Wednesday, 20 September 2006

College Football Picks: Week 4

Normally I preview the top 5 games on Friday, but since I'm planning an interview with Zoner Sports about this weekend's Vikings/Bears matchup, this will be pushed up a day! Unfortunately, there are no great matchups like last week... heck, on paper, there looked to be about 5 games last week that projected to be better than any this week... but let's not let that derail us.

Alabama at Arkansas - Not the most riveting matchup on the field, but there's an excellent rivalry here, and these teams are basically fighting for third place in the SEC West after Auburn and LSU. Both teams eeked out wins against Vanderbilt, but that's about it. The key to this game is really how Arkansas freshman QB Mitch Mustain plays against a solid Bama defense. If he plays well, Arkansas wins. If he struggles and gets rattled, Alabama wins. I like his talent to be the difference at home. ARKANSAS 17-14.

Wisconsin at (6) Michigan - After last week, we all know what Michigan is capable of, the key is for them to bring that type of energy every week. With Chad Henne, Michael Hart, and Mario Manningham, they have the offensive talent to compete for a Big 10 title. Wisconsin won't be an easy game though. They're always a solid team, and John Stocco is one of the underrated QBs in a great Big 10. Also, freshman RB PJ Hill Jr. is performing, with 415 rushing yards after 3 games. These guys will help the Badgers put forth a good effort, but I don't see an upset happening in the Big House. MICHIGAN 31 - 17

(22) Arizona St. at (22) California - I really like Rudy Carpenter, and I think he's one of the best QBs in the country. After 3 games he's thrown for 842 yards and 9 TD. However, Cal has rebounded nicely after the Tennessee debacle, especially QB Nate Longshore. After putting up 2 straight solid games, it looks like Cal now has at least a little balance in the offense. The continued improvement of Longshore, along with the explosiveness of Marshawn Lynch is enough to hold off a talent Arizona St. offense. CALIFORNIA 38-31.

(12) Notre Dame at Michigan St. - The Spartans have won 7 of 9 in this matchup, and with Drew Stanton at QB, they have the talent to make it 8 of 10. They'll be taking on a determined Notre Dame team, who got embarrassed at home last week by Michigan. Heralded as a Heisman candidate by everyone, Brady Quinn showed he can become rattled and inaccurate on the deep ball, which is what happened last week. How does he respond? Under the tutelage of Charlie Weis, I think he comes back and plays a great game this week. With these offenses and defenses, whoever has the ball last might win. NOTRE DAME 41-38.

(24) Penn St. at (1) Ohio St. - The Nittany Lions held off to beat the Buckeyes this year, and if the Buckeyes don't pay attention, Penn St. has the talent to come in and beat them again. Penn St. has talented players offensively. Tony Hunt is a very solid RB, and they have a bevy of talented sophomore receivers. However, I think there will be too much Troy Smith in this game... he's dominating everyone through the air, and I expect that to continue. OHIO ST. 34-14.

Last Week: 3-2
Season: 9-6