Article by: Harrison Weaver
Week 4 of the college football season finally offers something for us to get really excited about. We get three Top-25 matchups, one of them being a Top-10 matchup. If there was ever a Saturday to invite family and friends over, stock the cooler, and watch college football all day, this is the day. Last week I went 5-1 on my picks, missing the Michigan State versus Arizona State matchup that came down to the wire. Florida survived a scare at Kentucky to remain unbeaten, the rest of the Top-10 cruised to easy wins, Maryland had a major let-down at the hands of Temple, and Penn State was able to make a few defensive stands to seal a victory against Pitt. This week we can expect a little more mayhem with the high stakes matchups that are on the slate. So, without further ado, let’s get into my Week 4 picks.
#11 Michigan @ #13 Wisconsin (Saturday @ 12 PM on FOX)
Michigan barely survived against Army two weekends ago as they almost lost in regulation on a last second field goal before securing the OT victory. Meanwhile, through two games, Wisconsin is outscoring their opponents 110-0. They haven’t even let anyone score yet… and the offense is booming behind Heisman candidate Jonathan Taylor. Wisconsin has home field in this one, and my best bet is that they’ll show up ready to play. To me, this game is more about Michigan though. They were the team with higher expectations, the team with playoff hype. So far, they’ve looked nothing like that. I attribute the slow start to poor play calling, poor situational football, and Shae Patterson needing to step it up a notch. In this game, I think Michigan is going to come out more confident and aggressive, with a better game plan. Despite the Badgers being favorites at home, I’m taking Michigan to step up and steal this one.
My pick: Michigan, 24-20
#8 Auburn @ #17 Texas A&M (Saturday @ 3:30 PM on CBS)
Here it is, Auburn’s first big SEC matchup of the season. Bo Nix has been absolutely terrific this season and the whole team is going into this game with a good rhythm. Anybody who reads my articles though knows that I’ve been raving about A&M all season. They couldn’t quite hang with Clemson two weeks ago, but this young group is hungry for a big win and will be playing with the 12th Man behind them at Kyle Field. This will be Bo Nix’s first game in a truly hostile environment, and I think he has some troubles in this one with the athletic A&M defense. This game will be a guaranteed back-and-forth slugfest, but I like the experience of Kellen Mond, with Jimbo Fisher on the sideline, and the 12th Man at their back.
My pick: Texas A&M, 31-28
#3 Georgia vs. #7 Notre Dame (Saturday @ 8:00 PM on CBS)
In what may very well be the game of the week, the Dawgs will be hosting the Fighting Irish in Athens. I’ve personally always been on the ‘Notre Dame is overrated and plays an easy schedule’ train, and I’m going to remain on that train until they can beat a top team. Georgia has been looking downright nasty behind Jake Fromm and what appears to be 5 NFL caliber running backs. Notre Dame has had issues this season stopping the run, which will mean that Kirby Smart will look to pound the rock and wear out the Notre Dame defense as much as he can. Ian Book is currently leading the Irish in both passing and rushing which is a slight concern for me. Playing against one of the best run defenses in the country, the Irish will need to be able to run the ball in order to open up their passing game. I don’t think they have the talent to get it done. This is an easy one for me.
#10 Utah @ USC (Friday @ 9 PM on FS1)
Even after a heartbreaking loss in overtime on the road against a tough BYU team, USC is still off to a very promising start this year. Kedon Slovis, another true-freshman QB has looked really good for his age and level of experience. When starting QB JT Daniels went down, a lot of Trojan fans began to get a little uneasy. Luckily, Slovis has stepped up and eased that concern by showing some excellent potential. However, this is Utah’s year to make some noise. The Utes have a stacked defense and plenty of weapons on offense. They’ve looked impressive so far, hence the #10 ranking. I like the Utes in this one.
My pick: Utah, 34-27
#9 Florida @ Tennessee (Saturday @ 12 PM on ESPN)
Florida versus Tennessee, a classic SEC rivalry. Tennessee finally got their first win last weekend against Chattanooga after a very rocky start. Meanwhile, the Gators overcame an 11-point deficit entering the 4th quarter against Kentucky last weekend to remain unbeaten. Unfortunately, it cost them starting QB Feleipe Franks in the 3rd quarter. The offense ended up playing great in the 4th quarter but I’m still waiting for a larger sample size before I can determine how this offense is going to look the rest of the season. Luckily, the Gators have an elite defense to lean on, and Tennessee has been very inconsistent on offense. For that reason, I think Florida wins, keeping Tennessee at arm’s length the whole way.
My pick: Florida, 31-20
#12 Texas versus Oklahoma State (Saturday @ 7:30 on ABC)
The rest of the season is must-win for the Longhorns after losing to LSU in primetime a few weekends ago. I think Sam Ehlinger and the Texas offense are fully capable of carrying that burden, but the problem is the defense. Allowing 417.3 yards per game, with 330 of them coming through the air, the Horns make themselves very vulnerable to slip-ups throughout the season. Oklahoma State has taken care of their easy opponents so far and have beaten all of them in style. However, this game is in Texas, and the Horns know they have their backs against the wall. This scenario doesn’t spell out an upset in my opinion.
My pick: Texas, 48-35
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