(Image courtesy: Chicago Tribune)
In case you were wondering what I’ve been up to all week, well, I’ve been busy. In between hosting a daily radio show for four hours, plus three of the best podcasts ever recorded, I’ve been learning how to scuba dive. Why? Well, remember that #Boat we were buying? It’s uhhhhhh not doing so hot. I’m taking it upon myself this week to #RescueTheBoat with some surefire winners. If Willie Taggart’s not on the hot seat yet, neither am I. Let’s get it done.
For more picks, including Rossy Three Stack’s Week 4 teasers, don’t forget to download the CFB Country podcast. It’s been a great week for the pod. Luke Del Rio told a story of hitting Nick Saban in the crotch with a football, Dane Brugler broke down the biggest early storylines around the NFL Draft so far, plus Kyle Bailey and I talked Willie Taggart hot seat, and an awesome Mark Richt vs Justin Fuente debate as well.
Notre Dame at Wake Forest (+7), Noon ABC
I’m starting to worry Notre Dame is going to be 2018’s version of what Miami was last year: the name-brand school that does just enough to win against the weakest parts of its schedule, then somehow shows up for the marquee games and fools people into thinking they’re elite. The Irish took Michigan’s worst effort on opening night and still had to force a fumble in the final minute to survive. They’ve sputtered against Ball State and Vanderbilt in the last two weeks at home. Brian Kelly’s already announced he’s rotating QB’s between Brandon Wimbush and Ian Book.
Now they head down to Wake Forest to face a team that has a legit passing game. True freshman Sam Hartman has a bright future as the Deacons’ QB1. He’s keeping the job even as Kendall Hinton returns from suspension. I’m looking for Sage Surratt and Greg Dortch to have big games. Notre Dame has Stanford and Virginia Tech over the next two weeks. This game means more to Wake Forest than it does to the Irish. I love the home ‘dogs to cover here, and I even think an upset is in play. Notre Dame 24, Wake Forest 21
Clemson (-16.5) at Georgia Tech, 3:30 ABC
I’m still waiting for Clemson to play like the Clemson we expected to see this season. Even against Furman and Georgia Southern the Tigers looked sloppy at times, and of course Texas A&M nearly pulled off the upset thanks to the Tigers’ revolving door at quarterback. I’m Team Trevor Lawrence, even if it makes them a little worse than with Kelly Bryant today. Dabo Swinney should be worried about how good the Tigers are in December. Lawrence gives them a higher ceiling. Regardless, I think the Tigers come out and play their best game of the season on Saturday against a wounded, reeling Georgia Tech team. Clemson 42, Georgia Tech 17
Wisconsin (-3.5) at Iowa, 8:30 FOX
I’m not a huge Badgers fan right now, but there’s no way they’re as bad as they looked last week against BYU. Iowa is notoriously dangerous as a home underdog. If Wisky had taken care of business last week, this line would have been closer to a touchdown and Iowa would have been everyone’s popular upset pick this week. Instead, I’ll trust Jonathan Taylor and the Badgers to bounce back while giving up just more than a field goal. Wisconsin 28 Iowa 14
Army (+31) at Oklahoma, 7:00 pm
Am I really fading my favorite team right now? You better believe I am. I think the Sooners are due for a letdown after three straight games against Power Five-level athletes (FAU has better athletes than half the Power Five). Last week, Pesky Iowa State hung around in a 37-27 win for Lincoln Riley, and Army is no slouch. 31 points is a LOT for a team that runs the triple option and can chew clock. Oklahoma’s defense will get plenty of stops, but I’m betting Army puts together enough drives to drain some time and keep this within 31. Oklahoma 41 Army 14
NC State (-5.5) at Marshall, 7:00 CBS Sports
In the first week of the season, Marshall gave up 357 passing yards to Miami (Ohio). In the past two weeks combined, Miami has thrown for 247 yards combined against Cincinnati and Minnesota. Ryan Finley and the Wolfpack’s passing attack should be licking its chops to take on the Herd’s secondary. Wolfpack win big. NC State 45, Marshall 21
Buffalo (-5) at Rutgers, Noon Big Ten Network
Guys, I’m not one to overreact but Rutgers might be the worst football team in the history of the world. It seriously might be time to give them the death penalty. Kansas beat them by 41 last week. I’m speechless. Meanwhile, the Bulls are 3-0 including a win over Eastern Michigan, which beat Purdue the week before. I’d rather sacrifice my first child than back Rutgers ever. Go Bulls Go. Buffalo 31, Rutgers 17
#BuyTheBoat Lock of the Week – Nebraska at Michigan (-17.5), Noon Fox Sports 1
Nebraska’s offense is pitiful without Adrian Martinez, as we found out in the final quarter of the Colorado game and for the full four quarters last week against Troy. Martinez is listed as a game-time decision for Saturday. Best-case scenario, he’s extremely hobbled and Michigan’s defensive line feasts. Worst-case scenario, Martinez doesn’t play and Michigan’s defensive line feasts. So…yeah there will be feasts. I don’t know that the Huskers hit double-digits. Michigan 38, Nebraska 7