Sat, September 11 2021, 6:30 PM

Notre Dame

Moneyline

-1667

Spread

-18.5

Total

O 52.5

Toledo

Moneyline

+700

Spread

+18.5

Total

U 52.5

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish played on Sunday night, and narrowly defeated the Florida State Seminoles in an overtime matchup that surely took a lot out of them. They now head home for a Saturday afternoon showdown against lowly Toledo, where they are installed as 18.5-point favorites.

It would be quite a dramatic upset, but a letdown is inevitable for the Irish following their highly dramatic first game. In the game against FSU, the Irish defense looked highly susceptible to a strong running game. Notre Dame also showed plenty of weakness on the offensive line, a vulnerability that might leave it exposed against a complicated package of blitzes.

Toledo isn’t good by any stretch, but they handled their business with a 49-10 win in Week 1, and will come in ready to throw the kitchen sink at the Irish in this game. In Week 1, they had four rushing touchdowns and had eight tackles for loss. They’ll need more of that to be a live dog.

Buffalo vs. Nebraska

Sat, September 11 2021, 7:30 PM

Nebraska

Moneyline

-500

Spread

-11.5

Total

O 52.5

Buffalo

Moneyline

+350

Spread

+11.5

Total

U 52.5

Sticking with the MAC, Buffalo heads to Lincoln to take on the Nebraska Cornhuskers in a game that has the Huskers favored by 11.5 points. Nebraska looked out of sorts offensively in a Week 1 upset loss at Illinois, and bounced back with a solid running attack in Week 2 against overmatched Fordham.

It's telling that neither oddsmakers nor the betting market trusts this Nebraska offense to dominate any FBS team with that same power running game that worked so well against the Rams.

Quarterback Adrian Martinez has regressed since his freshman year, and looks unsettled in the pocket. He shows poor accuracy, and isn’t as willing a runner as he was earlier in his college career. Buffalo cruised to a 69-7 victory in Week 1, and won the MAC East division in 2020. This will be a battle into the fourth quarter.

Appalachian State vs. Miami

Sat, September 11 2021, 11:00 PM

Miami Florida

Moneyline

-385

Spread

-8

Total

O 54

Appalachian State

Moneyline

+275

Spread

+8

Total

U 54

Appalachian State has become the cream of the crop in the Sun Belt after arriving on the scene well over a decade ago by knocking off Michigan. Now they get a chance to take on another Power 5 conference foe and play Miami in a matchup that has the visiting Mountaineers as 8-point underdogs.

Miami didn’t cross the 50-yard line against Alabama until the Tide had 27 points on the board, and physically suffered the wrath of a full-length contest with the nation’s most dominant program. Appalachian State quarterback Chase Brice has plenty of experience having made stops at Clemson and Duke, and should be poised enough to present Miami a real challenge. He led the Mountaineers to 7.6 yards per play last week against ECU, and will look to air it out against a Miami secondary that gave up several big plays against the Tide.

Air Force vs. Navy

Sat, September 11 2021, 7:30 PM

Navy

Moneyline

+210

Spread

+6.5

Total

O 43.5

Air Force

Moneyline

-265

Spread

-6.5

Total

U 43.5

Navy has fallen off competitively from the program they had for many years, but this is a service school rivalry game which means things could get strange. The Midshipmen get to welcome Air Force into Annapolis, and with a line of 6.5 it looks suspiciously tempting for chalk bettors to lay the points for the clearly-better team to win by just a touchdown.

In what is certainly going to be an emotional game set for Sept. 11, don’t be surprised if the home underdog turns this into a low-scoring contest that gives them a chance to win late.

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