Week Four Preview

justin herbert
Photo: Sean Meagher/Oregon Live

Friday

Washington State vs USC, 10:30 PM ET, ESPN

USC has looked terrible on offense this season and Washington State has looked better this season than I anticipated, granted they haven’t played a team with the talent of USC yet this season. I think things are close to getting away from Clay Helton at USC as they look like they did in 2016 where they started off 1-3, but this time I don’t see them having a Sam Darnold coming in and saving them. I don’t think there will be a ton of scoring in this game, but I just really don’t like what I see from USC right now.

Pick: Washington State

Saturday

(22) Texas A&M vs (1) Alabama, 3:30 PM ET, CBS

The Aggies are clearly an improved team, but not quite improved to the level of going into Alabama and winning. I think if they were playing at home they would be pretty competitive, just like they were with Clemson, but with this game being in Tuscaloosa, I think the Crimson Tide will win, but not quite as big of a blowout as they’ve been winning by so far this season.

Pick: Alabama

South Carolina vs Vanderbilt, 4:00 PM ET, SEC Network

The conventional wisdom would be that South Carolina is the better team and would win this game fairly easily, but this game is a toss up in my mind. Vanderbilt is better than most people expected this season and the Gamecocks are coming off of not playing last week due to their game being cancelled in anticipation for Hurricane Florence. I think this game will come down to the wire and could be one of those really under the radar entertaining games on Saturday.

Pick: South Carolina

Arizona vs Oregon State, 4:00 PM ET, Pac-12 Network

This game is interesting to me just because I want to see if Arizona can move the ball for a whole game against an FBS team. In their two games against FBS opponents this season they have been abysmal on offense and have been trying too hard to make Khalil Tate a pocket passer, which hasn’t worked. If they want to start moving the ball again they’ll need to let Tate run like he did last season when he took over the starting job. Also, Oregon State has looked good on offense this year so Arizona will likely have to put up some points to win this game.

Pick: Arizona

(17) TCU vs Texas, 4:30 PM ET, FOX

I’m not going to overreact to the performance by the Longhorns last week against USC. They definitely deserve credit for it, but I don’t have a super high opinion of USC. I was also pretty impressed with TCU last week against Ohio State and I think if they could’ve avoided some of the terrible mistakes, like letting Ohio State score two defensive touchdowns, they could’ve been right in the game at the end with a chance to win.

Pick: TCU

(14) Mississippi State vs Kentucky, 7:00 PM ET, ESPN2

Kentucky has looked pretty good this season, but Mississippi State is a different level of team than the Wildcats have seen so far this season. What will really help is that the game is in Lexington, and I think Kentucky will be able to hold their own in this game and will have a chance to win, especially if they get a good performance out of Terry Wilson, but I think the Bulldogs will have just a little too much and will find a way to win a tough road game.

Pick: Mississippi State

Florida vs Tennessee, 7:00 PM ET, ESPN

This game only intrigues me because of the ineptitude we might see on the offensive side of the ball. Tennessee is in a rebuild, but they are off to a 2-1 start as are the Gators, so both teams have a chance to start off 3-1 despite the lack of offense both teams seem to have. I really don’t know where to go with this game. Tennessee being at home will help them a lot, but I think Florida does have more talent.

Pick: Florida

NC State vs Marshall, 7:00 PM ET, CBS Sports Net

Each of these teams were supposed to face tough tests last week but they were cancelled. NC State was supposed to play West Virginia and Marshall was supposed to play South Carolina. This should be a really good game as Ryan Finley is one of the top quarterbacks in all of college football and Marshall is one of the better group of five teams in college football. I could see either team winning this game.

Pick: Marshall

(7) Stanford vs (20) Oregon, 8:00 PM ET, ABC

I’m anticipating a fairly low-scoring, close game here. Stanford is dealing with some injuries along the offensive line and the running game, that’s usually dominant for Stanford, has not been so this season. Oregon hasn’t played anyone this season and they’ve had moments of looking pedestrian on offense, despite the presence of Justin Herbert. The Ducks are very good up front on defense, but how they deal with J.J. Arcega-Whiteside on the outside will be huge. Stanford also looks good on defense, but they haven’t faced an offense yet with a quarterback like Justin Herbert or with the ability the Oregon offensive line does have, even though they’ve been somewhat inconsistent so far this season. I could see this game going a number of different ways, but I’m a die-hard Oregon fan so I’m going to be a homer here.

Pick: Oregon

(18) Wisconsin vs Iowa, 8:30 PM ET, FOX

The Badgers are coming off of a tough loss at home to BYU, and going on the road to Iowa City this weekend will not be easy at all. The Iowa defense appears to be legit and I think Iowa has a more potent offense than they’ve had in years past with Nathan Stanley under center. If you think it will be an easy game for Wisconsin to bounce back , you are wrong. I could easily see Iowa winning this game and I think the Badgers will need Alex Hornibrook to step up and make some throws and it wouldn’t be too surprising to see him not do that. I am still going to pick Wisconsin though because I think there will be just enough Jonathan Taylor.

Pick: Wisconsin

Arizona State vs (10) Washington, 10:30 PM ET, ESPN

Arizona State and Herm Edwards were on top of the world two week ago when they beat Michigan State and then they came crashing down last week, losing to San Diego State. Washington passed a tough road test last week at Utah, but it’s my opinion that if Washington puts themselves in the same positions they did last week they could lose because Arizona State is not as incompetent on offense as Utah is, with Manny Wilkins and N’Keal Harry. I’m still going to pick Washington to win because they’re at home, but keep in mind that Arizona State beat the Huskies last year and this season they appear much more disciplined. It wouldn’t surprise me if Arizona State won this game, but I’m not quite going to pick it.

Pick: Washington

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