Friday, September 23, 2016

Your NCAA Football Week 4 Primer (With Picks!)

Louisville sophomore quarterback Lamar Jackson introduced himself to the country with a massive game against Florida State last week.
By Joe Parello (@HerewegoJoe)

After three weeks, it seems like we have three teams that have separated themselves from the pack a bit.

All due respect to Clemson for getting back on track last night against a pretty good Georgia Tech team, but Louisville showed it was the team to be feared in the ACC. The Cardinals put 63 points on then-No. 2 Florida State, and quarterback Lamar Jackson asserted himself as the early Heisman Trophy favorite.

With a cannon arm and ridiculous athleticism, the sophomore from Boynton Beach, Florida looks like the second-coming of Mike Vick (or was he still Michael Vick back then?).

The Cardinals' defense was equally impressive, holding FSU's Deondre Francois to 7/18 passing for just 101 yards, and negative 34 yards on the ground. Yeah, it was utter domination on both sides of the ball by Louisville.

Alabama had to come back to beat an Ole Miss team they always seem to struggle with, but the Tide are still undefeated, and as long as they are, it's hard not to call them a national title favorite. In the Big Ten, Ohio State looks great again, and the Buckeyes' domination of Oklahoma gives them a slight edge (in my mind) over hated rival Michigan… At this point in the year.

It was also a big week for me, as I bounced back from a horrific Week 2 to go 10-7 against the spread in Week 3.

In other news, and I hate to break it to y'all, but this may be my last NCAA Football Primer of the season. I'm potentially picking up even more work during the day Friday to go with my Friday night high school football coverage, weekly Boston College coverage, and Saturday college game day coverage, so something may have to give.

We'll see, I might be back, but in the meantime, let's see if I can get back above .500 for the year.

Picking Week 4

Last Week Against the Spread: 10-7
Year Against the Spread to Date: 25-25

Home Team in CAPS


NO. 24 UTAH (-3) over USC

At this point, I have no faith in the Trojans, especially playing on the road with redshirt freshman Sam Darnold making his first career start. He'll face a Utes defense that recorded 10 sacks last week against San Jose State.


Kent State (+45) over NO. 1 ALABAMA

Alabama could easily crush the Golden Flashes by whatever margin it wanted, but Nick Saban actually called off the dogs two weeks ago against Western Kentucky, and went ultra vanilla in the second half. Expect the Tide to show as little as possible, and cruise to a victory… Just not by six touchdowns and a field goal.

No. 12 Georgia (+7) over NO. 23 OLE MISS

I keep betting on the Dawgs, and they keep biting me. But, like an idiot, I just can't stop petting this pup. THIS IS THE WEEK GEORGIA PUTS IT ALL TOGETHER!

Oh, and they're a Top-15 getting a touchdown against a 1-2 team. That too.

No. 13 Florida State (-5) over SOUTH FLORIDA

Look, you don't just walk into Raymond James Stadium and beat the Bulls! Seriously, USF is 7-1 at home since the beginning of last year, including its last six in a row.

Still, despite that, and the fact that Florida State was absolutely exposed last week, I just can't see the Noles walking out of Tampa without at least a one-touchdown victory.

Willie Taggart has re-built USF into a respectable program, but it's not on FSU's level yet.

NO. 8 MICHIGAN STATE (-5) over No. 11 Wisconsin

The Spartans' defense is legit again, and Wisconsin's win over LSU ain't looking as great as it did a few weeks ago. The Badgers are solid, but MSU might be a sneaky playoff contender.

Of course, we might be saying the same thing about Wisconsin next week if they win this game…

NO. 4 MICHIGAN (-17.5) over Penn State

Michigan looks like a legit national title contender, while Penn State struggled with a bad Temple team, and lost to in-state rival Pitt… Yeah, I'll go with Big Blue in the Big House.

No. 19 Florida (+7) over NO. 14 TENNESSEE

I've bet against the Gators the last three weeks, and won each time, but an even longer trend is UF beating Tennessee. The last time UF lost to the Volunteers, I was a senior in high school, and Facebook was still called

It was also only available to select college students. Man, 2004 was a while ago.

Either way, I'm taking the Gators, even with backup quarterback Austin Appleby, to find a way to magically break Tennessee hearts again… Or at least keep it closer than a touchdown.

AUBURN (+3.5) over No. 18 LSU

Like I asked last week… Are we sure LSU is actually any good?

No. 6 Houston (-34.5) over TEXAS STATE

Look, if Florida can score over 30 on Texas State, then I don't want to know what Houston can do to the Bobcats.

Oklahoma State (+8.5) over NO. 16 BAYLOR

The Cowboys are one play (that shouldn't have counted) away from being undefeated and ranked themselves, so if you're gonna give me two scores, I'm gonna take em.

NO. 20 NEBRASKA (-8) over Northwestern

Nebraska showed they have the talent to be a Dark Horse Big Ten title game contender, beating Oregon last week, while Northwestern has lost to Western Michigan and FCS Illinois State this year.

I know the Wildcats got back on track with a win over Duke last week, but let's not over think this.

No. 7 Stanford (-3) over UCLA

I'm gonna keep taking the Cardinal as long as it keeps getting these small lines.

No. 3 Louisville (-26.5) over MARSHALL

I know many are thinking there will be a bit of an emotional letdown for the Cardinals, but they're so explosive, they can win by 30 not playing their best game.

No. 17 Arkansas (+7) over NO. 10 TEXAS A&M

I'm really torn on this one, so I figured I'd just take the points, since the spread is a full touchdown.

No. 9 Washington (-12) over ARIZONA

Washington quarterback Jake Browning has already thrown 12 touchdowns this year, so I expect a big night for the Husky offense in the desert, against  a Wildcat defense that has given up some splash plays.

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