College Football Predictions Week 4: 5 Locks of the Day

Tom DohertyCorrespondent ISeptember 24, 2011

College Football Predictions Week 4: 5 Locks of the Day

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    It’s Saturday again in college football; and there’s a slew of great match-ups all across the board in Week 4.

    Four of today’s games feature top-25 schools head-to-head and many teams start conference play this weekend. This could be the last year college football fans see many of these conference games thanks to the mercurial state of conference realignment.

    With so many great games taking place, there are bound to be some fantastic finishes. I’m here to tell you about five games where the outcome is already certain.

    Here are the five locks for victories in college football for Week 4. 

#1 Oklahoma over Missouri

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    Expect the top-ranked Oklahoma Sooners to win at home tonight against the upset-minded Missouri Tigers in decisive fashion.

    Last season, the Sooners were stunned by then No.11 Missouri on the road on national television in a 36-27 loss. Missouri played a fabulous game, led by future first-round NFL draft choice Blaine Gabbert and a strong defense.

    This season Oklahoma is riding high while Missouri still finding their ground as a team. The Sooners are coming off of a huge road victory against No.5 Florida State and everything is clicking for them offensively. 

    Missouri, on the other hand, let one get away against Arizona State 37-30 in a crushing overtime defeat two weeks ago. The defense gave up almost 500 yards of offense.

    Add in the fact that the Tigers have been decimated by injuries at running back and the offensive line, and Oklahoma won't be getting the best Missouri has to offer.

    Simply put, Oklahoma has won 37 consecutive games at home. They have all their horses and have revenge on the brain for last season's upset at Missouri. Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops won't hesitate to score tons of points on them.

    Prediction: Oklahoma 38, Missouri 17 

#2 LSU over #16 West Virginia

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    This game is site of College Gameday, but I expect LSU to thoroughly dominate the West Virginia Mountaineers tonight.

    West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith has looked great these past three weeks. He led his team to a big win over Maryland last week and has amassed over 1,000 yards passing for seven touchdowns and one interception.

    With all due respect to the Moutaineers, they can't hold a candle to LSU's strength of schedule. West Virginia has played Marshall, Norfolk State, and Maryland to open the season. LSU has battled with Oregon, Northwestern State, and Mississippi State.

    The Tigers biggest strength is their secondary. There isn't a more physical or athletic secondary in the country and the rest of the defense is top-notch. Geno Smith and company won't see a better pass defense all season.

    Offensively, LSU likes to pound the ball early with running back Spencer Ware and let quarterback Jarrett Lee manage the game with well-timed throws.

    LSU is going to jump all over this West Virginia passing attack and the Mountaineers aren't physical enough to keep up in this game.

    Prediction: LSU 31, WVU 13

#6 Wisconsin over South Dakota

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    In a less marquee match-up, No.6 Wisconsin will run all over South Dakota at home today without breaking much of a sweat.

    The Badgers have been one of the most dominant teams in college football thus far. They've outscored opponents 135-24 and NC State transfer Russell Wilson has completed almost 76 percent of his passes. Starting running back Montee Ball already has seven touchdowns to his name.

    This is a warm-up game for next week's smack-down against Nebraska to open up Big Ten play. Until then, Wisconsin will have some fun tuning their game up against South Dakota. Thanks for showing up Coyote fans.

    Prediction: Wisconsin 49, South Dakota 7

#12 South Carolina over Vanderbilt

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    Many people are giving upstart Vanderbilt a puncher's chance, but South Carolina is vastly more talented and boasts a superior cast of offensive players that the Commodores cannot defend.

    Since switching back to quarterback Stephen Garcia, it's been business as usual for the Gamecock offense. He's a wild man, but he looks pretty good throwing the fade route to receiver Alshon Jeffery. Jeffery hasn't been as dominant as people were expecting, but he's still averaging over 17 yards per catch.

    The life force of the team is clearly sophomore running back Marcus Lattimore. Lattimore has been nothing short of fantastic, carrying the rock 87 times for 534 yards and seven touchdowns. For you math majors out there, that's 6.1 yards per rush.

    As for Vanderbilt, the future is bright under head coach James Franklin, but they aren't ready to take on the big dogs yet. Senior quarterback Larry Smith is a difference maker and could keep them in the game for awhile, but South Carolina's front-seven is swarming and loaded with speed.

    As long as the Gamecocks give Vanderbilt a healthy dosage of Marcus Lattimore, they will have no trouble winning this game.

    Prediction: South Carolina 27, Vanderbilt 10

#17 Baylor over Rice

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    The Rice Owls get a taste of the Robert Griffin show today and there's no question the Baylor Bears are going to score a lot of points in this one.

    Griffin has arguably been the best player in college football through three weeks, tossing 41 of 49 passes for 624 yards and eight touchdowns. Oh yeah, he adds 116 yards on the ground, too. There's not a quarterback like him in the country.

    He's not alone on offense, though. Senior receiver Kendall Wright is one of the most underrated players in the country and just recently became the school's all-time leading receiver. He has 312 receiving yards and three scores on the year.

    Rice took it on the rear against Texas in Week 1 and stole a win against Purdue a few weeks ago. The Owls weren't prolific in either games, but a win is a win.

    They don't have a prayer in stopping Robert Griffin, but Rice shouldn't feel bad. There aren't many teams that can stop a player like him. Griffin's presence alone makes this a no-contest. On a side note, look out for YouTube legend Sam McGuffie on the Rice sidelines.

    Prediction: Baylor 41, Rice 10