Grading the Biggest College Football Games of Week Four

Kristofer GreenSenior Writer ISeptember 21, 2008


What a great weekend of football! The SEC proved once again they are the nation’s best conference.

LSU shows no signs of a drop off from last season’s National Championship team. The Tigers and proved they are still a team to beat in the SEC with a great performance and win against Auburn on the road.

Georgia, traveling west of Arkansas for the first time in over 40 years, made a strong case for the No. 1 spot.

Florida, in a rivalry game, showed complete dominance over a floundering Tennessee team.

Alabama is giving its fans reason to believe this may be the year the Tide gets back to rolling.

Outside of the SEC, Michigan State’s Javon Ringer is making his case for a trip to New York at the end of the season with yet another 200-yard rushing performance.

Ohio State’s Terrelle Pryor, in his first start for the Buckeyes, proved the hype was warranted with a four-touchdown performance.


In week four of my Picking College Football’s Biggest Games Article, I went 6-5 straight up and 7-4 against the spread. For the year I am 38-19 straight up and 19-20 against the spread. 

Troy at No. 13 Ohio State    Prediction: Ohio State, 27-17    Final: OSU, 28-10
The Terrelle Pryor era has begun at Ohio State and the freshman quarterback stepped up admirably, throwing four touchdowns and rushing for 67 yards.  The Buckeyes rebounded from last weekend’s disaster in LA, but there are still some problems that must be addressed before the team gets into the meat of the Big Ten schedule.
Grade:  C+
Troy is certainly no cupcake.  The team is well coached and has some very talented athletes.  The problem for the Trojans in this game was that they couldn’t compete with Ohio State’s depth in the trenches.  They competed hard and kept the game close, but two interceptions ultimately were too much to overcome.
Grade:  C

No. 15 East Carolina at NC State    Prediction:  East Carolina, 28-14    Final:  NC State, 30-24
To start the second quarter, NC State scored its first offensive touchdown against a FBS opponent since last November.  That was all the confidence this team needed.  They kept the pace with East Carolina the entire game, and then in overtime Andre Brown jumped over one defender and ran over another to score to lift the Wolfpack to the upset victory.
Grade:  B-
If only Skip Holtz would have elected to kick a field goal instead of going for it on fourth-and-one from the 1-yard line, the Pirates hopes of busting the BCS would have salvaged.  But Jonathan Williams was stuffed for a 4-yard loss and the Pirates squandered a golden opportunity to put the game away.
Grade:  D
Iowa at Pittsburgh    Prediction:  Iowa, 24-20    Final:  Pitt, 21-20
LeSean McCoy has struggled this season to find the same rhythm he had in his record-breaking freshman season.  He has yet to have a 100-yard game, and although he wouldn’t get to 100 against the Hawkeyes, McCoy did have a 28-yard run to set up his game winning touchdown.
Grade:  C+
Iowa got a great performance from Shonn Greene, who rushed for 147 yards on 23 carries, but the Hawkeyes defense couldn’t hold onto a 17-14 lead at the end of the third quarter, and Kirk Ferentz’s decision to play Jake Christensen instead of Ricky Stanzi in the second half was puzzling.  Stanzi outplayed Christensen in the first half and Christensen’s fumble on the Hawkeyes' final drive killed any chance of a comeback.
Grade: D+

No. 9 Alabama at Arkansas    Prediction: Alabama, 34-17    Final:  Bama, 49-14
Bama’s Glenn Coffee rushed for an amazing 162 yards on 10 carries and two touchdowns as the Tide rolled over the Razorbacks.  Javier Arenas and Justin Woodall both had long interception returns for touchdowns. For the first time in school history, Bama had two interception returns in the same game.
Grade:  A
Arkansas has a long way to go.  The offense could never really get anything going, and Casey Dick sputtered to 190 yards on 39 attempts and had three interceptions in the game.  Back-up Tyler Wilson wasn’t any better, throwing for only 27 yards on seven attempts, including an interception.
Grade:  F

No. 4 Florida at Tennessee    Prediction:  Florida, 35-24    Final:  Florida, 30-6
Florida took advantage of three turnovers by Tennessee, and Brandon James had his fourth career punt return for a TD as Florida made Gator bait out of rival Tennessee for the fourth straight time.
The scary part about this Florida team is that Tim Tebow and the offense have yet to hit their stride.  Urban Meyer has yet to lose to the Vols and with this game improved to 8-1 against Florida’s three biggest rivals, Tennessee, Georgia, and Florida State.
Grade:  B+
Tennessee played a mistake-filled game and Phil Fulmer fell to 5-12 all-time against the Gators.  Including the fourth quarter of last season’s game, Florida has shut out Tennessee for four straight quarters and hung 58 points on the Vols.
Jonathan Crompton ended the drought with a 1-yard quarterback sneak in the fourth quarter, but failed to convert on a two-point conversion.  Fans showered their team with boos and began exiting en masse, as Tennessee begins the season 1-2 for the second straight year.
Grade:  F

Boise State at No. 17 Oregon    Prediction:  Oregon, 28-17    Final: Boise State, 37-32
The Broncos upset the Ducks for their first victory on the road over a BCS-conference team. Redshirt freshman Kellen Moore led the way for Boise State with 386 yards passing and three touchdowns.  The Broncos took a 24-6 lead into halftime and led 37-13 at the end of the third.
Grade:  A
The Ducks quarterback woes continued in this game when Jeremiah Masoli, the third string quarterback, who was starting in place of injured Nate Costa and Justin Roper, left the game in the first quarter with a mild concussion. 
Fourth-string quarterback and true freshman Chris Harper was ineffective, so Mike Belotti went to another true freshman, Darron Thomas, who had previously been red-shirted for the year. He was effective and threw three fourth-quarter touchdowns, but time ran out on the Ducks.
Grade:  C

Notre Dame at Michigan State    Prediction:  Michigan State, 28-17    Final: MSU, 23-7
Javon Ringer, who ran for 201 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Spartans, has back-to-back 200 yard rushing games and has 699 rushing yards in four games this season. He also has 11 rushing TDs, which lead all FBS players.
The Spartans have won nine of their last 12 meetings against Notre Dame and have beaten them 27 times overall, the second most by any Irish opponent (USC, 32).
Grade:  B-
Jimmy Clausen played well for Notre Dame, throwing for 242 yards and a touchdown. He also threw two interceptions and was sacked twice.  The Irish turned the ball over three times and missed two field goals, hurting their chances of starting 3-0 for the first time since 2002 and the second time in 12 years.
Grade:  D+

Virginia Tech at North Carolina    Prediction:  North Carolina, 27-23    Final:  VT, 20-17
Dustin Keys kicked the go-ahead 45-yard field goal to cap Virginia Tech's comeback from a two-touchdown deficit and beat North Carolina in a match-up of ACC division favorites.  Kenny Lewis Jr. and Darren Evans each ran for second-half touchdowns for the Hokies, who struggled much of the game and trailed 17-3 midway through the third quarter before finding a way to win their fifth straight in the series.
Grade:  C
Brandon Tate and Greg Little each scored touchdowns for the Tar Heels, who had pointed to this game as their shot to prove they had arrived as a rising league power in Butch Davis' second season.  Instead, North Carolina's players and fans got a painful reminder that the rebuilding project will not be an overnight success.
Grade:  C

No. 18 Wake Forest at No. 24 Florida State    Prediction:  FSU, 27-21    Final:  WF, 12-3
Sam Swank kicked four field goals and the Demon Deacon defense forced seven Florida State turnovers in running its winning streak over the Seminoles to three games.  Wake Forest squandered scoring chances, the entire game including three missed field goals by Swank and failed to get into the end zone for the first time this season.
Grade: D
Christian Ponder played most of the first half at quarterback for Florida State while D'Vontrey Richardson took over for most of the second half, but neither was effective. Ponder was intercepted three times and Richardson twice.  Offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher looks to have lost some luster in the eyes of Seminoles fans.
Grade:  F

No. 3 Georgia at Arizona State    Prediction:  Georgia, 28-20    Final:  UGA, 27-10
Knowshon Moreno rushed for 149 yards and two touchdowns, A.J. Green caught eight passes for 159 yards, Matthew Stafford had a career high 285 yards passing, and Georgia’s defense was dominant in the romp.  The Dawgs are now an amazing 15-for-15 in the red zone on the season.
Grade:  B+
Arizona State finished with four yards rushing on 19 carries, its paltriest rushing total since the Sun Devils netted minus-2 against California on Nov. 9, 2002.  Coming off an unthinkable loss to UNLV on the same field one week ago, the Sun Devils had hoped to spring an upset. Instead, they produced another subpar performance in the national spotlight.
Grade:  D-

Game of the Week
No. 6 LSU at No. 10 Auburn    Prediction:  LSU, 14-10    Final:  LSU, 26-21
LSU made the final big play, and as usual that's what settled the annual down-to-the-wire clash with Auburn.  Jarrett Lee and Brandon LaFell hooked up on an 18-yard touchdown pass with 1:03 left to lift LSU to yet another dramatic comeback win over Auburn in an SEC West showdown that once again produced a fantastic finish and wild momentum swings.
Grade:  A-
Quarterback Chris Todd had his most productive game yet, going 17-for-32 for 250 yards, but the junior college transfer was intercepted twice by Chris Hawkins.  Auburn's defense had been fantastic heading into Saturday. The Tigers had held opponents to just 15 total points and a third down conversion percentage of 6.5 percent, best among FBS teams. Saturday, however, proved a different story vs. LSU.
Grade:  B