It's Notre Dame's first of two bye weeks but we still have to pick games in our league. It's a small pool of games so everyone needs to focus and get these right.
Congratulations to FigThings (NDZibby) who led week 3 with a 13-4 record. With that fine performance Zibby also moves into a 1-game lead over burger23 for the overall championship.
BIG E: 40-22 (21st place)
Yours truly took a tumble down the rankings with a 7-10 week. Now on to the picks for week four...
Eastern Michigan (+45.5) at No. 11 Michigan State
Pick: Michigan State
EMU has been rotten this year barely beating Morgan State, losing to Florida 65-0, and losing last week to Old Dominion. Michigan State is coming off a bye and I trust their offense to put up enough points on the board to cover.
Bowling Green (+27) at No. 19 Wisconsin
Another ranked team coming off a bye faces a non-power conference opponent. This line has shot up this week and I'm not sure why, perhaps injuries at BSGU? Well, Wisconsin seems to jump all over teams in these noon games unlike most other clubs in this time slot. I was impressed enough with the Badgers against LSU to have them blowout a MAC team.
Troy (+40.5) at No. 13 Georgia
So many points so far this week, geez. If Georgia can average 40 against Clemson and South Carolina surely they'll be able to reach 50 against a Troy program that looks pretty bad in 2014? Trust in Gurley, I say. I can't believe I've just taken 3 teams to cover 113 points so far.
Army (-2.5) at Wake Forest
Pick: Wake Forest
The Demon Deacons are in the beginning of a massive rebuilding project right now. Case in point, you are underdogs at home against Army! This might be Wake's last chance for a victory in 2014 because they'll probably lose every single ACC game. I'll take the points and hope the home team gives a A+ effort.
Florida (+14.5) at No. 3 Alabama
There's no way Florida has found its offense in time to face the Tide. This spread would have inconceivable just a few short years ago, but no more. Coach Boom needs a good showing in this one and I don't think that happens. I'm taking yet another big favorite what am I doing?
No. 6 Texas A&M (-33.5) at SMU
Pick: Texas A&M
What am I supposed to do here? Another favorite that needs a 5 touchdown victory to cover. The Aggies defense still leaves something to be desired but SMU has scored 6 points in 2 games and their head coach quit. 52-10 feels about right for this one.
Virginia (+14) at No. 21 BYU
I originally had Virginia here and the shrinking spread was tempting. Two things, though. First, Virginia is coming off an emotional win over Louisville and is due for a let down. Two, Virginia is making a cross-country trip for an afternoon game. This is a lot of points for BYU to cover against a Power 5 team but I'll take the Cougars anyway.
Rutgers (+6) at Navy
Navy played without Keenan Reynolds last week and won. He should be back this weekend. This is kind of a tough game for Rutgers to play after a disappointing collapse against Penn State. I'm seeing a lot of indications pointing to a Navy win. However, as good as Navy can be wins against Power 5 teams aren't that common. Gimme the points.
Indiana (+13.5) at No. 18 Missouri
This line opened at 17 and immediately dropped on Tuesday. That's kind of weird given the fact that Indiana just lost to Bowling Green and Mizzou has played really well in 2014. Something is afoot but I'm going with Missouri.
Mississippi State (+9.5) at No. 8 LSU
I just looked up the recent record in this series and it hasn't been pretty for the Bulldogs. 14 straight by LSU and 21 out of the last 22 games. With Miss State's horrid schedule so far we know almost nothing about them. That doesn't have me sure they're ready for a night game in Death Valley.
No. 4 Oklahoma (-7.5) at West Virginia
Pick: West Virginia
The Mountaineers are the trendy pick here after beating Maryland and with OU going through some injury concerns. The line has moved accordingly. Still, I don't know...how much do we really know about WVU other than they might not be a tire fire this year? Yeah, Morgantown can be a tough place to play. I have no faith in this pick and will be kicking myself when the Sooners win by 25.
No. 14 South Carolina (-21.5) at Vanderbilt
I may be the only one to take Vandy this week but let me explain. South Carolina has played a very tough schedule so far (A&M, East Carolina, Georgia) and could be forgiven for going through the motions this weekend. Also, the Commodores just have to start figuring stuff out under their new coach, right? It's a night game in Nashville, hopefully the crowd is into it and Vanderbilt holds on for a valiant cover.
No. 22 Clemson (+16.5) at No. 1 Florida State
Jameis Winston is worth almost 4 full points for sitting one half of football. I'm very interested to see if the Disease of More has saturated FSU this year. You'd think they'd come out and play hard without their QB for a couple quarters. But they could also struggle and start bickering at each other. Let's say Clemson keeps it close enough before Winston comes back because I don't think the Seminoles backup quarterback situation is all that great.
Miami (+7.5) at No. 24 Nebraska
I wondered if this game would be a little chilly but it looks like it will stay fairly warm in Lincoln for the night. I can't imagine a true freshman quarterback playing that well on the road inside Memorial Stadium. Al Golden keeps spinning his wheels and picks up his 17th career loss at Miami.
No. 2 Oregon (-23.5) at Washington State
The Ducks gave up 38 points last year to Washington State and only led by 10 at half. They still won by 24 points. Oregon has averaged nearly 57 points per game over the last two meetings with the Cougars and haven't scored fewer than 43 in any contest throughout their 7-game win streak in the series. This isn't a joke but WSU is giving the ball to their running backs an average of 14 carries a game. Oregon might get 20 drives in this game.