Week Four Predictions
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Well, here we go, another forecasting of the impossible to forecast. It's like predicting the weather - even more difficult. In the three years of the Pick'em Contest, a picker picking a perfect 15-0 record does not come to mind. It may have happened, I honestly can't remember. What I do know is that I have not scored a perfect weekend yet. But I do find myself in first place after three weeks in this year's version, and I look to keep that standing or pull my hair out trying. Here are my predictions for week four...
(all times Eastern, all rankings AP)
#19 Miami at Pittsburgh - 7:30 - ESPN - The toughest game of them all to pick might be this one right here to get us going. You would think by now that I would have learned my lesson, and that for hell or high water I wouldn't pick an ACC team in a game that means anything. Nope. I guess I'm just hard headed, but I just get the feeling Miami is going to play well and win on the road. The ACC has its reccuring black-eye back at this point, it's time to win now that nobody cares! Miami, 29-20.
NC State at Georgia Tech - 12:00 - ESPN - Another tough game to pick. Man! Although I am impressed with NC State's win over Cincinnati, that was at home and the Bearcats "aint really all that," if you know what I mean. GT lost at Kansas, but turned around and got a gutsy win close over UNC on the highway a week ago. Bobby Dodd Stadium, though small, can be a good home advantage, and I don't know how NCSU will do without the help of 65,000 red-clad fans of their own (I really was impressed with State's fans on TV last week). We will find out soon enough, but I'm picking the Jackets. Georgia Tech, 30-26.
Virginia Tech at Boston College - 12:00 - ESPN3.com - Again, now that they have had their yearly stumble, VT is ready to go on a rampage. Site member "HokiesCavs" tells me to take it the bank that VT will win the Coastal. You know what? He is probably right. It started last week with a pummeling of East Carolina, and let's now sit back and watch the Hokie train pick up steam! Boston College is always a tough opposition as they play fundamental, old-school football, but I think VT gets it going now. Virginia Tech, 27-21.
USC at Washington State - 3:00 - no TV - Basing things simply on the recent past, I would see no reason that Washington State would have a chance in this game. USC is the team with the pressure though, and a long ways from home, they will have to execute. If USC gets down early, the pressure will be there big time. I see getting an early lead imperitave to any chance WSU has. If they can, though, this could easily be the upset special of the week! USC, 30-17.
Wake Forest at Florida State - 3:30 - ABC regional - A few years ago, I thought as long as Jim Grobe was the Wake coach, and even with limited resources, the Deacons would contend for the ACC crown. Turns out that isn't the case. I still like him as a coach, but I am surprised that the Deacons have fallen this far. Stanford put 62 on them after Wake won a year ago. FSU meanwhile is not off to the start they really wanted, either, but did get some good things going in a win last week over BYU. I have to think Florida State gets it going again over Wake. Florida State, 35-21.
UCLA at #7 Texas - 3:30 - ABC regional - A couple of weeks ago, after being shut-out by Stanford at home, Bruin Head Coach Rick Neuheisel told his fans things would get better via microphone on the field at the game. And they did in fact get better, as UCLA won their next game over a ranked Houston squad. But the good times (cough, cough) will all come to an end, I feel, in Austin, Texas on Saturday. Texas, 35-21.
#1 Alabama at #10 Arkansas - 3:30 - CBS - Although I am impressed with Arkansas' voyage into the top ten, it will be short-lived. Alabama is just too talented and too disciplined to lose this game - or any game. The place will be going bananas in the beginning, and it wouldn't suprise me to see Arkansas give Bama a first half scare. But once again, behind the running duo of Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson, and a nasty defensive effort...Roll Tide! Alabama, 38 - 28.
#16 Stanford at Notre Dame - 3:30 - NBC - Being the broken record I can be, you have heard me say that ND is going to go places under Brian Kelly. I still believe that. The only problem in their immediate future is a visiting Stanford team that is offensively dominant. Notre Dame Stadium is always a hostile place to play, and Saturday will be a real tough test for Stanford. But I think the Cardinal, led by Heisman candidate quarterback Andrew Luck, are good enough on offense to win the game. Stanford, 37-31.
Kentucky at #9 Florida - 7:00 - ESPNU - With the nation doubting what the Gators have this year, here is a chance for UF to show that not too much has changed. Unless you are blind, you have seen that the Gators have recruited as well as just about anyone in recent seasons, and those guys are coming of age right now. Florida will put up impressive numbers in this game as they look to move up the national polls. Florida, 44-17.
Georgia at Mississippi State - 7:00 - ESPN3.com - One Bulldog coach is in his second season and struggling, but has tons of energy and hope. The other Bulldog coach is in his tenth season, and I'm not seeing the same energy nor hope that I once saw in him. This game features two coaches who need a win so bad it is scary. With wide-receiver AJ Green still out for UGA, and home-field for MSU, I'm picking State in a thriller. Mississippi State, 28-27.
#12 South Carolina at #17 Auburn - 7:45 - ESPN - I have tossed and turned over this game all week. Is South Carolina ready to take a step to 2-0 in SEC play and perhaps a spot in the top ten? Or is Auburn ready to defend home-field in back-to-back weeks on national TV, and boost themselves towards 2-0 in the league and the edge of the top ten? The matchups offensively to defensively in this game are intriguing, and this will be my showcase game to watch, no doubt about it. I'm sticking with my gut from last week, where I told myself that Auburn nearly always finds a way to win at home, and thus for the first time in years picked against my own team. This isn't an anti-USC pick my feathered friends, remember, I'm trying to win the Pick'em Contest! Auburn, 24-20.
#24 Oregon State at #3 Boise State - 8:00 - ABC - Anyone silly enough to pick against Bosie State at home on that crazy field is crazy themselves. I have watched this team dismantle opponents - home field or not - like an elf in the toy reject room the last several seasons. Boise State is disciplined, orgainized, tough, and out to prove a point with every step on the field. If Oregon State wins this game, it will be my most shocking miss in memory. Boise state, 38-14.
#22 West Virginia at #15 LSU - 9:00 - ESPN2 - Just as Boise State is tough to beat on that blue field, so too are the Bayou Bengals from Baton Rouge when playing in Tiger Stadium! WVU is in my list of favorite schools, but I see them having a hard time winning this game. LSU isn't stocked-out loaded like we are accustomed to seeing, but they still have great athletes and Les Miles can coach his mad hat off when he wants to. This will be a great, passionate,entertaining game with lots of highlights and hard hits. In the end, I have to pick LSU to win at home. LSU, 32-28.
California at #14 Arizona - 10:00 - no TV - The Wildcats are in uncharted waters, can they survive? Just as they are starting to get some national press - and rightfully so after defeating a big boy - they best be careful. Cal could put all of this fun to an end real, real fast. I don't think they will, though. I watched the Arizona-Iowa replay, and know that the Wildcats have some great players. They must stay focused, that is all. Arizona, 33-20.
#5 Oregon at Arizona State - 10:30 - no TV - One side of me sees a huge upset in the making here. The other side of me says that Oregon has just way too much firepower to lose this game. I know the Ducks are truly national title material, but they can't lose focus in a tricky game such as this one. Here, they face an unranked conference opponent who will surely be playing for a very enthusiastic and supportive home crowd. The Ducks should win, but they better be ready to get after it. I've seen ASU pull some stunts before! Oregon, 41-23.
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