College Football Week 4 Selections
Sparty couldn’t move the ball in its 10-7 loss to Arizona State and has averaged 15.1 points per game against Power Five opponents since the start of last year. So why lay over a touchdown with MSU on the road against an opponent that plays stellar defense? Northwestern has already forced five turnovers and has recorded seven sacks in its first two games. The Wildcats have won three straight meetings with the Spartans, averaging 40.7 points in those victories. For whatever reason, Pat Fitzgerald has had MSU’s number and while I do worry about the Wildcats moving the ball consistently against Sparty’s elite defense, I’ll take the points in a potential defensive struggle.
College Football Week 4 Selection: Northwestern +7.5
The Mountaineers surrendered 41 points and 533 yards of total offense last week to Charlotte, which is the main reason why they didn’t cover as a 23-point home favorite. They replaced a lot of players on defense from last year so they could continue to struggle on that side of the ball in the early part of the season. That said, I like Appy State as a small dog in Chapel Hill based on the matchup with UNC. The Mountaineers are averaging seven yards per play on offense and their dynamic running game is problematic for a Tar Heels defense that ranks 93rd in yards per carry allowed to start the season. If you’re questioning the sample size, realize this was the same Appy State team that ranked in the top 10 in yards per carry and yards per play last season, too. Junior running back Darrynton Evans has rushed for 333 yards in two games and ranks third in FBS in rushing yards. Fellow junior Zac Thomas is also 12-1 in his career as a starter and finished with 21 passing touchdowns and 10 rushing scores a season ago. He’s more than capable if he has to put the ball in the air today. We may have to hold our breath a bit when Appy State gets on defense but nevertheless, I like the Mountaineers.
College Football Week 4 Selection: Appalachian State +2.5
I respect a handful of college football analysts that are on A&M but I just can’t get past getting four points with an Auburn team that is 21st in the nation in points allowed (14.3) and 28th in total yards allowed per game (292.0). Granted, A&M’s defense is even better in both categories (12th in points allowed and 16th in yards allowed), plus held a dynamic Clemson team to only 24 points on the road. That said, I also think there’s too much weight being given to that 24-10 loss to Clemson. Both of these teams have stout defenses and both teams have question marks on offense. Auburn, however, is catching four points in what I see as a coin flip game. Freshman quarterback Bo Nix hasn’t been efficient as a passer but there’s some moxy to his game and after he led the Tigers to that miracle win over Oregon in Week 1, I think he has the poise to come through in what should be a tight game in College Station today.
College Football Week 4 Selection: Auburn +4