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Oregon, Notre Dame on upset alert as Week 3 favorites

Can BYU and California pull off road upsets after undefeated starts to the season?

Notre Dame head coach Marcus Freeman is still looking for his first win with the Fighting Irish after last week's stunning loss to Marshall. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images/TNS)
Notre Dame head coach Marcus Freeman is still looking for his first win with the Fighting Irish after last week's stunning loss to Marshall. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images/TNS)Read moreChristian Petersen / MCT

Just when you think that college football couldn’t get any more top-heavy, chaos strikes.

Three of the top 10 teams in the country lost last week, including two losses at home to unranked opponents. That doesn’t even count top-ranked Alabama’s near-defeat at Texas in what would have been one of the most monumental upsets in the Nick Saban era. It’s hard to expect such upheaval every week, but if we know anything about college football, it’s that favorites are never truly safe.

So, with that in mind, here are two of our favorite underdogs to target at BetMGM ahead of Week 3:

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No. 12 BYU (+145) @ No. 25 Oregon

Two games into the season, we’re still waiting to see what these Ducks are actually made of. The last time we saw them face an FBS opponent, they got their teeth kicked in by Georgia in a 49-3 rout that, somehow, doesn’t even tell the whole story.

Sure, Bo Nix looked good in last week’s 70-14 win over Eastern Washington, throwing for 277 yards and five touchdowns. Yet that’s a far cry from his 173 yards and two interceptions in the season opener, which is a lot closer to the Nix we saw in three years at Auburn when faced with tough competition. And it’s still fair to ask whether this Dan Lanning-led defense can hold pace against legitimate playmakers.

BYU certainly has one of those in quarterback Jaren Hall, who threw for 261 yards and a TD in last week’s thrilling 26-20 win over No. 9 Baylor. Receiver Chase Roberts (8 catches, 122 yards) could be a problem for the Ducks on Saturday, and this Cougars defense — which finished with four sacks a week ago — will challenge Nix to remain steady under pressure, which he’s often failed to do.

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California (+290) @ Notre Dame

Are we sure that Notre Dame is good? It’s a fair question to ask after last week’s loss at home to unranked Marshall — this team’s third straight loss in as many games under new head coach Marcus Freeman.

Things could get even worse with starting quarterback Tyler Buchner (shoulder) ruled out for the season, forcing backup Drew Pyne to step into the starting role. That should concern Irish bettors. Pyne has attempted just 39 passes in his college career — including an interception on his second attempt after Buchner’s injury on Saturday — and this offense is built around Buchner’s speed in a way that simply doesn’t suit Pyne.

Notre Dame will have to iron out the kinks right away against California, which has hardly faced a tough slate but still owns one of the more stout defenses in the country. Quarterback Jack Plummer threw for 187 yards and a touchdown in last year’s trip to South Bend as Purdue’s signal-caller, and I wouldn’t expect him to be rattled in his second trip in as many years.

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