By: Matt Doherty
It’s hard to believe we are already four weeks into the college football season, but this is when the season gets good. We’ve already seen some top ten squads go down, something I think you will see again this weekend. Liam and I had a disappointing pick week but we’ll look to get back into the green with an 8-0 record.
Liam: Oregon (+2) over Stanford
This is the biggest game the Ducks have had in years. Win this game, and they return to national prominence under first-year head coach Mario Cristobal. Lose, and they’ll likely fade out of the Top 25 with little chance of making the Pac 12 title game.
Oregon’s run defense gives them the power to silence the preseason Heisman favorite, Stanford running back Bryce Love. The Ducks defense ranks fifth in yards per carry, eighth in rushing touchdowns and ninth in overall rush defense. Call a run against the Oregon defense and the average output is a measly 1.96 yards.
This will make the going tough for Love, who has already dealt with adversity in what was supposed to be a cakewalk start to the season. The senior dropped a dud in the season opener against San Diego State with 18 carries for 29 yards. He rebounded substantially with 136 yards and a touchdown against USC, but was forced to sit out last week’s win over UC Davis with an undisclosed injury.
Expect this to be a low scoring game, one in which Oregon will prevail.
Matt: TCU (-3) over Texas
Don’t read too much into the Longhorns win over USC on Saturday. Folks, Texas is not back. They simply defended home turf against an overvalued team with a true freshman quarterback and an offensive line that makes Ereck Flowers look good. But this test against their in-state rival will be a lot different.
TCU was impressive in a 12-point loss to No. 4 Ohio State. The game was a lot closer than the final score indicated and the Horned Frogs even led at halftime. TCU has an explosive offense led by dual threat quarterback Shawn Robinson, running back Darius Anderson, and talented pass catchers Jalen Reagor KaVontae Turpin. And let’s not forgot Texas lost to Maryland and struggled at home vs. Tulsa already this season.
Here’s a cool stat: TCU has won AND covered in four straight games vs. Texas, winning by an average margin of 30 POINTS!!! Also, this is the most Texas thing ever. Win a huge game so people think you’re back, only to fall flat on your face the next week.
Liam: Wisconsin (-3) over Iowa
Yes, the Badgers fall from grace was steep with a home loss to BYU last Saturday. But, the talent level on this team is still College Football Playoff-caliber, something the Hawkeyes can’t claim for themselves.
Wisconsin’s defense is a stingy unit that should be primed for a rebound performance against Iowa. The Badgers allow 145 passing yards per game, the 11th-best mark in the country. This is bad news for mediocre Iowa quarterback Nate Stanley. In two games against FBS teams this season, Stanley has completed 52.9% of his passes for 274 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
Last year against the Badgers, Stanley went 8-for-24 with 41 yards and an interception. He should make for easy pickings against a motivated Wisconsin defense.
Matt: North Carolina (+4) over Pittsburgh
The Tar Heels are favored in only two games this season, according to ESPN’s FPI, and Saturday’s matinee vs. Pitt is one of them. Now, I know the last time we saw UNC they were embarrassed by a bad East Carolina team. But, let’s take a look back at Week 1 where they only lost to Cal by a touchdown in Berkley. Yes, the same Cal team who beat BYU who beat Wisconsin. Transitive property, people.
Pitt is only favored in this game because of their win over Georgia Tech last week but don’t be fooled. UNC will be ready to play after the Hurricane induced bye week and they’ll protect home field. They should be the ones favored. Scoop up this value.
Liam: Boston College (-6.5) over Purdue
You might hate me for saying this, but it’s time to start believing in Boston College.
This is a legitimate top-25 team, and their 41-34 road win over a good Wake Forest team proves it. For years, the question for the Eagles has been at quarterback. Last week, Anthony Brown put fans at ease, going 16-for-25 with 304 yards and five touchdowns. He can replicate this performance against Purdue, a team that ranks 120th in the country in passing yards allowed with 319 per game.
Sleeper Heisman pick AJ Dillon had himself a game on the ground as well against the Demon Deacons, going for 185 yards and a touchdown on 33 carries. The Boilermakers will not be able to slow him down either as they rank 71st in the nation in rushing defense with 156 yards allowed per game and six touchdowns yielded.
The Eagles are hard to stop, something Purdue fans will see first hand when they leave their engineering classes and head to Ross-Ade Stadium for an early 12:00 EST kickoff.
Matt: Syracuse (-27.5) over UConn
UConn football is the laughing stock of the FBS right now. The Huskies dropped their first two games of the season to UCF and Boise State by a combined score of 116-24. But what’s more embarrassing than losing two games by an average of 48 points is surrendering 49 points to an FCS school, which is what UConn did last week against Rhode Island. Yes, Rhode Island.
Meanwhile, Cuse is averaging 49 points per game which means they should have no problem reaching the 50s, perhaps the 60s, against the WORST defensive team in the country, according to FPI.
Orange head coach Dino Babers loves running up the score AND covering spreads. Playing in the Dome, Cuse should have no problem winning by four touchdowns.
Liam: Arizona (-6) over Oregon State
The Beavers passing defense is horrific, allowing almost 300 yards per game, a 62.2% completion percentage and a yards per attempt average of nearly 12 to opposing quarterbacks.
This is a team that allowed 340 yards and two touchdowns to Chris Helbig of Southern Utah two weeks ago.
If Arizona’s Khalil Tate can’t take advantage of this opportunity, I would be shocked. The Wildcats signal caller started off the season slow after receiving Heisman hype over the summer. However, he appears to be hitting his stride at the right time.
Arizona put up 62 points against that same Southern Utah team last week with Tate managing 349 yards and five touchdowns on just 13 completions. This is when having Tate and head coach Kevin Sumlin on your side makes a difference, and expect the Wildcats to hand Oregon State a rude welcoming to Pac 12 action.
Matt: Baylor -7 vs. Kansas (Down to PK) and Notre Dame -7.5 vs. Wake Forest (Down to -0.5)
Like usual, we’ll finish off the Week 4 slate with a two-team teaser. Kansas beat Rutgers by 41 points last week which is like Kevin Can Wait having higher ratings than Sportscenter at 6. It doesn’t matter. Vegas hopped on the Jayhawk train, putting them at only seven point underdogs at Baylor. But don’t forget Kansas is Kansas and they haven’t won back to back games since Vietnam. We’ll tease it down just to be safe.
The other half involves the Fighting Irish, who I believe will win this game outright but will have trouble covering against a sneaky good Wake team on the road.
Bonus Money Line Parlay: Central Florida (-500), Clemson (-685), West Virginia (-860), Georgia (-595), and Washington (-700)