Week Four Predictions
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I have to find a way to claw myself back into the Pick'em Contest. After a horrid start of 28-17 (including 7-8 in week two), I studied a bit harder this week and thought about the games a bit longer. Here are my picks for the biggest games of week four:
* All times EST, all rankings AP
Maryland at #8 West Virginia - 12:00 - FX - Folks, this one could get ugly. I am not sure what has happened to Maryland, but whatever it is, it aint good! They won two squeekers over pasties, then lost to UConn a week ago at home.... As for the home team, we all know they feature QB Geno Smith (734 yards and 9 TD's so far) and many others to help him. WVU wins this one without breaking a sweat. West Virginia, 54-13.
Kentucky at #14 Florida - 12:00 - SEC Network - The Gators are just starting to get their chomp back under Will Muschamp, and I don't expect a mediocre UK team to come into the Swamp and be the ones to dull those teeth. Kentucky is bad folks. Real bad. Florida will build on two big SEC road wins over Tennessee and Texas A&M to quickly move to 3-0 in the conference with a win here. Florida, 40-14.
Virginia at #17 TCU - 12:00 - ESPN - Here is the second game of a weird home-and-home between these two, with TCU winning the first one, back in 2009, 30-14. UVA is once again an extremely average football team. I wanted to think Mike London could make an impact, but as we near a season and a half under him, the 'Hoos look like they most always do. As for TCU, this will be a nice home game with plenty of highlights. TCU, 38-17.
Miami at Georgia Tech - 3:00 - ESPN3.com - The ACC Coastal is wide open. VT was the favorite, but we saw their vulnerability against Pitt. Now, these two teams look to jump back into the race to make it to Charlotte and the ACCCG. Yes, VT must lose in conference, and has already defeated GT, but this is a very big Coastal matchup. I have to go with the home team as Miami still hasn't shown me anything. Georgia Tech, 36-24.
Oregon State at #19 UCLA - 3:30 - ABC regional - The Bruins are awakening from the dead here in 2012, as they look to go 4-0 for the first time since 2005. Freshman QB Brett Hundley is a big reason for first-year coach Jim Mora's success. Hundley has thrown for 834 yards and eight scores already this season. Oregon State comes in having played just one game - a 10-7 win over Wisconsin...This is a tough game to pick. Real tough. And when a game is tough to pick, I almost always go with the home team. UCLA, 30-27.
Missouri at #7 South Carolina - 3:30 - CBS - This is my upset special of the week, and no, not because it features the Gamecocks. There are two banged up QB's in this one, and the game will have many other storylines, as well. QB James Franklin and Mizzou are hungry for a big, first SEC win (and first SEC road win) and to prove the naysayers wrong...Gamecock coach Steve Spurrier has stated that fragile QB Connor Shaw will start, and that there is no QB controversy. Let's see who is on their game better: Shaw after missing the last two games, or Franklin who missed just the last game. Missouri, 35-28.
Colorado at Washington State - 4:00 - FX - WSU Head Coach Mike Leach needs this game like the crops need the rain. Colorado very well may be the worst team in college football (0-3, gave up 69 points to Fresno State last week), giving Leach the chance to test some of his potent offensive strategies. Seriously, the Buffaloes are so bad that WSU can afford to test some things out here. In a big win to get things rolling, I pick the Cougars big. Washington State, 45-10.
California at #13 USC - 6:00 - Pac 12 Network - The Bears played Ohio State well a week ago in Columbus, but like most of the Jeff Tedford era, it was just good enough to lose close, 35-28. This week I think they will lose again, though not as close. USC will be steaming coming off of a loss, and Cal will catch the brunt of it. USC, 38-21.
Citadel at NC State - 6:00 - ESPN3.com - Wolfpack fans have to be so frustrated. They are one of the top fan-bases out there, packing Carter-Finley Stadium to 60,000 every game year after year, usually with little on the line. I'm telling ya, one day this program will catch fire...This week they can take some frustrations out on The Citadel. It might be close for a while, but NCSU pulls away. NC State, 40-17.
#2 LSU at Auburn - 7:00 - ESPN - I know, I know, Auburn isn't as strong as they have been, and the grumblings with coach Gene Chizik are growing louder. But this is still a night game in Jordan-Hare Stadium between two of the SEC's top programs annually. LSU is better, and will win, but it won't be a massacre. I expect Auburn to show serious life at home and give the visitors all they want. LSU, 30-24.
#18 Michigan at #11 Notre Dame - 7:30 - NBC - The Irish have things rolling right now, so it is hard to pick against them at home in a game of this magnitude. An arch-rival is in town for a nationally televised night game, and the stadium will be electric. You can throw all of the stats out the window in this one, and just count on the team that executes best to win. Turnovers will dictate this kind of game. Notre Dame, 32-27.
Vanderbilt at #5 Georgia - 7:45 - ESPN2 - Is Mark Richt really gonna do it this time? After twelve seasons in Athens, can Richt finally bust through and have one of his team's actually contend for a BCS crown like many of his SEC brethren have during that time? Well, we will have to wait and see, but he does have his Dawgs at 3-0 and looking tough. Vanderbilt is no pasty, and they will put up a fight, but Georgia moves to 4-0. Georgia, 36-17.
#15 Kansas State at #6 Oklahoma - 7:50 - FOX - With these two squads, as well as Texas, TCU and West Virginia, the Big 12 is very well represented in the top 25 polls. This game here will give the winner an early leg up in the conference standings and the race for a trip to the BCS...What a hard game to predict, too, as both teams are strong..A year ago, OU won by 41 on the road. That fact, plus that OU has won 42 of theor last 43 games at home have me picking the Sooners to run 'em out of town. Oklahoma, 41-24.
#10 Clemson at #4 Florida State - 8:00 - ABC - When FSU came into the league back in 1991 (began competing in football in 1992), this was the kind of game that ACC fans were thinking would be a regular thing between these two. Finally, 21 years later, it materializes. A meeting of two top 10 ACC teams will go down Saturday from Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee...As for the game, the main event will feature the Clemson offense against the FSU defense. That, my friends, should be fun to watch! But another maybe more important storyline concerns the Clemson defense against the FSU offense. The Tigers have struggled against the run and the Seminoles feature a solid running back in Chris Thompson...This should be a dandy (and for me a stress-fest royale). I am dying to pick Clemson - and I know the Tigers are more than capable of this win - but in sticking with my strategy, I pick the home team when I cannot make up my mind. Florida State, 38-37.
#22 Arizona at #3 Oregon - 10:30 - ESPN - The Ducks come into this game relatively untested, having played three high school teams. The Wildcats come in having already made some noise, defeating a top 25 team in Oklahoma State (and scoring 58 while doing it). So there is some unpredictability going on here. That said, I am predicting a big Oregon win. Yes, I do believe Rich-Rod will do big things at Arizona and have them contending for the Pac-12 crown in a couple of years. But for now, I think Oregon still has too many weapons. Oregon, 50-35.
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