Top 25 NCAA Football Picks For Week Four

Andrew LaBarberaContributor ISeptember 22, 2009

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL - SEPTEMBER 17:  Quarterback Jacory Harris #12 of the Miami Hurricanes celebrates after defeating the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Land Shark Stadium on September 17, 2009 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Miami defeated Georgia Tech 33-17.  (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)

Weekly, I will be making my college football picks for all top 25 games for all of you gamblers out there. I will pick every game involving a Top 25 team with the point spread, along with my Lock of the Week. With week four of the NCAA Football season coming up I'm a little late, but I guess as they say "better late than never."

Thursday September 24th

No. 4 Mississippi (2-0) @ South Carolina (2-1)—Line: Mississippi -3

A battle of SEC foes takes place on the Gamecocks home turf on ESPN @ 7:30 Thursday night. All the talk going into this game is about QB Jevan Snead of Ole Miss. After this game all of the talk will be about how Spurrier's defense shuts down Snead and the vaunted Rebel offense. Not only do I like SC to cover the spread, but I think they'll win straight up in a low scoring affair. The Pick: South Carolina +3    Gamecocks 27 Rebels 21

Saturday September 26th

Fresno St. (1-2) @ No. 14 Cincinnati (2-0)—Line: Cincy -16.5

Cincinnati comes off of a huge win down in Corvallis where they shut down the Beavers and Jacquizz Rodgers. They'll need to stifle another great ground game this week with the explosive Ryan Matthews coming to town. Last week Matthews had three TD runs of 60 yards plus against a solid Boise St. defense. Cincy is coming off a big win and Fresno coming off a close loss, it sounds like it's time for a let down game for Cincinnati. The Bearcats win, but in a close battle from Pat Hill's Bulldogs. The Pick: Fresno St. +16.5    Bearcats 34 Bulldogs 24

Indiana (3-0) @ No. 23 Michigan (3-0)—Line: Michigan -21

This seems strange to call it a matchup of undefeated teams after these teams went a combined 6-18 last year. Michigan had a cupcake game last week after a hard fought win over Notre Dame the week before. That easy game allowed them to rest some of their key players down the stretch and that will pay dividends this week. Tate Forcier will continue to emerge as a star and Rich Rodriguez will once again prove why he's one of the best coaches in college football. Wolverines pound the Hoosiers in this one. The pick: Michigan -21    Wolverines 42 Hoosiers 7

Southern Miss (3-0) @ No. 20 Kansas (3-0)—Line: Kansas -13.5

Another matchup of 3-0 teams here, although this one is a little less surprising. This will be a game of which team can shut down the other teams strength. Kansas has a NFL caliber QB in Todd Reesing, while Southern Miss boasts a very hearty ground game. I think the Golden Eagles hang around early with solid defense and clock control, but the Jayhawks get a backdoor cover late. The Pick: Kansas -13.5   Jayhawks 38 Golden Eagles 24

No. 22 North Carolina (3-0) @ Georgia Tech (2-1)—Line: GTech -2.5

The big question this game is whether Jonathan Dwyer will play. If he does, he surely won't be 100 percent, but 80 percent of Jonathan Dwyer is still better than any of the Jackets other options. I think Dwyer plays and although Butch Davis has done a tremendous job in North Carolina, I don't see them moving up inside of the top 20 at any point this year. A loss against Tech this week would surely put them out of the Top 25, and that's what will happen. The Pick: Georgia Tech -2.5   Yellow Jackets 38 Tar Heels 24

South Florida (3-0) @ No. 18 Florida St. (2-1)—Line: FSU -14.5

This isn't the same South Florida team that it was a week ago. Nor is this the same FSU team that played Miami a few weeks ago. The Bulls lost their best player (QB Matt Grothe) for the year due to an ACL injury, while the 'Noles are coming in with a ton of confidence after knocking off then ranked No. 7 BYU last week. Grothe's injury will destroy that Bulls offense and the FSU defense alone will outscore the Bulls. Florida State in a rout. The Pick: Florida St. -14.5    'Noles 34 Bulls 10

No. 7 LSU (3-0) @ Mississippi St. (2-1)—Line: LSU -13

The Bulldogs have proven over the years that they're much tougher at home, and this game will prove no different. Granted, I do not think they can beat LSU, but I see this being a surprisingly close game. The Miss St. defense and crowd keep them close, but the Tigers are simply too much and win a close one. The Pick: Miss St +13   LSU 20 Miss St 14

No. 15 TCU (2-0) @ Clemson (2-1)—Line: Clemson -3

TCU comes in boasting one of the best defenses in the country. Clemson has a great ground game focusing on CJ Spiller, along with a fast-maturing QB with a rocket for an arm in Kyle Parker. This game will be a matter of who wins the battle of the Clemson offense vs. the TCU defense. In this matchup, which seems to be such a close one, I have to go with the home team. Clemson the final minutes. The Pick: Clemson -3.   Tigers 24 Horned Frogs 20

Illinois (1-1) @ No. 11 Ohio St (2-1)—Line: Ohio St -14.5 **Lock of the week**

Ron Zook is a great recruiter, not such a great coach. Jim Tressel is great at both. The rapid development of Terrelle Pryor will be the difference in this one. The Buckeyes start strong and finish just as strong. It's a blowout. The Pick and lock of the week: Ohio St -14.5   Buckeyes 38 Illini 10


UTEP (1-2) @ No. 1 Texas (3-0)—Line: Texas -36

The Horns come off of a close game with Texas Tech in which they looked very sluggish in the first half. Colt McCoy has flu-like symptoms so that didn't help. UTEP isn't as lucky as TTech was last week and a healthy McCoy shreds the Miners D. The Pick: Texas -36   Longhorns 56 Miners 14

No. 9 Miami (3-0) @ No. 13 Virginia Tech (2-1)—Line: Miami -3

If you told anyone at the start of the year that Miami would be a favorite AT Virginia Tech they'd surely think you're crazy. Speaking from personal experience I know Blacksburg is loud on game day. Jacory Harris is certainly this year's break out performer in college football, but I'm sure Frank Beamer will have a thing or two up his sleeve for the Canes. The U is playing inspired football under head coach Randy Shannon but will it be enough. This game will certainly live up to its billing as game of the week and Tyrod Taylor ran out of magic last week. The Pick: Miami -3   'Canes 31 Hokies 24

No. 6 California (3-0) @ Oregon (2-1)—Line: Cal -6 

California's Jahvid Best did everything for the Golden Bears last week, aside from kicking the extra points. Yahoo's Michael Silver would sure be proud, and right now he'd be my pick for Heisman. That being said, Autzen Stadium is one of the toughest places to play in the whole country. You can bet that this Saturday that place will be packed and loud. Oregon wins this one by stacking the box, forcing the Bears to throw and the crowd's noise causing miscommunication between Kevin Riley and his wide receivers. The fans storm the field, but at least they don't punch anyone in the face. The Pick: Oregon +6   Ducks 31 Golden Bears 30

Arkansas (1-1) @ No. 3 Alabama (3-0)—Line: 'Bama -17

Where's Huston Nutt when you need him? Arkansas simply doesn't have the talent or coaching to play with Nick Saban's Tide. There's really nothing else to say except maybe "Roll Tide". The Pick: 'Bama -17   Crimson Tide 45 Razorbacks 14

Colorado St. (3-0) @ No. 19 BYU (2-1)—Line: BYU -15

After week one this looked like it was going to be BYU's year. Finally a mid-major with a chance at a national title. Then, they go out and get embarrassed on their home field by Florida State. Colorado St. comes into this one 3-0 and playing their best football since they had Cecil Sapp on their team. They're playing great, BYU looked terrible last week and it simply doesn't matter. BYU has too much talent on offense for the Rams to win a low scoring game like they've been doing so far this year. The Cougars make a statement after their huge home loss. The Pick: BYU -15   Cougars 49 Rams 17

No. 1 Florida (3-0) @ Kentucky (2-0)—Line: Florida -22

Florida is the only team in the country that can win by ten over a well coached team that used to be one of the best in the nation and be mad. They simply did not play up to their potential in last week's game against the 'Vols. This week Urban Meyer has them ready to play and the Wildcats are the victims. The Pick: Florida -22   Gators 42 Wildcats 0

No. 8 Boise St. (3-0) @ Bowling Green (1-2)—Line: Boise -17

At first I looked at this game and thought, wow here's my lock of the week. How is Boise only giving 17 to a 1-2 team from the MAC conference? Then I looked into it a little further. First off the game is away from the Blue Turf in Boise, where they surely are much worse and more vulnerable. Secondly Bowling Green played step for step at Missouri two weeks ago. Their defense looks sound and while I don't think they can win, I think they'll keep it close with solid defense. The Pick: BG +17   Broncs 27 Falcons 17

Grambling St. (2-1) @ No. 16 Oklahoma St (2-1)—NO LINE

No line here, as the Cowboys are playing a sub-division team. The Cowboys romp though, in case you were wondering.   Cowboys 56 Tigers 10

Louisiana Lafayette (2-1) @ No. 25 Nebraska (2-1)—Line: Nebraska -26.5

The Huskers are simply too strong up front for the Rajun Cajuns to compete. Maybe if this were basketball they could stay within 27 points, but not in this one. Cornhuskers have a nice easy win after their heartbreak last week. The Pick: Nebraska -26.5   Cornhuskers 45 Rajun Cajuns 10

Arizona St. (2-0) @ No, 21 Georgia (2-1)—Line: Georgia -12.5

The Bulldogs came into this season losing their big playmakers in Matthew Stafford and Knowshon Moreno and were expected to win with defense. Well, that hasn't been the case so far, and it certainly wasn't the case last week in a 52-41 shootout win over Arkansas. This week, the bulldogs get back to defense between the hedges at home. They control the clock and physically manhandle the Sun Devils. The Pick: Georgia -12.5   Bulldogs 31 Sun Devils 14

Iowa (3-0) @ No. 5 Penn St. (3-0)—Line: Penn St. -10

Kirk Ferentz has the Hawkeyes playing physical in the trenches again this year. They're playing low scoring, ball control games. If they can keep a slow paced game they're sure to stay in contention in this one. I think they'll keep the pace down, but I see Penn St. winning in a redemption game for them after losing to Iowa a year ago and ruining their national title hopes. The Pick: Iowa +10   Nittany Lions 24 Hawkeyes 19

No. 24 Washington (2-1) @ Stanford (2-1)—Line: Stanford -7

Coach Harbaugh has the Cardinal playing inspired football once again for the first time since they had John Elway back in the 80's. Washington is coming off a huge upset of the Trojans. This match has sucker bet written all over it. Everyone will surely pound a No. 25 U-Dubb team that just beat USC over an unranked Stanford team, and those people will be severely disappointed. The Cardinal score again...and again...and again...And they beat the Huskies going away. The Pick: Stanford -7   Cardinal 44 Huskies 28

Texas Tech (2-1) @ No. 17 Houston (3-0)—Line: Houston -1.5

The Cougars have an offense that can score with anyone in the country. Mike Leach's teams are perennially known for their ability to run up the score on anyone. The over/under for this game is sure to be over 70 points, but we're not talking over/under here, we're talking spread. With the spread near a pick 'em the pick is basically who do you think will win? I think the Red Raiders win this one simply because Mike Leach doesn't allow mid-majors to beat him. He will outcoach Kevin Sulman and lead the Raiders to victory in this one. Usually after one big win your team will have a let down and I think that will surely be the case here for the Cougars. The Pick: Texas Tech +1.5   Red Raiders 51 Cougars 42

Washington St (1-2) @ #12 USC (2-1)—Line: USC -45

Excuse me, what's that line say? 45 points!?!? The thing is, with a forty-five point line this game is pure luck. Will the Trojans blow out the Cougars? Of course they will. They're coming off of a upset loss and want to prove that they should still be considered among the elite teams in college football. They sure would like to run up the score as much as possible, but we're talking forty-five...4-5...points here. Do I think they'll cover? Sure, why the heck not. The Pick:USC -45    Trojans 56 Cougars 0

Well, that wraps it up this week. Come back next week for my record from the week before and my new picks.


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