Movie quote of the day:
“What is this? A center for ants!”
– Derek Zoolander, “Zoolander” (2001)
Here are the intriguing matchups in week four:
Week three record: 9-3 (75 percent)
2016 record: 26-10 (72.2 percent)
All-time record: 138-69 (66.7 percent)
USC (1-2) at No. 24 Utah (3-0)
Salt Lake City
Line: Utah -3
USC is in desperate need of winning this game and avoiding a 1-3 start to the season. However, I’m not sure the Trojans can get it done. USC has looked lost all season, and doesn’t look well coached. Utah on the the hand is a very well-coached team, and Rice-Eccles is a tough place to play. I think the Utes win comfortably.
Prediction: Utah 31, USC 17
No. 12 Georgia (3-0) at No. 23 Ole Miss (1-2)
Line: MISS -7
I think the Rebels are going to come out angry for this game after giving up a 24-3 lead to Alabama last week. I don’t think Georgia is that good. I think the Ole Miss crowd will be too much for the Bulldogs’ true freshman quarterback Jacob Eason. If the Rebels can slow down Nick Chubb, it could get ugly for the Bulldogs. I’ll take Ole Miss.
Prediction: Ole Miss 30, Georgia 20
No. 13 Florida State (2-1) at South Florida (3-0)
Raymond James Stadium
Line: FSU -5
I’m still shaking my head after the thrashing that Florida State took last week against Louisville. I’m willing to imagine Jimbo Fisher has given the Seminoles a nice kick in the pants this week in practice. This South Florida team is very underrated and is capable of beating the Seminoles if they don’t show up. However, I think Florida State will be prepared for this game. I think the Bulls will keep it close, but I like the Seminoles in the end.
Prediction: Florida State 30, South Florida 24
No. 19 Florida (3-0) at No. 14 Tennessee (3-0)
Line: TENN -6.5
Florida will be without its starting quarterback for the forseeable future, and going into Knoxville and getting a win is a tall order for the Gators’ new quarterback. I’m not sure the Gators’ offense – which ranks No. 100 in the country in scoring – can score enough points against Tennessee’s defense. I think Florida has the edge with coaching, but Tennessee has too much talent.
Prediction: Tennessee 23, Florida 17
Pitt (2-1) at North Carolina (2-1)
Chapel Hill, N.C.
Line: UNC -7
Pitt struggled last week defensively against a fast-tempo offense, and now the Panthers have to face another fast-tempo offense in North Carolina. Both of these teams like to run the ball, so, this could potentially be a low-scoring game. Pitt will need more than running back James Conner to hang with UNC’s offense, and I’m not sure the Panthers can create enough playmakers in this game. I think the Tar Heels are the better team, and should play well in front of the home crowd.
Prediction: North Carolina 27, Pitt 21
BYU (1-2) vs. West Virginia (2-0)
Line: WVU -7
As a WVU fan, I’m worried about this game. BYU has a very good defense and Skyler Howard has a track record of turning the ball over. BYU’s offense has only scored 51 points in three games, and the Mountaineers have looked subpar on defense. In the end, it’s a long road trip for the Cougars, and I don’t think they have the horses on offense to outscore the Mountaineers.
Prediction: West Virginia 26, BYU 19
Penn State (2-1) at No. 4 Michigan (3-0)
Ann Arbor, Mich.
Line: MICH -18
Penn State has looked below average this season, and frankly, the Nittany Lions have looked soft. Michigan has more talent and is the better coached team. I can’t see a scenario where Penn State goes into Ann Arbor and comes out with a win. I think the Wolverines win comfortably.
Prediction: Michigan 37, Penn State 17
No. 18 LSU (2-1) at Auburn (1-2)
Line: LSU -3.5
The last time these teams met, Leonard Fournette ran at will against the Tigers’ defense. Both of these teams have below-average offenses and are inept at quarterback. I think the atmosphere will be electric at Jordan-Hare Stadium, but I can’t pull the trigger on Auburn. The Tigers rank No. 65 in rushing defense, and I don’t think they’ll be able to slow down Fournette.
Prediction: LSU 22, Auburn 17
Oklahoma State (2-1) at Baylor (3-0)
Line: BAY -8.5
Baylor has emerged as the Big 12-title favorite by default since most of the conference has experienced a loss. I’m not sure how good the Bears really are though. After the offseason that Baylor has had, I think the Bears will be ready to prove themselves against a conference opponent for a prime time kickoff. I like the Bears in a shootout.
Prediction: Baylor 56, Oklahoma State 49
No. 7 Stanford (2-0) at UCLA (2-1)
Line: STAN -3
It’s still hard to get a read on Stanford because the Cardinal haven’t played anyone. This is the game that will determine if Stanford is still the team to beat in the Pac-12 this season. UCLA hasn’t been impressive so far. I don’t think I’m ready to pick an upset because Stanford is the better coached team. UCLA will keep it close, but I like the Cardinal to get it done on the road.
Prediction: Stanford 28, UCLA 24
No. 17 Arkansas (3-0) vs. No. 10 Texas A&M (3-0)
Line: TA&M -6
I’m looking forward to watching this game because this matchup has gone into overtime the last two seasons – and Texas A&M has won every game since joining the SEC in 2012. For yet another season, I’m not sure that Arkansas can slow down the Aggies’ offense. I think Arkansas is better coached team, but the Razorbacks don’t have the same talent as Texas A&M.
Prediction: Texas A&M 34, Arkansas 28
Game of the week:
No. 11 Wisconsin (3-0) at No. 8 Michigan State (2-0)
East Lansing, Mich.
Line: MSU -4.5
It seems like every time Wisconsin and Michigan State play each other it becomes an instant classic. The outcome of this matchup has been decided by a total of 34 points in the last seven meetings. Seriously, how does this game have an early kickoff? I always look forward to watching these teams play each other and this year is no different. I expect a low-scoring defensive slug fest, but I think the Spartans will emerge victorious.
Prediction: Michigan State 19, Wisconsin 16
Thanks for reading
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