College football picks for Week 4 are plenty difficult because of the number of top teams playing against one another this weekend. Making these picks gets harder and harder each week as teams emerge from the “easy” part of their schedule and enter into conference play.
There are some chances for ranked teams to fall this weekend, especially because of the number of ranked teams playing against each other in what promises to be day of thrilling early season clashes.
Take a look at some of my picks (straight up) for September 22’s action.
Florida Atlantic vs. (1) Alabama: 62-0 Crimson Tide
Alabama is in a whole different class in their final non-SEC game. Look for the Crimson Tide to roll early and switch to their reserves by mid-third quarter.
(2) LSU vs. Auburn: 37-20 LSU
Auburn and LSU have gone in different directions in 2012. Auburn barely escaped a late upset bid by UL-Monroe and dropped their first two games to Clemson and Mississippi State. LSU has a clear advantage and will take it to the other Tigers in this one.
(22) Arizona vs. (3) Oregon: 41-17 Ducks
Is there a team more explosive than the Oregon Ducks? Just when it seems like they need to reload after losing their top stars, the Ducks are right back in national championship contention with all-new playmakers. Arizona is good, there’s no doubting that—not good enough to beat the No. 3 Ducks at home, though.
(10) Clemson vs. (4) Florida State: 35-13 Seminoles
The Seminoles are outscoring their opponents by an astounding 176-3 margin so far in 2012. While their competition has been suspect, there is no doubting their talent on both sides of the football in 2012. Clemson has explosiveness on offense but will they show up at Doak Campbell Stadium?
(5) Georgia vs. Vanderbilt: 31-27 Bulldogs
The SEC is a tricky animal when it comes to predicting outcomes of college football games. Georgia has looked good at times but has also surrendered 23 points to Buffalo and 20 to Florida Atlantic. They also trailed in the third quarter against Missouri before coming out on top 41-20. Vandy has played South Carolina to the wire and fought hard against Northwestern in their second loss. Look for a closer game than many are expecting in this one.
(15) Kansas State vs. (6) Oklahoma: 34-20 Sooners
Oklahoma hasn’t played anyone yet, but after this game the doubters will disappear. The Big-12 isn’t what it once was and the Sooners are going to cruise atop the conference this season.
Missouri vs. (7) South Carolina: 20-17 Tigers
Missouri, the third Tigers team to play in the SEC, wins its first SEC game with a huge upset win over South Carolina in Week 4. The Tigers played Georgia very well in Week 2 and have an offense that will push the Gamecocks’ who have yet to play a competent offense this season.
Maryland vs. (8) West Virginia: 48-10 Mountaineers
Heisman hopeful Geno Smith has been untouchable thus far for the Mountaineers. While their defense may not be able to shutdown Maryland, the Terrapins will do that themselves and will be unable to keep up with Smith’s onslaught.
(18) Michigan vs. (11) Notre Dame: 34-28 Irish
Freshman Everett Golson is no Denard Robinson, at least not yet. However, because of the other players around him and the stout Irish defense he doesn’t need to be. If the Irish can bottle of Robinson this game could get ugly but I think it will be close as many of the recent matchups have been between these two rivals.
California vs. (13) USC: 42-24 Trojans
USC has to be upset after falling victim to an upset by Stanford last week. Matt Barkley and his elite wide receivers will make short work of a team that was embarrassed at the end of their own upset bid against Ohio State a week ago.
Kentucky vs. (14) Florida: 37-9 Gators
Florida proved me wrong a week ago with an explosive second half against the Tennessee Volunteers. They’ve proved to be buying into Will Muschamp’s four quarters philosophy. Kentucky was upset by Western Kentucky.
UAB vs. (16) Ohio State: 52-7 Buckeyes
Ohio State barely escaped an upset scare in the Horseshoe against California a week ago. However, Braxton Miller is gaining confidence and earning the respect of Urban Meyer and the Buckeye faithful in the process. There will be no upset in this one as the Buckeyes roll to an easy win.
Virginia vs. (17) TCU: 21-13 Horned Frogs
TCU entered its first season in the Big 12 with games against Grambling State and Kansas. They won both of them and surrendered only six points throughout both. Virginia has its hands full but will make this one interesting.
Oregon State vs. (19) UCLA: 23-20 Bruins
Both the Bruins and Beavers have scored big wins over ranked Big Ten opponents to begin the 2012 season. Oregon State beat a surprisingly bad Wisconsin team while UCLA knocked off Nebraska in a shootout. This one is going to come down to an overtime field and defensive hold by the hosting Bruins.
(20) Louisville vs. Florida International: 31-21 Golden Panthers
Neither team can boast a competent defense. Florida International defeated the Cardinals 24-17 last season. It was the school’s first win over a Big East school. Eight Golden Panthers starters have returned and this time they host the Cardinals. To this point, Louisville has yet to play on the road and they’ll fall victim to the upset again this year.
Eastern Michigan vs. (21) Michigan State: 48-13 Spartans
Michigan State looked inept against a tough Notre Dame defense a week ago. This week, they get an instate school to take out their frustrations on.
South Alabama vs. (23) Mississippi State: 27-7 Bulldogs
Mississippi State has rattled off three games to begin the 2012 season. Last week against Troy they stumbled and were almost upset. The South Alabama Jaguars are completely outclassed in this matchup, though. They pose little threat to unseating the 23rd ranked Bulldogs.
Idaho State vs. (25) Nebraska: 62-7 Cornhuskers
Coach Bo Pelini will return for the Cornhuskers after a health scare hospitalized him last weekend. They’re also getting senior running back Rex Burkhead back. That’s perfect timing for Nebraska who will decimate Idaho State’s horrid rush defense. The Bengals surrendered 484 yards to Air Force a week ago.