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2014 College Football Week Four Picks
With three weeks of games in the books, it seems that this football season, both in college and even from what we've seen in the NFL, is going be wide open with no clearly dominant team and where any team, no matter what their rank or how many points they are favored by, is capable of losing on any given weekend. The playoff system in college football was long overdue, and it couldn't have come at a better time, as this year promises to be a a wide open battle for the four open spots to battle in January for the championship.
As you will see below, last weekend was not my best, as I went 5-7-1, which brings me to a positively mediocre 18-18-1 for the year. Before we get into this week’s picks, here is a quick recap of my not so dominant week three selections
North Texas – 3 Louisiana Tech - This game was only close when it was 0-0, as North Texas was once losing by 35 points before the game mercifully ended 42-21. (L)
Boise State – 16 Connecticut – Boise scores a late defensive touchdown to cover by a point on the road winning 38-21 in a game that was very close going into the fourth quarter. (W)
Virginia Tech – 10 East Carolina – Hokies suffer huge letdown losing 28-21 after beating Ohio State the previous week, coming out flat and digging themselves too big of a hole to climb out of down 21-0 after one. (L)
West Virginia +3.5 Maryland – The Mountaineers, behind quarterback Clint Trickett’s 511 yards and four touchdowns passing, win and cover 40-37 on 47 yard field goal as time expires. For the first time in the history of college sports gambling, I actually win because of something good happening with the worst position in all of sports, the kicker. (W)
Georgia -6 South Carolina – And quickly kickers go back to ruining football as Georgia kicker Marshall Morgan misses two costly field goals late as Georgia loses 38-35. Ironically two quarters earlier, Morgan had broken the SEC record for most consecutive field goals that was previously held by Fuad Reveiz, who you may remember ruining packs of football cards in the late 80s/early 90s. (L)
Duke -14 Kansas – The Blue Devils roll against the Lardass of Lawrence Charlie Weis and the Kansas Jayhawks, winning 41-3. (W)
TCU – 14 Minnesota – TCU dominates 30-7, as a fourth quarter Gopher touchdown is all that prevents this game from being a shutout. (W)
Northern Illinois -10 UNLV – Northern Illinois scores with under two minutes left to win and cover 48-34. (W)
Western Kentucky +1.5 MTSU – Western Kentucky loses in three overtimes, 50-47, in a very entertaining game involving two underrated, lower conference teams. (L)
UCLA -7 Texas – The first of two late games in which the starting quarterback of the team I picked got hurt, this one happening in the first quarter when UCLA’s Brett Hundley landed awkwardly on his elbow in an 11-yard first down run and was knocked out of the remainder of the game the Bruins ended up winning only by three, 20-17. (L)
USC – 17 Boston College – Huge letdown two of the week, as USC lays an egg on the road after beating Stanford the previous week. BC ran all over the Trojans for over 400 yards on the ground with quarterback Tyler Murphy leading the way with 191 yards on 13 carries. (L)
Arizona State – 14 Colorado - Colorado scores the only points of the fourth quarter after Sun Devils starting quarter Tyler Kelly leaves with an injury, with the game ending as a push, 38-24. (P)
Arizona -15.5 Nevada – The line in this game eventually climbed to twenty points by game time, not sure why as Arizona wins by only seven, 35-28. (L)
Last weeks record – 5-7-1
Season record – 18-18-1
THIS WEEK’S PICKS
Maryland (PK) at Syracuse Saturday 12:30 PM
In last year’s matchup between these two teams, Maryland committed four turnovers on their way to a 20-3 loss at home. Coming off last week’s tough loss in a close game to West Virginia, I see the Terps bouncing back strong against Syracuse in the Carrier Dome with dual threat quarterback C.J. Brown leading the way. This should be a quality game to watch, much like debating which basketball alum of each school was a bigger waste of talent, Len Bias or Derrick Coleman.
PICK Maryland PK
Duke (-17) vs. Tulane Saturday 12:30 PM
Duke is 9-2-1 against the spread their last 12 games at home, including 7-0 the last two years at home, winning by an average of just under four touchdowns a game. The trend continues against an outmatched Tulane team that’s 1-4 against the spread in their last five games against the ACC.
PICK Duke -17
Marshall (-9) at Akron Saturday 2:00 PM
I’m 5-10-1 this season so far picking teams that are favored on the road, but I am still a strong believer in Rakeem Cato and the Thundering Herd and can easily see them posting a double digit win on the road versus an Akron team that’s only covered the spread once in their last six home games.
PICK Marshall -9
Alabama (-14) vs Florida Saturday 3:30 PM
Much will be made of the protégé vs. mentor subplot between Florida coach Will Muschamp and Alabama’s Nick Saban, but the real story is which SEC team that has underwhelmed so far this year will step up their play this week in a big divisional matchup. While a fourteen point line is a lot in a game like this, I think more talent + home field advantage is enough for Alabama to cover against a Gator team they’ve outscored by an average of twenty four points a game in their last three matchups.
PICK Alabama -14
Louisville (-27) at Florida International Saturday 3:30 PM
The Cardinals lost a tough game last week after coming back in the fourth quarter on the road against a tough Virginia team, only to lose late on a field goal. That doesn’t bode well for Florida International, as Louisville is 8-1 against the spread following a loss, and after last week it’s very easy to picture an angry Coach Bobby Petrino running up the score against a team they beat 72-0 just as season ago.
PICK Louisville -27
North Carolina (+2) at East Carolina Saturday 3:30 PM
Last year’s game between these two Northeast Carolina foes saw East Carolina winning big 55-31, ending a six game Tarheel winning streak in the series. I was big on North Carolina before the season started, and after last week’s scare against San Diego State, I like them to continue their recent success against the spread (7-3 in last ten games) in a high scoring matchup against a Pirates team that is due for a letdown after back to back games consisting of a tough road loss against the other Carolina, South Carolina, and last week’s huge win against Virginia Tech.
PICK North Carolina +2
Nebraska (-7) vs Miami Florida Saturday 8:00 PM
The last five games these teams have played against each other have been in bowl games, the last time being the 2001 Rose Bowl which saw the Hurricanes and the greatest team in college football history (more on this in the next couple of weeks) roll over the Cornhuskers 37-14. Those days appear to be gone in Miami, as the program is no longer close to the elite status of the past, and anyone calling this version of the team ‘The U’ is insulting the rich, criminal yet insanely talented teams of the past. The ‘Canes are 1-5 against the spread in their last six games, and have a 1-5 record straight up in their last six on the road. The home team and better defense wins and covers in Lincoln
PICK Nebraska -7
Boise State (-17) vs UL Lafeyette Saturday 10:30 PM
I’m 0-3 so far this year picking the last game of the day, put 2-0 so far when picking Boise. Something has to give. If forced to take Saturday’s bail out game, going with Boise at home is usually a safe choice.
PICK Boise -17
RANDOM THOUGHTS – Thursday night’s college game of #5 Auburn at #20 Kansas State should be more entertaining then the NFL matchup of the Buccaneers at Falcons, especially if you are tired of watching Doug Martin’s early season self destruction of your fantasy lineup…. Next Thursday will be the same scenario as two top fifteen teams, UCLA and Arizona State, battle each other going up against a lackluster NFL matchup of the Giants vs. Redskins…. It’s never too early to start guessing on who will win the Heisman, vote below for who you think will take home the trophy this year and more then likely eventually underperform in the NFL