College Four-play: Week 4 predictions

Those who have been following this column for any length of time, you might be feeling a little like Dennis Erickson Saturday night when UNLV blocked ASU’s field goal in overtime.

 

Total shock.

 

Unlike Erickson though, this is a good thing. I’m off to the greatest start in Four-play history, speaking strictly outside the San Fernando Valley region. I am now 6-1-1 against the spread after a 3-1 performance last week, with the only blemish resulting from my own stupidity.

 

I thought Ohio State was worthy, at least, to hold the Trojans’ jockstraps and stay within a couple of touchdowns of them. So wrong.

 

Oddsmakers couldn’t scramble fast enough to move the futures odds after USC’s 35-3 trouncing over this alleged top-five squad and now you’re lucky to get the Trojans at +150 to win the BCS championship.

 

That’s a stretch from the 3-1 odds that USC opened at this season. Whoever grabbed them early at that number is likely already spending the money. But Florida and Oklahoma might have something to say. They are both at +450 or so to take the title and Georgia isn’t far behind at +700.

 

The Bulldogs, however, have to get over their passing issues that have crept back into their lives like a clingy ex-girlfriend. Quarterback Matt Stafford was the beneficiary of heaps of praise following Georgia’s 101 points through its first two games, and then last week he was back to airmailing receivers and watching passes hit hands before falling to the turf.

 

It was one of a pile sloppy passing performances around the country in this early season and it’s left us wondering if anybody can play quarterback anymore.

 

Thankfully there is the Big 12. It seems like just about every quarterback worth watching is in that conference this year.

 

Texas Tech’s Graham Harrell leads the nation in passing yards (1251). Oklahoma’s Sam Bradford is tied for most touchdown passes (12) and ranks second in efficiency (79.1 percent). Kansas State’s Josh Freeman ranks third in efficiency right behind Bradford. Todd Reesing ain't too shabby in Kansas.

 

And then there’s Chase Daniel.    

        

Take this the right way: if you don’t have a man crush on Chase Daniel by now, you haven’t been watching enough of him. The guy who couldn’t get a recruiting sniff from any of the big schools in his home state of Texas is now at the helm of the No. 1 offense in the nation.

 

Daniel has 973 yards passing, 10 touchdowns and he’s completing over 70 percent of his passes. Mizzou leads the nation with almost 58 points per game so far and it’s not surprising that the Tigers have covered the spread and played over the total in both of their games that have had a line so far.

 

College football nation has taken notice of Daniel and the other Big 12 studs. Every time you flipped on ESPN or clicked on a sports website this week, there was something about the Big 12’s dominance at QB. And rightfully so. Four of the top six scoring teams in the nation are from the Big 12.

 

Yet, despite the high scores and flashy offenses, the over/under record in Big 12 games this year is 12-14.

 

That’s due to a combination of things. These teams are playing some pretty good defense that is understandably being overlooked and they are also facing some mediocre competition.

 

What it all means is that when Big 12 play begins, we should see some strong value on the under. The inflated production is going to make for some inflated totals, like we are seeing this week. The average over/under is 56.64 points in games involving Big 12 squads and two games – Buffalo vs. Mizzou and Rice vs. Texas – have totals of at least 70 points. Those are some steep numbers.

 

But when competition starts getting tougher next week, keep an eye on inflated numbers. These squads won’t be able to fling it around with such ease against tougher defenses and they’ll need to play some stingy D themselves to keep up.

 

On to this week’s picks.

 

Iowa State vs. UNLV (-2, 51)

 

OK, let’s give this theory a shot. Iowa State’s offense looked like vomit last week against Iowa. As long as UNLV's defense doesn’t have a total letdown after its huge win last week, this one should fall under.

 

Pick: under 51

 

Bama vs. Arkansas (9 ½, 46 ½)

 

Arkansas had the benefit of about five extra days to prepare for Bama after Hurricane Ike delayed the Hogs’ game against Texas last week.

 

That could be just what Arkansas needs in order to adjust to the systems of new head coach Bobby Petrino. The Hogs are off to what some would call a rough start – two narrow wins over powder puff opponents.

 

But don’t blame Arkansas if it was looking ahead. The Hogs play a string of four games that make you wince just thinking about them – Bama, Texas, Florida and Auburn.

 

Speaking of looking ahead, the Tide visit Georgia next week.

 

Pick: Hogs

 

Wyoming vs. BYU (-27 ½, 51 ½)

 

I watched Wyoming play Air Force a couple of weeks ago and the Pokes’ offense was hard on the eyes. Looks like it wasn’t much better last week with only 16 points against North Dakota State. Not sure how they’re going to keep it within four TDs at BYU.

 

Pick: BYU

 

Wake Forest vs. Florida State (+5, 47 ½)

 

Let’s see how the Noles do against a real team.

 

Pick: Wake

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Posted by DAPASTOR
6 years ago

missouri @ the half..what ya'll think fellaz??
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Posted by TheosGame
6 years ago

Wake Forest over fla st and Florida over tenn dont tease much, but i like wake forest plus 10and half and fla. -1and half in Tease
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Posted by manu3lpolanco
6 years ago

bes ssssssssss========byu ====misori
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Posted by manu3lpolanco
6 years ago

besbes pick ===byu tesa----georgia
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Posted by tupat28
6 years ago

Speak for yourself. I appreciate when someone offers analysis and reasoning for their picks.
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Posted by dagrad
6 years ago

there needs to be a word limit or a gag order.........especially for doobiebrother. do we honestly need his entire board?
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Posted by doobiebrother
6 years ago

CFB 14-12-1 (+5.3) Ole Miss (-7) – Vandy 3-0 SU & ATS, and some trends in their favor (7-1 ATS vs. Ole Miss and Rebels 2-8-2 HF). Commodores caught Miami, O. looking ahead to Michigan, SC looking ahead to Georgia, and outgained by Rice 407-344. That’s very low yardage total vs. Owl “D” worst (#119) in total defense LY (allowed 523 LW). Talent gap between Vandy & Ole Miss HUGE, especially at line of scrimmage. Vandy returns 9 starters, more importantly 0 on OL, and 1 on DL. Ole Miss 4 straight top 30 recruiting classes and returns 16 starters. Offense that ran for 4.2 YPR LY returns 9, and adds Texas transfer QB Snead, who threw 4 TDs in last second loss at Wake. Defense returns 7, including all 4 DL. They also have 1st team All-SEC players on both sides of line with OT Oher and DE Hardy, who will play for 1st time TY. Vandy 1 winning season in L32, 4-21 SU on SEC road under Johnson, and a starting WR out. Rebs 6-1-1 H vs. SEC and 4-1 ATS in SEC H opener. Auburn (+2.5) - Home team 8-0 SU in series, and LSU no advantage to warrant breaking streak. Auburn just as much talent, at least as good coaching, and has played better competition thus far. Both LSU QBs inexperienced and play 1st road game in front of 90,000 at Jordan-Hare. Auburn returns more starters on both sides of ball, has top 5 OL (all 5 starters back, 4.9 YPR LY), and the “D” has stood out, leading the nation in 3rd down conversions allowed (3-46, 6.5%). Marshall (+7.5) - Thundering Herd good team flying under radar. Only 3-9 LY, but won 3 of L5, including 19 point win over ECU, and played 7 bowl teams plus Miami, Fl. Lost by 7 at Tulsa and 7 at Houston. They return 16 starters plus DL McClellan, ’06 C-USA Defensive POY, who sat out LY. Held Memphis to 16 last week and led 14-0 midway through 2nd vs. Wisky at Madison. All C-USA TE Slate, Herd’s leading receiver LY (66) returns after missing L2. KRs Marshall (#8 LY) & Small (24.2 TY) both dangerous. S. Miss. playing well under new HC Fedora, but not as well as scores indicate. Trailed 24-0 6 minutes into 3rd at Auburn before Tuberville dumped bench, and outgained 447-348 in 27-24 win at Arkansas St, with return of bad snap on short ASU FG attempt leading to 10 point swing. Eagles 1-5 ATS HF of 7.5>. Parlay Pitt (+1) & Under (41.5) – Iowa returns 8 on offense, but #109 LY in total offense and #110 in scoring. Hawks held to 13< in 4 of 5 road games LY, and just 244 total yards LW vs. ISU. Pitt #7 in total “D” LY, had extra week to prepare, and LB Murray, LY’s 2nd leading tackler, returns to lineup. Iowa “D” has allowed only 8 points in 3 games and no TDs, albeit at H vs. weak opposition. Defensive battles usually decided by a big play or 2, and Pitt has big advantage at skill positions, with game breakers at RB and both WRs. Well aware Pitt 0-5 off bye under Wannstedt, but so are players, and that serves as motivation here. Oregon (-10) – Low number an overreaction to Ducks losing yet another QB. Oregon 11-1-1 ATS as HF 10> averaging 38.9 PPG and they’re going to get their points in this system. The question is where will Broncos’ points come from? Just 4 starters back on offense, new QB in 1st road start, and scored just 20 at H vs. BG last week. Forgotten in QB turmoil is best Oregon “D” in years, with 8 starters back, and they were impressive in holding Purdue scoreless for 11 straight possessions in comeback win LW. Ducks have played 3 games to 2 for Boise, and against tougher foes. Boise 0-6 ATS in road openers, 1-4-1 ATS as RD vs. Pac 10, and 1-11 ATS A when allow 28>. Utah (-9.5) – AF on 9-0 ATS run, dog 8-1 ATS in series, and L4 at this site decided by total of 12 points. Overriding factor in my picks is personnel, however, and gap here is huge. AF HC Calhoun impressive leading team to 9-4 record in rookie season and starting 3-0 TY with only 8 starters back. Still Falcons lost 4 year starting QB Carney, RB Hall (MWC Offensive POY), and 3 All MWC defensive players. Their 1st 2 wins vs. weak opponents, and probably would have lost to Houston if not for weather and mental effects of Ike. Utah bigger, faster, deeper, and in revenge. With this game sandwiched between cupcake opponents, Utes able to focus on defending AF option. Visitor 6-0 ATS and Falcons 1-6 HD vs. .600>. Toledo (+7) – Problem with Fresno playing BCS teams is the letdown afterward. Bulldogs 1-11 ATS off SU L and 0-8-1 ATS off SU HL. It also can take a physical toll (lost 2 starting OL). Tough schedule spot as FSU comes off B-to-B games vs. BCS, traveling cross country with intrastate BCS foe UCLA on deck. This accentuated at the Glass Bowl, a 35,000 seat hornet’s nest where Toledo is 43-6 SU, 7-1 ATS in H openers, and averaged 41.1 PPG LY. Rockets have shored up their injury riddled “D” from LY a bit, and have a 3rd year starter at QB and 2 All MAC WRs. Georgia (-7) - Some will compare to SC game, noting low Georgia point total, but not a valid comparison. SC has legit top 15 defense and there’s a low scoring karma in Georgia/SC series (under 12-0 w/27.7 avg). ASU offense & QB good, but #117 in sacks allowed LY, and will feel heat from fast, rugged Georgia “D”, especially if they fall behind. ASU 2-9 ATS H off solo L, and Georgia an amazing 27-4 SU in true road games under Richt, as well as 5-0 ATS as non-con RF. Dawgs should pop this one open vs. Devil “D” that allowed 26.6 PPG at H in Pac 10 play LY and 52 to Texas in bowl game. San Jose St. (+8) - Upset of USC LY still influencing odds as Stanford 2-6 ATS in L8. Cardinal fortunate in win over OSU (outgained 490-301), then spanked by ASU and TCU. SJS outgained Nebraska in Lincoln 353-315, with misleading score due to KO return and intercept return TDs. Spartans trailed just 14-12 with 12 minutes to go. They followed with another impressive defensive performance, holding SDS to 146 total yards. QB Reed has completed 76.1% of his passes and RB Davis getting 7.1 YPR. Stanford has look ahead to Pac 10 game at Washington, and is off 2 road games with 2 more on deck. SJS just 1 year removed from 9-4 bowl winning season, has the better team, and will be fired up as schools just 18 miles apart. 4 Ole Miss 3 Auburn 3 Marshall 3 Oregon 3 Utah 3 Toledo 3 Georgia 3 SJS 2 Pitt & Under Note- Posted current lines here but got Georgia at 6.5, and 3 of the units on Ole Miss at 5. Bet those Sunday night, and posted them on this site Monday morning. Records will be kept accordingly.
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Posted by the_ice_king
6 years ago

LOL, you picked Arkansas.......ohhhh boy
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Posted by Jon_Campbell
6 years ago

Cheers folks. Good luck with your plays today and enjoy the games.
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Posted by BilasDuke
6 years ago

Love Wake
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Posted by Aussieguy
6 years ago

You're on fire mate. May the hot streak continue ... I'm playing two games: Air Force +9.5 and OVER 53.5 in Boise St/Oregon, 6 and 7 Unit respectively. Have a good one AUSSIE
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Posted by tazzman54
6 years ago

the move to 27.5 was designed to make you go hmmm... I think FSU wins by 11-14 points all from Defense
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Posted by KasperNV
6 years ago

I like them all except Bama will take care of business.
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Posted by lonetreejj
6 years ago

Like the under analysis and call on Ia-St @ UNLV. Arkansas is a gutsy call, but again I agree. That subtle 1/2 pt move from 28 to 27.5 in BYU game makes me go hmmmm; but Wyo is weaker than Wyo teams of recent memory and BYU should cake-walk... but that 1/2 pt is keepin me from pullin the trigger. And Wake seems too easy. No way so many good cappers think this line is askew; all the educated money is on Wake, and this line of opportunity is getting more opportune by the minute. Am I on FSU..... puh lease. Simply No play.
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Posted by GeorgeCarlin
6 years ago

Looks like you're gonna be 10-1-1...don't let it get to your head, tho. Like any SEC team underdog. Ala doesn't do away with anyone. BYU likes to score everytime--evidence the pasting of UCLA. Too hard to coach and prepare for. Like the call, as 28 points= a clo0se ballgame, which aint gonna happen. Not sure abt the UNLV under, or the call on Wake.
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Posted by cprado23
6 years ago

Im a Big FSU fan and know that are OLine is real young and WakeForest D Loves to bring the pressure. I like the Points here the higher the better. WakeForest is for real.
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Posted by JayDee1654
6 years ago

Strong plays, Though i'm gonna steer clear of the BYU game. I know they are more than capable of blowing this game out by the first quarter, but with my expirience with BYU, they usually have a few let down games every year, and this seems like a perfect opportunity for that to happen.
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Top Response

Posted by JayDee1654
6 years ago

"Strong plays, Though i'm gonna steer clear of the BYU game. I know they are more than capable of blowing this game out by the first quarter, but with my expirience with BYU, they usually have a few let down games every year, and this seems like a per..."