College Football Picks Week 4: Breaking Down Most Intriguing Games on Schedule

Timothy RappFeatured ColumnistSeptember 16, 2013

Sep 14, 2013; West Point, NY, USA; Stanford Cardinal quarterback Kevin Hogan (8) hands off to running back Anthony Wilkerson (32) at Michie Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports
Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

There are words you could use to describe this week's slate of college football games. Legendary, thrilling, exciting, juicy or even mildly interesting wouldn't be in the mix. 

But despite a rather bland offering of contests, there are still a few matchups worth keeping an eye on. They may not be Texas A&M versus Alabama, but these games should be competitive affairs. 

Let's pick winners from each one. 


Michigan State at No. 22 Notre Dame

Notre Dame is still a talented team, but this isn't the 2012 version, that's for sure. With Manti Te'o, Tyler Eifert and Everett Golson all gone, amongst other key contributors, this year's Fighting Irish are a good team but certainly not a great one. 

But does that mean Michigan State can come into South Bend and pull off the upset? Probably not. Connor Cook and the Spartans may be undefeated—and may have finally gotten things humming in a 55-17 victory over Youngstown State—but they've yet to face a truly dangerous opponent. 

Notre Dame's defense hasn't exactly been stout this season, but don't expect Michigan State to put a ton of points against Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish will stand strong at home. 

Prediction: Notre Dame wins, 28-21.


No. 23 Arizona State at No. 5 Stanford

The Sun Devils are fresh off a win over Wisconsin after a truly bizarre finish to the game. Nonetheless, a win is a win, though it won't be easy to keep the good times rolling with a trip to Stanford on the docket. 

The Cardinal haven't exactly impressed in two easy games to start the season, but this is a balanced, well-oiled machine on offense. With Tyler Gaffney leading the rushing attack and Ty Montgomery looking excellent at wide receiver in the first two games, the Cardinal have the weapons to handle the Sun Devils. 

Taylor Kelly and company will give Stanford problems, but at home, the Cardinal prevail.

Prediction: Stanford wins, 35-27.


Auburn at No. 6 LSU

Auburn has to be pleased with its 3-0 start, including wins over Washington State and Mississippi State, but now the team has to face perennial national championship contenders LSU.

In other words, it just got real. 

LSU opened the season with a 37-27 win over TCU and has cruised since, but there is the real danger here that the Tigers could look past the, um, Tigers to next week's trip to Athens for a game against Georgia. 

Should LSU scoff at the very mention of "War Eagle," Auburn could surprise them. The Auburn rushing attack is not to be taken lightly. Still, behind quarterback Zach Mettenberger and another excellent defense, LSU looks like one of the most balanced teams in the country. 

Prediction: LSU wins, 30-17.


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