College Football Week 3: 10 Games Most Likely to Go Against Spread

Elliott Pohnl@@ElliottPohnl_BRFeatured ColumnistSeptember 16, 2010

College Football Week 3: 10 Games Most Likely to Go Against Spread

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    Week 3 of College Football features the usual staple of games with massive spreads, giving the underdogs an excellent chance to beat the money.

    In some cases, underdogs like Arizona and Washington could cover and even win outright, pulling off the upsets over highly-ranked foes at home.

    Here's a look at 10 games likely to go against the spread on this week.

No. 10: Baylor at TCU

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    Underdog: Baylor +21.5

    Why Baylor Will Beat the Spread: Baylor has no shortage of talent, but to this point the talent hasn't led to consistent results.  Quarterback Robert Griffin is a dynamic athlete who has been limited as a runner in Baylor's first two games.  The Bears will turn him loose against TCU's speedy defense and should be able to move the ball and put points on the board.  A win outright is unlikely, but beating the spread is a strong possibility.

    Predicted Final Margin: TCU might not be as good defensively as it was a season ago, but the offense appears to be even better.  The Horned Frogs win by 17.

No. 9: Wake Forest at Stanford

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    Underdog: Wake Forest at +17

    Why Wake Forest Will Beat the Spread: Stanford can score, but so can Wake Forest.  The Deacons rolled up 500 yards last week with backup quarterback Tanner Price running the show to pull off a 54-48 win over Duke.  Stanford's defense is better than Duke's, but Jim Grobe's team should be able to move the ball against the Cardinal.

    Predicted Final Margin: Stanford has one of the best offenses in the country, and ultimately Wake is very unlikely to pull the upset.  The Cardinal win by 14 as the Demon Deacons refuse to go away quietly.

No. 8: Air Force at Oklahoma

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    Underdog: Air Force at +17

    Why Air Force Will Beat the Spread: The Falcons opened some eyes with last weekend's thrashing of a solid BYU team that upset Washington in the opener.  The dynamic running back duo of Asher Clark and Jared Tew helped Air Force rack up over 400 yards on the ground in the 35-14 win over the Cougars.  Oklahoma will be able to move the ball against Air Force, but the Falcons are likely to hang around by running the ball and controlling the clock.

    Predicted Final Margin: Oklahoma should be able to survive, but it won't be easy.  The Sooners win by 14.

No. 7: San Diego State at Missouri

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    Underdog: San Diego State at +14

    Why San Diego State Will Beat the Spread: San Diego State struggled to run the ball last season, but that has all changed with the emergence of tailback Ronnie Hillman, who rushed for 150 yards and four touchdowns in last week's win over New Mexico State.  Quarterback Ryan Lindley has two NFL-caliber receivers in Vincent Brown and DeMarco Sampson.  It's entirely possible the best offense on the field won't be Missouri's Saturday.

    Predicted Final Margin: The Aztecs will put up a fight and could even pull off the upset.  In the end, Missouri is better defensively and should win, but probably by less than 10 points.

No. 6: Hawaii at Colorado

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    Underdog: Hawaii at +14

    Why Hawaii Will Beat the Spread: The Rainbow Warriors spent the week in Vegas after pulling off a last-second win over Army in New York last week.  That may or may not be a good thing.

    Assuming Hawaii is focused, Colorado is in for a big challenge at home.  After being dusted by Cal last week, it appears the Buffaloes will need to scrap and claw to rebound with a much-needed non-conference victory.  Colorado has more weapons on offense than in recent seasons, but if Bryant Moniz has the Hawaii offense rolling, look out for a possible upset.

    Predicted Final Margin: Rodney Stewart runs wild and Colorado wins, but only by a touchdown.

No. 5: East Carolina at Virginia Tech

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    Underdog: East Carolina at +19.5

    Why East Carolina Will Beat the Spread: The Pirates have one of the most underrated offenses in all of college football, led by star receiver Dwayne Harris.  Boston College transfer Dominique Davis has looked good running the show, and there is no reason to believe the Pirates won't be able to score against Virginia Tech's rebuilding defense.  Ultimately, it seems a bit generous for Vegas to give an 0-2 team coming off a loss to an FCS opponent such a huge advantage.

    Predicted Final Margin: Virginia Tech won't be upset again, but the Hokies will be challenged early before pulling away late.  Frank Beamer's team avoids an unthinkable 0-3 start and wins by 17 points or less.

No. 4: UConn at Temple

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    Underdog: Temple at +6.5

    Why Temple Will Beat the Spread: Despite playing at home, the best team in the MAC finds itself six-point dogs against UConn.  In a game featuring a tremendous running back battle, Temple's Bernard Pierce meets UConn's Jordan Todman.  Pierce is dealing with a hand injury but is still expected to start the game.  The Owls have a massive offensive line and would get a huge boost from defeating a BCS Conference school at home.

    Predicted Final Margin: The Huskies look vulnerable this season, and Al Golden's team is poised to take them down another notch.

No. 3: Fresno State at Utah State

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    Underdog: Utah State at +5.5

    Why Utah State Will Beat the Spread: Diondre Borel showed he can really play with his performance against Oklahoma in the season-opener, and one of the more underrated quarterbacks on the West Coast gets another chance to shine against Pat Hill's Fresno State team.  An ACL injury to Utah State star running back Robert Turbin in the offseason placed added pressure on Borrel, who has responded by throwing for nearly 600 yards in the first two games of the season.

    Predicted Final Margin: Fresno State looked great in the win over Cincinnati at home, but Utah State pulls off the upset at home.  Watch out for the Aggies this year in the WAC.

No. 2: Arkansas at Georgia

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    Underdog: Arkansas at +2 

    Why Arkansas Will Beat the Spread: The Razorbacks have the offensive firepower it will take to upset the Bulldogs in Athens.  If Arkansas establishes a running game to compliment the aerial attack, Bobby Petrino's team could escape with a win and keep climbing up the polls.  Georgia really misses A.J. Green's big-play ability.

    Predicted Final Margin: Arkansas overwhelms Georgia and Ryan Mallett gets a big road win in the SEC to put his name in the Heisman race.

No. 1: Texas at Texas Tech

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    Underdog: Texas Tech at +3.5

    Why Texas Tech Will Beat the Spread: Tommy Tuberville could make the folks in Lubbock forget about Mike Leach with a home win over the Red Raiders' highly-ranked foe.  The Longhorns face their first real test Saturday, and it seems likely there will be some major bumps in the road for Garrett Gilbert.

    Predicted Final Margin: Texas Tech exposes the young Texas offense and wins outright by a touchdown or more.