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Dirty Dozen: Week 4 Staff Picks

Notre Dame, Florida State and LSU, oh my!

Here are the Week 4 Crystal Ball Run staff picks!

Virginia at No. 17 TCU: Saturday, 12 p.m. ESPN

Kevin McGuire’s Take: TCU comes in to this weekend's game against Virginia as a heavy favorite, and it is easy to see why. Virginia's offense has been struggling to run the football and score some points. If not for a complete breakdown in special teams by Penn State the Cavaliers would be entering the weekend with a losing record.Can TCU get their offense on track after scoring just 20 points at Kansas (447 offensive yards but just 2-for-10 on third down and four turnovers). Playing at home, look for TCU to have a solid outing.

The Pick: TCU 34, Virginia 17

Everyone Else’s Take:

Aaron Torres: TCU 20, Virginia 16
Allen Kenney: TCU 45, Virginia 17
Andy Coppens: TCU 24, Virginia 21
Michael Felder: TCU 31, Virginia 17
Tom Perry: TCU 24, Virginia 13

Maryland at No. 8 West Virginia: Saturday, 12 p.m. FX

Tom Perry’s Take: WVU has moved up the rankings into the Top 10 without playing a serious contender, but the way the Mountaineers are scoring points behind Heisman frontrunner Geno Smith has to make even the best Big 12 defenses shudder a little. Now enter Maryland, a program that has been in a downfall since it fired the popular Ralph Friedgen and brought in the enigmatic Randy Edsall. The Terps also have one of the nation's worst offensive units, so even the sketchy WVU defense should be OK.

The Pick: WVU 44, Maryland 17

Everyone Else’s Take:

Aaron Torres: West Virginia 42, Maryland 7
Allen Kenney: West Virginia 30, Maryland 14
Andy Coppens: West Virginia 44, Maryland 13
Kevin McGuire: West Virginia 42, Maryland 17
Michael Felder: West Virginia 56, Maryland 17

Miami at Georgia Tech: Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ESPN3

Michael Felder’s Take: Miami is not very good. Georgia Tech is also not very good. When two not very good teams meet it can certainly be a crap shoot from a predictions standpoint. However, in this case what we have is a Miami team that lacks some discipline and still have no established any true consistency. They do have a high potential for explosion plays but those are a feast or famine existence.

In Georgia Tech we have a team that is not extremely talented but they are fairly disciplined and consistent. Look for the Jackets offense to exploit some of the inexperience on Miami's defense and take advantage of the lack of preparation time the Canes have had for this triple option scheme. On defense the Jackets will play more bend but don't break and Jeremiah Attaochu should live in the backfield. After running roughshod over Virginia a week  ago, look for Georgia Tech to again appear to be a quality ball club by beating up on an opponent that is ill prepared to face them.

The Pick: Georgia Tech 47, Miami 20

Everyone Else’s Take:

Aaron Torres: Georgia Tech 31, Miami 17
Allen Kenney: Georgia Tech 35, Miami 17
Andy Coppens: Georgia Tech 24, Miami 13
Kevin McGuire: Georgia Tech 23, Miami 17

Tom Perry: Georgia Tech 28, Miami 21

Oregon State at No. 19 UCLA: Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ABC/ESPN2

Aaron Torres' Take: No one (except Michael Felder) is a bigger Jim Mora fan than me. But beware, with UCLA riding high (and getting unprecedented buzz in Los Angeles) this one could be closer than expected. Especially with an Oregon State team coming to town refreshed (because of a cancellation in Week 1, they’ve played just one game this year) and with an extra week to prepare for the Bruins.

UCLA will win. But this one will be close.

The Pick: UCLA 24, Oregon State 19

Everyone Else’s Take:

Allen Kenney: UCLA 24, Oregon State 21
Andy Coppens: UCLA 33, Oregon State 17
Kevin McGuire: UCLA 32, Oregon State 27
Michael Felder: UCLA 27, Oregon State 10
Tom Perry: UCLA 31, Oregon State 17

Missouri at No. 7 South Carolina: Saturday, 3:30 p.m. CBS

Andy Coppens’ Take: Missouri comes in to their 2nd SEC game, also against a fellow SEC East team knowing things are a bit different thanks to the beat down they got from Georgia.

However, this is their first road test "between the hedges" in the SEC and that alone could be scary enough. However, the other USC loves to find ways to keep opponents in games that they shouldn't (reference Vandy in week 1). However, the Gamecocks have the defense that's more than capable of keeping stride for stride with the Mizzou offense. However, expect the Tigers to have learned a lesson or three from the Georgia game and keep this one a bit closer.

The Pick: South Carolina 27, Missouri 21

Everyone Else’s Take:

Aaron Torres: South Carolina 14, Missouri 10
Allen Kenney: South Carolina 26, Missouri 20
Kevin McGuire: South Carolina 24, Missouri 20
Michael Felder: South Carolina 31, Missouri 27
Tom Perry: South Carolina 32, Missouri 20

California at No. 13 USC: Saturday, 6:00 p.m. Pac-12 Network

Andy Coppens’ Take: These two teams come in on completely different pages and that should make for a very interesting matchup. Cal lost to Ohio State at the horseshoe last week, but they were in the game the entire second half and by result come in with confidence they can play with anyone.

On the other hand USC comes in after losing on the road to Stanford and have to be both pissed and questioning themselves a bit. Confidence can be a funny thing, but this is the same Cal team who lost in week one to Nevada. Sorry, USC is flat out better and they are at home.

Expect them to come out pissed and put a beat down on the Golden Bears of Cal.

The Pick: USC 38, California 21

Everyone Else’s Take:

Aaron Torres: USC 24, California 17
Allen Kenney: USC 40, California 21
Kevin McGuire: USC 38, California 20
Michael Felder: USC 35, California 28
Tom Perry: USC 46, California 17

No. 2 LSU at Auburn: Saturday, 7:00 p.m. ESPN

Tom Perry’s Take: It may seem awkward, but it's not surprising to see LSU as a 20.5 point favorite on the road at Auburn this week. That's how bad Auburn has played so far this season. Les Miles is going to feed the ball to his stable of running backs and try to gash Auburn's weak rush defense, which ranks as the worst in the SEC. Working in Auburn's favor is the fact that the home team has won 12 of the last 13 meetings. Of course, that would mean Kiehl Frazier putting together a consistent performance — something he hasn't been able to do this season.

The Pick: LSU 37, Auburn 10

Everyone Else’s Take:

Aaron Torres: LSU 42, Auburn 6
Allen Kenney: LSU 34, Auburn10
Andy Coppens: LSU 37, Auburn 17
Kevin McGuire: LSU 20, Auburn 16
Michael Felder: LSU 53, Auburn 6

No. 18 Michigan at No. 11 Notre Dame: Saturday, 7:30 p.m. NBC

Kevin McGuire’s Take: Is Notre Dame for real, or will Denard Robinson strike once more to prevent the Irish eyes from smiling for another year? One of college football's most historic rivalries will once again be played under the lights Saturday night, and it will be up to Notre Dame's seemingly improved defense to force Robinson to beat them with his arm. Notre Dame's defense shut down Michigan State last week, but they are far from the kind of offense that may be needed to completely take Robinson out of the game the way Alabama did back in week one. This game should give us a sense of whether or not we should be taking the Irish seriously the rest of the way. I ant to buy in to them, but I just have a bad feeling about this one.

The Pick: Michigan 33, Notre Dame 31

Everyone Else’s Take:

Aaron Torres: Notre Dame 23, Michigan 14
Allen Kenney: Michigan 17, Notre Dame 7
Andy Coppens: Notre Dame 33, Michigan 28
Michael Felder: Notre Dame 21, Michigan 0
Tom Perry: Notre Dame 28, Michigan 27

Vanderbilt at No. 5 Georgia: Saturday, 7:45 p.m. ESPN2

Aaron Torres’ Take: With an SEC East showdown with Tennessee awaiting them next week, it’s tough to know what to expect from the Dawgs. Unfortunately for Vandy, it likely won’t matter.

If we had to make one prediction here, it’s that this one take on a lot of the same look as the Missouri-Georgia game earlier this: The Dawgs may come out sloppy and looking ahead to Tennessee, but in the end, there is too much talent on both sides of the ball, and will eventually run away with it.

Georgia will win, but it will be close.

Now to the real question: Who do you have in Grantham-Franklin Round 2?

The Pick: Georgia 28, Vanderbilt 13

Everyone Else’s Take:

Allen Kenney: Georgia 24, Vanderbilt 10
Andy Coppens: Georgia 33, Vanderbilt 24
Kevin McGuire: Georgia 31, Vanderbilt 20
Michael Felder: Georgia 24, Vanderbilt 13
Tom Perry: Georgia 35, Vanderbilt 14

No. 15 Kansas State at No. 6 Oklahoma: Saturday, 7:50 p.m. FOX

Allen Kenney’s Take: Oklahoma entered the season as the consensus favorite to win the Big 12. The first two games of the season appear to have raised plenty of legitimate questions about the Sooners' status. Depending on your disposition, OU has either played some uninspired football this season or just isn't that great of a team.

Purple Kansas has joined a host of teams thought to have a realistic shot of taking the conference crown this year. KSU is following a familiar formula so far, riding battering ram quarterback Collin Klein as far as he will take the Wildcats. This year, the Wildcats have added a new wrinkle, as Klein (43-59 attempts, 609 yards, 5 TDs, 2 INTs, 180.8 passer rating) is throwing with aplomb.

KSU will make for a chic upset pick in this game – it appears Bill the Butcher is finally getting his due. However, Oklahoma has dominated at Owen Field under Bob Stoops, who is a gaudy 14-0 versus ranked teams in Norman in his career. The Sooners also tend to dominate teams that are one-dimensional on offense. Klein's passing has improved this season, but that doesn't mean it's good.

Unless Landry Jones implodes, OU should win this going away.

The Pick: Oklahoma 34, Kansas State 14

Everyone Else’s Take:

Aaron Torres: Oklahoma 24, Kansas State 21
Andy Coppens: Kansas State 31, Oklahoma 28
Kevin McGuire: Oklahoma 20, Kansas State 17
Michael Felder: Kansas State 31, Oklahoma 24
Tom Perry: Oklahoma 45, Kansas State 31

No. 10 Clemson at No. 4 Florida State: Saturday, 8:00 p.m. ABC

Michael Felder’s Take: Both offenses have impressed leading into this game. Clemson showed that Sammy Watkins, Nuke Hopkins, Andre Ellington and Tajh Boyd are indeed among the nation's best set of skill players and Florida State has slowly allowed EJ Manuel to do more than we've ever seen him do. What this game is going to boil down to is whose defense comes to play.

Where Florida State is concerned they are looking to exact revenge on a Clemson team that embarrassed them a season ago. That means playing sound coverage, punishing receivers when given the chance and stopping the run. Look for the Seminoles to play a lot of basic looks to counteract the motions and shifts of the Clemson offense. This defense is among the nation's best and after a couple cupcakes to start of 2012, this is the chance they get to continue to prove it.

For Clemson this is going to be an adventure on defense. The Tigers are still young in the scheme and with an experienced quarterback in EJ Manuel they are ripe to be exploited. Sure, they took care of business against Auburn, but who hasn't? This week we'll see just how much of the scheme Brent Venables has been able to give his kids. We will also see how Jimbo Fisher mixes options, screens, zone-reads and play actions to confuse the Tigers and get explosion plays.

The Pick: Florida State 34, Clemson 20

Everyone Else’s Take:

Aaron Torres: Florida State 34, Clemson 13
Allen Kenney: Florida State 31, Clemson 17
Andy Coppens: Florida State 34, Clemson 31
Kevin McGuire: Florida State 38, Clemson 37
Tom Perry: Florida State 33, Clemson 28

No. 22 Arizona at No. 3 Oregon: Saturday, 10:30 p.m. ESPN

Allen Kenney’s Take: Vegas has installed Oregon as a 24-point favorite. That's an enormous line for two Pac-12 teams that are 3-0. The Wildcats have received enormous credit for waxing Oklahoma State from everyone except money men. The linemakers have good reason to be skeptical.

The Cowboys ran roughshod over the 'Zona D in their meeting. But for turnovers and penalties, the Wildcats' 21-point margin of victory could have been flipped.

The Ducks will get whatever they want offensively and blow Arizona's doors off in the Wildcats' first road contest of the season. In a nationally televised game, Chip Kelly will lay on the gas.

The Pick: Oregon 60, Arizona20

Everyone Else’s Take:

Aaron Torres: Oregon 49, Arizona 14
Andy Coppens: Oregon 41, Arizona 28
Kevin McGuire: Oregon 47, Arizona 38
Michael Felder: Oregon 60, Arizona 28
Tom Perry: Oregon 55, Arizona 33
 

About Aaron Torres

Aaron Torres works for Fox Sports, and was previously a best-selling author of the book 'The Unlikeliest Champion.' He currently uses Aaron Torres Sports to occasionally weigh-in on the biggest stories from around sports. He has previously done work for such outlets as Sports Illustrated, SB Nation and Slam Magazine.

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