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College Football Week 4 Predictions: Top 25 Teams That Will Survive Upset Scares

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College Football Week 4 Predictions: Top 25 Teams That Will Survive Upset Scares
Ron Antonelli/Getty Images

Week 4 of the college football season has commenced, as the No. 3 Clemson Tigers outlasted the North Carolina State Wolfpack 26-14 on Thursday. While Clemson controlled the pace of the game, it was a close call that has put the college football world on notice.

Which other Top 25 teams will survive upset scares during Week 4?

The Week 4 schedule isn't too rough, but there are multiple rivalry games worth noting. From in-conference games to out-of-conference rivals looking to outlast familiar foes, multiple teams are on upset alert.

Here's who will survive the close calls.

 

No. 23 Arizona State Sun Devils (2-0) at No. 5 Stanford Cardinal (2-0)

Ron Antonelli/Getty Images

Date: Saturday, Sept. 21

Time: 7:00 p.m. ET

TV: Fox

Prediction: Stanford 27, Arizona State 21

The Arizona State Sun Devils have been one of the most pleasant surprises of the 2013 college football season. With a 55-0 shutout of Sacramento State and a wacky—and that truly is the only word to describe it—32-30 win over Wisconsin, Arizona State has moved up to No. 23 in the nation.

Head coach Todd Graham strikes again.

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Up next for the Sun Devils are the No. 5 Stanford Cardinal, who have started out 2-0 with consecutive wins in which they scored 34 points. This begins a seven-game span in which the Cardinal face four ranked teams at home.

It'll be close, but Stanford will survive a scare against a rising Arizona State team.

Sun Devils quarterback Taylor Kelly has thrown for 652 yards, five touchdowns and one interception on 63.4 percent passing through two games. He'll play a major role in this game, as he uses his legs to pick up first downs.

But Kelly will be going up against a Stanford team that's ranked in the Top 5 because of its defense, so don't expect his life to be easy Saturday.

To counter Kelly will be Stanford's running back attack led by Tyler Gaffney, who has rushed for 236 yards and three touchdowns through two games. Behind his ability to set the pace in short-yardage situations, Stanford will be able to counter Arizona State's high-octane offensive attack.

It won't be easy, but Stanford will survive.

 

Tennessee Volunteers (2-1) at No. 19 Florida Gators (1-1)

John Sommers II/Getty Images

Date: Saturday, Sept. 21

Time: 3:30 p.m. ET

TV: CBS

Prediction: Florida 21, Tennessee 20

The Florida Gators are fresh off of an upset loss to the Miami Hurricanes, and they will be looking to avoid falling below .500. The Tennessee Volunteers were absolutely dismantled by the Oregon Ducks, losing 59-14, and they are desperate to pick up a win.

Regardless of what happened before this game, don't ever underestimate the competitive nature of a rivalry.

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Florida has won eight consecutive games against the Vols, including a 37-20 victory in Knoxville during the 2012 season. With that being said, Tennessee was leading 20-13 with as little as 3:16 remaining in the third quarter.

It all comes down to whether Tennessee can come up with consistent quarterback play after averaging 137.3 passing yards per game through three.

Florida's offense hasn't been much better, but its defense was able to shut down both Miami and Toledo. Against Tennessee, there's a high probability the low scoring will continue, as neither team can truly rely upon its offense.

Did we expect anything else from these fierce SEC rivals?

The Gators still know how to run the football, and Tennessee always seems to overachieve against Florida. While Tennessee may create a competitive ball game, Florida will create enough turnovers to take control.

Prepare for a gutsy game between Florida and Tennessee.

 

Michigan State Spartans (3-0) at No. 22 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (2-1)

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Date: Saturday, Sept. 21

Time: 3:30 p.m. ET

TV: NBC

Prediction: Notre Dame 23, Michigan State 17

A rivalry will resume Saturday, Sept. 21 when the Michigan State Spartans travel to play the No. 22 Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Both teams are defensive-minded squads that know how to get after the quarterback and thrive in forcing turnovers.

In South Bend, Ind., two defensive powers will meet, and Notre Dame will be given a major scare.

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Notre Dame has already experienced its fair share of close games, losing a 41-30 road game to the University of Michigan and defeating Purdue 31-24. The common theme has been the play of Tommy Rees, who has topped 300 passing yards in each game.

The Fighting Irish will need another star-caliber performance from Rees to escape this game against Michigan State.

Michigan State already has nine sacks, four interceptions and two defensive touchdowns. Offensively, running back Jeremy Langford has scored a touchdown in three consecutive games, but the quarterback play has been inconsistent at best.

Thus far, three separate Spartans quarterbacks have thrown at least 14 passes, and only Tyler O'Connor has completed at least 60 percent of those throws.

In the end, Michigan State's inability to put forth consistent production at quarterback will be its undoing. Rees will have a rough day, but DaVaris Daniels and TJ Jones will provide enough big plays down field for the Irish to enter scoring position.

From there, it will come down to which quarterback can produce in the red zone, and that will lead to Rees outdueling Michigan State's quarterback play.

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