Welcome back to the Funvee Tailgate BLOG, The THUNDERBLOG’s Weekly College Football Series. If you noticed the emphasis on “BLOG,” that is because we also have the Funvee Tailgate Podcast that ties into the blog series. Here’s the iTunes link to go subscribe. For those newer readers, the blog version of the Funvee Tailgate looks at the full slate of Top 25 FBS teams along with a few other selections. Week 4 is looking to be the last week of “cupcake” matchups spread throughout the slate for top-ranked teams before conference plays really gets going. Other teams begin their conference schedules and look to start the trek to a conference title on the right foot. No matter what game you’re watching Saturday, it’s going to be a lot of fun. LET’S FIIIIRRRREEEE IT UP!
Friday Night Showdowns:
Both Penn State and UCF took care of business last night against Illinois and FAU, respectfully. PSU’s road “test” was looked at as a potential trap game with Ohio State coming to Happy Valley next weekend but the Nittany Lions exploded for 42 2nd half points to win 63-24. Lane Kiffin’s FAU squad came into the showdown with the 2017 “champs” hoping to play spoiler for a “repeat” but the Knights came out firing in the 3rd quarter to ensure they’d be spending the rest of the weekend happy ultimately winning 56-36.
Big Games This Week:
Slowly but surely, we’re getting into the thick of the college football season. Week 4 features some mega favorites but also has a number of ranked matchups and interesting road tests. #1 Alabama, #4 Ohio State, #5 Oklahoma, #9 Auburn, #13 Virginia Tech, #21 Miami, #25 BYU are all MASSIVE favorites and should win. Let’s take a look at the rest of the slate:
- #2 Georgia (-14.5) at Missouri at noon on ESPN–A great game to kick off the day with Mizzou’s QB Drew Lock looking to play upset maker to UGA. Lock had a great game in last year’s game at UGA and should perform well enough at home against the solid Bulldog defense. Jake Fromm and the UGA offense will be enough to get the road W. UGA wins but doesn’t cover.
- #8 Notre Dame (-6.5) at Wake Forrest at noon on ABC–One of ND’s forced ACC games shouldn’t disappoint. Wake is a very solid home team and they nearly took out Boston College last week. With the Irish offense looking shakier each week, this game has upset potential written all over it. Wake wins outright.
- Nebraska (+18) at #19 Michigan at noon on FS1–At the beginning of the season, this game looked like it could be a clash of the Titans but Nebraska hasn’t come out of the gates strong. With Michigan looking better and better each week since losing to Notre Dame, I like Wolverines to run away with this game. Michigan wins and covers.
- #23 Boston College (-6.5) at Purdue at noon on ESPN2–Purdue is one of the best teams without a win in the country losing all of their games by a combined 8 points. Purdue QB David Blough has a rocket arm and he should be able to give BC a solid test. AJ Dillon, BC’s running back, will continue his dark horse Heisman campaign to give the Eagles the win. BC wins and covers.
- I wanted to spotlight #22 Texas A&M at #1 Alabama even though Bama is a 26 point favorite. Jimbo Fisher has been electrifying for the Aggies as their head coach and their QB Kellen Mond has been outstanding. While Alabama steamrolls everybody, I do hope for a good game.
- #3 Clemson (-16) at Georgia Tech at 3:30 on ABC–An interesting matchup here that Matty D and I talked about on this week’s podcast. Clemson is in need of a statement win and by that, I mean a knockout, steamrolling, Alabama-type of win. The Tigers get a good opportunity here at GT but they’ll need to be careful. If the Clemson offense doesn’t get rolling and the score remains low, Tech could sneak their way to upset city. The odds of that are still pretty low, though. Clemson wins and covers.
- Kansas State (+16.5) at #12 West Virginia at 3:30 on ESPN–Kansas State has been the thorn in the side of Big XII contenders for years and is always a good darkhorse pick to make the Big XII Championship. Will Grier and WVU have been fantastic in 2018 and I like Grier to have another big game this week. Mountaineers win and cover.
- #17 TCU (-3) at Texas at 4:30 on FOX–The Longhorns are flying high after taking down USC last week while TCU is need of a bounce-back game after losing to Ohio State last week. While Sam Ehlinger has looked sharp and the Texas defense can be stifling, I like the Horned Frogs to have a big game. TCU wins and covers.
- Lousiana Tech (+19.5) at #6 LSU at 7:00 on ESPNU–LSU proved a lot with their win over Auburn last week and their defense will be putting on a clinic against LT this week. Tech has a high powered air attack but against one of the best defenses in the country, Baton Rouge will be a no-fly zone. Tigers win and cover.
- #14 Mississippi State (-9.5) at Kentucky at 7:00 on ESPN2–Sneakily one of the better games on the slate. Kentucky has their stud RB Benny Snell and MSU has a nearly impenetrable defense. This game will be low-scoring and close. Mississippi State wins but doesn’t cover.
- Texas Tech (+14) at #15 Oklahoma State at 7:00 on FS1–With an over/under of 77, expect a stereotypical Big XII game: a lot of passing and no defense. OK State rolled Boise State in what was supposed to be BSU’s coming out party last weekend and the Cowboys should continue to roll here. Cowboys win and cover.
- #24 Michigan State (-4.5) at Indiana at 7:30 on Big Ten Network–Sparty has had two weeks to recover from the Arizona State loss and I don’t think it was enough. Indiana is always a tough out at home and with another studly running back in their stable (Stevie Scott), I like the Hoosiers to jam the ball down Sparty’s throat. Indiana wins outright.
- #7 Stanford (-2.5) at #20 Oregon at 8:00 on ABC–A mega matchup for Stanford and the Pac 12 as an Oregon win gives Stanford very little margin for error to make a run to the CFP joining Washington in that category. Stanford’s defense will need to remain the stonewall they’ve looked like to contain Ducks QB Justin Herbert. Bryce Love hasn’t had the massive day we’ve been expecting from him and Saturday could be that night. Stanford wins and covers.
- #18 Wisconsin (-3.5) at Iowa at 8:35 on FOX–Wisconsin suffered one of the tougher upsets of 2018 last week at home against BYU and now travels to the always tough Iowa for a must-win. Iowa’s defense has averaged 42 rushing yards allowed so let’s see how Wisconsin RB Jonathan Taylor does against them. Bounce-backs are becoming a theme as I got the Badgers rolling. Wisconsin wins and covers.
- Arizona State (+18) at #10 Washington at 10:30 on ESPN–I would have loved for this game to be in Tempe but Washington gets to host Herm and Sun Devils. While ASU has a solid air attack, Washington completely out-classes them. Huskies win and cover.
My Lehigh Mountain Hawks will be in Philadelphia to take on Penn Saturday afternoon. As much as Matty D and I would love to be there, we will be at a friend’s wedding so we’ll miss it. Lehigh backdoor covered against Navy last week and I’m hoping that momentum (if you want to call it that) carries the Mountain Hawks here in a revenge game.
Make sure to check out the podcast for our full in-depth analysis. Let me know what picks you disagree with in the comments.Follow @geordo9