Week 4 may be the best week so far in the college football season, as four games feature two teams ranked within the top 25 playing each other. There will be no shortage of good games to watch this weekend.
Three weeks into the season, with apologies to several fans across the country, there are two teams that are clearly leading the pack—Ohio State and Alabama. Boise State, TCU, Oregon, and Nebraska are knocking on the door.
Of course, there will be several upsets between now and the end of the season. Arkansas hopes to be a part of the upset season with one of its own this week.
On the season, we are 19-6. Hopefully, we won’t fall prey to upsets this week.
No. 19 Miami (1-1) at Pittsburgh (1-1)
Miami head coach Randy Shannon closed the doors to the locker room after the Canes' 36-24 loss to Ohio State to let his boys know that they blew a golden opportunity.
“I’ve never been a guy that just goes off,” Shannon said. “But they needed it at that time because I was frustrated.”
Pittsburgh has had its share of frustration with players arrested for alcohol-related incidents, losing to DE star Greg Romeus for at least six weeks to injury and seeing Dion Lewis struggle running the ball with 105 yards and 32 carriers.
Prediction: The Canes should have enough speed on defense to make the Panthers one-dimensional. Miami 28-21.
UCLA (1-2) at No. 7 Texas (3-0)
UCLA is a difficult team to figure out. Against Stanford two weeks ago, the Bruins had only 233 yards of offense and suffered a humiliating 35-0 loss. This past week, UCLA rebounded with a convincing 31-13 win over No. 23 Houston.
Texas has struggled on the offensive end putting up points, but they know that they are a defensive team that is tough to run against. The Texas run defense in the first three games of the season has given up only 128 rushing yards. Texas Tech had negative 14 rushing yards against the Longhorns.
Prediction: More questions than answers for coach Rick Neuheisel as the Longhorns win decisively, 35-10.
No. 1 Alabama (3-0) at No. 10 Arkansas (3-0)
This is the marquee game of the week as the Razorbacks seek to stake their claim for the BCS National Championship. Arkansas QB Ryan Mallett looked impressive in leading the Hogs in a 31-24 win over Georgia as he threw for 380 yards and three touchdowns.
Arkansas caught a break facing Georgia without star receiver A.J. Green. This week the Hogs will not be as lucky as the Crimson Tide now appears to be at full strength with DT Marcell Dareus and Heisman Trophy Winner and RB Mark Ingram back in the lineup.
Prediction: Alabama wins 31-20.
Temple (3-0) at No. 23 Penn State (3-0)
The Owls are 3-0 for the first time since 1979 and are coming off a solid 30-16 win over Connecticut. Could Temple double the number of bowl appearances in school history by going to its second consecutive bowl game this year?
Penn State rebounded nicely after its first loss of the season with a 24-0 win over Kent State, but all is not smiles in Happy Valley. The biggest question mark for the Nittany Lions is their running game. Senior Evan Royster has now gone over 3,000 yards in his career, but he has yet to rush for more than 40 yards in a game this season.
Prediction: Penn State should beat Temple 31-13, but expect a few anxious moments for Paterno.
Kentucky (3-0) at No. 9 Florida (3-0)
Former Wildcat assistant coach and wide receiver Joker Phillips was named Kentucky's head coach on January 6, 2010. Phillips is therefore well aware of how Kentucky has struggled against Florida. In the last two meetings between the teams, Florida has outscored Kentucky 104-12. Phillips is also aware of how the fortunes of the Wildcats have changed, as Kentucky has gone to four straight bowl games, a school record, and will likely go to another bowl game this year.
PredictionL Kentucky is a two-touchdown underdog, but something doesn’t seem quite right with Florida. Wildcats in a shocking upset over the Gators, 31-30.
No. 8 Oklahoma (3-0) at Cincinnati (1-2)
Oklahoma is a team that appears to get up for the big game and then play to the level of its competition when the spotlight is not on. The Sooners drilled No. 17 Florida State by 30 points but just got by Utah State and Air Force by a combined 10 points. The question in this game is whether the Sooners in their first road game will crack the whip and win going away, or will the Bearcats hang around to the very end becomes Oklahoma has lapses of disinterest.
Prediction: Coach Stoops should have everybody’s attention after the close call against Air Force. Oklahoma 41-17 over Cincinnati.
No. 12 South Carolina (3-0) v. No. 17 Auburn (3-0)
South Carolina Head Coach Steve Spurrier was not happy with his team’s performance as they needed an 80-yard interception touchdown with 6:38 in the fourth quarter to settle the game against Furman 38-19. “We were a little careless at times,” Spurrier said. “But maybe it was just one game. Maybe we can get in a game with Auburn and play as smart as we can.”
Auburn beat Mississippi State 17-14 two weeks ago, survived against Clemson 27-24 in overtime last week, and they appear to be headed for their third straight knockdown, drag out fight this week.
Prediction: Auburn becomes the cardiac kids of the 2010 football season in beating South Carolina 28-27.
No. 24 Oregon State (1-1) at No. 3 Boise State (2-0)
The Beavers struggled in defeating Louisville 35-28 and needed an interception by James Dockery to seal the deal. The Cardinals racked up 453 yards of total offense against Oregon State. If the Beavers are going to upset the Broncos, they will have to play better defense.
TCU passing Boise State in the final BCS poll is a distinct possibility because of their schedules, so it will be interesting to see how aggressively Boise State plays against Oregon State.
Prediction: Boise State needs a big win to recapture some first place votes it has lost the past two weeks, Broncos 35-13 over the Beavers to keep their BCS Championship hopes alive.
No. 22 West Virginia at No. 15 LSU
West Virginia, the standard bearer for the Big East, will have its hands full against the Tigers in Baton Rouge. Fortunately, the Mountaineers appear to have a truly balanced offensive attack with Noel Devine running the ball and Geno Smith throwing the ball.
LSU’s offense has struggled to sustain long drives. The Tigers defense, however, has been stout in creating turnovers and winning the battle of field position to give their offense a short field to work with to get into scoring position.
Prediction: The Mountaineers will have trouble picking up the blitz in a low scoring game as LSU wins 21-13.
No. 5 Oregon at Arizona State
The Ducks are putting up ridiculous numbers on the season as they averaging 63 points a game while allowing less than five points to be scored against them. Oregon is averaging more than 380 yards rushing the ball a game.
The Sun Devils almost pulled off an impressive road upset last week against No. 11 Wisconsin, ultimately falling 20-19. Quarterback Steven Threet has done a good job mixing things up and the running game has become balanced ensuring that Arizona State has a much better season than 2009.
Prediction: The Sun Devils will keep it close until halftime, but Oregon will then pull away in the second half 35-17.