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Thursday, September 4, 2008
Pick of the week: More BCS upsets


Posted by ESPN.com's Graham Watson

I was 14-2 with my picks last week, including upsets by East Carolina, Bowling Green and Utah, and I was only off by a touchdown here and there (except for Hawaii) on most of my selections. I look to continue my reign of terror this weekend. I'm calling for three upsets of BCS teams this weekend and Notre Dame to start the season 1-0. Should be a fairly eventful second weekend.

Bowling Green 31, Minnesota 24: I'm calling yet another Bowling Green upset. After seeing how Northern Illinois was able to keep pace with the Gophers, I think Bowling Green should have no problem especially in a rockin' stadium hosting the first-ever Big Ten opponent.

Buffalo 35, Pittsburgh 32: Buffalo is the team no one is talking about, but the backfield of Drew Willy, James Starks and Brandon Thermilus is downright scary and the defense has been decent. Look for Pitt to fall to 0-2.

Temple 28, Connecticut 10: I keep saying Temple will be one of the most-improved teams in the country and this game should solidify that assertion. The Owls will win this game on defense because quarterback Tyler Lorenzen is prone to interceptions. If they can control Donald Brown on the ground, Temple should notch its second win.

East Carolina 28, West Virginia 24: I've gone back and forth about this game and I finally decided that I believed in the ECU defense so much that I think it can control Pat White and Noel Devine. But ECU's offense has to get off to a quicker offensive start than it did against Virginia Tech.

South Florida 28, Central Florida 7: After watching the Big East this weekend, any pick for them might be poison, but I like South Florida and think its weapons will be too much for Central Florida to stop. UCF's offensive struggles in it first game are a little worrisome going into this rivalry.

Oklahoma State 38, Houston 21: I've been high on Houston, but there's no doubt in my mind that its defense will yield a lot of points to an offensively sound Oklahoma State team. Oh, and Oklahoma State's defense is better than Southern's.

BYU 37, Washington 17: This is BYU's first BCS game and it's against a Washington team that looked offensively inept against Oregon last week. BYU's offense should be able to take advantage of a porous defense and the Cougars defense will get a nice test against the Pac-10.

Texas A&M 28, New Mexico 17: I wanted to pick New Mexico this week, but it showed me so little against TCU that it was difficult to do so. I have yet to see New Mexico's offense do anything to replace its 1,000-yard receiver from a year ago. New Mexico's receivers still have no career touchdowns. I also think A&M rebounds after an embarrassing week against Arkansas State.

Air Force 24, Wyoming 10: I'm still on the Air Force bandwagon and though Wyoming won, it struggled against an Ohio team that I wasn't really sold on in the preseason. Wyoming did limit the yards on the ground, but I think that will be tougher against an Air Force offense that excels in the running game.

Arkansas 17, Louisiana-Monroe 13: This is an ugly, ugly matchup. I think two weeks ago I would have picked ULM to win, but after watching them struggle against Auburn (and I did watch), I was really dismayed about the Warhawks production. I understand it's Auburn, but 2-for-18 on third down just isn't going to cut it.

Florida Atlantic 32, UAB 25: I think this is going to be an offense showdown with little defense. FAU might have gotten smoked by Texas, but it was able to move the ball in the first half. Turnovers just killed them. UAB put up some points against Tulsa, but its defense could contain Tulsa's potent offense. More of the same against FAU this weekend.

Tulsa 56, North Texas 10: I was really disappointed by North Texas' play last weekend and I think they're going to face a similar situation this weekend. Tulsa is a better team, and its defense is better than it was a year ago. UNT will get some garbage points, but overall this could be ugly.

Kansas 31, Louisiana Tech 12: Louisiana Tech had a great win over Mississippi State last weekend, but I don't see a repeat against the Jayhawks. Kansas doesn't make many mistakes like Mississippi State and Kansas is a far tougher team at home.

Texas Tech 35, Nevada 21: I like Nevada, but I'm not sold on its secondary especially against the nation's best quarterback (statistically). If Nevada can hit Graham Harrell in the mouth and devote a spy to Michael Crabtree, it might have a chance to upset, but that's a big might.

Nebraska 41, San Jose State 10: Yet another non-BCS will fall to Nebraska this weekend and unlike Western Michigan, San Jose State won't put up much of a fight. The Spartans defense is tough, but I don't think the offense is going to mount enough of an attack to give the defense enough time to catch its breath between series.

Notre Dame 35, San Diego State 10: Notre Dame's home opener won't be an accurate picture of how the Irish will fare this season, but at least it will get them a win before November. San Diego State has a lot of issues and won't have much of a chance in South Bend. SDSU quarterback Ryan Lindley might be the only bright spot.

Ball State 31, Navy 21: This is a hard game to pick because I'm not sure how the option will look against a quality team like Ball State. I have a tough time believing Shun White will be as successful against the Cardinals. And Ball State's Nate Davis and company are a tough act to stop on defense.

Army 27, New Hampshire 7: I'm giving Army the benefit of the doubt here to try its wishbone hybrid on a I-AA team. The Black Knights struggled mightily against Temple, but if they can limit turnovers, they should notch their first win of the season.