Here’s my picks for all three Big 12 games and three more top 25 matchups. No Iowa State this week, but another edition of the Cyclone Celebrity Pigskin Pick’em will be out later today.
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Check out the whole schedule for Week 4 right here. PSA: Don’t forget that Auburn-Kansas State is happening TONIGHT at 6:30 PM CT on ESPN.
Big 12 games
(20)Kansas State 37, (5)Auburn 32
You could argue this game is more intriguing than the NFL’s Thursday nighter as two top 20 teams clash in Manhattan. Auburn rides in the nation’s top running attack (328.3 yards per game). Here’s the problem: Kansas State has held teams to just 139.2 yards per game on the ground. Something’s got to give, and the Wildcats line has been pretty good in their first two games. Finally, the Big 12 scores a top 25 victory this season and land on the fringe of the College Football Playoff chase.
Kansas 18, Central Michigan 17
Here’s the good news: Kansas will play a directional Michigan team to end their non-conference slate. Here’s the bad news: CMU is a team that beat Purdue 38-17. Now, the Boilermakers could arguably be one of the five worst teams in the entire FBS. I know, so could Kansas, but getting pummeled at Duke isn’t as embarrassing now that the Blue Devils are actually an ACC contender these days. The Chippewas have been great at defending the pass (19th nationally), but that doesn’t matter to the Jayhawks because they can’t pass anyway (QB Montell Cozart is currently at 45 percent passing). Six field goals give KU the ugly one-point win.
(4)Oklahoma 35, West Virginia 31
Here’s where we find out if the Mountaineers are legitimate. Call me a sucker, but I’m buying that Clint Trickett stock. He’s been so efficient at passing the ball early in the season, and it’s not like the team is threatened to see the Sooners waltz into Morgantown — they’ve already played Alabama nearly toe-to-toe. Unfortunately, Oklahoma is probably a more complete team than the Crimson Tide are right now, and the lack of a real rushing threat will ding them in at the end. This will be a great test for OU, and they shouldn’t be ashamed if it’s a close game — WVU is better than we thought they would be this year.
Other Top 25 games
Sep 13, 2014; Gainesville, FL, USA; Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp reacts on the sidelines during the second quarter against the Kentucky Wildcats at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
(3)Alabama 33, Florida 20
For the past couple years, the Crimson Tide just haven’t that impressive in non-conference games. That generally changes once SEC play begins, and shouldn’t change much as their stout defense will take on Florida, one of the worst offenses in the conference. The big matchup Gary Danielson will be pounding into your skull all day is Tide receiver Amari Cooper against Gator DB Vernon Hargreaves III. Florida makes a play on defense to keep it interesting, but it’ll be that game where you’ll never doubt Alabama from coming away with a win.
(6)Texas A&M 77, SMU 3
I only added this game because I wanted to give out a fun fact: SMU is dead last in rushing offense nationally with a -8 yard AVERAGE after two games. It shouldn’t be a surprise that they are also dead last in scoring offense, which is 3 points per game. Ergo…
(1)Florida State 48, (22)Clemson 38
Alleged forcible intercoursing, crab leg stealing, meme-killing Fameis Jameis will be out for the first half against the Tigers. That will give us just enough time to see the gunslinger lead the Seminoles back from a 28-10 halftime deficit, and good old Winston will be the hero again. Until he does something else stupid.