"Roughing the Passer - A PK Frazier Novel"

My new book, "Offsetting Penalties - A PK Frazier Novel" is the follow-up to "Illegal Procedure" and "Roughing the Passer" and is now available in print and in e-formats at amazon.com, smashwords.com and iBooks. Follow me on twitter @kevinkrest.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

NCAA FOOTBALL WEEK 4 PREDICTIONS

This is the Last Week of So-Called "Preseason" Games: With a few notable exceptions, this is the last week prior to conference play beginning in the BCS conferences. In addition, there's only one game that matches two top 25 teams, a conference matchup between Arizona St. and Stanford. My record last week was 21 -1, but that was diminished considering the number of  "fluff" games on the schedule. Things don't change too much for this week, but perhaps we'll get a surprise or two.

(3) Clemson 37 @ NC State 20: Clemson may be a bit overrated at number three and NC State can be very tough at home. Add the fact that the Tigers are on the road for a Thursday night game and there may be some suspense here. However, Clemson is a very good team and should win this one if Tajh Boyd plays his usual game.

Florida A&M 14 @ (4) Ohio St. 41:  The Buckeyes continue their very challenging...NOT...early season schedule. The Rattlers are 1 -2 and pose little threat to Ohio State. Unless of course A&M turns into Akron and Ohio State becomes Michigan. Just sayin'.

FIU  7 @ (7) Louisville - Infinity: Okay, maybe not that bad. But you get my point. 

North Texas 20 @ (9) Georgia 41: Another breather for a BCS conference school, but the Mean Green might be able to put up some points on the Bulldogs.

Idaho St. 14 @ (17) Washington 30: Idaho St. has played and beaten, and I'm not making this up, Dixie St. and Western St. Those sound like made up schools in a bad B-movie. I mean, Dixie State's schedule doesn't even come up on Yahoo Sports. Really? I'll take Washington.

Michigan St.  31 @ (22) Notre Dame 30: I think this is a major trap game for the Irish. Michigan St., even though they're 3 - 0, is not considered much of a threat in the Big Ten. Meanwhile, Notre Dame can't really stop anyone, giving up more yardage to its opponents than any other team any of them has played. Not a good sign. In fact, I think Notre Dame could lose its next four games. Not much of a follow up season to its national championship game appearance. I'm taking the Spartans in an upset.

Purdue 17 @ (24) Wisconsin 35: The Badgers will be smarting after the game-ending debacle that cost them a potential game-winning field goal shot against Arizona State. Purdue gave Notre Dame a game, but Wisconsin will be a different level of opponent (see previous pick). 

Tennessee 16 @ (19) Florida 24: Florida's offense has sputtered so far and Tennessee feasted on a pair of FCS foes before getting waxed at Oregon. Although I'm not sold on the Gators, they should have enough on the defensive side of the ball to defeat the Volunteers in the swamp.

Maine 27 @ (18) Northwestern 30: The Wildcats get a bit of a break with the FCS Black Bears coming to town. However, Maine's 3 - 0  and the Northwestern defense is not exactly stellar. After this one, Northwestern has an open date before hosting Ohio State in the biggest game in Evanston in recent memory, but only if they take care of business on Saturday. This one could be a nail biter.

Louisiana-Monroe 17 @ (20) Baylor 38: Baylor may be the best team in the Big 12, with a schedule that is totally back loaded and should be 7 - 0 heading into their Nov. 7 matchup with Oklahoma, followed by Texas Tech, Oklahoma St., TCU and Texas to end the season. The Warhawks are a step up for the Bears, but the result should be the same as the two wins that started the season.

Bethune-Cookman  10 @ (8) Florida St. - Name your score.: Really? Can we get rid of these games? I know the Wildcats are 3 - 0, but against who?

(23) Arizona St. 24 @ (5) Stanford 31: This is the only game of the week featuring two ranked teams. I'm not ready to go all in on Stanford, but Arizona St., while I like the Sun Devils, are a cut below on defense. The Cardinal need to play 60 minutes, but I think they just have too much for Arizona St.

SMU 21 @ (10) Texas A&M 49: Despite the loss to Alabama, the Aggies remain a potent force in the SEC. Johnny Manziel should continue to impress and the Mustangs will offer little resistance in advance of A&M's trip to Fayetteville to take on Arkansas next week.

Colorado St. 13 @ (1) Alabama 35:  There is nothing in the resume of the Rams that would suggest they can stay on the field with the Crimson Tide, despite Alabama coming off an emotional win over Texas A&M and the return to Tuscaloosa of former Alabama offensive coordinator Jim McElwain as head coach of Colorado St.

Texas St. 20 @ (25) Texas Tech 31: Texas St. won't present nearly the test for the Red Raiders that TCU did last week. It was an big win for Texas Tech, so the only thing they really need to guard against will be a letdown. There is a chance of that, but I don't see an upset in this one.

Savannah St. 3 @ (16) Miami, Fl 34: The Hurricanes had a bye week to come down off their win over Florida. Svannah St. is a mediocre to poor FCS team with virtually no chance to compete with Miami.

Auburn 24 @ (6) LSU 34: This is an interesting start to the Bayou Bengals' SEC schedule. Auburn is a surprising 3 - 0 under new coach Gus Malzahn, who orchestrated the Tigers ' offense during their national championship run. If Auburn was hosting the game, I might give them a fighting chance. But I like LSU's defense to make stops and their offense under new coordinator Cam Cameron is putting up a lot of points.

(15) Michigan 37 @ Connecticut 13: A week ago, this would have been an easy pick for Michigan. I don't see Connecticut winning this game, but I'll be interested in seeing how the Wolverines rebound from a poor performance last week against Akron. I expect Michigan coach Brady Hoke to have his team ready to play against a Huskie squad that has really struggled running the ball.

N. Mexico St. 10 @ (13) UCLA 51: The Aggies have given up 42 points or more in their first three games and might be the worst FBS school in the nation. UCLA can really light up the scoreboard behind quarterback Brett Hundley, a Heisman trophy candidate. This game is going to be over very early.

Arkansas  27 @ Rutgers 24: The Hogs travel to New Jersey to try to avenge last year's loss to the Scarlet Knights in Fayetteville. Rutgers runs a balanced offense, while Arkansas has relied mostly on a punishing running game. The Hogs lost FB Kiero Small for the season, so we'll have to see how that impacts the offense. Starting QB Brandon Allen suffered a shoulder injury last week and is questionable for Saturday's game. All in all, this one's a tossup, so I'll take the homer pick and go with Arkansas.

Marshall 10 @ Virginia Tech 24: The Hokies are still struggling on offense and were a little lucky to get out of Greenville last week with a win over East Carolina. If their defense plays as they have in the first three games, they should still prevail, regardless of their offensive production. For Tech fans like me, we're just hoping the offense improves as the season progresses, despite early injuries that depleted their talent at the skill positions.

UNC 28 @ Ga. Tech 30: I don't have great read on either of these teams. The Tar Heels looked inept in their season opening loss to South Carolina, then scored 40 points in a win over Conference USA member Middle Tennessee State.  Georgia Tech took care of business against Duke before that, drilled Elon in a huge mismatch. It was fashionable before the season to pick UNC to have a very good season, but I'm not sold on them. I'm staying with Ga. Tech and that rushing offense.


Kansas St. 28 @ Texas 30: Mack Brown is on a very hot seat in Austin, so the Longhorns have a lot of incentive to try to reverse their two game skid in which they've given up 40+ points both times. In addition, Texas has been beaten by Kansas State the last three seasons. It astounds me, as it does a lot of football gurus, that Texas can look so bad when they supposedly have so much talent. I don't think K-State is all that good this year, so I'm going to predict that Texas finds a way to prevail, as long as they can remember how to tackle.