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September 24, 2011

College Football Report - Saturday Picks - Week 4

(Game of the week…)

#7 Oklahoma State (3-0) @ #8 Texas A&M (3-0)


3:30 ET ABC/ESPN2, Sat. Sept. 24, Kyle Field, College Station, TX

A must win for both sides to attain a Big 12 title and South Championship game appearance. Last season’s game came down to the final seconds and this year’s may be no different. With two of the best offenses, and quarterbacks, in the country, the game will come down to whichever team doesn’t beat themselves with turnovers. The Cowboys have turned the ball over six times compared to A&M’s two on the year thus far. With a defense that returned 10 starters to begin the season, and an offense led by quarterback Ryan Tannehill – who didn’t play in last year’s meeting, A&M will prevail in a tight battle. Pick: Texas A&M 37 – Oklahoma State 33

#14 Arkansas (3-0) @ #3 Alabama (3-0)


3:30 PM ET, CBS, Sat. Sept. 24, Bryant-Denny Stadium, Tuscaloosa, AL

An SEC offense versus defense battle, the Razorbacks and Tide face off in their first key SEC West test. Led by All-American safety Mark Barron, the defensive secondary of the Tide is unmatched by anyone in the country. The good news for Arkansas; that secondary is also untested so far this season. The Razorback receiving core made up of Cobi Hamilton, Joe Adams and Jarius Wright will need to find holes in a talented backfield. In the end, defense prevails over the firepower of the Razorback offense. Pick: Alabama 28 – Arkansas 20

(Give me a ticket to see…)

#2 LSU (3-0) @ #16 West Virginia (3-0)


8:00 PM ET, ABC, Sat. Sept. 24, Mountaineer Stadium, Morgantown, WV

The Tiger’s have been one of college footballs most impressive thus far, led by a swarming defensive front and hard hitting secondary. But don’t count the Mountaineers out of this one just yet. The Mountaineers lost last year’s meeting with an unpolished team that’s now under the direction of offensive mind Dana Holgorsen, and have played like a new team this season. WVU has not lost a home non-conference game since 2005, but the defense brings concerns. LSU tailbacks Spencer Ware and Michael Ford will rack up more than the 188 Maryland put on the Mountaineers last week, giving just enough push. Pick: LSU 24 – West Virginia 21

#11 Florida State (2-1) vs. #21 Clemson (3-0)


3:30 PM ET, ESPN, Sat. Sept. 24, Memorial Stadium, Clemson, SC

There’s always hate in the air when FSU and Clemson find themselves on the same field. One of the more heated rivalries in the ACC, this year’s game comes with huge ACC Atlantic implications. The home team has had the advantage in the series as of late, with the road team losing the last nine. Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd is coming off the best game of his young career, roasting the Auburn secondary for 386 yards and four scores. The FSU defense is fast and talented, but off a home hangover and led by a hobbled quarterback in E.J. Manuel. Not good news for an offense that should need to put up some points. Pick: Clemson 29 – Florida State 17

San Diego State (3-0) vs. #22 Michigan (3-0)


12:00 PM ET, BTN, Sat. Sept. 24, Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor, MI

For the third straight year, the Wolverines find themselves entering the latter half of the AP Poll after the third week of the season. For the third straight year, though, the Wolverines will look to keep themselves there. A loss to an underrated and talented San Diego State team will certainly derail any momentum the Wolverines have gained thus far, not to mention embarrass the program losing to U-of-M head coach Brady Hoke’s 2010 team. Michigan should know what they’re in for, as Hoke recruited most of the SDSU team. Stopping Aztec runner Ronnie Hillman will be the key for Big Blue. If they don’t, they’ll be in for a long day, and another long season. Pick: Michigan 44 – San Diego State 30

(Upset pick…)

#23 USC (3-0) vs. Arizona State (2-1)


10:15 PM ET, ESPN, Sat. Sept. 24, Sun Devil Stadium, Tempe, AZ

Talent alone, Arizona State can compete with anyone in the PAC-12. Because of bonehead mistakes and brainless penalties, they’re a second tier team of the PAC-12. Quarterback Brock Osweiler has been as good as advertised this season, all 6-foot-8 of the junior. What have hurt ASU so far are its 21 penalties and four turnovers the last two games. The Trojans have played like the Trojans of old this season, cruising past three straight BCS conference opponents. A game winning kick downed the Sun Devils last season on the Trojans home turf. The tide will turn for the Sun Devils this season if they can cut down on the miscues. Pick: Arizona State 20 – USC 16

#10 Oregon (2-1) vs. Arizona (1-2)


10:15 PM ET, ESPN2, Sat. Sept. 24, Arizona Stadium, Tucson, AZ

Talk about a tough break. The Wildcats face their third straight top 10 opponent this week, second straight at home. With losses to Oklahoma State on the road and Stanford last week at home, it’s hard to really see how good this Wildcats team is, outside of not top 10 good. It’s do or die time now for Arizona, however, with USC up after Oregon, the Wildcats can’t afford to drop three straight conference games. Oregon has played like a team on a mission since its opening day loss to LSU, granted it came against weak competition. Don’t expect a whole lot of razzle dazzle out of the Ducks outside of a boat load of points put on an underachieving Arizona defense. They’ll keep it close early, though. Pick: Oregon 45 – Arizona 20

Kansas State (2-0) vs. Miami Fla. (1-1)


3:30 PM ET, ESPNU, Sat. Sept. 24, Sun Life Stadium, Miami, FL

The Brown brothers return to Miami as the Wildcats face off against the Canes for the first time in school history. Kansas State running back and former No.1 recruit and Cane commit Bryce Brown and brother and former Cane linebacker, Arthur, should be focal points for the Cane’s to contain. The Hurricanes rolled over the Buckeyes last week at home, holding the Bucks to just 35 yards passing. Running back Lamar Miller will be the workhorse once again, last week rushing for 184 yards. If quarterback Jacory Harris can limit his mistakes, the Canes will move on to 17-1 when hosting a non ACC opponent since 2004. Pick: Miami Fla. 38 – Kansas State 14

Last Week: 4-5 – Overall: 18-10– Upset Pick: 2-1

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