by: Adam Orfinger   9/20/2013

Game of the Week:  (23) Arizona State at (5) Stanford, 7:00 PM EST Saturday

This matchup is not a division rivalry within the Pac-12, but all conference games have the potential to help or hurt a team’s chances at a BCS bid.  Arizona fought off then-twentieth ranked Wisconsin at home last weekend, proving that they will compete for a conference championship berth this season.  Arizona State’s offense, led by junior quarterback Taylor Kelly, has been impressive so far, as they have amassed nearly one thousand yards of total offense in their first two games.  Coach Todd Graham’s team has the majority of their success at home, as three of their losses last season came away from Tempe.  Openers against San Jose State and Army have not truly tested Stanford, and they may look rusty in the first half against the Sun Devils.    The Stanford offense has not looked awake in their first two games, but the Sun Devil defense has not looked particularly impressive in recent memory.  Cardinal quarterback Kevin Hogan will not win the game for Stanford, but he will narrowly avoid losing it.  Stanford by 4.

Upset Alert:  Michigan State over (22) Notre Dame, 3:30 PM EST Saturday

Michigan State’s current 3-0 record is deceiving because they have yet to be tested, but they appear to be a quality football team through the first three weeks of the season.  The Spartans offense has not been particularly impressive, but touchdowns have come from defense and special teams as well.  Notre Dame has already lost to Michigan, and the Irish mistakes proved costly.  On Michigan’s game-sealing touchdown drive, two big defensive plays, one of which was an interception, were called back for defensive pass interference.  Down eleven, quarterback Tommy Rees threw his second interception of the game, ending Notre Dame’s slim chances.  The Irish defense is not nearly as strong as it was in 2012, and Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner exploited their weaknesses.  While not as mobile as Gardner, Spartan quarterback Connor Cook has the capability to make plays with his legs, and offensive coordinator Dan Roushar may dial up some plays that utilize his quarterback’s dual-threat ability.  Notre Dame may get caught slightly looking ahead to next weekend’s matchup against Oklahoma, and the Spartans will capitalize on the fact that they are being overlooked by their opponents.  

Additional Picks: 

(6) LSU over Auburn

(19) Florida over Tennessee


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