College Football Week 3 Predictions: USC, Ohio State on Upset Alert

Aaron F. SteinbergContributor IISeptember 11, 2012

BERKELEY, CA - SEPTEMBER 08: Wide receiver Keenan Allen #21 of the California Golden Bears is congratulated by teammates after scoring a touchdown against the Southern Utah Thunderbirds during the fourth quarter at Memorial Coliseum on September 8, 2012 in Berkeley, California. The California Golden Bears defeated the Southern Utah Thunderbirds 50-31. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
Jason O. Watson/Getty Images

Looking at the Week 3 FBS schedule, it seems natural to predict that everything will play out as it’s “supposed to” come Saturday, but I don’t think it will happen.

Two teams have a good chance of taking down their higher-ranked opponents, and I’m not talking about Notre Dame or Tennessee.

Below are my two upset predictions for Week 3 of college football.


1. 21 Stanford beats 2 USC

I know USC is possibly the best team in the country and Matt Barkley is the Heisman front-runner, but Stanford has a solid defense and running game—they are not going to allow Barkley to score six TDs.

Stanford has also won four of the last five games against USC. Andrew Luck was present during this time, but history in college football matters. That’s why all these year-after-year rivalries that tend to feature one great team and one terrible team end up so close most of the time.

More specifically, the Trojans allowed 455 total yards in a game against Syracuse last week.  While the Orange may only score 29 points on those numbers, an elite team like the Cardinal will score big if they rack up that kind of yardage. In Stanford’s Week 2 matchup against Duke, they scored 50 points on 373 total yards.

Stanford will hold the Trojans to fewer points than Syracuse, but still score many of their own while gaining lots of yards—huge early-season upset.


2. California beats 12 Ohio State

For the first time in 40 years, Cal will play and beat Ohio State. Cal had a rough start this year, losing to Nevada and looking shaky against Southern Utah.

However, Tedford didn’t start Maynard in the first game, and Cal improved tremendously in the second half of the game against Southern Utah.

The main issue for Ohio State is Braxton Miller. First, he’s young. Second, he’s overworked, playing two positions instead of one. So far, Miller has clearly been a running QB, and Cal only allowed 79 yards on the ground against Southern Utah. 

Urban Meyer has said he is going to find a way to limit the QB’s carries, which means more passing. In Week 2, Miller went 18 for 24 with 155 yards, but he had one pick, and no pass longer than 15 yards.

If Meyer plans on putting the ball in the air, it means the sophomore will make more mistakes for the Cal defense to capitalize on.

With Cal’s shaky start behind them, they will continue to improve and find their stride at the same time as a confused Ohio State will be trying to experiment, attempting to figure out the right way to run their system in a game they will view as a sure win.

This week, Cal limits the inconsistency and shocks OSU.