NCAA Football: Week Four Predictions and Scores
Welcome back college football fans! Week four is among us and there are several great games this coming weekend. Thursday night's game should be an entertaining one and Saturday is full of some awesome matchups.
If you are new to my predictions, I predict the winner and the final score of every top 25 game (AP Rankings) and a handful of other intriguing games outside of the top 25. Upsets are based on rankings, not point spreads.
Last week was pretty similar to my previous prediction slideshows, but I did guess an upset or two correctly, including FSU's win over BYU.
Last week's record: 23-7
Overall season record through three weeks: 63-20
Thursday Night: No. 4 Ole Miss (2-0) at South Carolina (2-1)
Thursday nights have traditionally been a night where upsets can occur. Something tells me this Thursday may be indeed one of those nights.
Ole Miss is a very good team with a lot of talent but I am still not sold on them. They have yet to play a challenging game, even though Memphis did give them a tough fight for three quarters.
Jevan Snead is a big time quarterback with some great weapons around him. I think their defense may struggle a bit this game against a team who may have found an offensive groove against Georgia.
South Carolina is known as a defensive team with an offensive genius head coach, Steve Spurrier. Their offense has sputtered in recent years and in their opening game against NC State, but the last two games have shown improvements.
If South Carolina can hold Ole Miss to under 24 points I believe they will win.
Winner: UPSET ALERT! South Carolina 29-24
No. 7 LSU (3-0) at Mississippi State (2-1)
LSU keeps on moving up even though they have yet to play a really impressive game. Nonetheless, they are getting the job done and this week at Mississippi State shouldn't be any different.
Tigers quarterback Jordan Jefferson should have a big game this weekend and the Tigers have way too much speed on offense for the Bulldogs to contain. If they put up over 30 points the game won't be close, and I think they will.
MSU has improved drastically and with a new leader at the helm, the Bulldogs are bound to be a top tier team in years to come. As of now though, they just do not have enough weapons to keep this game close.
The home crowd may inspire them to play hard but middle of the second quarter is when LSU should take control.
Winner: LSU 35-14
Fresno State (1-2) at No. 14 Cincinnati (3-0)
Cincinnati has shocked many people at how hot they have begun their season, and quarterback Tony Pike is having an incredible season thus far.
Fresno State may have a losing record but this is no cake walk game for the Bearcats. The Bulldogs always play hard and have a rushing attack to fear.
Tony Pike will lead this offense to over 35 points most likely, but the question is, can they hold Fresno State's offense down as well?
Cincinnati did a very solid job last weekend in shutting down a talented Oregon State team and I suspect the same this weekend.
Fresno State's running back Ryan Mathews is a flat-out stud with tremendous break away speed. If Fresno State's quarterback can put up decent numbers, and, make no mistakes, they do have a shot.
Unfortunately, I don't see that. The Bulldogs will make some noise but not enough to spoil the Bearcats' season.
Winner: Cincinnati 40-23
South Florida (3-0) at No. 18 Florida State (2-1)
This should be a very interesting game for the folks down in Florida who never thought they'd see the day these two teams would play.
Last week the Noles stunned much of the college football world when they went into BYU and didn't just beat the Cougs, they demolished them.
I picked FSU in the upset so i wasn't shocked by that, but I was surprised by how easily they beat them. The Noles offense moved the ball with ease and their running game was as good as Bowden has seen in a long time.
South Florida has been a very strong program especially when one considers how long they have had a football team (less than a decade).
There is a huge problem facing the Bulls though. Their starting quarterback and leader, Matt Grothe, is out for the rest of the season with a torn ACL.
Backup B.J. Daniels looked very impressive last week when he replaced the injured Grothe, but then again it was against a very weak team. If FSU can force two or more turnovers in this game, it may not be very close.
In-state games are typically close though so some Florida pride may be on the line in Tallahassee Saturday.
Winner: Florida State 36-21
Southern Miss (3-0) at No. 20 Kansas (3-0)
This battle of unbeaten teams may be a better game than many think. Southern Miss has the ability to put up points. Their speed on the outside is impressive and they may be able to challenge KU's secondary.
The Jayhawks however, have a veteran quarterback in Todd Reesing who has the ability to exploit any defense.
His numbers are very impressive this season and I think he will have another big day through the air on Saturday. First team to 28 wins, and it should be KU.
Winner: Kansas 35-20
No. 22 North Carolina (3-0) at Georgia Tech (2-1)
North Carolina has quietly begun the season 3-0 and is looking very good heading into ACC play. They are led by quarterback T.J. Yates and a handful of weapons around him, including a strong running game.
The defense has been a big plus this year and look for them to put eight maybe even nine in the box at times to force G-Tech to throw the ball.
The Yellow Jackets really struggled against Miami last week and their offense may have hit a flat tire. At times it looks fast and powerful and other times it looks broken.
G-Tech has virtually no passing game so much of this game depends on the offensive line. The home crowd will help but I am taking the Tar Heels balanced offense to control the clock.
Winner: North Carolina 31-26
Indiana (3-0) at No. 23 Michigan (3-0)
Two undefeated Big Ten teams in action here. Indiana is a young team with a nice running back in Demetrius McCray. He has good speed and his agility is underrated. He may have a big game against the Wolverines, but that may be it for the Hoosiers.
Michigan is led by freshman star Tate Forcier, and boy have the Wolverines put up points this season. They have a lot of speed on offense and should have no trouble scoring this weekend.
The defense is still a bit of a worry but they definitely have enough to hold off the Hoosiers offense.
Winner: Michigan 33-19
UTEP (1-2) at No. 2 Texas (3-0)
Colt McCoy and his Texas Longhorns didn't put on the display their fans were hoping for last weekend against Texas Tech but this is a new week and they have nothing to worry about against UTEP.
UTEP does have a nice little running back in Donald Buckram but that is about it. Their passing game is not impressive and neither is their defense.
McCoy should be able to throw all over this defense, and I would be surprised to see the Miners put up more than 14 points in this one.
Winner: Texas 45-14
Arkansas (1-1) at No. 3 Alabama (3-0)
This will be one of the more intriguing games of the weekend, and it will be interesting to see the battle between Alabama's defense and Arkansas' offense.
The Razorbacks can put up points this year and their quarterback Ryan Mallet is a huge reason why. He has a rocket arm and isn't afraid to throw deep on anyone.
The biggest concern for Arkansas in this game is their defense. The secondary is very weak and I expect Saban's Tide to take advantage of this.
Bama's offense will be going to the air on Saturday so look for wideout Julio Jones to put up big numbers. Saban saw Georgia pass all over the Hogs and I believe he will take a similar approach.
Bama has a much better defense than the Dawgs, so I don't expect as big of a day for the Arkansas offense.
Winner: Alabama 44-21
No. 6 California (3-0) at Oregon (2-1)
This could be one of the games of the day if both teams play to their potential. However, will Cal be overlooking Oregon at all since USC comes to town next weekend?
Cal has probably the best running back in the nation in Jahvid Best while Oregon has a very unique and quick offense that also relies on the run.
Neither team likes to throw the ball, but Cal is a little better at doing so.
Playing up at Oregon will be a tough task for the Bears, and I see quarterback Kevin Riley having a difficult day.
Oregon's defense has showed great potential at times by forcing key turnovers but it will be interesting to see how they stop the nation's best runner.
Cal needs Riley to take care of the ball and they need another 100 yard performance from Best to win this one. I think this will be a close and exciting game that may come down to the end.
Winner: UPSET ALERT! Oregon 30-27
No. 9 Miami (2-0) at No. 11 Virginia Tech (2-1)
Another gem here.
Virginia Tech is coming off an incredible last second win over Nebraska last week while Miami is coming to town with a 2-0 record against two pretty good teams.
Tech is known for its defense which it showed last weekend, but they were exposed a bit in the opening game against Bama.
Tyrod Taylor will be a big part of this game, and if he is able to match Jacory Harris' efficiency then Miami is in trouble defensively.
I still think UM has some holes on defense, but it is up to VT to exploit them.
Jacory Harris has been unreal so far this year. His poise has been great and his arm very accurate. I think the key to the Canes offense is their ability to run.
VT will be out to control the passing game and may leave some holes up front for their running backs. Another nail biter for Tech?
Winner: UPSET ALERT! Virginia Tech 33-28
Illinois (1-1) at No. 13 Ohio State (2-1)
Juice Williams and Illinois began the season by getting hammered by Missouri. Their second game was much better but it was against a very bad team in Illinois State.
Having said that, I do think the Illini may challenge the Buckeyes for part of the game. Williams does have the ability to make plays and turn nothing into something. The Buckeyes' defense has looked awesome so far this season, and I expect them to have another big day.
Defensively, the Illini were exposed by Missouri in regards to their secondary. They gave up a ton of big plays, and I don't think their defense can match OSU's offensive weapons.
Pryor should have a big game but again don't be surprised if the Illini hang tough for maybe a quarter or half.
Winner: Ohio State 32-15
No. 15 TCU (2-0) at Clemson (2-1)
The Clemson Tigers have come out of the gate and surprised many people, including myself. They are a field goal away from being 3-0. They have a special player in running back C.J. Spiller and I expect him to use his speed to burn the TCU defense.
Look for several screen plays and quick tosses to allow for Spiller to have some empty space to run.
TCU has a very superb defense and even though Spiller may have a decent day, they are counting on intercepting a few passes from Kyle Parker.
TCU's offense is led by talented running back Joseph Turner. He may have a big game but I like Clemson's speed and physicality to take this over.
Winner: UPSET ALERT! Clemson 27-17
No. 1 Florida (3-0) at Kentucky (2-0)
The Gators didn't look as good as most expected last weekend against the Vols. But they did get the job done, and that is what really matters.
Tebow carried the team even though he didn't play up to his typical high standards. Chris Rainey will be the X factor in this game and I expect a huge game for him against UK.
UK may be undefeated but I don't think they are good enough to really challenge Florida. The Wildcats do have an extremely balanced offense, but I think even a UF team bothered by the flu will come in hungry for a big win.
Winner: Florida 37-13
Colorado State (3-0) at No. 19 BYU (2-1)
BYU was embarrassed last weekend in their own stadium and there is no way they let it happen again. Max Hall is too talented and BYU is too good of a team to lose to the Rams this weekend.
Colorado State is 3-0 and had a nice win against Nevada last weekend, but their defense is suspect. Weber State nearly upset the Rams and I see BYU coming out of the gate ready to turn their season.
Winner: BYU 42-23
No. 8 Boise State (3-0) at Bowling Green (1-2)
Kellen Moore and Boise State have put up some impressive numbers so far this season. Bowling Green has also played very well and despite their record, they should be able to play competitive with the Broncos.
Boise State's passing game is explosive and consistent so I look for another solid game from Moore and company. The defense looked good the first two weeks but against Fresno State last week they were exposed up front.
This game however, I see them winning after a tight first quarter.
Grambling State (2-1) at No. 16 Oklahoma State (2-1)
This one won't be close. Zac Robinson and Dez Bryant should have a big game and put up some huge stats. The Cowboys team is hard to figure out so far in 2009, but I see a blowout win here.
Winner: Oklahoma State 47-13
Arizona State (2-0) at No. 21 Georgia (2-1)
Joe Cox and his Georgia Bulldogs have their offense rolling. Arizona State is coming to town, and although they were picked to place in the middle of the Pac 10 this season, they have started off with two nice wins over weaker opponents.
Kyle Williams is their leading receiver and I see Dennis Erickson's Devils challenging the Dawgs weakness, pass defense. Ryan Mallet of Arkansas tore UGA's secondary up last weekend and ASU is hoping to do the same.
The Dawgs have the advantage in most categories except for defense. Still, I think the Dawgs will outscore ASU and will win for the second straight year. ASU's defense hasn't been tested yet. They will be this weekend.
Winner: Georgia 36-24
Louisiana-Lafeyette (2-1) at No. 25 Nebraska (2-1)
Bo Pelini and his Cornhuskers have looked very good so far this season, even though they lost a heart breaker to Virginia Tech this past week.
They look much improved from their 2008 season and Pelini has Nebraska on the right track. Their quarterback play has been very steady with Zac Lee, and their rushing attack has also been a key to their success.
Louisiana-Lafeyette had an impressive win over Kansas State two weeks ago but were shut down last weekend at LSU. Their defense is pretty good but their offense has a lot of issues.
This may be a decent game to start, but Nebraska has too many good players to keep this one close.
Winner: Nebraska 34-7
Iowa (3-0) at No. 5 Penn State (3-0)
Some people, in fact most people, will not like this pick but something tells me Iowa is ready to win at Happy Valley. They have a veteran quarterback in Ricky Stanzi, and their rushing attack hasn't slowed down much even without Mr. Hampton.
The defense has been very strong and I think Penn State's offense may struggle in this one.
Penn State's Darryl Clark is having a tremendous year and his play will certainly be key for the Nittany Lions on Saturday night.
Penn State has yet to play a great game and I think playing a very soft early schedule may have a lot to do with it.
If they show up and play to their ability, they win this game. If they play the way they have been, Iowa will steal one in Beaver Stadium.
Which team will show up?
Winner: UPSET ALERT! Iowa 20-17
No. 24 Washington (2-1) at Stanford (2-1)
Who would have thought that four weeks into the season the Washington Huskies would be ranked in the top 25? I guess the quarterback position is that important. Just ask the Huskies and star QB Jake Locker.
Coming off a historic win at home versus a battered down USC team, the Huskies look for three straight wins for the first time in years.
Stanford on the other hand is looking to improve on their 2-1 start which could easily be 3-0. The Cardinal lost a close one on the road to Wake Forest a few weeks ago.
Their rushing attack is led by Toby Gerhart, who is nothing short of a beast. I see UW having a lot of trouble with him this weekend.
Jake Locker is UW's MVP and the game will again be in his hands. He has a superb ability to make plays inside and outside of the pocket.
I like Stanford's ability to run in this game and just as USC found out after the Ohio State win, a let down often follows an all-time high.
Winner: UPSET ALERT! Stanford 24-17
Texas Tech (2-1) at No. 17 Houston (2-0)
Talk about high powered offenses...meet Houston and Texas Tech.
Both teams love to throw the ball and don't mind doing it over 40 times a game. Texas Tech's defense played much better than many expected last week against Texas but playing back to back road games may be a tough task.
This game will be quarterback versus quarterback; Houston's Case Keenum versus Texas Tech's Taylor Potts.
I expect both players to have huge games, and whichever quarterback makes the least amount of mistakes will find themselves on top.
Turnovers and field position decide this up and down game.
Winner: UPSET ALERT! Texas Tech 42-33
Washington State (1-2) at No. 12 USC (2-1)
Everyone knows the Trojans lost a game they were supposed to win last weekend, but this is a new week and many of their injured players are on schedule to come back soon.
One of those players is freshman quarterback Matt Barkley who missed the Washington game due to a injured shoulder.
Although Carroll hasn't announced his starter yet, everyone expects Barkley to be back in there. The offense needs to wake up and the play calling needs to get more aggressive.
If the coaches really trust this kid, they will let him go out and have a big day through the air. USC needs to throw the ball down field and use play action passes much more.
Last week running back C.J. Gable sat out with the flu. This week I expect him to get playing time and possibly out work Stafon Johnson.
Washington State won a tight one last week and this week the last team they wanted to see was in angry Trojan's team.
Last year USC won 69-0, but this year I expect a little improvement from the Cougars. WSU's starting running back is out for the rest of the year and on a struggling team, he was the bright star.
Expect USC to bounce back comfortably. This is a statement game...win big or have more doubters.
Winner: USC 45-9
More Intriguing Games and the College Chick(s) of the Day
Here are my predictions for the other intriguing games around college football this weekend.
Plus, another round of the hot college babe(s) of the day, pictured here.
Arizona at Oregon State: I'm going with Oregon State at home, 28-24.
Notre Dame at Purdue: Fighting Irish win it 35-26
New Mexico State at New Mexico: I like New Mexico State, close, 24-21
Pittsburgh at NC State: Pitt on the road 27-21
Michigan State at Wisconsin: The Badgers at home 21-17
Friday night—Missouri at Nevada: Missouri offense takes it 37-27