Week 4 Preview

Believe it or not, we are already about a month into the college football season, and we’re starting to get a clearer picture of surprises, disappointments, and contenders. Conference play is starting to ramp up, and so is our analysis! Make sure to follow us on Twitter: @ncaafbsim Onto our Week 4 preview!

Games of Note:

#10 Notre Dame vs. #12 Wisconsin (Chicago, IL)

-Scott: In a matchup of two, blue-collar Midwest teams, the Irish and Badgers face off in legendary Soldier Field. Despite only being a couple hours apart, these two haven’t met up since 1964! They’ll meet halfway in the Windy City. The Badgers are coming off a bye week, and are looking to stake their claim as a second legit playoff contender from the B1G after OSU. After already thumping Penn State in the opener, a win here should cement that contender status. Notre Dame has playoff aspirations as well, and although they lost a lot, they’ve made the CFP 2 out of the last 3 seasons. Brian Kelly has upped the talent level quite a bit as of late. I think Jack Coan is the difference-maker, as he plays with quite the chip on his shoulder against his former team. Notre Dame 30, Wisconsin 17

-Gavin: This is a huge matchup with plenty to play for. Both teams come into this one looking to prove themselves as playoff contenders. Wisconsin were impressive against Penn State, but looked very lackluster in a close win against Eastern Michigan week 2. It is probably not reasonable to take too many concerns from what was always a perfect example of a trap game however. Notre Dame meanwhile has taken care of business three straight weeks, and will face by far their biggest challenge in this Badgers team. On paper they enter as the favorite, but I’ll take Wisconsin to pick off Coan late to seal a hard-fought victory. Wisconsin 28, Notre Dame 24

#8 Texas A&M vs. Arkansas (Arlington, TX)

-Scott: I always look forward to this matchup early in the SEC conference slate. Each season in JerryWorld, these teams always seem to play games down to the wire. Shockingly however, the Aggies are a perfect 9-0 against the Hogs since joining the SEC. Is this the year Arkansas finally gets it done? I tend to lean towards “no.” While the Hogs gave Texas hell in their matchup in Fayetteville two weeks ago, they won’t be able to run the ball with success against this vaunted TAMU front seven. If Arkansas is forced into third and long, the Aggies will thrive. Texas A&M 31, Arkansas 14

-Gavin: Arkansas will have surprised a lot of people with their narrow OT loss to Texas in week 2. It will give Razorback fans plenty of hope heading into a daunting matchup with an A&M team that has been nearly flawless so far. This is certainly a step up in competition for the Aggies, but I expect them to pass the test with flying colors. Texas A&M 35, Arkansas 10

Kansas State @ #25 Oklahoma State

-Scott: In a battle of undefeated teams, the 3-0 Wildcats visit Stillwater to face the Pokes. Both teams are coming off of impressive wins against Mountain West front-runners. KSU is coming off a beatdown of a talented Nevada squad where QB Skylar Thompson couldn’t be stopped all day. OK State traveled to Boise State to eke out a touchdown win on the Smurf Turf. I don’t really trust Spencer Sanders all that much, and I think both teams are good. I’m not too sure with this pick, so I’ll take the home team to get the victory and keep their undefeated season alive. Oklahoma State 28, Kansas State 20

-Gavin: This feels like a true toss up game to me, but OK State is listed as a heavy favorite. I think that this is the kind of game that could be decided by who makes the last mistake, and an impressive Kansas State defense could very well be the deciding factor. However I will lean away from my gut feeling and towards my better judgement and pick the home team to prevail. Oklahoma State 24, Kansas State 21

Tennessee @ #4 Florida

-Scott: This is a game that used to be one of the games of the year, but Tennessee’s downfall has not given the rivalry the oxygen it needs to keep it as a much-watch. Vol fans are hopeful yet again this season, and are hoping to play spoiler to a Gator team coming off a massive upset of #1 Bama last week. UT is hoping for a hangover performance of sorts for the Gators. I like Tennessee to keep it close early, but Dan Mullen’s team will shake off the rust pretty early on, aboiding any serious scare. Florida 44, Tennessee 20

-Gavin: This may have been a rivalry, but it sure doesn’t look like one anymore. Florida have won 15 of the last 16 meetings, including 4 straight. The last 3 have been blowouts by 3+ scores. Oh, and did I mention this Florida team just knocked off Bama? Yeah, I like that trend to continue. Florida 38, Tennessee 17

#7 Iowa State @ Baylor

-Scott: It’s the Big XII opener for the Top 10 Cyclones, and after passing their non-conference portion of their schedule, it’s time to prove they’re a legit championship contender. They’ll travel to undefeated Baylor, who smoked Kansas in their conference debut last week. The Bear defense has allowed a total of 9 points over three games thus far! They’ll face a much tougher test Saturday afternoon. I think McLane Stadium will prove to be a huge advantage in this game. Baylor’s fanbase knows this a huge game for the program, and could serve as Dave Aranda’s first signature win at BU. I think his game is close into the fourth quarter, but Breece Hall or Brock Purdy breaks a critical tackle and puts the game out of reach. Iowa State 33, Baylor 24

-Gavin: Yes Baylor’s defense has been otherworldly so far. But that start has come against Texas State, Texas Southern, and Kansas. Meanwhile, Iowa State’s offense has looked just about as good, including putting up 36 points on an elite Iowa defense. Basically what I’m saying is, don’t get ahead of yourselves Baylor fans. I will be much more likely to believe in the Bears if they keep it close, but I don’t see it happening. Iowa State 38, Baylor 17


-Scott: In one of the best rivalries in the sport, the 100th Battle for the Iron Skillet takes place in Fort Worth this weekend. The Mustangs have struggled to keep this game close as of late, but they did win the last meeting. Also Sonny Dykes has this program in a much better position than when he first arrived in Dallas. Another matchup between undefeated teams, the Frogs had a bye last week to prepare, and I’ve seen great things from Max Duggan and the TCU offense thus far. SMU can score enough to stay in this game, led by former Oklahoma QB Tanner Mordecai. But, I don’t think their defense can get enough stops. TCU 38, SMU 28

-Gavin: This matchup always seems to provide a good game, and hopefully this year’s installment will be no different. Both teams come into this one having scored points in bunches so far, averaging over 50 pts per game each. Their defenses haven’t looked too shabby either, but I expect this one to be a barn burner. TCU outscores SMU to win in a thoroughly entertaining game. TCU 45, SMU 35

#1 Clemson @ NC State

-Scott: It’s time to ask the annual question: Can anyone challenge Clemson in the ACC? Clemson has run this conference for a while now, and if anyone can try to take the crown from them, this division rival may have a shot. NC State has looked good so far, notching a road SEC win, and controlling lesser opponents with ease. Clemson is #1 for a reason, and has looked like Clemson usually does. The Wolfpack have came close before, but haven’t been able to seal the deal. But if the defense can force a couple turnovers, this team may be able to capitalize. This night game in Carter-Finley will be a tough challenge for Clemson, but I think they win their ninth straight against NCSU. Look for a big game from Tiger widout Justyn Ross. Clemson 40, NC State 27

-Gavin: You may remember in a prior recap post I said that I didn’t think this was the year NC State challenged Clemson. Well I’m going to double down on that and say that after 3 weeks I’m not sure anyone on Clemson’s schedule will challenge them. Sorry Wolfpack, but at least it won’t just be you. Clemson 42, NC State 21

Oregon State @ #13 USC

-Scott: Is this finally the year SC can pose a legitimate threat of crashing the CFP? They look fantastic so far, averaging almost 47 PPG. Kedon Slovis could very well be entering the Heisman race as well. On paper, they should handle the Beavers in the Coliseum rather handily. But Jonathan Smith has shown progress in Corvallis, and they have shown good fight thus far in 2021. They played close at Purdue early on, but this is entirely a different anima. I truly think this USC team is legit, and I think they roll to get to a 3-0 start in conference play. USC 39, Oregon State 20

-Gavin: It seems like points have been easy to come by across the college football landscape thus far in our sim, and USC is yet another example of a team that has started out red hot on offense. Can this Beavers defense slow them down? Surrendering 44 points in a loss to Purdue doesn’t seem to bode well. USC 45, Oregon State 24

Upset Picks:

-Scott: Nebraska @ Michigan State

While the Huskers have the better record, MSU is a slight home favorite here. I’ve been very disappointed with Year 2 under Mel Tucker so far, and I don’t trust them to get it done at home. Despite being manhandled by the Sooners last week, Nebraska will play better this week, as they’ll welcome the task of playing someone who’s not a Top 5 team in America. Nebraska 31, Michigan State 27

-Gavin: FAU @ Air Force

This one might be a little out there with how these teams have looked so far, but I am going to go against my upset darlings from last year. I like FAU to get back on track by outlasting a Falcons team coming off back to back emotional, OT victories. FAU 28, Air Force 21

Thanks for reading everyone! Be sure to follow along with our results following the weekend!

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