College football's Week 4 slate features some intriguing games, including the ACC showdown between Clemson and Florida State and the showdown of Notre Dame and Michigan. Athlon's editors correctly hit on the Notre Dame win over Michigan State and the Ball State victory over Indiana last week. Here are a few upset picks to watch in Week 4:
College Football's Week 4 Upset Picks
David Fox (@DavidFox615): Kansas State (+14) over Oklahoma
Time to start buying into Kansas State. It’s easy not to sometimes -- the talent disparity, the feeling the Wildcats won 10 games last season on luck. And this is a risky pick with Oklahoma defeating K-State 58-17 in Manhattan last season, but one interesting development has been the Wildcats' passing game so far this season. Collin Klein passed for 210 yards against Miami and 230 yards against North Texas. Those numbers would have been Klein’s third- and fourth-most passing yards all season in 2011. Elsewhere, Tramaine Thompson is developing into an intriguing playmaker, already doubling his touchdowns from a year ago (three receiving and one on a punt return). Meanwhile, I’m still a little worried about an Oklahoma team that struggled to put away UTEP in the opener.
Braden Gall (@BradenGall): Michigan (+6) over Notre Dame
There are three major upsets that I am keeping an eye on this weekend (stay tuned for the Week 3 edition of Betting Against the Spread on Friday for more), but I will go with the Michigan Wolverines over the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Brian Kelly's bunch is flying high after a strong 3-0 start led by its defense. But Denard Robinson is back on track after a tough Week 1 performance. He has rushed for 324 yards and has accounted for eight touchdowns in two wins since losing to Alabama and enters this game with three straight 200-yard passing efforts for the first time in his career. He is 3-0 against Notre Dame and his dynamic skillset can negate the powerful Irish front seven. I'm a big fan of Everett Golson but he will make one key freshman mistake in a tightly-played, physical Midwestern rivalry game that should live up to the hype.
Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven):Syracuse (+2) over Minnesota
It’s hard to call a two-point spread much of an upset. Then again, there’s not a ton of games that have upset potential in Week 4. Syracuse started 0-2 with close losses to Northwestern and USC but had a sluggish win over Stony Brook last Saturday. The Golden Gophers are a much-improved team in Jerry Kill’s second season but could be without starting quarterback MarQueis Gray. Backup Max Shortell has experience, but Gray’s dual-threat ability will be missed. Syracuse’s offense – led by quarterback Ryan Nassib and receivers Alec Lemon and Marcus Sales – will test a Minnesota defense that allowed 27 points to UNLV in the season opener. The Orange will struggle to stop the Golden Gophers’ offense, but Nassib should make just enough plays to win.
Mitch Light (@AthlonMitch):Ball State (+10) over South Florida
The Cardinals return home after their big 41–39 win over in-state rival Indiana — their third straight victory vs. IU — to take on an inconsistent South Florida team. The Bulls dropped to 2–1 with a 23–13 loss at home to Rutgers last Thursday night. They were fortunate to win in Week 2, rallying to beat Nevada 32–31 with two touchdown passes of more than 50 yards in the final three minutes. Ball State is 2–1 with wins over Eastern Michigan and Indiana sandwiched around a 52–27 loss at Clemson. The Cardinals have been able to move the ball in every game; they had 380 yards (including 252 on the ground) vs. Clemson and 440 yards (200-plus through the air and on the ground) vs. Indiana. This is a solid team that is good enough to beat South Florida straight up. Ball State 34, South Florida 31
Mark Ross: Fresno State (+5.5) over Tulsa
Both teams enter this game 2-1 and ranked among the top 25 teams in the nation in both total and scoring offense, as each is averaging more than 500 yards and 43 points per game. Both also are coming off of wins last week in which they scored more than 66 points. That said, there are two reasons why I am picking Fresno State to beat home favorite Tulsa. The first has to do with level of competition. Fresno's only loss so far came on the road against Oregon, who is currently the No. 3-ranked team in the country, while Tulsa lost its opener at Iowa State. Both teams made strong showings in defeat, but I'm a little more impressed by what the Bulldogs were able to do against the Ducks, finishing with 365 yards of total offense and 25 points. The other reason I like Fresno over Tulsa is I trust the Bulldogs' defense a little more as far as being able to slow down the Golden Hurricane offense. Removing the Oregon game, in which Fresno surrendered 532 yards to the No. 7 offense in the nation, the Bulldogs have only given up an average of 276 yards per game. Tulsa on the other hand yielded 441 yards to Iowa State (which is No. 49 in total offense) and last week gave up 370 to FCS member Nicholls State. Both teams should be able to move the ball and score on the other, but in the end I like Fresno to end up on the winning side of what should be an entertaining match up.
Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman): BYU (+7.5) over Boise State
Selecting winners in all three weeks of our upset predictions has obviously filled my head with enough confidence to make me go loco, because this week I’m picking against a squad that is 74-7 under its current coach and 75-3 in its last 78 home games. However I believe the aggressive BYU defense can frustrate Boise State and new quarterback Joe Southwick, and that the Cougars will shock the Broncos on the absolute eyesore that is the blue turf. Bronco Mendenhall’s bunch suffered a frustrating loss at Utah last week, but BYU outgained the Utes and should have won after a late rally. Boise State looked good against Miami (Ohio), but BYU’s defense is closer to the Michigan State group that the Broncos faced in their season-opening loss. It may be crazy for going against Boise State at home, but I’ll take BYU to pull off a 20-17 upset.
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