College Football Upset Picks, Predictions: 3 Teams on Disaster Watch for Week 14
We have certainly witnessed our fair share of stunning college football upsets this season. Could there be more carnage to come in Week 14 as conference championship games are played across the country? Read on for our upset picks for Week 14.
Quarterback Jake Haener was injured when Fresno State lost to Boise State during the regular season. With their star quarterback once again under center, can the Bulldogs exact revenge in the Mountain West Championship Game?
Although bettors may not be able to get the same return on reasonable underdogs as in previous weeks, that doesn’t mean that championship weekend will be void of upsets altogether.
Here are our top college football upset picks for Week 14 (odds via DraftKings Sportsbook, PointsBet).
College Football Upset Picks for Week 14
- Utah (+130 via DraftKings)
- Fresno State (+140 via PointsBet)
- North Carolina (+255 via DraftKings)
Week 14 College Football Upset Predictions
Of the three teams that finished tied for second place in the Pac-12 Conference standings, Utah was undoubtedly the least favorable opponent that USC could’ve drawn with a College Football Playoff berth on the line. Stylistically speaking, the Utes match up with the Trojans much better than Washington and Oregon.
Let’s start with an offense that ranks 17th in the nation in adjusted efficiency. The key for Utah in Friday’s conference title game will be to take care of the football. USC’s defense hasn’t been able to slow any Power 5 opponent down all season, but the Trojans have generated turnovers. USC finished the regular season with the top turnover margin (+23) in the country.
Of the three teams that finished tied for second in the Pac-12 standings, Utah is by far the least wreckless offensively. The Utes only committed 15 turnovers during the regular season. Quarterback Cameron Rising has proven more than capable of making good decisions. He and tight end Dalton Kincaid carved up the USC defense when the two teams met back in October.
USC has compensated for the loss of running back Travis Dye by getting quarterback Caleb Williams more involved in the ground game. It may have worked against the sieve that is the UCLA defense and an athletically inferior Notre Dame team, but replicating that success against the Utes will be much easier said than done.
Bettors might also wish to consider the perpetual narrative that the Pac-12 Championship Game is a place where CFP dreams have gone to die over the last several years. The Trojans may have the most explosive offense in the country, but Utah is clearly the better all-around team.
Fresno State (+140)
The Mountain West Championship will be a rematch of the Oct. 8 game between Fresno State and Boise State. In the annual battle for the Milk Can, the Broncos pulled away in the fourth quarter to win by 20. However, FSU was missing one extremely important piece on that day.
The first meeting between these teams came just three weeks after Haener sustained an ankle injury that ultimately kept him sidelined for more than a month. Fresno State clearly was not the same team offensively in his absence. In essence, the fact that the Bulldogs were within a field goal at halftime of that first meeting was quite impressive.
Boise State finished the regular season ranked 38th nationally in adjusted defensive efficiency. However, one could reasonably argue that the Broncos haven’t faced an offense as capable as that of Fresno State with Haener under center all season long. Injuries along the defensive front could also hurt BSU in its bid to slow down Jordan Mims and the Bulldogs’ rushing attack.
It should also be noted that FSU has not lost once since being defeated on the blue turf at Albertsons Stadium back in early October. The Bulldogs enter the MWC title game on a seven-game winning streak.
Slowing down quarterback Taylen Green and the revitalized Boise State offense won’t be easy, but revenge could prove to be a major motivator for Jeff Tedford’s squad on Saturday.
North Carolina (+255)
A North Carolina defense that was horrendous all season long played quite well in the final two games of the regular season. The same cannot be said for the Tar Heels offense. After scoring a season-low 17 points in an upset loss to Georgia Tech, UNC was held to 27 points in an overtime defeat to rival NC State last week.
Based on how the last two weeks unfolded, North Carolina is largely being dismissed as an afterthought ahead of Saturday night’s showdown against Clemson. Given how bad the ACC Coastal Division was this season, it's easy to believe that the Tar Heels will be overmatched. That said, Clemson hasn’t exactly dominated its opponents despite only losing twice all year.
When one considers the four common opponents that Clemson and North Carolina had during the regular season, the gap between the teams doesn’t seem quite as large. Both earned close road wins over Wake Forest. Both lost by double-digits to Notre Dame.
The Tigers demolished Miami by 30 in Death Valley and beat NC State by 10. Although the Tar Heels lost to the Wolfpack outright and only beat the Hurricanes by three, they did not have home field against either team. Furthermore, UNC played Miami back when there was still somewhat of a pulse down in Corral Gables.
From a physicality standpoint, North Carolina will be hard-pressed to hold up on the interior against Clemson. However, the Tar Heels will have a puncher’s chance so long as quarterback Drake Maye is upright. A timely takeaway or two by the UNC defense could make all the difference. Tigers’ QB DJ Uiagalelei certainly is no stranger to turning the ball over.
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College football upset picks made 12/01/2022 at 1:18 p.m. ET.