The Saturday Speculator: Week 4

All killer, no filler.

  • West Virginia vs Colorado: I definitely would have picked the Mountaineers, seduced by the potential of Pat White and Noel Devine playing for redemption with a defense that isn’t as bad as it used to be. But I would have written about how Boulder does weird things, especially at night.
  • East Carolina vs North Carolina State: The Wolfpack have become a trendy upset pick with ECU losing LB Quentin Cotton for the season. But NC State was offensively impotent against BCS conference opponents this year, and the Pirates are still rugged enough to dominate the trenches.
  • Troy vs Ohio State: Beanie, no; Boeckman, yes. And Troy’s the type of team that gives Ohio State fits, with a tempo-based spread that will get a touchdown or two in this game. But the Buckeyes are sure to be angry after the beatdown they took last week, and this is a get-right game.
  • Temple vs Penn State: The Fightin’ BRAAAAAAINS are quietly the most impressive team the Big Ten. But continuing to demonstrate that against schools like Temple isn’t going to be enough for the Nittany Lions to really be a national title contender.
  • Alabama vs Arkansas: My Theory of the (SEC) West, apologies to Turner, this year: teams not known as Arkansas are better than they appear. Thus, the Crimson Tide roll.
  • South Carolina State vs Clemson: Clemson’s actually looked better since their Week 1 implosion against ‘Bama. And the Tigers are more than enough for S.C. State.
  • Buffalo vs Missouri: The only question is whether Chase Daniel throws five touchdowns or six; the Tigers will romp, despite the Bulls’ improvements over the last couple of years.
  • Wyoming vs Brigham Young: BYU’s had its scare this year, and the Stormin’ Mormons shouldn’t have another game as close as Washington for a long time if they can play within shouting distance of the level they were at while throttling UCLA. Cougars, and big.
  • Florida vs Tennessee: I’m not buying that things will be different at Neyland, or that there’s a lot of revenge in store for the Gators after the 59-20 assault and battery last year in the Swamp. What I do buy: Arian Foster will be better than he has been so far this year, but it won’t matter, because the Gators have a healthy Percy Harvin and just need to keep Tim Tebow upright.
  • Boise State vs Oregon: This isn’t as good a Boise State team as in years prior, and the Electriducks are without a proven quarterback. But Oregon has a good running game. But Boise State has a decent defense. (I’ve agonized over this all week.) I’m taking the Ducks.
  • Utah vs Air Force: I know something like squat about these two teams. So I’m picking the Utes.
  • South Florida vs Florida International: FIU is a waste of the Golden Panthers moniker, and USF can’t have a letdown game against a team as bad as this. Right? Bulls in a walk.
  • Massachusetts vs Texas Tech: UMass will keep this close for a quarter, but there’s not a single athlete on the Minutemen squad who can hang with Michael Crabtree. The Red Raiders will have no problem pulling away.
  • Rice vs Texas: Rice is the best team Texas has played yet this year, but these Longhorns are going to be underrated until they punk one of the Big 12’s big boys. (So until Oklahoma.)
  • Sam Houston State vs Kansas: Sam Houston State? The Jayhawks are just making up cupcakes to pay to play at this point. At least former Oklahoma QB Rhett Bomar is party to this one.
  • Wake Forest vs Florida State: This could be the most dramatic game of the weekend. Wake has discipline that FSU lacks, but FSU has talent Wake would kill for. If it comes down to a kick, I’m not betting against the Demon Deacons’ Sam Swank, and that informs my pick.
  • LSU vs Auburn: The Tiger Bowl should probably be as low-scoring as it has been in recent years, with Auburn struggling to find any rhythm against Mississippi State, and LSU still quarterbacked by a Harvard JV transfer in Andrew Hatch. I’m impressed by both defenses, too. So I’m taking the Bayou Bengals and calling Trindon Holliday the gamebreaker.
  • Georgia vs Arizona State: Georgia, not accustomed to being outside the Eastern Time Zone, may start slow. The Bulldogs defense, especially, won’t end that way.
  • Fresno State vs Toledo: Toledo is far, far removed from the years when Chester Taylor was running for them. The Bulldogs just want to get back on the horse after Wisconsin ground them to dust last week.

Hitch routes: No one will want to be Rudy Carpenter, Bobby Bowden, or Jonathan Crompton on Sunday; Percy Harvin will have over 150 yards of total offense; Chase Daniel will not play through the third quarter for Mizzou; North Carolina will upset Virginia Tech; Javon Ringer will continue to be a darkhorse Heisman candidate; the Pac-10 will continue to look weak; the Big 10 will have a good Saturday.

See you later for live bloggery.

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