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The Big E College Football Picks: Week Four

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Right back on track for week three after a poor showing in college football's second week.

That's called a bounce back. But I can still do better. 

There's always room for improvement.

Let's take a look back at week three before this week's picks...

Last Week: 7-5

Overall: 18-15

Wins

*Notre Dame finally covered a spread! I mean, they honest-to-goodness covered a sizable spread while being favored against a ranked team!

*Nebraska led Washington 44-17 in the fourth quarter, but then came a flurry of garbage time touchdowns from the Huskies and the Huskers weren't able to cover. This spread was too high, even if Nebraska proved they are a much better team.

*The Florida offense is improved under Charlie Weis, but it's still that defense running the show down in Gainesville. The Gators held Tennessee to -9 yards rushing and covered the spread by half of a point. 

*Navy actually led South Carolina going into the fourth but the Gamecocks sealed the victory with a touchdown run by Marcus Lattimore (his third of the day), sneaking out a 3-point win at home. At what point does Navy finally get the respect it deserves? At what point do Lattimore's legs fall off?

*In the big nighttime showdown, Oklahoma outlasted Florida State by 10 points in what was really kind of an ugly defensive battle. I expected the Seminoles to struggle offensively, but even Oklahoma had a hard time moving the ball at Doak-Campbell. Should we stay away from Florida State if E.J. Manuel isn't playing?

*It was a giant derp-fest for BYU last weekend as they accumulated only 11 rushing yards and lost 6(!) fumbles to Utah. The Utes said thank you very much and ran up the score on their rivals, winning by an astonishing 44 points. Hey, remember when we beat Utah last year?

*Stanford yet again covered a spread that was far too small---dropping 567 yards in a 27-point victory over Arizona. I should probably just keep putting Stanford in the picks each week irregardless of who they are playing just to pick up an easy win. Too bad they have a bye this week.

Losses

*Pitt had everything under control in the fourth quarter against Iowa, but choked away the win while also failing to cover by a single point. You have earned my indignation Pitt, and I would like to introduce you to Aaron Lynch and Louis Nix.

*We saw 101 passes thrown between Maryland and West Virginia in a game that the Mountaineers controlled early but then became a back and forth battle. It was the wrong pick to take the home underdog as West Virginia held on to a 6-point victory.

*Auburn led Clemson 21-7 in the second quarter and it looked like Chizik and Co. were going to remain unbeaten for yet another week. Then they went the rest of the game with just a field goal up on the board and lost 38-24. Auburn's defense might be historically bad for a SEC team---they gave up 624 yards to Clemson!!!

*With a McCoy under center again, everything felt right for Texas as they slayed UCLA 49-20. The Bruins got terrible QB play as usual and Texas was able to keep the UCLA running game in check this year. Are the Longhorns back yet?

*Miami outclassed Ohio State and served the Buckeyes their first post-Vest loss, but head coach Luke Fickell did his mentor proud by not scoring any touchdowns and having his quarterbacks throw only 4 completions for 35 yards. The Big Ten is wide open right now, people. What do we make of Miami now?

Now on to week four....

Notre Dame (-6.5) at Pittsburgh

Pick: Notre Dame

See the post, Time for a Winning Streak?

San Diego State (+10.5) at Michigan

Pick: Michigan

Who are Notre Dame fans supposed to cheer for in this game? Rooting for a SDSU victory means a non-AQ team beat someone that the Irish couldn't, and that is depressing. But how nice would it be for Hoke to lose to the team he just left? It's great any time Michigan loses and that might also punch a few holes in Hoke's coaching credentials too.

Still, I think the coach that SDSU misses most is offensive coordinator Al Borges. I'm just not comfortable with a team like the Aztecs going into the Big House and keeping this close enough to cover. I can envision a 5-point lead for Michigan in the fourth quarter and then Denard Robinson running for a 30-yard touchdown to cover for the Wolverines.

Georgia (-10) at Ole Miss

Pick: Georgia

Georgia has had their problems this year, but Ole Miss has been truly awful this year. I don't see how a team that just lost to Vanderbilt by 23 points is going to do anything of worth against Georgia.

Even if by some miracle the Bulldog offense struggles, I would probably count on their defense to put some points on the board. And the Rebel offense versus Georgia's defense? Child, please. This is definitely a 20+ point win for Richt and the 'Dogs.

Florida State (+2) at Clemson

Pick: Florida State

I want to stay away from the Seminoles without E.J. Manuel, but I can't take Clemson as the home favorite here. It's kind of going against my instincts, yet I somehow think Florida State pulls this win out in the ACC.

Tajh Boyd has been on fire for Clemson, but they are about to run into a very stingy defense. If FSU can limit Oklahoma's offense, can't they really put a pounding on Clemson's? I have to think the Seminoles assert their dominance in this game---I can't see them losing back-to-back games and also so early in conference play.

Colorado (+15) at Ohio State

Pick: Ohio State

I hate this pick, I mean I really hate it. But I can't trust Colorado to come into the Horseshoe and keep this a relatively close game...I just can't.

I want to believe that the Buckeyes are going to bounce back from their Miami debacle, figure out some things on offense, and win this one going away. Then again, can Ohio State do anything on offense besides run the ball up the middle. Ugh, there I go again second guessing this pick.

Arkansas (+12) at Alabama

Pick: Alabama

Arkansas is one of the few teams I haven't even seen a highlight of this year. I guess that's what happens when you start the season off with Southwest Missouri State, New Mexico, and Troy. There are high school teams in Indiana that play a tougher schedule than that.

The only reason to even think about the Hogs in this would be Saban's conservative nature on offense and that's it's an SEC game---they tend to be close in the 4th quarter. Still, Arkansas is without Kniles Davis and I'll take a fairly large spread like this with the Tide at home and facing an inexperienced quarterback. 

Vanderbilt (+16) at South Carolina

Pick: Vanderbilt

Wait a minute. Is Vanderbilt...kind of good this year?? We'll find out as they play South Carolina this week followed by Alabama next week.

I don't know much about the Commodores, but I do know they are coming off a win over UConn and a dismantling of Ole Miss. I've seen South Carolina give up way too many points this year to think that the Gamecocks are going to be able to cover a spread like this. 

Oklahoma State (+4) at Texas A&M

Pick: Oklahoma State

Merely taking the points in this one. It's just that simple.

I think Texas A&M is the better team with the far better defense, but the Cowboys should be able to do just enough on offense to keep this close right down to the wire.

LSU (-6) at West Virginia

Pick: LSU

I can't remember the last time I didn't pick LSU in any of these games over the past year-plus. And I'm not about to stop now as the Tigers invade Morgantown this weekend.

What we know is that LSU's defense is just on another level than every other college team, except probably Alabama. Now, West Virginia has a nice little offense and a crazy play-caller/head coach, but the Tigers will shut them down and make life hell all night long.

The Mountaineers actually have a stout defense themselves, but I'm counting on them to get worn down and wilt in the second half of this game. I think LSU wins fairly comfortably in this one.

Missouri (+21.5) at Oklahoma

Pick: Missouri

This spread has to be a slap in the face to the entire state of Missouri. I know Oklahoma is the number one team in the country and all that, but over 21 points against at worst, a top 40 team? Vegas can't even put a spread like this out there for the Duke-Stanford game!

Something doesn't feel right about this spread, and it didn't move all week either. I thought for sure this would dive well under 20 points by Thursday or Friday, but it did not. I like the Sooners to win, but not by more than three damn touchdowns!

Oregon (-15) at Arizona

Pick: Oregon

Arizona is still living off of last year's mild midseason success, although this spread feels about right---but I wouldn't have a problem with it being 4 or 5 points higher. I think Oregon rolls all day in this game.

News flash to anyone who thinks Arizona is still good: They've been outclassed in their last two games, being outscored 74-24. They never beat a ranked team last year and they've now lost 7 out of their last 8 games. Ouch, right? The Ducks will drop 40 or 50 and cover this spread with no problem.

USC (+2.5) at Arizona State

Pick: USC

It's been hard for me to jump on the Arizona State bandwagon this year. They beat Missouri which was nice, but then they traveled to Illinois last week and ended up losing that game. I can't think of many reasons why the Sun Devils should be favored in this one.

Bottom line, even with Kiffin on the sidelines, USC is just all-around better. Barkley has looked good this year and I like for him to get the job done in this game. Being a biased observer, I want USC to be undefeated when they come to South Bend in another month. I need that to happen---and this should be the Trojans stiffest test before they arrive at Notre Dame.

Don't mess this up Kiffin!

Have a nice weekend!