College Football Week 4 Predictions: Projections for Top 10 Teams

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College Football Week 4 Predictions: Projections for Top 10 Teams
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Eight of the Top 10 teams in college football will face off on Saturday for Week 4 action. Oregon has a bye, and Clemson beat North Carolina State on Thursday night.

Are any of the Top 10 teams on upset alert? Or will it be a chalk week for the top of the collegiate world? 

We'll predict every game for the Top 10 below.

College Football Week 4 Top 10
Rank Team Opponent
1. Alabama Colorado State
2. Oregon Off
3. Clemson Defeated North Carolina State
4. Ohio State Florida A&M
5. Stanford Arizona State
6. LSU Auburn
7. Louisville Florida International
8. Florida State Bethune-Cookman
9. Georgia North Texas
10. Texas A&M Southern Methodist

http://collegefootball.ap.org/poll

 

The No-Doubters

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Let's just put it this way: If Alabama loses to Colorado State, then everything we thought we knew about college football was wrong. That's nothing against Colorado State, but the Rams are simply not in the same league as the Tide.

Colorado State is 1-2 with losses to Colorado and Tulsa—not exactly college football's best offerings. Their defense gives up a whopping 27.3 points per game. Garrett Grayson is a decent quarterback, but he hasn't really faced a defense like Alabama. And so far, the only quarterback to really shred the Tide was Johnny Manziel. And Grayson is no Johnny Manziel. This one could be ugly.

The same thing goes for Ohio State against Florida A&M. The Rattlers lost to Tennessee State by 20 points. Even with Braxton Miller banged up, the Buckeyes could win this one by 40.

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Louisville will beat up on Florida International, with Teddy Bridgewater padding his stats for a Heisman campaign. Jameis Winston should have a field day against Bethune-Cookman's defense, and the Seminoles should roll easily. Georgia will have an easy time with North Texas, and Johnny Manziel will put on a show against Southern Methodist's 105th-ranked defense.

All of these cupcake games, of course, degrade the quality of the game.

None of these teams have a fighting chance against the best in college football. Alabama's title credentials would be bolstered if they played top teams the entire season, because their impending beatdown of Colorado State is not that impressive. Teddy Bridgewater's Heisman run would be better if he put up big numbers against Florida, not Florida International. 

That probably will never happen, but it's worth thinking about.

 

Upset Specials?

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There are, however, two teams that could be in trouble. The first is Stanford, who takes on 23rd-ranked Arizona State.

This is the first tough team the Cardinal will face. The Sun Devils are a pretty well-rounded team with some star power. Their defense is ranked 20th in the nation, and they are led by stud senior defensive tackle Will Sutton. Sutton is tremendous at stopping the run, and he's equally as good at rushing the passer.

That will pose some problems for the Cardinal, who rely heavily on the run game. Tyler Gaffney has had a fine year, rushing for 236 yards and five touchdowns, and the team as a whole averages nearly 200 yards per game on the ground. 

If the Cardinal can't get their run game going, which they will have a tough time doing, then they are in big trouble. Quarterback Kevin Hogan needs the run game to cover some of his limitations, and while he's a fine game manager, he is not going to a win a game single-handedly. 

Stanford also has to deal with Arizona State's eighth-ranked pass offense, as well as their stud receiver Jaelen Strong, who has 162 receiving yards in two games. Combine that with all-purpose back Marion Grice, and there could be the ingredients for an upset.

It says here that the Sun Devils will shock the world and pull off the big win.

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The other potential upset is Auburn traveling to LSU. Auburn is quietly 3-0, and they've done it on the back of their defense. The Auburn defense has given up just 17.7 points per game. LSU was able to put up big points against TCU, but the Horned Frogs are now 1-2, so that performance should be taken with a grain of salt.

Auburn also possesses a two-headed rushing attack. Tre Mason and Corey Grant have rushed for a combined 436 rushing yards so far. Quarterback Nick Marshall has also rushed for 102 yards.

LSU has given up 332 yards on the ground, including 160 against UAB. Auburn averages a little over 100 more yards per game on the ground than UAB. 

It's always tough to go into Death Valley, and Auburn hasn't won in Baton Rouge since 1999. That said, Auburn's running game is incredibly explosive, and LSU is still working out the kinks with the run defense.

It's going to be hard, and it's going to be a tight game, but look for Auburn to barely squeak out an upset.

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