This Weekend in College Football: Week 4

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.

Noon:

  • North Carolina State @ Florida State (ABC/ESPN2): NC State was a bit of hipster pick this year, but we’re not quite sure how that’s turned out yet. In the meantime, thanks to various weather calamities we don’t really know what a Deandra Francois-less Florida State looks like quite yet. So plenty of uncertainty here, but I’m still talking about going with the ‘Noles.
  • Texas Tech @ Houston (ABC/ESPN2): From all appearances, these teams appear to be rather similar. Beat a bad pair of Arizona teams and then blowout a cupcake. That said, Texas Tech’s offense appears set on saving their coach’s job, so I’ll take them, at least for now.
  • Texas A&M vs. Arkansas (@Arlington, TX; ESPN): It’s the 2017 edition of the Hot Seat Bowl! This one feels especially precarious, in the sense that both might get canned regardless of the result either way. I have no idea what to expect out of this game. Arkansas has looked listless at best on offense, while more than one observer has notice that TAMU doesn’t seem o care. I’d avoid this one. I consider it essentially a coinflip, so I’m going with TAMU I guess.
  • West Virginia @ Kansas (ESPNU): Kansas is still completely awful, so the pick here is pretty straightforward.
  • Massachusetts @ Tennessee (SEC): Vols.
  • Nevada-Las Vegas @ Ohio State (BTN): Buckeyes.
  • Army @ Tulane (CBSS): … I’m picking Army here.
  • Kent State @ Louisville (ACC/RSN): Provided he’s recovered from facing Clemson’s defensive line, Lamar Jackson should look like Lamar Jackson again.

12:20: Pittsburgh @ Georgia Tech (ACC): And we’re back after last week’s non-game against UCF. It’s hard enough to know what kind of team you have here in Week 3, but it’s even harder when you’ve played two games of wildly varying difficulty. The Jacksonville State game played out roughly as I expected, with GT struggling a bit in the early going and then pouring it on the second half. So I’m not sure we learned much. However, I expect to have the offense operating at full strength in this one after having an extra week off. Hopefully that turns out to be the case instead of, you know, the other scenario where they come out rusty.

3:00: Central Florida @ Maryland (FS1): Lack of information rules the day! Maryland has a scheduled off week last week, so they’ve only played two games. UCF has only played one, a romp over Florida International to start the season, so see above. In their first two games at least, this doesn’t look like the hapless Maryland of the last few years, so let’s go with the Terps.

3:30:

  • Southern California @ California (ABC): Texas managed to give the Trojans everything they could’ve wanted last week, but USC managed to pull it out. Ultimately, I view that as a battle of two teams with an awful lot of talent. “Awful lot of talent” is not a term usually used to describe Cal, though the Bears have looked pretty good early as well. I’ve got USC here, but my advice to the Trojans would be: watch out.
  • Alabama @ Vanderbilt (CBS): Okay so I want Vandy to pull off the upset here as much as anyone, but if we’re talking about a battle of two teams that play a lot of defense and score when they can… well, it’s hard to out-Alabama Alabama. (Ask Michigan State a few years ago about that.)
  • Texas Christian @ Oklahoma State (ESPN): This is quietly (or maybe not-so-quietly?) the game of the weekend. This should be entertaining. TCU features a defense-first coach who was mad at his team last week for not putting up 80. Oklahoma State’s coach is celebrating the tenth anniversary of declaring his manhood and is in year two of a mullet. So yeah, expect this game to be Big 12 AS HELL. I like the Pokes here though.
  • Boston College @ Clemson (ESPN2): Boston College has no real offense to speak of, and Clemson has probably a top-two defense this year. Is it possible for team to score negative points? We may be about to find out.
  • Louisiana Tech @ South Carolina (SEC): Well, ours fears that South Carolina might have an offense were short-lived. Turns out that scoring 31 on Mizzou isn’t a big deal this year. But do the Bulldogs have a chance here? Ehh….
  • Rutgers @ Nebraska (BTN): Rutgers may not be as desperately bad as they were last year, but even this flailing Nebraska team should still beat them. 
  • Cincinnati @ Navy (CBSS): Navy struggled a bit of with Tulane last week, but I’m not going to hold that against them. I like the Midshipmen here.
  • Toledo @ Miami (ACC/RSN): ‘Canes.

4:00: Michigan @ Purdue (FOX): Michigan’s done what they needed to this year, but will they be able to stop this newfound burst of offensive confidence down in West Lafayette? You may want to keep an eye on this one, but I’m still going Michigan.

6:00: Nevada @ Washington State (Pac12): Still waiting for the other shoe to drop for Wazzou, because it doesn’t seem conceivable we’ll be talking about a 4-0 Washington State hosting USC in Pullman next week, right? Right? (It does seem pretty probable, though.)

6:30: Alabama-Birmingham @ North Texas (beIN): Could we be looking at 3-1 UAB after this? That’d be really nice, but, well… actually, it’s not North Texas is a bunch of world-beaters or anything, so why not?

7:00:

  • Mississippi State @ Georgia (ESPN): We’re about to find out a lot more about this pair of Bulldogs. Miss State’s shellacking of LSU last week confirmed what we should’ve already realized: Miss State under Dan Mullen has been the most consistent second-tier team in the SEC for a while now. They can cement that status between the hedges, and I think they will.
  • Syracuse @ Louisiana State (ESPN2): Okay LSU, you can recover from this! Just, you know, fend off an aerial barrage for the next four hours while you still look like you struggle to field a competent offense… oof. This one is tough to think about. I think I have Syracuse here.
  • San Diego State @ Air Force (CBSS): SDSU is living up to its spoiler billing so far, but to keep it up they’ll need to win this, their toughest remaining road contest. I think they will.
  • Ball State @ Western Kentucky (Stadium): The Hilltoppers should still have enough remaining traces of Jeff Brohm to throw it around and over a still kinda-not-good Ball State team, right?

7:30:

  • Pennsylvania State @ Iowa (ABC): As is usual with Iowa, it feels like of they’re going to win this game the final score will be something like 15-12, while if they lose it’ll be 60-10. Penn State just seems too good so far this year, like the latter score is more likely than the former.
  • Auburn @ Missouri (ESPNU): Bill Connelly knows a lot more about college football than I do, and so when he writes a column saying that Mizzou is pretty much done for the year, well…
  • Florida @ Kentucky (SEC): On November 15th, 1986 Kentucky beat Florida 10-3. On that day, Boston’s “Amanda” was the #1 single in the United States, the Iran-Contra Affair was in full swing, and I was a little over a year old. Also, it was the last time Kentucky beat Florida. This version of Kentucky looks kind of competent and Florida is scuffling, so this could be the year. But I’m not going to call it.

8:00: Notre Dame @ Michigan State (FOX): While we still try to figure out what will be this year’s version of 2016’s Michigan State @ Notre Dame, we’ll have to deal with the reality of the 2017 version of this game, wherein there are basically no expectations for either of these teams. I’m leaning Notre Dame a bit, since they beat up on a decent Boston College defense last week.

10:00:

  • Washington @ Colorado (FS1): Here’s an early test for UDub, having survived their non-conference slate with ease. The problem, in terms of predictions, lies in that Colorado also easily disposed of their non-conference slate, so we’ve got to go to… THE NEXT LEVEL. And the next level likes the Huskies, like, a lot.
  • Oregon @ Arizona State (Pac12): The Pac-12 is a little more fun when Oregon is good, so welcome back, Ducks! I like them a lot of get their first conference win courtesy of a somewhat hapless Arizona State team.

10:15: Hawaii @ Wyoming (ESPN2): Josh Allen needs to get his mind right, you know what I mean? I mean, in the sense that maybe all the NFL stuff and preseason hype might have placed an unreasonable set of expectations upon the erstwhile Cowboys signal caller. Fortunately, the Rainbow Warriors provide a pretty good chance to do so.

10:30: California-Los Angeles @ Stanford (ESPN): No body clock this time. UCLA comes back to the West Coast after having their bubble burst in a major way at Memphis. And, uh, Stanford maybe was up past their bedtime last weekend when they lost at San Diego State. So… I’m going with the mild upset here and going with UCLA. Don’t make me regret this, Bruins.

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