College Football Picks Week 4: Predictions for Top 25 Games on Upcoming Schedule

Steve Silverman@@profootballboyFeatured ColumnistSeptember 18, 2017

Sam Darnold may be the best passer in the nation.
Sam Darnold may be the best passer in the nation.Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

The USC Trojans were considered one of the top teams in the nation at the start of the season, and they have a 3-0 record as they get ready to take on the California Bears in the fourth week of the college football season.

According to OddsShark, the Trojans are 16-point favorites over the Bears in a game that will be played at Memorial Stadium in Berkeley, California, at 3:30 p.m. ET.

That may be a steep price for USC backers, considering the Trojans needed double overtime to get past Texas on Saturday—that's the same Longhorns team which lost its opener at home to unranked Maryland.

USC will rely on Heisman Trophy candidate Sam Darnold to lead the team to a big road win over its Pac-12 rival. The Bears are also 3-0, and they should have a raucous crowd backing them Saturday.

Darnold threw for 397 yards and three touchdowns in the win over the Longhorns, and he will have to pick it up where he left off if the Trojans are going to remain undefeated.

Look for USC to do enough to get the win, but the Bears should be able to cover the 16-point spread in what should be a tight game.


Top 25 Games, Week 4

Matchup, Predicted straight-up winner

Friday, Sept. 22

Temple at South Florida (21), South Florida

Utah (23) at Arizona, Utah

Saturday, Sept. 23

UNLV at Ohio State (10), Ohio State

North Carolina State at Florida State (12), Florida State

Kent State at Louisville (19), Louisville

Old Dominion at Virginia Tech (13), Virginia Tech

Alabama (1) at Vanderbilt, Alabama

Boston College at Clemson (2), Clemson

USC (5) at California, USC

TCU (16) at Oklahoma State (6), Oklahoma State

Toledo at Miami (14), Washington

Michigan (8) at Purdue, Purdue

Nevada at Washington State (18), Washington State

Oklahoma (3) at Baylor, Oklahoma

Mississippi State (17) at Georgia (11), Mississippi State

San Diego State (22) at Air Force, Air Force

Syracuse at LSU (25), LSU

Penn State (4) at Iowa, Penn State

Florida (20) at Kentucky, Kentucky

Washington (7) at Colorado, Colorado

Oregon (24) at Arizona Sate, Oregon


TCU at Oklahoma State

This game should be a monumental shootout between two powerful offensive teams.

The Big 12 is noted for back-and-forth fast-break type of games, but these two conference opponents may be ready to take it to a new level.

The 16th-rated Horned Frogs bring a 3-0 record to Stillwater, Oklahoma, to take on the sixth-rated Cowboys, who also have a 3-0 record.

TCU is led by running back Darius Anderson, who has carried the ball 42 times for 262 yards and three touchdowns. The Horned Frogs will try to use their running attack to keep the ball away from quarterback Mason Rudolph.

Mason Rudolph
Mason RudolphKeith Srakocic/Associated Press

Rudolph has been sensational through the early part of the season, completing 68 of 94 passes for 1,135 yards with 11 touchdowns.

The Cowboys are 11.5-point favorites, and their passing attack may be too much for their rivals. Look for Oklahoma State to win and cover at home.


Michigan at Purdue

Purdue has been a tail-ender in the Big Ten for years, and there was no reason to think it would be any different this year.

The Boilermakers were 3-9, 2-10 and 3-9 during the last three years, and when it came to playing defense, Purdue was basically incompetent. They gave up 226 points in their final five games.

Purdue head coach Jeff Brohm
Purdue head coach Jeff BrohmMichael Conroy/Associated Press

However, new coach Jeff Brohm has brought a major change of attitude, and the Boilermakers have gotten off to a 2-1 start. They served notice in the season opener with a 35-28 loss to powerful Louisville, staying close against a team with Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson. Since then, they have beaten Ohio 44-21 and run over Missouri by a 35-3 margin.

Purdue gets its next major test when it hosts Michigan on Saturday. The Wolverines are 3-0, and they come into the game as an eight-point favorite. 

Michigan has shown a powerful defense to this point, but quarterback Wilton Speight had been rather uneven and the Wolverines have not looked like world beaters on offense.

Boilermaker quarterback David Blough has thrown for 597 yards and six touchdowns so far this season, while Speight has thrown for 571 yards and three touchdowns.

Those numbers indicate the Boilermakers can stay close at home. We believe this game will come down to a last-minute score and the home team will find a way to come up with the key upset.


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