Every Thursday during the college football season, I'll be picking the 10 best games of the week against the spread, plus one upset special. Here are my picks for Week 4.
Last week ATS: 5-4-2
Getty ImagesStreeter Lecka
Clemson at Georgia Tech (+9.5, Thursday)
Paul Johnson is doing his thing again where the Jackets get sneaky good, but Clemson has the athletes and the familiarity to slow down the triple-option.
Pick: Clemson 30, Georgia Tech 21 | Buy tickets
Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY SportsJoshua S. Kelly
USC at Utah (-3, Friday)
Trojans coach Clay Helton has switched to redshirt freshman QB Sam Darnold, but that still won’t help the nation’s 107th-ranked rushing offense move the ball against Utah’s stout defensive front much better than it did against Stanford.
Pick: Utah 27, USC 16 | Buy tickets
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Wisconsin at Michigan State (-5.5)
Wisconsin has a fantastic defense but is struggling again to run the ball like it wants to (ranking 83rd nationally in yards per rushing attempt). Now it faces Michigan State’s stingy run defense with a badly banged-up backfield. Not good.
Pick: Michigan State 27, Wisconsin 20 | Buy tickets
Getty ImagesStacy Revere
Florida (+6.5) at Tennessee
Tennessee can’t possibly blow this one, right? ... Wrong. Florida, which currently boasts the nation’s No. 1 defense, should swallow up the Vols’ struggling offensive line and pressure QB Josh Dobbs into a couple of costly mistakes.
Pick: Florida 10, Tennessee 9 | Buy tickets
Getty ImagesKevin C. Cox
Penn State at Michigan (-18.5)
Penn State will be without its top three linebackers against Michigan. That’s not good. Nor is the fact that the Wolverines’ D-line should dominate up front.
Pick: Michigan 41, Penn State 20 | Buy tickets
Getty ImagesGregory Shamus
LSU (-3.5) at Auburn
What you do when you have no faith in either team? In this case, pick the team that has Leonard Fournette. If QB Danny Etling can make just a few plays in the passing game, it should be enough to outscore Auburn’s dysfunctional offense.
Pick: LSU 23, Auburn 17 | Buy tickets
Arkansas (+6) vs. Texas A&M
I have no idea who’s going to win, but the past two meetings in Arlington have gone to overtime, and now Joe Tessitore is on the call. And it doesn’t start until 9 p.m. ET. Flip a coin and settle in for a few hours.
Pick: Texas A&M 31, Arkansas 30 | Buy tickets
Getty ImagesButch Dill
Georgia (+7) at Ole Miss
It’s anyone’s guess how Ole Miss rebounds from its loss to Alabama, but Georgia’s offensive line is not nearly the caliber of the Tide’s. It can’t wear down the Rebels’ defense like Alabama did and might not protect QB Jacob Eason.
Pick: Ole Miss 24, Georgia 20 | Buy tickets
Getty ImagesKevin C. Cox
Stanford (-3) at UCLA
Jim Mora is trying to model the Bruins after the Cardinal, who’ve dealt him five losses in four seasons, but UCLA doesn’t yet have the same physical rushing attack as Stanford. The Cardinal defense picks off Josh Rosen a couple of times.
Pick: Stanford 26, UCLA 20 | Buy tickets
Oklahoma State (+8) at Baylor
Baylor’s offense post-Art Briles has been quietly average so far (45th nationally in yards per play) while playing Northwestern State, SMU and Rice. Oklahoma State can take advantage, and QB Mason Rudolph could have a big night.
Pick: Oklahoma State 40, Baylor 31 | Buy tickets
Rob Ferguson-USA TODAY SportsRob Ferguson
Upset Special: Syracuse (+4.5) at Connecticut
In this battle for the hearts and minds of non-existent Northeast TV viewers, Syracuse coach Dino Babers’ up-tempo offense proves too much for Connecticut’s 108th-ranked scoring offense to keep pace.