4. TCU Horned Frogs
Opponent: at West Virginia | Time: Saturday, Oct. 29, Noon ET | Spread: TCU -7.5
I promise that I’m not trying to pile on TCU at this point as they’ve become a staple for these college football upset picks. But it’s a credit to Sonny Dykes and the Horned Frogs that the red flags have been raised for several weeks now and they’ve emerged still unscathed and in the Big 12 driver’s seat.
Some might look at this week’s matchup against West Virginia as a respite from their brutal schedule since the end of September but that’s why this is a tricky matchup. The Mountaineers have plenty of problems, particularly offensively, but they are a different team with the raucous Morgantown crowd behind them and the Horned Frogs defense has been susceptible to giving up points.
TCU is the better team, but the fact of the matter is they could let up against an inferior opponent to the ones they’ve been seeing and could get caught if they do so.
3. Syracuse Orange
Opponent: Notre Dame | Time: Saturday, Oct. 29, Noon ET | Spread: SYR -2.5
If there were any doubts about the legitimacy of Syracuse, they answered those questions last Saturday as they had Clemson entirely on the ropes before the Tigers eventually just wore them down and pulled out the victory.
Week 9 will have a trip back to the Carrier Dome, which is definitely a positive for the Orange. However, this highly-flawed Notre Dame team presents a tough matchup for Dino Babers’ team. The Syracuse offense has been stifled on several occasions — including the second half against Clemson — by good defenses, which Notre Dame can be. On top of that, the Orange defense can be run on pretty consistently.
That’s just a formula that fits right into what the Irish do well. This is by no means a statement of faith in Notre Dame because that would be a fool’s errand, but it’s a matchup that presents issues for Syracuse, without question.