College Football Picks Week 3: Underdogs That Will Score Massive Upsets

Bradlee Ross@rossbeCorrespondent IISeptember 10, 2012

PALO ALTO, CA - SEPTEMBER 08: Jamal-Rashad Patterson #21 of the Stanford Cardinals is congratulated by Josh Nunes #6 and Drew Terrell #4 after Patterson caught a twenty seven yard touchdown pass against the Duke Blue Devils during the fourth quarter of an NCAA football game  at Stanford Stadium on September 8, 2012 in Palo Alto, California. Stanford won the game 50-13. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

If we love anything about college football, we certainly love the upsets that we get from week-to-week. This week will be no different, as there are a number of underdogs who have solid chances at knocking off higher-ranked teams.

There are a variety of reasons, and each underdog has something different going for it. Some are playing at home, some have an advantage when it comes to style of play, and some are just really underrated. The upsets will be happening in Week 3, and here are the matchups you can look to for them.

No. 20 Notre Dame at No. 10 Michigan State

It might not seem like a good bet to take Notre Dame this week, after they struggled with a pretty poor Purdue team during Week 2. But do not be fooled by that: Comparing game scores means nothing to individual matchups.

This Michigan State team is very good, and it can ground, pound and defend with the best of them. However, Notre Dame has an offense that is beginning to realize its massive offensive potential. If the Irish can get a fast start to this game, they could run away with it. Look for that to happen.

California at No. 12 Ohio State

Watching Urban Meyer at Ohio State so far has been exciting, and there is no doubt that they will be championship contenders pretty soon under his guidance. However, they are not there yet. Last week, they looked far from dominant against a decent, but less talented UCF team.

This week, they will play the California Golden Bears at home. This is a Cal team that does not mind ugly-ing it up if it has to in order to get the win. They may have lost a close one in Week 1 to Nevada, but that does not mean they will be intimidated by Ohio State. The Buckeyes should be on upset alert.

Ole Miss vs. No. 14 Texas

After a few years of rebuilding, Longhorns’ fans are hoping that their team is ready to go back to its days of national-championship contention. It all depended on the quarterback play, and so far David Ash has filled his role nicely. Texas’ stable of running backs has also been impressive.

However, going into Oxford, Mississippi is not as easy as it sounds. This is still an SEC team, so they will not be as fazed by the Longhorns’ ground-and-pound attack as Big 12 teams might be.

They will be ready to go and have looked like a much better team this season. Texas has yet to be challenged, and as we saw with Oklahoma State last week, that first road game can be a tough trap.

Utah vs. No. 25 BYU

The BYU Cougars have looked very impressive so far this season, beating their two opponents by a combined 56 points. Life as an independent might just suit the Mormon school, but they still have a tough test this week against in-state rival Utah.

Do not let the Utes fool you. Granted, they have not looked all that impressive this season, but in the “Holy War” nothing else that has come before really matters. This Utah team needs this win more badly than BYU does, and that is always a big factor in who wins such heated rivalry games.

No. 21 Stanford vs. No. 2 USC

Some of you probably think I have gone off the deep end with this one, but at least hear me out. Stanford is missing star quarterback Andrew Luck from last season, but it looks like it is ready to prove that he was not the only reason the team has been so good recently.

The Trojans must go to Stanford Stadium to play this game, a place they have lost before despite being the better team by a long shot. Something similar will happen this week, as the Cardinal with something to prove outlast overconfident Trojans in a thriller that is in question until the final minutes.