College Football Week 4 Picks: Breaking Down the Week's Elite Clashes
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In a division as competitive as Division I NCAA Football, a loss can mean the end of title hopes. A win, however, can be a signature victory in a season leading to glory. This massive importance placed on every game leads to extremely high levels of competition.
Every week, each team must go out and perform or risk paying dearly. This level of competitiveness leads to widespread talent and elite performances.
Having a number of elite teams creates enticing matchups every week, which is exactly what we love about college football. There is always a great game going on, and you're never quite sure who will win out in the end.
So, who will win the big ones this week? Here are our picks.
1. Boise State vs. Brigham Young
Joe Southwick under center
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In an unfamiliar scenario, the Boise State Broncos opened their season with a defeat to the Michigan State Spartans. Now, it's up to Joe Southwick to get the team back into the winning tradition established by Kellen Moore.
Southwick started that process by leading the Broncos to a solid win against the Miami Redhawks 39-12. Southwick made very few mistakes and balanced the passing game with a running game led by D.J. Harper's three touchdowns and 162 rush yards.
However, the real story for Boise is the defense. The unit made big play after big play against Michigan State and then limited Miami to 50 rush yards.
BYU quarterback Riley Nelson has been superb, and the defense has been efficient, but the loss to Utah was a clear indicator that the Cougars can't stay with elite teams.
Prediction: Boise State 34-13 BYU
2. Michigan vs. Notre Dame
Denard Robinson running away from the defense
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Michigan against Notre Dame. Even if both teams weren't implicated in the BCS picture, this game would be a must-watch. The historical rivalry between the two programs creates an unmissable atmosphere around every game.
For the Wolverines, their hopes are based around Denard Robinson. Robinson was roughed up against Alabama, but he is extremely explosive and more than capable of leading this offense. He can now count on Fitzgerald Toussaint to take a load off of him as well.
For Notre Dame, the key will be coming at Michigan from all sides. A grieving Manti Te'o will inspire the defense while Theo Riddick and Everett Golson will attempt to balance a thriving attack.
This game seems to always come down to the wire, and this one won't be any different. However, contrary to the rest of Robinson's career, Notre Dame will get the last laugh this time.
Prediction: Michigan 31-34 Notre Dame
3. Kansas State vs. Oklahoma
Landry Jones firing a pass
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Last season, Oklahoma absolutely destroyed a supposedly competitive Kansas State 58-17. It won't be so easy this time.
Collin Klein has greatly matured at quarterback and is completing a superb 72.9 percent of his passes this season. He is always dangerous and even with a loss would continue to edge into the Heisman conversation. Tramaine Thompson will also attempt to keep some pressure off of Klein through his running game.
Oklahoma will also be relying on their experienced quarterback. Landry Jones was pegged as a Heisman hopeful last season and now has Kenny Stills to throw to. Damien Williams has also been useful with 259 yards and five touchdowns this season.
In the end, the experience of the Sooners will give them this shootout.
Prediction: Oklahoma 31-28 Kansas State
4. Clemson vs. Florida State
Sammy Watkins getting ready
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In only the fourth week of the season, this game may just determine the winner of the Atlantic Division in the ACC, and it's going to be a fun one.
The battle will be between one of the best defenses in the nation and one of the best offenses in the nation. Against Wake Forest last week, FSU allowed only 126 total yards and amazingly has given up only three points all season. Clemson, on the other hand, is averaging 39.7 points per game.
Tajh Boyd can air it out, and Sammy Watkins may just be the most explosive player in football. EJ Manuel has seen limited playing time, yet he still has six touchdowns and 525 passing yards.
Clemson will make a game of it, and Watkins will perform, but in the end Clemson's defense will be too weak to keep up.
Prediction: FSU 27-24 Clemson
5. Arizona vs. Oregon
De'Anthony Thomas sprinting past tacklers
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To round out the big games of the week, we present to you an offensive showdown between two teams with plenty of speed.
The Wildcats are averaging over 600 yards from scrimmage and quarterback Matt Scott has been effective. Coach Rich Rodriguez hasn't been around long, but Arizona's offense has clearly already exploded under him.
On the other end of the field though, is likely the most explosive offense in college football over the past few seasons. De'Anthony Thomas is incredibly fast and can turn nothing into a touchdown at any moment.
Both squads are talented, but Oregon's experience will keep them undefeated.
Prediction: Oregon 42-34 Arizona