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College Football Picks: Predicting Final Scores for Every Game in Week 4

College Football Picks: Predicting Final Scores for Every Game in Week 4: Bryce Love

College Football Picks: Predicting Final Scores for Every Game in Week 4: Bryce Love

The Week 4 edition of picking every game on the college football schedule is highlighted by a key game in the Pac-12 North (Stanford visits Oregon), Georgia’s first test on the road (at Missouri) and a game that ultimately could decide the winner of the Big Ten West as Wisconsin travels to Iowa. Here is every game on the Week 4 slate:

Thursday, Sept. 20

Tulsa at Temple

Good luck trying to figure out the Temple Owls. Geoff Collins’ team opened the season with losses at home to Villanova and Buffalo and then bounced back and dominated Maryland on the road, 35–14. Tulsa is 0–2 against FBS opponents after losing at home to Arkansas State on Saturday. Temple 30, Tulsa 17

Friday, Sept. 21


This one should be fun. Florida Atlantic has averaged only 23.5 points in its two games against FBS foes (Oklahoma and Air Force), down from 40.2 last season. UCF missed an opportunity to record a win over a Power 5 team last week when its trip to North Carolina was cancelled due to the hurricane. UCF 49, FAU 30

Penn State at Illinois

Illinois missed a great opportunity to grab a quality win on Saturday, turning a 19–7 lead heading into the fourth quarter into a 25–19 loss to South Florida. The Fighting Illini gave up 626 yards — not a good sign with Penn State rolling into town this week. Penn State 37, Illinois 17

Washington State at USC

Searching for a positive omen at USC? The Trojans have scored a total of 17 points in their first two games against Power 5 opponents (Stanford and Texas). Two years ago, they scored 16 points in their first two games against P5 teams (Alabama and Stanford) and went on to beat Penn State in the Rose Bowl. USC 27, Washington State 23

Saturday, Sept. 22

Western Michigan at Georgia State

Here are a few numbers that should please Western Michigan fans. Western Michigan gained 521 yards and scored 42 points against Syracuse. Florida State gained 240 yards and scored seven points against Syracuse. Western Michigan 41, Georgia State 17

Akron at Iowa State

Akron is riding high after its surprising win at Northwestern on Saturday. The Zips trailed 21–3 at the half but battled back to claim a 39–34 win — despite running 30 fewer plays from scrimmage than the Wildcats. Can Terry Bowden and the boys make it two straight against a P5 foe? Not likely. Iowa State 38, Akron 24

Boston College at Purdue

Boston College has emerged as one of the most pleasant surprises in the nation. Purdue, on the other hand, is a big disappointment after dropping to 0–3, with all three losses at home. Since college football makes no sense, Purdue will probably win this game — but I’m fully on the BC bandwagon. Boston College 34, Purdue 30

Buffalo at Rutgers

This sums up the state of Rutgers football right now: Buffalo is a 4.5-point favorite on the road at Rutgers. Buffalo is a good team with an outstanding QB-WR combo in Tyree Jackson and Anthony Johnson, but Rutgers should not be a home dog to a MAC team in Year 3 under Chris Ash. Buffalo 27, Rutgers 17

Kent State at Ole Miss

Kent State is playing its third and final game of the 2018 season against a Power 5 opponent. The Golden Flashes have lost at Illinois (31–24) and at Penn State (63–10). This one will look a lot more like the trip to Penn State. Ole Miss 51, Kent State 21

Minnesota at Maryland

Minnesota is 3–0. Minnesota was 3–0 in each of the previous two seasons but failed to record win No. 4 until Oct. 21 in 2017 and Oct. 1 in 2016. Can the Gophers keep it rolling as they hit the road for the first time — with a true freshman at QB? The guess here is yes. Take Minnesota in the slight upset. Minnesota 20, Maryland 17

SMU is off to a disappointing 0–3 start under Sonny Dykes, but the Mustangs’ schedule has been brutal, with road games at North Texas and Michigan sandwiched around a home game with TCU. And with Navy coming to town, an 0–4 start seems likely. Navy 38, SMU 23

Notre Dame at Wake Forest

Notre Dame hits the road for the first time after opening with wins over Michigan, Ball State and Vanderbilt by similar scores of 24–17, 24–16 and 22–17. The Irish have been strong on defense (though Vanderbilt gained 420 yards) but have struggled on offense, specifically in the passing game. This team will have a tough time remaining in the top 10 unless Brandon Wimbush (or Ian Book) starts to throw the ball more effectively. Notre Dame 27, Wake Forest 24

Nebraska at Michigan

Scott Frost is still looking for his first win at his alma mater. This week, he takes his Huskers to Ann Arbor to face another Big Ten team coached by an alum. Since its Week 1 loss at Notre Dame, Michigan has dominated two overmatched opponents (Western Michigan and SMU) by a combined score of 94–23. The Wolverines need to beat a good team to silence their critics. Nebraska, however, is not a good team right now. Michigan 30, Nebraska 17

Nevada at Toledo

Nevada makes its second trip east of the Mississippi River — the Wolf Pack lost at Vanderbilt in Week 2 — to face a Toledo team that is still looking for its first win of the season against an FBS opponent. This is the fifth all-time meeting in the series. Toledo has won each of the previous four. Toledo 38, Nevada 30

Ohio at Cincinnati

It’s still early, but Cincinnati appears to be one of the most improved teams in the country. The Bearcats are 3–0, highlighted by a 26–17 win at UCLA and a 21–0 shutout victory over Miami (Ohio). Luke Fickell is recruiting very well. And it appears he can coach too. Cincinnati 27, Ohio 17

Georgia at Missouri

How big is the gap between Georgia and the rest of the SEC East? Well, you can make a good argument that Missouri is the second-best team in the division, and Georgia is a two-touchdown favorite against the Tigers in Columbia. Georgia 38, Missouri 21

Pittsburgh at North Carolina

Give Pittsburgh credit: The Panthers rebounded nicely from the disappointing — and resounding — loss at home to Penn State with a solid 24–19 win over Georgia Tech. Now this team needs to go on the road and take care of business against a North Carolina team that is struggling mightily on offense. Pittsburgh 27, North Carolina 13

Louisville at Virginia

The Juwan Pass era didn’t last long at Louisville. Pass was benched last Saturday in a closer-than-expected win over Western Kentucky, and Bobby Petrino announced on Monday that redshirt freshman Malik Cunningham will get the start in Charlottesville this weekend. Virginia 33, Louisville 27

Illinois State at Colorado State

Try to follow this logic. Arkansas beat Eastern Illinois by 35 points. Illinois State beat Eastern Illinois by 38 points. So Illinois State must be three points better than Arkansas.

Colorado State beat Arkansas by seven points. So Colorado State must be four points better than Illinois State. Colorado State 34, Illinois State 30

Maine at Central Michigan

Maine is 2–0 overall and 1–0 against FBS teams, with a 31–28 win at Western Kentucky two weeks ago. This could be tough for the Chips. Central Michigan 33, Maine 20

Miami (Ohio) at Bowling Green

In the last two games — losses to Cincinnati and Minnesota — Miami has scored a total of three points and averaged 198.5 yards of offense. Not good. Bowling Green 28, Miami 17

Western Kentucky at Ball State

Western Kentucky followed up its loss at home to Maine with an encouraging 20–17 defeat at Louisville. Ball State, on the other hand, followed up its encouraging eight-point loss at Notre Dame by losing 38–10 at Indiana. Ball State 35, Western Kentucky 22

Charlotte at Massachusetts

Charlotte recorded only its second home win in C-USA play since joining the league in 2015, knocking off Old Dominion 28–25 last Thursday afternoon in a pre-Hurricane battle at Jerry Richardson Stadium. UMass has lost three straight since its Week 0 win over Duquesne. UMass 28, Charlotte 27

Clemson at Georgia Tech

Dating back to last October, Georgia Tech is 2–7 in its last nine games against FBS competition. Clemson has lost a total of seven games since the start of the 2014 season. Clemson 38, Georgia Tech 17

FIU at Miami (Fla.)

These neighboring schools meet for the third time ever. The Hurricanes won the previous two, 35–0 in 2006 and 23–9 in 2007. Win No. 3 in the series might be a bit more challenging. Miami 37, FIU 21

Gardner-Webb at Appalachian State

Gardner-Webb has scored a total of 16 points in two games against FCS competition. Appalachian State will barely break a sweat. Appalachian State 45, Gardner-Webb 0

Kansas at Baylor

David Beatty is 2–0 as a head coach when Pooka Williams gets at least one rushing attempt. He is 3–34 when Williams is not in the lineup. (Williams, by the way, has rushed for 288 yards in his first two games). Kansas 30, Baylor 27

Kansas State at West Virginia

Kansas State leaves Manhattan for the first time in the 2018 season and will face a well-rested West Virginia team that did not play last week due to the hurricane. We’ve seen nothing from K-State so far this season to indicate that it can beat a good team on the road. Hence the 16-point spread. West Virginia 37, Kansas State 20

NC Central at Duke

No Daniel Jones. No problem for the Duke Blue Devils. David Cutcliffe’s club improved to 3–0 with a surprisingly easy 40–27 win at Baylor last week with Quentin Harris running the show. Duke 41, NC Central 10

Northern Illinois at Florida State

In four games against Power 5 opponents, these two teams have combined to score 23 points — 10 by Florida State (against Virginia Tech and Syracuse) and 13 by Northern Illinois (against Iowa and Utah). Florida State 13, Northern Illinois 10

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Tulane at Ohio State

Urban Meyer makes his return to the sideline to face a Tulane team still searching for its first win against an FBS opponent. The Green Wave lost in overtime in Week 1 to Wake Forest and lost last weekend by seven points at UAB. This will not go well for Willie Fritz and Co. Ohio State 44, Tulane 17

Texas A&M at Alabama

Two weeks ago, Texas A&M proved it could play with one of the elite teams in college football, falling to Clemson at home by two points. Now, the Aggies face an even bigger challenge as they head to Tuscaloosa to take on the top-ranked Crimson Tide. Alabama has won its three games by an average score of 57–9 and is outgaining its opponents by 3.3 yards per play. Alabama 44, Texas A&M 20

Virginia Tech at Old Dominion

Here’s an interesting question: Should Florida State’s ongoing struggles affect our opinion of Virginia Tech, which looked so good in its Week 1 win in Tallahassee? Perhaps, but this is still a very good team that should now be considered the favorite to win the ACC Coastal Division. Virginia Tech 43, Old Dominion 10

Arizona at Oregon State

Khalil Tate has 41 rushing yards in three games. Last year, he had 11 runs from scrimmage that went for 40 yards or more. At some point, the Wildcats need to let Tate do his thing (if he’s healthy) if the offense is going to live up to expectations. Arizona 31, Oregon State 20

South Carolina at Vanderbilt

Vanderbilt missed a great opportunity for a breakthrough win last weekend at Notre Dame, losing 22–17 due in large part to some critical mistakes in the red zone. South Carolina rolls into Nashville coming off an unexpected bye week — the home game with Marshall was cancelled — following a humbling loss at home to Georgia. This is a pivotal game for both teams. Vanderbilt 27, South Carolina 24

Connecticut at Syracuse

UConn is allowing 673.3 yards per game and 9.6 yards per play — both last in the nation by a wide margin. The Huskies have allowed 73 plays of 10-plus yards, 31 plays of 20-plus yard and 14 plays of 30-plus yards — all last in the nation. The numbers could be even worse after this trip to Syracuse. Syracuse 66, UConn 21  

TCU at Texas

Oklahoma looks to be the class of the Big 12 once again. After that? Who knows? The winner of this game could make a strong case to be the second-best team in the league (though the folks at Oklahoma State and West Virginia might disagree). TCU has won four straight in the series and has held the Longhorns to a total of 33 points in those four games. TCU 28, Texas 21

McNeese at BYU

BYU has emerged as one of the surprise teams early in the 2018 season. Last Saturday, the Cougars used an effective running attack (6.8 yards per carry) to beat Wisconsin 24–21 at Camp Randall Stadium to improve to 2–1. BYU 35, McNeese State 10

North Texas at Liberty

North Texas has jumped out to a 3–0 start highlighted by a 46–23 win over regional rival SMU and a 44–17 win at Arkansas. The Mean Green look to be the class of Conference USA and should improve to 4–0 after this visit to Lynchburg, Va. North Texas 44, Liberty 17

Arkansas at Auburn

Think Gus Malzahn enjoys playing Arkansas? Auburn is 4–1 vs. the Hogs in Malzahn’s tenure on the Plains and has averaged 46.8 points in the five games. The last two games have been won by Auburn by a combined score of 108–23. Auburn 48, Arkansas 7

Army at Oklahoma

Oklahoma is 4–2 all time against the three service academies, including a 2–1 mark against Army. Oklahoma 38, Army 21

Coastal Carolina at Louisiana

Coastal Carolina has rebounded from a Week 1 loss to South Carolina by recording wins over UAB and Campbell by an average of 30 points. The Chanticleers have rushed for a total of 629 yards in their two wins. Coastal Carolina 30, Louisiana 27

Florida at Tennessee

This rivalry is no longer relevant on the national scene but is still a vital game to both programs — especially this season with a pair of first-year coaches eager to pick up a win to appease their respective fan bases. Tennessee did not play well in its Week 1 loss to West Virginia and has since dominated two overmatched foes (ETSU and UTEP). Florida looked good in wins over Charleston Southern and Colorado State and bad in a loss at home to Kentucky. This is a tough game to get a read on. Florida 23, Tennessee 14

Louisiana Tech at LSU

This is only the fourth meeting between the two schools. LSU won the previous three (each played in the 2000s) by an average score of 44–12. LSU 44 Louisiana Tech 12

Mississippi State at Kentucky

Both teams have been impressive through three games. Mississippi State, which won at Kansas State in Week 2, is one of seven teams nationally that is averaging more than 300 rushing yards per game. Kentucky opened up SEC play two weeks ago with a convincing win at Florida. Mississippi State 34, Kentucky 27

NC State at Marshall

Both teams have played only two games. Both teams are 2–0. And both teams are relatively untested. NC State has the clear advantage at quarterback, where sixth-year senior Ryan Finley is off to a terrific start. NC State 28, Marshall 24

Rice at Southern Miss

This is the second stop for Rice on a tough stretch that features five road games in a seven-game span. The Owls lost at Hawaii two weeks ago and will have a tough time winning in Hattiesburg. Southern Miss 41, Rice 17

Troy at ULM

Troy opens its Sun Belt season in Monroe one week after knocking off Nebraska 24–19. ULM lost 48–10 last week at Texas A&M, but the Warhawks do have a nice win on their résumé, a 21–20 victory at Southern Miss in Week 2. Troy 24, ULM 20

Texas State at UTSA

UTSA opened the season with three games against Power 5 opponents, and the results were predictable — losses to Arizona State (49–7), Baylor (37–20) and Kansas State (41–17). This week, the level of competition will be considerably lower. UTSA 34, Texas State 17

Texas Tech at Oklahoma State

Texas Tech leads the nation with 624.3 yards per game. Oklahoma State ranks second with 590.3. Prediction: There will be a lot of yards gained in this game. Oklahoma State 47, Texas Tech 34

UNLV at Arkansas State

Arkansas State proved there is life after a 50-point loss to Alabama by winning at Tulsa last week, 29–20. UNLV is 2–1 and has scored 98 points in its last two games, wins over UTEP (maybe the worst team in FBS) and Prairie View. Arkansas State 34, UNLV 30

Michigan State at Indiana

The schedule hasn’t been too taxing, but Indiana is off to a 3–0 start that includes a win on the road (at FIU) and vs. another Power 5 opponent (Virginia). The other was a dominant win (38–10) over a Ball State team that made Notre Dame sweat in Week 2. Michigan State hasn’t played since losing 16­–13 at Arizona State. This is a big game for the Spartans, who cannot afford a loss at Indiana if they plan on remaining relevant in the Big Ten East. Indiana 23, Michigan State 20

New Mexico State at UTEP

These two schools are separated by about 50 miles and only two spots in the latest Athlon Sports rankings. New Mexico State checks in at No. 128 and UTEP is No. 130 (also known as last). New Mexico State 27, UTEP 10

East Carolina at South Florida

South Florida is 3–0 and has rallied from double-digit deficits in wins over Power 5 opponents in each of the last two weeks (vs. Georgia Tech and at Illinois). The Bulls shouldn’t have to rally to win this game. South Florida 48, East Carolina 21

South Alabama at Memphis

Memphis junior Darrell Henderson leads the nation in rushing with 173.7 yards per game thanks to an astounding 14.5-yard average. Memphis 38, South Alabama 17

Stanford at Oregon

Stanford is one of two teams nationally that has played three games and allowed only two touchdowns (Mississippi State is the other). Oregon has scored 22 touchdowns through three games, tied for fifth nationally. Something has to give. Stanford 24, Oregon 14

Texas Southern at Houston

Houston has scored at least 45 points in all three games, two of which have been against Power 5 opponents. Texas Southern has yet to score more than 26 points in any game. Houston 55, Texas Southern 10

Wisconsin at Iowa

Losing at home to BYU was a bad omen for a Wisconsin team that was expected to run away with the Big Ten West title, but the way the Badgers lost is especially problematic. BYU rushed for 191 yards on a 6.8-yard average — the highest in a game against Wisconsin since the 59–0 loss to Ohio State in the 2014 Big Ten Championship Game. Iowa 24, Wisconsin 21

Air Force at Utah State

The level of competition hasn’t been great (New Mexico State and Tennessee Tech), but Utah State has scored a combined 133 points the last two weeks. Add in the 31 the Aggies scored in a Week 1 loss at Michigan State, and it looks like they will field one of the more potent offensive attacks in the Mountain West. Utah State 38, Air Force 30

Arizona State at Washington

Dating back to the 2004 season, Arizona State is 8–3 in games played in the state of Washington — 4–2 at Washington State and, surprisingly, 4–1 at Washington. That’s the good news. The bad news: This Washington team is quite a bit better than any of the previous ones ASU played during this stretch. Washington 33, Arizona State 17

Eastern Michigan at San Diego State

Eastern Michigan is in the final stop of a three-game road trip that has featured a win at Purdue and a seven-point loss at Buffalo. Dating back to the 2016 season, nine of the Eagles’ last 10 losses have come by seven points or fewer. San Diego State 27, Eastern Michigan 20

Duquesne at Hawaii

Hawaii’s dream of a perfect season ended last Saturday with a 28–21 loss at Army. All is not lost; Cole McDonald still leads the nation with 15 touchdown passes (with no interceptions!), and the Rainbow Warriors need only one more win to surpass their total from last season. They will get it this week. Hawaii 58, Duquesne 13