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Week Four College Football Viewing Guide

Sept. 25 -- Here's our viewing guide for week four of the college football season...

FRIDAY

Boise State at Virginia
5:00 P.M. ESPN
Boise State -1.5

Boise State, like Michigan, is quietly attempting to play UCLA’s exact non-conference schedule this season. The Broncos aren’t great, but they have a pretty decent defense. Virginia almost lost to the College of William & Mary last week, which is famous for being the second-oldest college in the United States and not having a good enough football team that it should almost beat Virginia. Mike London is a mediocre coach who’s probably going to be fired at the end of the year, but we’ll say he has one more good win in him before ACC play starts.

Virginia 21, Boise State 17

No. 21 Stanford at Oregon State
7:00 P.M. Fox Sports 1
Stanford -15.5

There would be nothing more quintessentially David Shaw than beating USC last week and then squeaking out a three-point win over Oregon State this week. The Beavers are bad, but they have a surprisingly frisky defense that could limit Stanford, especially if the Cardinal is without Kevin Hogan. Stanford’s offense looked very good last week beating USC, but that won’t stop David Shaw from devising some new way of clamping down on his own offense this week. Prediction: Christian McCaffrey will be used in the Wildcat at least 7 times.

Stanford 20, Oregon State 17

SATURDAY

No. 22 BYU at Michigan
9:00 A.M. ABC
Michigan -6.5

BYU will try to bounce back this week after taking a punch to the crotch last week against UCLA. We’re a little shocked by this line, since Michigan has done very little this year to impress us as a particularly good team. The Wolverines beat UNLV (which is so bad its game isn’t even televised this week) 28-7 last week, and quarterback Jake Rudock still managed to look like he picked up a football for the first time sometime in July. Michigan’s defense is OK, but it’s not like the Wolverines have played really anyone with even a passable offense. BYU has the best offense Michigan has faced this year, and Tanner Mangum is really good.

BYU 28, Michigan 24

Nicholls State at Colorado
10:30 A.M. Pac-12 Networks
No line

Nicholls State lost to Incarnate Word, the San Antonio private university, last week. Given that Nicholls State has lost twenty straight games and is arguably the worst team in all of college football, they’d probably also lose to Incarnate Word, the San Antonio private all-girls high school. Some offshore betting sites have Colorado favored by 50 points in this game. Colorado hasn’t won a game by 50+ since 1995. This game will be a cataclysm.

Colorado 56, Nicholls 13

No. 3 TCU at Texas Tech
1:45 P.M. FOX
TCU -7

TCU is one of a few schools in college football that has actually lost more players to injury (and the occasional robbery charge for stealing a case of Keystone Light) than UCLA. Most of TCU’s losses have come on the defensive side of the ball, and against SMU last week, the Horned Frogs played defense with all the verve of a pair of wet socks. Let’s all remember again — TCU is just one really good season removed from going 4-8.

Texas Tech 38, TCU 35

California at Washington
2:00 P.M. Pac-12 Networks
California -4.5

This is getting ridiculous. Can someone wake up Larry Scott and let him know Washington is in the Pacific time zone? This is the third consecutive odd start time for a Huskies home game (11:00 a.m. in week two, 2:00 p.m. in week three). Cal’s defense is terrible, and Washington’s offense is probably atrocious. Who will win the battle between the resistible force and the movable object?

California 28, Washington 24

No. 14 Texas A&M at Arkansas
4:00 P.M. ESPN
Texas A&M -7.5

As distasteful as it might seem to pull for someone as obviously awful as Bret Bielema, the discerning UCLA fan should really root for Arkansas this week. By way of the Razorbacks’ two losses to Toledo and Texas Tech, they are virtually eliminated from Playoff contention, but neither of those losses came in conference. What does that mean? The SEC nuclear scenario is alive and well baby! Arkansas has plenty of talent and could right the ship and still win the SEC West. If it’s going to happen, it’s going to start this week againstTexas A&M, which has looked really dangerous the last few weeks, with a much better defense than many expected heading into the year. This will likely be the only semi-watchable SEC game on Saturday.

Texas A&M 41, Arkansas 30

Mississippi State at Auburn
4:30 P.M. ESPN2
Auburn -2

Who’s ready for some dreadful SEC football? Five bucks says this winner of this game ends up ranked No. 17 in next week’s AP poll.

Mississippi State 31, Auburn 21

No. 25 Missouri at Kentucky
4:30 P.M. SEC Network
Kentucky -2.5

The SEC East is interesting this year, mostly because the entire division is, from top to bottom, garbage. Missouri is ranked for some reason that challenges any modern understanding of logic and decency, while Kentucky is favored despite losing 14-9 to Florida last week and barely squeaking by a bad South Carolina team and a worse Louisiana-Lafayette team in the previous two weeks. If we can give you a piece of advice, take the under, whatever it is.

Kentucky 16, Missouri 13

No. 9 UCLA at No. 16 Arizona
5:00 P.M. ABC
UCLA -3

Why write just a paragraph when you can write 5000+ words?

UCLA 41, Arizona 31

No. 18 Utah at No. 13 Oregon
5:30 P.M. FOX
Oregon -11.5

Great scheduling, putting the two most watchable Pac-12 games opposite each other. Oregon was without Vernon Adams (broken finger) last week, which gave Jeff Lockie every opportunity to show Oregon fans why they should offer up their own index fingers for Adams’ return. Adams, of course, broke the index finger on his throwing hand prior to the Michigan State game and is still a game-time decision for Utah this week. On the Utes’ side of things, Travis Wilson is also a game-time decision with a shoulder sprain on his non-throwing shoulder.

Honestly, we don’t get this line. Oregon’s defense has looked like a pile of trash all season, and the Ducks should make whoever starts for the Utes look like an all-league quarterback. On the other side, if Adams is limited (again, broken finger ON HIS THROWING HAND) or if Lockie actually has to play competitive snaps, Utah’s defense could cause Oregon some real issues.

Utah 34, Oregon 31

No. 19 USC at Arizona State
7:30 P.M. ESPN
USC -5.5

Oh, Sark, you beautiful fraud of a head coach. You even had us convinced this time! Now, after USC lost continence all over the field against Stanford last week, the Trojans go on the road to take on an ASU team that has been pretty bad all season. Of course, Stanford had also been pretty bad all season before facing USC, so maybe this is just the recipe to get the Sun Devils back on track. The last time USC went on the road to Arizona State, Lane Kiffin was fired on the LAX tarmac immediately upon his return. Let’s hope Sark fares better.

ASU 31, USC 30

Last week: 7-8 ATS. Season: 23-21 ATS


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