This Weekend in College Football: Week 4

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.


  • Maryland @ Michigan (FOX): Well, Michigan will play an opponent with a pulse. And it’s not just any Maryland, it’s September Maryland. So they’ll probably just lose by a couple of scores instead of many.
  • Clemson @ Wake Forest (ABC): Clemson faces its first real test, away at a Wake team that will be incredibly motivated, and just talented enough, to challenge them. The question, as we’ve been saying since last year, will likely be Clemson’s offense. I don’t think Wake’s defense will be the stiffest test they will face, but the Tiger offense again just seems to be in an early season rut. I think they’ll do enough to win here, but I don’t feel great about it. Oh, and Wake is favored.
  • Missouri @ Auburn (ESPN): Auburn is primed to lose again (and lose their head coach in the process), but Mizzou is hapless enough for them to get out of here with a win.
  • Baylor @ Iowa State (ESPN2): This game will likely go a ways to determine who will win the Big 12, but I’m still not sure enough about the Cyclones at this point. Baylor’s defense is kind of like Iowa’s, and unlike the Hawkeyes, the Baylor offense can kinda actually score points. I’ll take the Bears.
  • Duke @ Kansas (FS1): So, yeah, here’s your Game of the Week, probably: undefeated Duke at undefeated Kansas. In football. Like, on a gridiron field, 100 yards from end zone to end zone, every 5 yards demarcated by a solid line… you get the idea. So who’s going to win? Part of the reason why both teams are 3-0 is because, well, “they ain’t played nobody!” but that’s usually a problem for them. I think the Jayhawks are slightly ahead of the Blue Devils on the “road to competency” schedule and I’ll favor them, but the game might actually be good?
  • Texas Christian @ Southern Methodist (ESPNU): So the fight for the Iron Skillet is always kinda spicy between these two Metroplex rivals, but this year is extra picante thanks to former SMU coach Sonny Dykes taking the head coach job at, you guessed it, TCU. That said, with Dykes at the helm of the Frogs, I do favor them, but then, SMU beat ’em last year.
  • Bowling Green @ Mississippi State (SEC): No trouble for the Bulldogs here, Bowling Green upsetting Marshall last week aside.
  • Central Michigan @ Pennsylvania State (BTN): Even less trouble for the Nittany Lions.
  • Rhode Island @ Pittsburgh (ACCN)
  • Buffalo @ Eastern Michigan (CBSS): Buffalo hasn’t been good in a minute, then again, neither has EMU and they just got Herm Edwards fired, and Marshall did just prove my point by losing to CMU. Either way, still taking EMU.
  • South Florida @ Louisville (ACC/RSN): Louisville is bad, but they’re not bad enough to lose to USF.
  • Kent State @ Georgia (ESPN+)


  • California-Los Angeles @ Colorado (Pac12): UCLA isn’t exactly great or even good, but Colorado is in the running for most dire situation at a Power 5 team (along with Arizona State and Georgia Tech). It’s straightforward to take the Bruins here.
  • Massachusetts @ Temple (ESPN+)
  • Fordham @ Ohio (ESPN+)


  • Notre Dame @ North Carolina (ABC): Marcus Freeman finally got a win as the ND head coach, and now they’ll play the “all gas, no brakes” Tar Heels in Chapel Hill. I think the fact that ND can play defense bodes well and I favor them, but if this becomes a track meet that vastly favors UNC.
  • Florida @ Tennessee (CBS): Napier has done a pretty good of warning us that these Gators might not be ready for prime time, so the question for this game is, “is Tennessee?” The Vols appear to be shaping up for a great season, but step one has to be to take care of business at home against a figuring-it-out Florida team.
  • Texas @ Texas Tech (“Battle for the Chancellor’s Spurs”; ESPN): I don’t have a read on Texas Tech, which somewhat unfairly means I’m going to favor Texas. Sorry y’all.
  • Indiana @ Cincinnati (ESPN2): Cincy isn’t last year’s Cincy, but I think they’re still good enough to knock off a very mediocre Indiana bunch.
  • Toledo @ San Diego State (FS1): Rockets shouldn’t stand much of a chance here.
  • Minnesota @ Michigan State (BTN): Sparty should win this, especially at home, but for whatever reason I don’t feel good about it. I’d keep an eye on this game.
  • Florida International @ Western Kentucky (CBSS): Hilltoppers, easy.
  • Middle Tennessee State @ Miami (ACCN): Canes, easy.
  • Texas Southern @ Texas-San Antonio (Stadium)
  • North Texas @ Memphis (ESPN+)
  • James Madison @ Appalachian State (ESPN+)


  • Oregon @ Washington State (FOX): This is potentially an interesting game. At least, t hat’s what I’m trying to convince myself of. I kind of just don’t see how this rebuilding Wazzu can really keep up with the Ducks, but it’ll potentially be fun to watch them try.
  • Georgia Tech @ Central Florida (ESPNU): I’m done. I’ve been done, but that was the final straw. Fire Geoff Collins.
  • Tulsa @ Mississippi (SEC): Ole Miss should have no problems here. The real drama might be if Tulsa keeps them to fewer points than we did.

5:30: Arizona @ California (Pac12): Cal being a defense-first outfit is still kind of bewildering, but I suspect that will hamper their abilities against apparently competent Arizona.


  • Ball State @ Georgia Southern (ESPN+)
  • Rice @ Houston (“Bayou Bucket Classic”; ESPN+)
  • Navy @ East Carolina (ESPN+)
  • Akron @ Liberty (ESPN+)


  • Arkansas vs. Texas A&M (@Arlington, TX; ESPN): This game is usually fun, but it’ll be more fun once it gets out of Jerry Jones’s Intergalactic Space Palace. My pick, and the popular pick, is that despite Arkansas’s problems against Missouri State last weekend (that apparently drove the COO of Beyond Meat to bite someone’s nose off) they should be fine to take on an extremely underwhelming bunch of Aggies. But we have seen them seemingly rise to the occasion before, such as their extremely skull dragging win against Ole Miss last year. So if TAMU wins, I think they’ll win ugly.
  • Northern Illinois @ Kentucky (ESPN2): Cayuts should be fine.
  • Iowa @ Rutgers (FS1): The Internet has made much hey of two things about this game. First, the over/under for the game was initially set at 34.5, which is absurdly low. (Since every post is someone’s first, the over/under is the number of combined points scored.) Second, everyone wanted to know what the prop bet was on the number of punts would be in this game. Either way, this is your trainwreck and/or sickos game of the week. And I just have such little confidence in Iowa’s ability to score that I’m picking Rutgers. Yep. That’s where Iowa is at, y’all.
  • Nevada-Las Vegas @ Utah State (CBSS): This game is dire. UNLV? Sure.
  • Marshall @ Troy (NFL): These teams have both been on a roller coaster the past two weeks. Marshall upset Notre Dame in South Bend, but then lost to Central Michigan. Troy looked to pull a Central Michigan on Appalachian State after Gameday paid a visit to Boone, but one of the crazier hail mary plays I’ve ever seen did them in. So they’re both good. I think Marshall is still a little better, and after the reset I’ll pick them to prevail.
  • Houston Baptist @ Texas State (
  • Louisiana Tech @ South Alabama (ESPN+)
  • Southern Mississippi @ Tulane (“Battle for the Bell”; ESPN+)


  • Wisconsin @ Ohio State (ABC): This usually seen as a Big Deal Big Ten and that’s why it’s in prime time, but, well, the real drama is whether the Buckeyes over the 17.5 or not.
  • Charlotte @ South Carolina (ESPNU): Gamecocks.
  • Vanderbilt @ Alabama (SEC): Bama.
  • Miami @ Northwestern (BTN): Northwestern isn’t good this year, but, well, I’ll pick them here.
  • Florida Atlantic @ Purdue (BTN): Boilermakers.
  • Connecticut @ North Carolina State (ACC/RSN): Wolfpack.
  • New Mexico @ Louisiana State (ESPN+)


  • Kansas State @ Oklahoma (FOX): Both Kansas teams are pretty feisty now, which is definitely confusing, but I’m not sure that K-State has the goods to beat a Sooners team that doesn’t seem like they’ve lost a beat.
  • Boston College @ Florida State (ACCN): I still don’t believe in FSU, but that won’t matter here.
  • Louisiana @ Louisiana-Monroe (“Battle on the Bayou”; ESPN+)

9:30: Southern California @ Oregon State (Pac12): I was also directed at this game as something to look at, and for sure, I think it’ll provide yet another good measuring stick for USC. But unless things get wacky in Corvallis (and they could!) USC seems to be primed to stay on course.

10:15: Wyoming @ Brigham Young (ESPN2): BYU was handled comfortably last week by UDub, but nonetheless they’re still a force to be reckoned with, as I suspect the Cowboys are about to discover.


  • Utah @ Arizona State (ESPN): Arizona State finally fired Herm, and the main thing I’m confused about is why anyone is, well, confused about why all of Herm’s former assistants are talking about him. The key thing is that those assistants were former assistants before Herm got fired, which is to say, he kind of threw them under the bus. So anyway that’s a long way to say Utes all the way here.
  • Stanford @ Washington (FS1): The Huskies seem to have it figured out, and Stanford is still trying to find a new identity.
  • Western Michigan @ San Jose State (CBSS): And finally… Spartans?