College Football Picks: Week 4 Predictions for Every Game

Jonathan McDanal@@jdmcdanalContributor IIISeptember 19, 2013

College Football Picks: Week 4 Predictions for Every Game

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    The Week 4 slate doesn't have many enticing cross-conference matches, but there are a great deal of conference battles set to entertain fans across the country. The Pac-12 owns the only battle between two ranked teams this time around, and it's a potential upset between No. 23 Arizona State and No. 5 Stanford.

    Here are predictions for all 59 of Week 4's games.

No. 3 Clemson at NC State

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    Final Score: Clemson 26, NC State 14


    When: Thursday, Sept. 19, at 7:30 p.m.

    Clemson's Tajh Boyd and Sammy Watkins are going to go haywire on the NC State Wolfpack on Thursday evening. There are a lot of trap games on the Tigers' schedule, and this is the first.

    The biggest benefit that they carry into this game is the knowledge of what happened to Florida State in 2012. The Seminoles walked into the Wolfpack den with visions of championships in their heads.

    Mike Glennon and David Amerson did not let up for 60 minutes, and NC State topped FSU 17-16. This season, the Wolfpack don't have Amerson or Glennon, and they don't have the element of surprise, either.

    Clemson's entire depth chart will be ready for a road game in the ACC. Somebody might sneak up on the Tigers this season, but it won't be NC State.


    Prediction: Clemson 42, NC State 17

Boise State at Fresno State

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    Final Score: Fresno State 41, Boise State 40


    When: Friday, Sept. 20, at 9 p.m.

    Boise State and Fresno State face off in a Week 4 match that could decide the Mountain West Conference. The Bulldogs have Derek Carr at the helm, who is currently 74-of-104 for 661 yards, eight touchdowns and one interception on the season.

    Boise's Joe Southwick is 69-of-94 for 673 yards, six touchdowns and two interceptions thus far in 2013. The quarterbacks are evenly matched, so the defenses are going to have to make the difference in this bout.

    Boise's defense could be the best in the MWC, but we won't find out for sure until this game is over.


    Prediction: Boise State 34, Fresno State 31

Florida A&M at No. 4 Ohio State

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    Final Score: Ohio State 76, Florida A&M 0


    When: Saturday, Sept. 21, at noon

    Florida A&M heads over to The Horseshoe to cash a paycheck against the Ohio State Buckeyes. This game will play out largely as it should, though a couple of busted coverages will allow the Rattlers to put up a few points before the final whistle blows.

    Urban Meyer has called Braxton Miller "a game-time decision" for this game, and there are three possible scenarios. Either he starts, plays some or doesn't play at all. From a health standpoint, it would clearly be beneficial to let him heal during this game.

    However, if anyone remembers the Oregon State debacle from last season, it's probably best to give Miller a cameo appearance in the second half to brush him up on his game. Of course, this assumes that he's healthy enough to avoid risk.


    Prediction: Ohio State 52, Florida A&M 10

Florida International at No. 7 Louisville

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    Final Score: Louisville 72, Florida International 0


    When: Saturday, Sept. 21, at noon

    Whether you believe that Louisville is overrated or not, this game is going to end up almost exactly like the Ohio State game. There are FBS teams who will give the Cardinals a run for their money, but the Golden Panthers are not one of them.


    Prediction: Louisville 45, Florida International 6

UNC at Georgia Tech

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    Final Score: Georgia Tech 28, UNC 20


    When: Saturday, Sept. 21, at noon

    Jonathan Cooper's departure to the NFL has left the UNC Tar Heels in shambles. While they may or may not bid for a postseason appearance, it has already become clear that an ACC title is probably not going to happen this season.

    On the other side of the field, the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets have one major advantage over UNC: their rushing attack. As much as Bryn Renner can do for UNC, he can't make the Heels' defense any better from the bench.

    Georgia Tech will pound UNC into the ground by the fourth quarter, and the Yellow Jackets will walk away with an exhausting win.


    Prediction: Georgia Tech 38, UNC 21

Vanderbilt at Massachusetts

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    Final Score: Vanderbilt 24, Massachusetts 7


    When: Saturday, Sept. 21, at noon

    Vanderbilt is one of the better teams in the SEC, which is astonishing—mostly because two of its three offensive headliners are gone. The Commodores are rebuilding, yet still competing with top-tier teams like South Carolina.

    Massachusetts, on the other hand, is competing to stay off the bottom of the FBS total rankings, and its loss to Maine in Week 2 is not helping its cause. Vanderbilt is going to push the Minutemen to 0-4 on the season, and UMass will have to find its wins for 2013 somewhere else on the schedule.


    Prediction: Vanderbilt 52, Massachusetts 0

San Jose State at Minnesota

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    Final Score: Minnesota 43, San Jose State 24


    When: Saturday, Sept. 21, at noon

    San Jose State at Minnesota is a bit of a tough call. David Fales is good enough to pick defenses apart at any given moment, yet he has failed to do so in either of his first two games.

    Minnesota is currently 3-0, but the Golden Gophers have yet to play a solid FBS team. Weeks 1 and 2 were against UNLV and New Mexico State—two teams that are already on track to finish among the worst teams in the FBS.

    Based on the way each team has played thus far, the Gophers are going to come away with a decent win here to start the season 4-0.


    Prediction: Minnesota 37, San Jose State 24

Marshall at Virginia Tech

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    Final Score: Virginia Tech 29, Marshall 21 (3OT)


    When: Saturday, Sept. 21, at noon

    Marshall's Rakeem Cato steps onto Virginia Tech's home turf to see whether he can fare any better than Shane Carden of East Carolina did. The Hokies won that game 15-10 in what turned out to be a defensive battle rather than an offensive shootout.

    If Marshall lets this game hinge on defense, the Thundering Herd are in for one of the longest 60-minute periods of their lives. If Virginia Tech lets this turn into a shootout, the same is true for the Hokies.

    Ultimately, the Hokies' defense will prevail...again.


    Prediction: Virginia Tech 31, Marshall 24

Wake Forest at Army

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    Final Score: Wake Forest 25, Army 11


    When: Saturday, Sept. 21, at noon

    Wake Forest still hasn't done anything to elicit faith from its fans, scoring losses to Boston College and Louisiana-Monroe over the past two weeks. The Demon Deacons have to turn things around soon.

    Unfortunately for them, Army's rushing game is difficult to stop. Last year's edition of this game was Wake's win by 12 points, but again, the Demon Deacons look nothing like their 2012 version that took down Boston College 28-14.


    Prediction: Army 27, Wake Forest 21

Toledo at Central Michigan

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    Final Score: Toledo 38, Central Michigan 17


    When: Saturday, Sept. 21, at noon

    Toledo's 1-2 start to the season has been far more impressive than Central Michigan's. For Week 4, these two teams start their conference slate against one another in a bout that will put the winner in the better position to win the Mid-American Conference title.

    Toledo should have this one locked in by the third quarter, but the Rockets have underwhelmed this season, so don't be too surprised if they turn this one into a close game.


    Prediction: Toledo 28, Central Michigan 17

Middle Tennessee at Florida Atlantic

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    Final Score: Middle Tennessee 42, Florida Atlantic 35 (OT)


    When: Saturday, Sept. 21, at noon

    Middle Tennessee and Florida Atlantic are pretty evenly matched, and they settle the score head-to-head on Sept. 21. While either team could win this game, the nod goes to Florida Atlantic due to having home-field advantage.

    If the Blue Raiders had beaten Memphis as badly as they should have, then this prediction would be in their favor. Be prepared for the game to swing back and forth for a while.


    Prediction: Florida Atlantic 36, Middle Tennessee 33

Western Michigan at Iowa

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    Final Score: Iowa 59, Western Michigan 3


    When: Saturday, Sept. 21, at noon

    Iowa just took down in-state rival Iowa State on Sept. 14, and the Hawkeyes can enter Week 4 with a lot of confidence. Western Michigan hasn't won a game yet this season, and its worst loss was 27-23 to the Nicholls State Colonels.

    Iowa might not be the Big Ten champion this season, but the Hawkeyes would have to get a lot worse to drop the game to Western Michigan on Sept. 21.


    Prediction: Iowa 42, Western Michigan 7


    Final Score:

Louisiana Tech at Kansas

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    Final Score: Kansas 13, Louisiana Tech 10


    When: Saturday, Sept. 21, at noon

    Louisiana Tech has the gargantuan task of trying to upset an angry Kansas squad on its home turf. Last season, this game would have been a blowout win by the Bulldogs, but that's not the case in 2013.

    Louisiana Tech has posted just one win, against Lamar, and its two losses weren't against anything resembling a national competitor.  Kansas had better not lose this game. The Jayhawks are bigger and more talented than Louisiana Tech, and there's no telling the kind of vitriol a loss would bring to Charlie Weis.


    Prediction: Kansas 28, Louisiana Tech 13

North Texas at No. 9 Georgia

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    Final Score: Georgia 45, North Texas 21


    When: Saturday, Sept. 21, at 12:21 p.m.

    Georgia's Week 4 game is against the much-improved North Texas Mean Green. However, before people start calling "upset alert," remember that North Texas is nowhere near Georgia's talent level.

    Even a vastly better North Texas team is going to walk away from the Bulldogs with a loss. This game will give Georgia's backups a workout in the final minutes, though.


    Prediction: Georgia 48, North Texas 17

Pittsburgh at Duke

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    Final Score: Pittsburgh 58, Duke 55


    When: Saturday, Sept. 21, at 12:30 p.m.

    Pittsburgh has not looked good in its first two games of the 2013 season, and the Panthers travel to Duke to take on the Blue Devils in Week 4. They will be met by Jamison Crowder and a bowl-capable squad looking for win No. 3.

    The Blue Devils are going to be Pittsburgh's second ACC loss in its first season in the conference. The Panthers are going to have to do a lot better than they have been in order to compete in this conference.


    Prediction: Duke 35, Pittsburgh 24

Tulane at Syracuse

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    Final Score: Syracuse 52, Tulane 17


    When: Saturday, Sept. 21, at 12:30 p.m.

    Tulane vs. Syracuse is going to be a tight game. Disregard the conference affiliations here, as Syracuse has not been up to snuff this season after losing Justin Pugh and Ryan Nassib to the NFL this past spring.

    Tulane's skill is above average for its conference, but the Green Wave have been playing below their potential, too. Both teams are heading into a potential turning point on Sept. 21, and the loser of this game will have the worst kind of momentum possible.

    This should have been a formality for Syracuse, but the Orange's lack of intensity has made this look like a real football game.


    Prediction: Syracuse 31, Tulane 28

Ball State at Eastern Michigan

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    Final Score: Ball State 51, Eastern Michigan 20


    When: Saturday, Sept. 21, at 1 p.m.

    Ball State takes on Eastern Michigan in Week 4, and this would have been an easy cold-call before the Cardinals' loss to North Texas on Sept. 14. The Mean Green are a completely different team from last year, but it was still a questionable loss for a team as good as Ball State.

    The motivation of that loss will push the Cardinals to play the way they have been all season (with that one exception, of course). If Eastern Michigan can strike early and often, the Eagles can force Ball State to give up emotionally.

    That's unlikely, but it's the key to victory.


    Prediction: Ball State 21, Eastern Michigan 14

Austin Peay at Ohio

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    Final Score: Ohio 38, Austin Peay 0


    When: Saturday, Sept. 21, at 2 p.m.

    The Ohio Bobcats have a light game against Austin Peay on Sept. 21, and the they must use this opportunity to iron out whatever kinks are stifling the offense. Tyler Tettleton and Beau Blankenship should be running roughshod over most of their opponents, but that has yet to happen.

    They have won, which is what really matters, but the games are far closer than Ohio can be comfortable with. This will be a chance for the Bobcats to stretch their legs in a manner of speaking.


    Prediction: Ohio 42, Austin Peay 10


Jacksonville State at Georgia State

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    Final Score: Jacksonville State 32, Georgia State 26 (OT)


    When: Saturday, Sept. 21, at 2 p.m.

    On Sept. 21, the Georgia State Panthers have their last game of the year against an FCS opponent. Jacksonville State is undefeated so far this season, but two of its wins have been by a combined five points.

    Not to be the bearer of bad news for Georgia State fans, but if this game isn't a win, there may not be one on the entire schedule. Hopefully, home-field advantage can be the difference between a win and a loss for the Panthers.


    Prediction: Georgia State 33, Jacksonville State 31

Idaho State at No. 17 Washington

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    Final Score: Washington 56, Idaho State 0


    When: Saturday, Sept. 21, at 3 p.m.

    Pac-12 hopeful Washington plays its final cupcake of the season, Idaho State. Starting in Week 5, the Huskies take on their nine straight Pac-12 opponents. The Huskies are going to glide through this FCS game with little issue, if they play like they mean it.


    Prediction: Washington 52, Idaho State 3

Northwestern State at UAB

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    Final Score: UAB 52, Northwestern State 28


    When: Saturday, Sept. 21, at 3 p.m.

    The UAB Blazers enter Week 4 with an 0-2 record against Troy and LSU. Northwestern State is coming off a 66-9 loss to the Cincinnati Bearcats in Week 3.

    The Blazers will not put up the same kind of numbers that Cincinnati did, but they should still claim a lopsided victory over the Demons on Sept. 21.


    Prediction: UAB 44, Northwestern State 17

Houston vs. Rice (Neutral Location)

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    Final Score: Houston 31, Rice 26


    When: Saturday, Sept. 21, at 3 p.m.

    Houston and Rice meet in Reliant Stadium, located in Houston, for the Sept. 21 match. Houston's resume is not all that impressive, lowlighted by the 22-13 win over the Temple Owls.

    On the other side of the field, Rice sports a questionable 23-14 win over the Kansas Jayhawks. It was still a solid win over a Big 12 opponent, but it wasn't strong enough to command a pick over the Cougars.


    Prediction: Houston 31, Rice 28

Maine at No. 18 Northwestern

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    Final Score: Northwestern 35, Maine 21


    When: Saturday, Sept. 21, at 3:30 p.m.

    Northwestern has ripped off three straight wins over teams that are all better than Maine, although that statement may be debatable for Western Michigan. The Wildcats will cruise through this game with third-stringers on the field for at least the entire fourth quarter.


    Prediction: Northwestern 48, Maine 9

Tennessee at No. 19 Florida

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    Final Score: Florida 31, Tennessee 17


    When: Saturday, Sept. 21, at 3:30 p.m.

    Tennessee has the terrible luck of facing Florida on the road the week after it faced Oregon, also on the road. The Gators haven't played anyone since losing to Miami in Week 2, and they are out for blood as well.

    There are three things to remember when tuning into this game:

    1. Tennessee is much better than it was last year, despite not having Tyler Bray under center.

    2. Florida is not as good as it was last season.

    3. The 2012 bout was decided by 17 points.

    This is an SEC rivalry that's not subject to direct lines of logic. Remember when Auburn almost upset LSU last season? That game is more similar to this game than some may be aware.


    Prediction: Tennessee 29, Florida 28

Michigan State at No. 22 Notre Dame

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    Final Score: Notre Dame 17, Michigan State 13


    When: Saturday, Sept. 21, at 3:30 p.m.

    Notre Dame hosts Michigan State on Sept. 21 in a battle that could just as easily be a blowout or a defensive masterpiece. For Spartans fans, the Week 3 Youngstown State game indicated that they may have found on offense, though it was against an FCS opponent.

    For Notre Dame fans, this is simply a chance for Notre Dame to get back on the right track. (The Purdue game rarely gets the respect it deserves as a true rivalry-level game, so the close win against the Boilermakers has some concerned about the season.)

    Michigan State is not as good as Michigan, and Notre Dame didn't lose to Michigan that badly.


    Prediction: Notre Dame 35, Michigan State 24

Purdue at No. 24 Wisconsin

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    Final Score: Wisconsin 41, Purdue 10


    When: Saturday, Sept. 21, at 3:30 p.m.

    Wisconsin will welcome Purdue to town on Sept. 21, then take out all its frustrations from the Arizona State game. It's really not a fair fight at this point, regardless of the fact that it's a conference game.

    Wisconsin is probably the most motivated team in the country at this point, and that level of motivation is going to be worth a lot of wins. It may not be enough against the most hefty opponents, but it will be good enough against Purdue.


    Prediction: Wisconsin 41, Purdue 17

Utah State at USC

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    Final Score: USC 17, Utah State 14


    When: Saturday, Sept. 21, at 3:30 p.m.

    Utah State and USC face off, and even Vegas isn't behind USC like it used to be. (The Trojans are a mere seven-point favorite, according to USC showed improvement against Boston College, but that win still doesn't draw a lot of attention to the program.

    Utah State enters the fray with Chuckie Keeton under center, and he could be enough to overcome this defense this early in the season. If this game happened later, the spread would likely be much further in favor of the Trojans.


    Prediction: Utah State 27, USC 21

West Virginia at Maryland

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    Final Score: Maryland 37, West Virginia 0


    When: Saturday, Sept. 21, at 3:30 p.m.

    West Virginia has not inspired a lot of confidence so far this season. Its win over William & Mary was by just seven points, and while the defense played well against the Oklahoma Sooners, the offense couldn't manage more than a touchdown.

    Maryland, on the other hand, hasn't played anyone of note and beat Connecticut by a shallow 11-point margin. The Terrapins could be waiting until the Mountaineers game to show what they have, but it's more likely that they simply don't have much more than Stefon Diggs.


    Prediction: West Virginia 42, Maryland 21

South Dakota State at Nebraska

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    Final Score: Nebraska 59, South Dakota State 20


    When: Saturday, Sept. 21, at 3:30 p.m.

    Nebraska is going to vent some stifled rage on the South Dakota State Jackrabbits in Week 4. Bo Pelini's squad was outmaneuvered by UCLA in the halftime locker room, and he's going to get this team to finish a game starting right now.

    This will be a good practice before taking on an upset-minded Illinois program on Oct. 5.


    Prediction: Nebraska 56, South Dakota State 3

Arkansas at Rutgers

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    Final Score: Rutgers 28, Arkansas 24


    When: Saturday, Sept. 21, at 3:30 p.m.

    Arkansas takes on Rutgers, and neither team has really shown consistency this season. Just a cursory glance at both the Razorbacks' and Scarlet Knights' schedules will show you that.

    Both teams have struggled to find rhythm, with the exception of Rutgers on opening weekend. Even in that loss, at least the Knights scored 51 points. Sadly, they also gave up 52.

    This is not going to be a repeat of last season's match, except in the sense that the home team is going to lose.


    Prediction: Arkansas 42, Rutgers 33

Murray State at Bowling Green

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    Final Score: Bowling Green 48, Murray State 7


    When: Saturday, Sept. 21, at 3:30 p.m.

    Bowling Green has another win coming in Week 4, this time against Murray State. The Falcons are going to rebound from the loss to Indiana, and they'll likely go 3-0 for the next three games. However, the predictions will be handled one week at a time.


    Prediction: Bowling Green 35, Murray State 17

Kent State at Penn State

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    Final Score: Penn State 34, Kent State 0


    When: Saturday, Sept. 21, at 3:30 p.m.

    Kent State has looked relatively horrible this season, with and without Dri Archer. That being the case, a win over Penn State looks less likely than a win over Bowling Green—which didn't happen.

    Penn State can be outplayed, like Blake Bortles did for the UCF Knights in Week 3, but the Golden Flashes simply aren't going to be able to do it. Look for a solid Penn State win here.


    Prediction: Penn State 41, Kent State 27

Virginia Military Institute at Virginia

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    Final Score: Virginia 49, VMI 0


    When: Saturday, Sept. 21, at 3:30 p.m.

    VMI comes to Virginia for a payday, and the Virginia Cavaliers would be hard-pressed to lose this game. Yes, that's right, Virginia has a game that it would need to actively attempt to lose in order to do so.

    Virginia isn't ready to take on the best in the ACC yet, but there's no way that VMI upsets it right now.


    Prediction: Virginia 35, VMI 10

Louisiana-Monroe at Baylor

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    Final Score: Baylor 70, Louisiana-Monroe 7


    When: Saturday, Sept. 21, at 4 p.m.

    Baylor has made a point of showing that its offense is as good—or better—than ever in 2013, and the Bears have yet another almost guaranteed win on Sept. 21. The Bears' defensive stats garner some major skepticism, but the offensive stats aren't likely to drop until they face Oklahoma in October.

    Louisiana-Monroe's basic goal here is simply to outscore any other team that's faced Baylor. So far, that's Buffalo at 13 points. The Warhawks aren't winning this one, folks.


    Prediction: Baylor 73, Louisiana-Monroe 17

Cincinnati at Miami (OH)

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    Final Score: Cincinnati 14, Miami (OH) 0


    When: Saturday, Sept. 21, at 4 p.m.

    Cincinnati had a wake-up call against the Illinois Fighting Illini early in the season, and the Bearcats have been on a rampage since then. Granted, that Illinois game has an asterisk for Munchie Legaux's injury, but  a 45-17 loss isn't all one player's fault.

    There are teams on the Bearcats' schedule who will give them a fight, and possibly an upset, but the Miami Redhawks are not one of those teams.


    Prediction: Cincinnati 52, Miami (OH) 20

Arkansas State at Memphis

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    Final Score: Memphis 31, Arkansas State 7


    When: Saturday, Sept. 21, at 4:30 p.m.

    Arkansas State and Memphis meet in an afternoon match that could be far more interesting than it is on the surface. Memphis has a nasty habit (nasty for the opponents, that is) of making games closer than they should be, even in losses.

    Arkansas State should enter with a lot of confidence, but that can only take a team so far. The Red Wolves outclass the Tigers in almost every aspect of the game, but Memphis isn't interested in rolling over for anyone.


    Prediction: Arkansas State 24, Memphis 21

Bethune-Cookman at No. 8 Florida State

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    Final Score: Florida State 54, Bethune-Cookman 6


    When: Saturday, Sept. 21, at 6 p.m.

    Florida State's last cake game before conference play starts is on Sept. 21 against the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats. The Seminoles will tear them up, just like they've torn up their other two opponents this season.

    Looking at the schedule, it's going to be fairly smooth sailing until the Oct. 19 bout with Clemson.


    Prediction: Florida State 63, Bethune-Cookman 0

Citadel at Old Dominion

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    Final Score: Old Dominion 59, Citadel 58


    When: Saturday, Sept. 21, at 6 p.m.

    Citadel's Week 4 bout with Old Dominion is not going to be fun for the Bulldogs. The Monarchs have been plastered by both of their FBS opponents this season, and its time for some revenge on FCS opponents.

    So far, the Monarchs have destroyed Howard 76-19, and Citadel is the next victim on the menu.


    Prediction: Old Dominion 56, Citadel 3

Louisiana-Lafayette at Akron

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    Final Score: Louisiana-Lafayette 35, Akron 30


    When: Saturday, Sept. 21, at 6 p.m.

    Louisiana-Lafayette and Akron are playing the most unpredictable game of the weekend, and possibly of the year. The Zips beat James Madison by two points earlier in the season, yet went toe-to-toe with then-No. 11 Michigan, losing by just four.

    Louisiana-Lafeyette looks like its old bowl-bound self, but this game is definitely not a glorified bye week. The simple fact that Akron almost beat Michigan is going to drive the Zips to play better than expected.

    If the Cajuns aren't prepared for battle, they'll lose it.


    Prediction: Louisiana-Lafayette 35, Akron 32

Colorado State at No. 1 Alabama

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    Final Score: Alabama 31, Colorado State 6


    When: Saturday, Sept. 21, at 7 p.m.

    Alabama hosts ex-offensive coordinator Jim McElwain and the Colorado State Rams in Week 4. It will be nice to see old friends shaking hands before and after the game, but in between the handshakes, it will not be pretty for the Rams.

    Alabama is the No. 1 team in the country, and apart from a couple of good plays that McElwain will hang on the Tide defense, this game will be all Alabama.


    Prediction: Alabama 49, Colorado State 6

No. 23 Arizona State at No. 5 Stanford

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    Final Score: Stanford 42, Arizona State 28


    When: Saturday, Sept. 21, at 7 p.m.

    Stanford has averaged 34 points per game in its two wins so far this season, and Arizona State gave up 30 to the Wisconsin Badgers in Week 3. The question isn't whether these teams are going to put on a show, the question is who will win.

    Arizona State is riding a high from "The Incident" against Wisconsin that kept the Sun Devils undefeated for the moment, and Stanford is simply trying to do what it does: win. This game could go either way, and it will likely be a back-and-forth event like the Badgers game was.


    Prediction: Stanford 28, Arizona State 20

SMU at No. 10 Texas A&M

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    Final Score: Texas A&M 42, SMU 13


    When: Saturday, Sept. 21, at 7 p.m.

    Texas A&M may have just proven itself as the No. 2 team in the country against the Alabama Crimson Tide with a 49-42 loss in Week 3. This is another one of those "it's not this team" situations.

    Texas A&M will play more than one team close this season, and it might just come away with another loss. Only the field will give us those answers. This game will be neither close nor a loss for the Aggies.


    Prediction: Texas A&M 45, SMU 10

Savannah State at No. 16 Miami (FL)

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    Final Score: Miami (FL) 77, Savannah State 7


    When: Saturday, Sept. 21, at 7 p.m.

    Miami enjoyed a bye week for the Sept. 14 rotation, and it hosts a couple of light wins before taking on the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets on Oct. 5. The Week 4 buffer game is against Savannah State.

    After taking down the mighty Florida Gators, Miami has to be focused on playing the best it can, because every team will give the Hurricanes its best shot. Savannah State won't take them down, but the rest of the schedule is going to require preparation.


    Prediction: Miami 63, Savannah State 6

Texas State at No. 25 Texas Tech

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    Final Score: Texas Tech 33, Texas State 7


    When: Saturday, Sept. 21, at 7 p.m.

    This is exactly why this weekend is less than appetizing with the exception of a select few games. For the third slide in a row, we're talking about a game that will be over at halftime (or sooner).

    Texas Tech and Texas State will engage in battle on Sept. 21, and the Red Raiders will make quicker work of the Bobcats than they did the TCU Horned Frogs.


    Prediction: Texas Tech 56, Texas State 17

Morgan State at Western Kentucky

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    Final Score: Western Kentucky 58, Morgan State 17


    When: Saturday, Sept. 21, at 7 p.m.

    Morgan State has not won a game in 2013 yet, including less-than-intimidating bouts against Robert Morris and Liberty. Western Kentucky hasn't fared too much better in the win-loss column, but the quality of opponent has been far better than Morgan State's.

    The Hilltoppers will squash the the Bears on Sept. 21.


    Prediction: Western Kentucky 45, Morgan State 7

Eastern Illinois at Northern Illinois

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    Final Score: Northern Illinois 43, Eastern Illinois 39


    When: Saturday, Sept. 21, at 7 p.m.

    The Northern Illinois Huskies are on their way to a potential undefeated trip to the BCS bowl party, which would be its second appearance in as many years. After taking down the Iowa Hawkeyes, it would be pretty embarrassing to be thwarted by an FCS opponent.

    However, Eastern Illinois is no ordinary FCS foe. The Panthers have already topped the San Diego State Aztecs by three possessions this season, and they enter this match undefeated.

    This is going to be one of the best games of the week.


    Prediction: Eastern Illinois 38, Northern Illinois 35

Oregon State at San Diego State

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    Final Score: Oregon State 34, San Diego State 30


    When: Saturday, Sept. 21, at 7:30 p.m.

    Oregon State had a huge overtime scare against Utah on Sept. 14, and San Diego State has home-field advantage for the Week 4 contest. This contest will be closer than it probably should be, but not to the degree of the Utah game.

    San Diego State may get off to a hot start, but the Beavers' depth chart will outlast the Aztecs and win the game in the end.


    Prediction: Oregon State 49, San Diego State 35

Troy at Mississippi State

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    Final Score: Mississippi State 62, Troy 7


    When: Saturday, Sept. 21, at 7:30 p.m.

    Troy travels to Mississippi State in an attempt to become the second team in a row from the state of Alabama to defeat the Bulldogs. That is a tall order, but it is within the realm of possibility.

    Ultimately, Mississippi State's defense is going to win this game, though. The Bulldogs allowed a paltry 21 points to the Oklahoma State Cowboys in Week 1, and Troy can expect to score far fewer points than that.


    Prediction: Mississippi State 27, Troy 14

Auburn at No. 6 LSU

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    Final Score: LSU 35, Auburn 21


    When: Saturday, Sept. 21, at 7:45 p.m.

    Auburn and LSU have a long-standing rivalry that almost never turns out as it looks on paper. Case in point? The 2012 game that LSU won 12-10 over an Auburn team that ended up 0-8 in SEC play.

    LSU is a grossly more talented team than Auburn, but both teams enter the match undefeated. By far, the more surprising team of the two is Auburn. Those Tigers don't know that LSU is far better than they are, and the game is going to be tight for at least the first half.


    Prediction: LSU 35, Auburn 27

No. 15 Michigan at Connecticut

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    Final Score: Michigan 24, Connecticut 21


    When: Saturday, Sept. 21, at 8 p.m.

    No. 15 Michigan visits Connecticut in a game where home-field advantage will play almost zero role. The Wolverines are a much better squad, and this game would have ended in their favor even if UConn's five draftees were still on the roster.

    The fact that those five players are not going to suit up for Connecticut makes this projection even more lopsided. The Huskies aren't going to be having fun on Sept. 21.


    Prediction: Michigan 45, Connecticut 13

Missouri at Indiana

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    Final Score: Missouri 45, Indiana 28


    When: Saturday, Sept. 21, at 8 p.m.

    This game was easy to call during the preseason, when Indiana could have projected as a dark-horse candidate for the Big Ten title. Now that the Hoosiers have lost a game to the Navy Midshipmen, it became more difficult.

    After that, the Hoosiers came out of nowhere to nearly shut the Bowling Green Falcons out 42-10. Missouri is going to have a tough time, as evidenced by its Week 2 win over Toledo.

    Toledo is a far easier opponent than Indiana, but the Hoosiers clearly have consistency issues. The team that comes out more aggressive and intense is going to win this battle.


    Prediction: Indiana 42, Missouri 23

Kansas State at Texas

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    Final Score: Texas 31, Kansas State 21


    When: Saturday, Sept. 21, at 8 p.m.

    Kansas State travels to Texas to try to hand the Longhorns their third loss in a row. The Wildcats are entering a stadium that should be full of rabid fans, but that fanbase has been repeatedly disappointed over the last three seasons—plus a little more this season.

    Kansas State may not have Collin Klein any more, but it has Ty Zimmerman. Texas is going to have to play a whale of a game to come away with the win.

    Mack Brown and his players desperately need this win, and there's some weakness on the Kansas State side of the ball. While they'll have to play extremely well, this is a must-win for the home team.


    Prediction: Texas 34, Kansas State 31


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    Final Score: UTSA 32, UTEP 13


    When: Saturday, Sept. 21, at 8 p.m.

    The battle of the UT's takes place on Sept. 21, and it's between UTSA and UTEP. So far, the UTSA Roadrunners have been slightly more impressive on the whole. They have scored more points against quality opponents, and they held the lone common opponent to fewer points.

    The issue here is that the UTEP Miners scored more points than UTSA against New Mexico, even in the loss. These teams are incredibly even in terms of talent, and this will be one of the best pure football games of the week, even though it has little (if any) bowl implications.

    Defense will triumph at the end of this game.


    Prediction: UTSA 35, UTEP 31

Hawaii at Nevada

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    Final Score: Nevada 31, Hawaii 9


    When: Saturday, Sept. 21, at 8:05 p.m.

    Hawaii and Nevada are initiating conference battle against one another on Sept. 21, and this match is going to be better than a lot of people think. Cody Fajardo and the Nevada Wolf Pack are expected to contend for the Mountain West Conference, but they simply haven't shown that they are capable yet.

    Hawaii held USC and Oregon State to a combined 63 points, where Nevada gave up 120 to UCLA and Florida State. This puts the defenses closely matched, and the offenses are also in tight competition. (More than half of Nevada's points were scored against UC Davis.)

    This game is another upset waiting to happen, simply because Nevada's stats have been skewed by its FCS opponent, and Hawaii's defense is still underrated at the moment.

    Prediction: Hawaii 29, Nevada 27

Western Illinois at UNLV

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    Final Score: UNLV 38, Western Illinois 7


    When: Saturday, Sept. 21, at 9 p.m.

    Believe it or not, Western Illinois and UNLV have a common opponent. This doesn't mean that we know the outcome of the game based strictly on that information, but it does come to bear.

    Western Illinois lost to Minnesota 29-12, and UNLV lost 51-23. This does give us a good idea that the Leathernecks have a better defense, and the Rebels have a better offense, though it's just a pair of games played weeks apart.

    The win-loss records don't matter, because they are playing against two different tiers of skill levels. The points scored and allowed don't matter, because of the same reason. This is another game that will keep fans on the edges of their seats until the final whistle.


    Prediction: Western Illinois 28, UNLV 25

Utah at BYU

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    Final Score: Utah 20, BYU 13


    When: Saturday, Sept. 21, at 10:15 p.m.

    Utah and BYU play Game 2 of the in-state triple rivalry on Sept. 21, and each team has its distinct advantages. BYU has Kyle Van Noy and a potentially stifling defense. Utah has an offense that can go toe-to-toe with experienced Pac-12 quarterbacks for 60 minutes.

    This game is likely to be as close as the Utah vs. Utah State season opener that ended with a four-point margin of victory. This is yet another game that will be surprisingly good.


    Prediction: Utah 38, BYU 35 (OT)

Wyoming at Air Force

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    Final Score: Wyoming 56, Air Force 23


    When: Saturday, Sept. 21, at 10:15 p.m.

    Air Force and Wyoming are about to engage in the battle of the worst team names of the week. The Air Force Falcons (they fly) bring the more effective ground game, and the Wyoming Cowboys (horses are ground-based animals) will field the superior aerial attack.

    All-in-all, Brett Smith is the X-factor, and he'll bring home the win for Wyoming. He's an excellent quarterback, and it's not like he's taking on an AQ team here, though he did almost beat one in his season opener.


    Prediction: Wyoming 42, Air Force 36

New Mexico State at No. 13 UCLA

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    Final Score: UCLA 59, New Mexico State 13


    When: Saturday, Sept. 21, at 10:30 p.m.

    The nightcaps for Week 4 are about as interesting as infomercials, at least on paper. UCLA takes on New Mexico State, and there is no way the Bruins drop the game against the Aggies.

    UCLA has visions of a second trip to the Pac-12 Championship Game, but it expects to win this time around. New Mexico State is simply nowhere near competing with an elite Pac-12 squad.


    Prediction: UCLA 52, New Mexico State 3

Idaho at Washington State

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    Final Score: Washington State 42, Idaho 0


    When: Saturday, Sept. 21, at 10:30 p.m.

    The other 10:30 time slot belongs to the Washington State Cougars and the Idaho Vandals. Much like UCLA vs. New Mexico State, this is just a battle between different classes of team.

    If you take a Mustang—it doesn't matter what kind—and race it against a 50cc scooter, the Mustang is going to win all of the contests. That's what's going on here with Washington State and Idaho.

    The Cougars will roll.


    Prediction: Washington State 49, Idaho 0