Week 4 CF Picks
College football enters its fourth week of action and Saturday is chockfull of games. Our writers and handicappers hand out six college football picks for Week 4.
Wyoming (2-1, 0-1) at BYU (3-0, 0-0), 3:00 PM ET
After a controversial road win two weeks ago, BYU was the subject of doubts over whether it had been deserving of its lofty spot in the Top 25.
There will be no such debate this week.
Coming off one of the most dominating performances in school history - and still carrying the nation's longest winning streak - No. 14 BYU looks to open Mountain West Conference play on a similar note Saturday when it hosts Wyoming.
Not only was the Cougars' 59-0 win over UCLA on Saturday the third-biggest shutout victory ever for the program, but it came against a BCS conference opponent that had been ranked 23rd as recently as Sept. 6.
The Mountain West has been getting plenty of buzz after going 4-0 against the Pac-10 last weekend, but Wyoming (2-1, 0-1) hasn't received much of it. The Cowboys opened league play with a 23-3 home loss to Air Force on Sept. 6, then needed a last-second field goal to beat Football Championship Subdivision opponent North Dakota State 16-13 on Saturday.
Wyoming ended last season with four straight losses in conference play, including a 35-10 home defeat to BYU. It has also lost four straight to the Cougars, dropping seven of eight overall in the series.
The Cowboys haven't won in Provo since 1987.
Fresno State (1-1) at Toledo (1-1), 8:15 PM ET
Last week, Fresno State was an underdog looking to gain attention by beating a higher-ranked team at home, but the Bulldogs struggled offensively and missed opportunities in a tight defeat.
On Saturday, they'll be on the other side of that scenario, hoping to justify their No. 25 ranking when they visit upset-minded Toledo for the first time.
Fresno State (1-1) had billed last Saturday's matchup with then-No. 10 Wisconsin as one of the biggest home games in school history, but the Bulldogs fell just short in a heartbreaking 13-10 loss.
It won't necessarily be easy against Toledo (1-1), especially in the Rockets' home opener. Toledo is 35-6 at the Glass Bowl since coach Tom Amstutz took over in 2001, including three wins in as many tries against ranked teams.
Two of those victories came in 2003, when the Rockets beat then-No. 9 Pittsburgh 35-31 and then-No. 21 Northern Illinois 49-30. Despite stumbling to 5-7 finishes each of the last two years, Toledo went 9-4 at home over that span.
Amstutz hopes the road back to a winning season began Saturday, when his team won 41-17 at Eastern Michigan, getting 168 rushing yards and two first-quarter touchdowns from DaJuane Collins.
The Rockets led 14-7 at the half and scored 27 points in the third quarter, when Aaron Opelt threw all three of his touchdown passes. Toledo's defense forced five turnovers in the game and allowed 265 total yards in difficult weather conditions.
Florida (2-0) at Tennessee (1-1), 3:30pm ET
Before Urban Meyer was hired, Florida had lost three of its last four meetings with Tennessee in a conference clash that often has helped decide the SEC East.
Meyer has helped tip the rivalry the other way.
He'll look to stay perfect in four meetings with the Volunteers on Saturday when his fourth-ranked Gators travel to Knoxville in the conference opener for both teams.
Either Florida (2-0) or Tennessee has played in 13 of the 16 SEC championship games since the conference added the game in 1992, the same year coach Phillip Fulmer took over the Volunteers.
Tennessee will carry some momentum into the game after an overtime loss at UCLA in its opener. The Volunteers had two weeks to recover, and did so convincingly in their home opener last Saturday against UAB.
Tennessee got 100 yards from tailback Arian Foster and 93 from Lennon Creer in the victory. Running against Florida's defense, though, has proved to be a different story for Foster and the Volunteers. Foster, a senior, has 17 carries for 39 yards in three games against the Gators, who have limited Tennessee to 92 yards on 69 carries over their last three meetings.
The Volunteers haven't had a rushing play longer than six yards against Florida in the last two matchups.
East Carolina (3-0) at NC State (1-2), 12:00 PM ET
East Carolina vaulted into the Top 25 by opening the season with back-to-back upset wins over ranked opponents. In their first game since shedding their underdog status, the Pirates found they still have plenty of room for improvement.
After narrowly escaping their first loss, the 15th-ranked Pirates look to put together a more complete performance as they try to start 4-0 for the first time in nine years by visiting North Carolina State on Saturday.
East Carolina (3-0) scored two touchdowns in the final 3:36 to stun then-No. 17 Virginia Tech 27-22 in both teams' season opener Aug. 30. The Pirates didn't need any late heroics in their next game, a 24-3 victory over then-No. 8 West Virginia on Sept. 6.
Those wins put the Pirates in the Top 25 for the first time since 1999.
East Carolina's next test is an N.C. State team that's coming off a 27-9 loss to Clemson. Freshman quarterback Russell Wilson was 10-of-21 for 92 yards and an interception as the Wolfpack (1-2) totaled 288 yards against a unit that had allowed an average of 423.0 in its first two games.
Buffalo (2-1) at Missouri (3-0), 2:00 PM ET
Chase Daniel and the Missouri offense frequently look unstoppable. No defense has stopped them even for one possession recently.
Daniel and the nation's highest-scoring offense look to put up more eye-popping numbers Saturday when the fifth-ranked Tigers host Buffalo.
Through their first three games, the Tigers (3-0) have made scoring look easy. They've racked up 173 points - most in the nation and an average of an astounding 57.7 per game - while averaging 10 yards per play.
Heisman hopeful Daniel is the biggest reason why. Despite leaving the last two games early with the outcome well in hand, the senior quarterback has already thrown for 973 yards with 10 touchdowns and only one interception while completing 72.2 percent of his passes. With Daniel at the helm, Missouri is averaging nearly 40 points in the first half alone.
The Bulls (2-1) may be hard-pressed to keep up with Missouri's offense, but they've shown the ability to score frequently so far in 2008, with 88 points in their first three games.
The most dramatic of those points were the most recent. Drew Willy's 35-yard touchdown pass to Naaman Roosevelt on the game's final play gave Buffalo a 30-28 victory over Temple last week in a wild Mid-American Conference opener.
Buffalo is off to its best start since joining the Football Bowl Subdivision in 1999, and is seeking its first 3-1 start since 1996.
Temple (1-2) at Penn State (3-0),
Joe Paterno's offenses at Penn State have sometimes been described as predictable, but this season, opposing defenses don't know what's coming next.
They certainly aren't stopping it when it does.
The No. 16 Nittany Lions hope to keep one of college football's most potent offenses humming Saturday at Beaver Stadium when they go for their 26th straight win over Temple.
Paterno's teams have been known primarily for running the ball and defense throughout his 43 seasons on the sidelines, but this year it's been a multidimensional offense that has Penn State climbing up the rankings.
The Nittany Lions (3-0) are among the nation's top 25 in both passing (273.0 yards per game) and rushing (263.0 ypg), resulting in the country's eighth-ranked total offense and fourth-highest scoring team.
Penn State has put up 55.3 points per game with its new "Spread HD" offense, a system designed to take advantage of mobile quarterback Daryll Clark and the speed of senior receivers Deon Butler, Jordan Norwood and Derrick Williams. The Nittany Lions have put away all three of their games by the second quarter, and on Saturday at Syracuse, they gained nearly 400 yards in the first half of a 55-13 victory.
The Owls (1-2) don't have a winning record this season, though they could easily be 3-0 if not for a pair of crushing last-second defeats.
Temple led Connecticut 6-0 on Sept. 6 before eventually falling 12-9 in overtime, but that loss wasn't nearly as unsettling as what happened last Saturday. Adam DiMichele threw an 11-yard touchdown pass - his third of the game - to Bruce Francis to put the Owls up 28-24 at Buffalo with under a minute to play, but the Bulls completed a Hail Mary pass as time expired to win 30-28.
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