Week 4 College Football Viewing and Betting Guide
Maryland at West Virginia (-26)
Maryland’s two biggest wins so far are a one-point win over William & Mary and a nine-point win over Temple. Last week the Terrapins lost by 3 to Connecticut. The Terrapins just struggle to move the ball on offense. They are 119th in the nation in passing yards and 102nd in rushing yards. Through three games their leading rusher has only 124 yards.
The game is at West Virginia and that means things are going to get crazy in Morgantown. Geno Smith probably leads the Heisman race right now after Barkley’s horrific performance against Stanford, and he should, as has thrown for 734 yards in two games and has as many touchdowns as incompletions. West Virginia has also won both their games by at least 30 points. I like the Mountaineers to keep rolling.
Virginia at TCU (-18)
The Horned Frogs have one of the best defenses in the country this year, as usual. Sure they’ve only played Grambling State and Kansas, but TCU has held opponents to only 3 points a game. Casey Pachall has been super effetive so far, throwing 33/38 and 5 touchdowns.
Virginia got rocked last week by Georgia Tech, losing 56-20. Most importantly, the Cavaliers have no rushing attack, ranking 109th in the country. They could have lost to Penn State if the Lions hadn’t turned the ball over so much and missed out on 12 points. TCU is a top team for a reason, and they will cover against Virginia.
Kentucky at Florida (-23)
The Gators accomplishment last week was pretty shocking. Quarterback Jeff Driskel threw for 219 yards and went 14/20 on offense. Gillislee carried the ball 18 times for 115 yards en rout to 336 yards rushing for the Gators. The defense has been stout even when the offense has been sputtering since Tebow left, and now it seems that the quarterback is secure the running game is effective, so these Gators are my new favorite to win the SEC East.
Kentucky on the flip side lost to Western Kentucky in overtime. The Wildcats lost to the hilltoppers, one of the worst teams in college football. Who is to say that the Wildcats won’t just pack it up this week? They’re going to Ben Hill Griffin stadium to play a team they know they’ll lose to.
Miami (+14) at Georgia Tech
The ACC is just a crappy team to have to pick. You never know who is going to commit six turnovers in a single game and blow a spread where they give 24-points. Miami hasn’t looked impressive except for a win over ACC foe Boston College. But there they benefited from a fair amount of turnovers. Georgia Tech has been dominant in a few games but the ACC is too weird, I’ll take the points.
Oregon State (+8.5) at UCLA
Two of the most intriguing teams in the conference square off in the Rose Bowl. UCLA has shaken years of ineptitude and risen to prominence as an outside shot at the PAC-12 South title. Jonathan Franklin has been workhorse so far this year with 66 carries for 541 yards and 3 touchdowns. He’s been a speedster with size. Brett Hundley has been the biggest catalyst for the resurgence as the passing attack is back in Los Angeles. He has thrown 69/103 for 827 yards and 8 touchdowns. A huge win over Nebraska at home was a “welcome back” to college football.
Oregon State has a big win of their own over #13 Wisconsin at home. Sure Wisconsin has been shown to not be good, but the lines on both sides of the ball showed up that game. Sean Mannion has been surprisingly good, throwing 29/47 for 276 yards and a touchdown. The rushing game has struggled so far but the run defense needs to show up this week. UCLA is 5th nationally in rushing and if Oregon State wants to win they need to gang up on the run. I like Oregon State to lose but to cover.
Missouri (+10.5) at South Carolina
South Carolina has seemingly disappeared for two weeks. They opened against Vanderbilt on the opening day of college football where Connor Shaw hit the NOS button 15 times running the football before his shoulder blew up. Time has shown that Marcus Lattimore healed well after his ACL injury and has rushed 48 times for 235 yards and 4 touchdowns. South Carolina has played East Carolina and UAB since Vanderbilt and now hosts Missouri.
Missouri got beat by Georgia by 21 in week 2 and squeaked out a win against a surprisingly good Arizona State squad last week without their starting quarterback. James Franklin is back this week at quarterback and leads the Tigers in their second conference game in the SEC. I think South Carolina will win, but not by much. Missouri is talented enough to hang with the Gamecocks, but not enough to win.
Colorado at Washington State (-20)
Colorado is awful. They’ve lost to Colorado State, Sacramento State, and were embarrassed against Fresno State. Washington State has struggled, but anybody with a pulse can dominate the Buffaloes at this point.
Cal at USC (-16)
USC lost last week for reasons that everyone though, depth. You can’t replace a senior starter with a freshman starter and assume no drop off. The line was fooled early and often and the receivers didn’t shine against an above average secondary. It will be very telling to see how this team reacts now that a national title is most likely out of reach. Will they quit now that they can’t finish their business or fight on?
Cal lost to Ohio State last week because they couldn’t protect Zach Maynard and because of a few mental mistakes. Their offensive line is weak and the only way to beat USC right now is to have a dominant offensive line. The Trojan secondary is incredibly talented and can pick off any errant passes. I think USC will come back angry and wallop Cal.
LSU (-21) at Auburn
To beat LSU you really have to have two things: a better offensive and defensive line. They can get away with rushing four on passes and going max coverage behind, freeing up the secondary to run around and make plays. Their linemen take up two blockers when running the football against them, freeing linebackers to make plays in the backfield. LSU is a team that slowly drains the life out of a football team.
Kyle Frazier will probably be sacked 4 times and throw two interceptions. The Auburn Tigers just haven’t beaten a good team yet this year. They lost by 18 to Mississippi State and by 13 to Clemson. Luckily this game is at home but Auburn ranks 113th passing and only 59th rushing. LSU will stifle this team when on defense and will run over them with short fields.
Michigan (+7.5) at Notre Dame
Notre Dame looks like they are back. It is a night game in front of Touchdown Jesus. The Fighting Irish surpassed all expectations last week against Michigan State. They contained Le’Veon Bell and dared Michigan State to throw, something the Spartans refused to do.
Michigan is not afraid to throw, much to their own despair in the Alabama game where Denard wasn’t called upon to run significantly until the game was already out of hand in the third quarter. The biggest matchup will be the Michigan passing attack against a questionable Notre Dame secondary. Last year the Irish secondary blew the game by not being able to at least knock down passes that Denard Robinson threw to the sky and hoped would land in a Wolverine’s hand. Both of these teams will run the ball the majority of the time and with how crazy this game has been the last three years I like Notre Dame to win but Michigan to cover.
Clemson (+14) at Florida State
Florida State, like Oregon, hasn’t played anybody so far this season. They are just assumed to be good based off their success in the 90’s and their recruiting classes. I’m not sure I buy in to it yet. The stats to look at for Florida State, a national title contender, are pretty meaningless, there is only so impressed you can be by numers against Murray State, Savannah State, and Wake Forest.
It is a yearly rite of passage for Clemson, the Clemsoning. Like a werewolf who can be a perfectly normal human being for the majority of the month but all of a sudden can’t control himself with a full moon. In order for the collapse to occur and be breathtaking, Clemson needs to rise further. Maybe they don’t win this game, but they will at least cover. A glorious defeat is possible, and it would be the Clemsoning of all Clemsons if Clemson wins this game, only to lose to Duke November 3rd, on the greatest day of college football history.
Utah at Arizona State (-6)
The Utah fan base may be the most overjacked or dumbest fan base in the nation. You rush the field twice before the game is over, and the second time could have easily cost you the game. Part of me wanted BYU to win, just because the fans could finally take credit for impacting the game.
The Utes have Jon Hays at quarterback after Jordan Wynn announced his retirement a couple weeks ago. Hays has since thrown 30/53 for 350 yards and 3 touchdowns. John White has rushed 51 times for 215 yards and a touchdown in three games, way behind pace of his success last year.
Arizona State has looked really good though. They only lost by 4 to Missouri, which is a real testament to how far they’ve come in the last year under Todd Graham. The Sun Devils decimated Illinois and was close to actually winning last week. I like Arizona State to win by a touchdown.
Arizona at Oregon (-21)
The Ducks haven’t played anybody this preseason and a lot of their stats are hard to trust. Arizona has stepped up and beat Oklahoma State, a team that crushed them last year. Arizona has been tested while Oregon has not, and if this team gets a lead late then they may be able to pull out an upset.
Arizona’s offense is very similar to Oregon’s and has one of the best spread offense coaches at the helm. Oregon’s defense seems a similar offense everyday in practice and will be prepared. However, Matt Scott is a dangerous dual threat athlete that could expose a defense that has been fairly undisciplined so far this year.
The biggest advantage is the Oregon offense over the Arizona defense. Arizona runs a 3-3-5 that puts a lot of speed on the field, but the problem is that they don’t have depth. If both offenses get rolling the Wildcat defense will crumble before Oregon’s does. I also am looking forward to seeing the Ducks push the perimeter, the best way to counter a 3-3-5. I like Oregon to win, and win big.