College Football Week 4 Quick Picks

#19 Miami (-175) @ Pittsburgh

The Canes are coming off their loss in the Shoe and then a week off. These teams haven’t met since Miami left the Big East in 2004. The Canes lead the all-time series 21-9-1, but have won the last 6 meetings. Pitt is also coming off a bye week and are 1-14 since 1984 against Miami. An interesting connection between these two teams: Pitt coach Dave Wannstedt was Miami’s defensive coordinator from 1986-1988. Miami coach Randy Shannon was a starting linebacker on the 1987 Miami squad that won a National Title. Both teams are looking to bounce back off of relatively embarrassing losses, Miami from a poor performance against Ohio State and Pitt from an overtime loss to Utah which knocked them out of the rankings. This is a Thursday night game at Heinz Field.

#1 Alabama (-295) @ #10 Arkansas

This could be the game of the week, as we can expect a showdown between McElroy and Mallet. They combined for just under 2,000 years and 15 touchdowns in three games. The Razorbacks will have to contend with Heisman winner Mark Ingram and probably backup Trent Richardson. And then there’s the defense. It doesn’t look good for Arkansas in what will likely be the SEC West title game. The home team has won 5 of the last 6 in this series, but the Hogs have dropped 3 straight.

#24 Oregon State @ #3 Boise State (-925)

The Broncos get another chance to add to their National Title resume when they welcome in the Beavers. These two teams met in 2006 and Oregon State jumped out to a 14-0 lead and then surrendered 42 straight points to get blown out. Can the Rogers brothers produce enough offense to offset the offense of Kellen Moore, Titus Young, Jeremy Avery et al.? That is going to be something that only TCU has been able to do in the last 2 years (2008 Poinsettia Bowl).

#12 South Carolina @ #17 Auburn (-155)

The Ol’ Ball Coach has got his best looking squad in his tenure in Columbia and many people believe that Marcus Lattimore will be leading the Gamecocks to a BCS bowl next season. Auburn is 6-1-1 against SC, with the only loss back in 1933. Both teams are coming off of close wins (Auburn to Clemson and SC to Furman) and know that they need to improve. Both teams are strong in the rushing game, so it’s possible to see the difference in this game come down to how well the QB’s make plays.

#22 West Virginia @ #15 LSU (-360)

This is the first meeting between these two teams. LSU hasn’t face a Big East opponent since a 23-10 loss to Syracuse in the 1989 Hall of Fame Bowl. The Mountaineers are 10-4 against the SEC including a 38-35 win over Georgia in the 2005 Sugar Bowl, but lost last year at Auburn. The quarterbacks will feature here. WVU isn’t known for being a passing team, but it’s what’s gotten them to 3-0. The Tigers passing game has been slower to develop and that’s worrisome for Bayou Bengal fans. The Mountaineers have the 24th ranked passing attack in the country while LSU’s is ranked 115th. This game comes down to Geno Smith (WVU) vs. Jordan Jefferson (LSU).

N.C. State @ Georgia Tech (-330)

The surprisingly 3-0 Wolfpack open up ACC play on the road and they don’t have the greatest history against the Yellow Jackets. They are 2-10 against GT since 1995. However, these teams look pretty even so far this year. GT is only averaging 10 more yards a game than NC State (413 vs. 403). And Tech’s D is allowing about 20 yards a game more than State so far (314 vs. 294). Turnovers will likely be the difference where Tech stands apart. They’re +8 in the turnover margin while State is -9.

California @ #14 Arizona (-270)

Cal is coming off being upset by Nevada last Friday, while Arizona is riding high on their upset of Iowa. The home team has won the last five in this series, and the last time these teams played in Tuscon in 2008, the Wildcats trailed the Bears 24-14 at the half, but rallied with 28 points in the 3rd quarter to the 42-27 upset. Also, this is another game that will be decided by the QB’s involved. Both Arizona’s Nick Foles and California’s Kevin Riley are accurate passers. Riley is ranked 13th in FBS in passing efficiency, while Foles is 14th. Cal is looking for a signature win to stop this season from skidding out of control, while Zona is looking to start their march to the Pac-10 title, which will probably go through Eugene, Oregon. The late game has got the potential to light up the scoreboard and be exciting for the football insomniacs, like me.

While these are officially going up early Friday morning, everybody’s picks were in before the kickoff of the Pitt-Miami game. So all’s straight up here.

Game Armando Casey Steelers
Miami @ Pitt Pitt Miami Miami
#1 Alabama @ #10 Arkansas Arkansas Alabama Alabama
#24 Oregon St. @ #3 Boise St. Boise Boise Boise
#12 S. Carolina @ #17 Auburn Auburn Auburn S. Carolina
#22 W. Virginia @ #15 LSU LSU LSU LSU
NC State @ G. Tech NC St. GT GT
Cal @ #14 Arizona ‘Zona ‘Zona ‘Zona

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