College Football Picks Week 4: Bold Predictions for Marquee Matchups

Adam WellsFeatured ColumnistSeptember 19, 2012

EAST LANSING, MI - SEPTEMBER 15:  Everett Golson #5 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish throws a third quarter pass as he is hit while playing the Michigan State Spartans at Spartan Stadium Stadium on September 15, 2012 in East Lansing, Michigan. Notre Dame won the game 20-3. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

If you are looking for a week that is going to decide a lot of early-season BCS positioning, this is the Saturday for you to sit in front of the television and do nothing but watch college football. 

Granted, you were probably going to do that anyway, but now you have a legitimate excuse for not moving from noon until roughly 2:00 a.m. ET. 

With four huge games between Top-25 teams, there is going to be a lot of moving and shuffling up and down the rankings on Sunday. This is gut-check time for a lot of teams to make their cases in the bigger picture of college football.

Here is our look at what to expect from the biggest matchups on Saturday. 


No. 18 Michigan at No. 11 Notre Dame

The Wolverines and Fighting Irish is not the biggest game of the weekend, at least using the rankings, but as far as two marquee names, this is the game to watch. 

Michigan has come back from a brutal season opening defeat against Alabama to get to 2-1, though it hasn't really played anyone in the two weeks since that game. We have no idea how good or bad this team is after wins over Air Force and Massachusetts. 

Notre Dame, on the other hand, has managed to exceed its expectations in the early going this season. Navy and Purdue were not exactly mountains to get over, but the way the Fighting Irish played against Michigan State gives them a marquee win to hang their hat on. 

Still, I don't know how good the Irish really are. I loved the defensive effort against the Spartans, but Michigan State is so one-dimensional on offense that it is easy to game plan. 

Michigan has much more versatility on offense, thanks in no small part to Denard Robinson. If the Wolverines are going to figure out this Irish defense, as simple as it is to say, Robinson has to have a big game through the air, first and foremost. 

Prediction: Michigan 27, Notre Dame 21


No. 15 Kansas State at No. 6 Oklahoma

I look at Kansas State much in the same way I do Michigan, though the former has looked a lot better to start the season than the latter. The Wildcats didn't play anyone, but few teams do when the season begins. 

Case in point: Oklahoma. The Sooners look like a nice, shiny toy on paper, and certainly, the talent suggests they should be one of the best teams in the country. However, what have they really done so far this season to prove it?

Oklahoma struggled against UTEP in the season opener, before bouncing back against Florida A&M. 

So here we are, with these two Big 12 powers locking horns in Norman. Last year these two teams met in Manhattan, and Oklahoma defeated Kansas State by 41 points. 

Until the Wildcats prove they can beat a team like Oklahoma, you can't honestly predict it to happen. 

Prediction: Oklahoma 34, Kansas State 20


No. 10 Clemson at No. 4 Florida State

Here is the game of the weekend, I think. Whenever you get two Top-10 teams together on the same field this early in the season, it makes you stand up and take notice. 

Clemson is taking a huge step up in competition, after cupcakes in Auburn, Ball State and Furman. The Tigers do boast one of the best offensive teams in the country, with Tajh Boyd and Andre Ellington forming a nice quarterback-running back battery. 

Florida State is just rolling right along with no problems whatsoever. Even if the Seminoles three opponents were Murray State, Savannah State and Wake Forest, only allowing three points in three games is impressive. 

This is the best Seminole team in a long, long time. They can beat you through the air, ground or just with their defense. They are going to have to make mistakes in order to lose, because the Tigers can't compete with their speed and athleticism, particularly at the skill positions. 

Prediction: Florida State 35, Clemson 20