Dirty Dozen: Crystal Ball Run staff picks for Week 4

Everybody seems to think this is a bland weekend of college football. There is just one match-up of top 25 teams and there could be a number of mismatches in each conference, but when everybody least expecting it it is weekends like this when all heck can break out. So who knows what will happen this weekend. Whatever the case, here are our weekly picks.

First, here is a look at the updated records and standings for our staff heading in to Week 4…

1. (t) Allen (29-7)
1. (t) David (29-7)
1. (t) Jonathan (29-7)
2. Tom (28-8)
3. Kevin M. (27-9)
4. Aaron (26-10)
5. Andy (25-11)
6. Josh (19-5)
7. Kevin C. (17-7)

(All times eastern)

Fresno State vs. Boise State: Friday, 9:00 p.m. ET ESPN

David’s Take: In a game that might serve as a preview of the inaugural MWC championship, Boise State and Fresno State find themselves playing a Friday Night Special. The Broncos, after a dismal showing in Seattle opening weekend, appear to have righted the ship. Fresno, after winning a wild shootout against Rutgers to start the season, have defeated an FCS squad and then had a game postponed. Expect plenty of points to be scored, but Boise State has a little bit more defense at this point, and they will take home the Milk Can.

Aaron: Fresno State 31, Boise State 17
Allen: Fresno State 37, Boise State 30
Andy: Fresno State 44, Boise State 37
David: Boise State 44, Fresno State 42
Jonathan: Boise State 42, Fresno State 31
Josh: Boise State 31, Fresno State 28
Kevin C.: Fresno State 38, Boise State 31
Kevin M.: Fresno State 38, Boise State 35
Tom: Boise State 18, Fresno State 15

No. 1 (FCS) North Dakota State vs. Delaware State: Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ESPN3

David’s Take: ESPN’s College Gameday is coming to the Fargodome to see the number one team at the Football Championship Subdivision level. The Bison have already made national news for knocking off Kansas State in Week One, so a little extra attention is going to be well received. Delaware State is usually not that great of a squad, so chances are good that NDSU is going to roll.

Aaron: North Dakota State 38, Delaware State 28
Allen: North Dakota State 30, Delaware State 3
Andy: North Dakota State 40, Delaware State 13
David: North Dakota State 38, Delaware State 7
Jonathan: North Dakota State 35, Delaware State 14
Josh: North Dakota State 31, Delaware State 20
Kevin C.: North Dakota State 45, Delaware State 10
Kevin M.: North Dakota State 31, Delaware State 17
Tom: North Dakota State 30, Delaware State 17

USC vs. Utah State: Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ABC/ESPN2

Allen’s Take: This game seems to be getting some buzz as a possible upset and nail in Lane Kiffin's coffin. Utah State quarterback Chuckie Keeton will do that to people.

But this is still USC, which has studs from here to Orange County. The Trojan defense has turned it around after a disappointing 2012 campaign, and Southern Cal should eventually have enough bullets on offense to get some points on the board.

Aaron: Utah State 24, USC 17
Allen: USC 24, Utah State 14
Andy: Utah State 31, USC 23
David: USC 31, Utah State 13
Jonathan: USC 30, Utah State 28
Josh: USC 28, Utah State 17
Kevin C.: USC 24, Utah State 19
Kevin M.: USC 30, Utah State 27
Tom: USC 24, Utah State 21

No. 19 Florida vs. Tennessee: Saturday, 3:30 p.m. CBS

Kevin C.’s Take: Both of these teams got embarrassed the last time they were on a football field. The Vols by the Oregon Ducks last week in Autzen and the Gators by the performance of their offense in the week two loss to the Canes. The best unit on the field will be the Gators defense and I have a hard time thinking that the Vols can move the football against them, especially when you consider they might not name a starting QB until game time.

Aaron: 
Allen: Florida 20, Tennessee 3
Andy: Florida 27, Tennessee 20
David: Florida 20, Tennessee 14
Jonathan: Florida 23, Tennessee 20
Josh: Florida 21, Tennessee 10
Kevin C.: Florida 28, Tennessee 17
Kevin M.: Florida 24, Tennessee 23
Tom: Florida 30, Tennessee 20

No. 22 Notre Dame vs. Michigan State: Saturday, 3:30 p.m. NBC

Tom’s Take: If you are looking for exciting, no-holds barred offense … well this isn't your game. The Spartans did erupt for 55 points in last week's win over Youngstown State, but we'll believe MSU's offense is for real if they do it more than one time. Notre Dame is still trying to survive with inconsistent QB Tommy Rees. If you are fan of either program then go ahead and tune in, otherwise it's probably a better bet to watch Tennessee-Florida or Utah State-USC.

Aaron: Notre Dame 16, Michigan State 13
Allen: Notre Dame 18, Michigan State 9
Andy: Notre Dame 31, Michigan 23
David: Michigan State 17, Notre Dame 13
Jonathan: Notre Dame 30, Michigan State 23
Josh: Notre Dame 20, Michigan State 14
Kevin C.: Notre Dame 11, Michigan State 8
Kevin M.: Notre Dame 20, Michigan State 17
Tom: Michigan State 12, Notre Dame 10

Maryland vs. West Virginia: Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ESPNU

Kevin M.’s Take: It is hard to believe that Maryland enters this game against West Virginia as a favorite. A year ago at this time that would have been laughable to even consider but the Terps are looking to go 4-0 for the first time since 2001 and a win could help Maryland make a push in to the bottom of the top 25 polls. With the team playing well on both sides of the football through the first three games, that is not as much of a reach as you might expect. Stefon Diggs continues to be a highlight waiting to happen but quarterback C.J. Brown has six touchdown passes and 257 rushing yards. West Virginia is in a bit of a rebuilding mode looking for a new offensive identity but still should cause some problems for Maryland.

Aaron: Maryland 31, West Virginia 17
Allen: West Virginia 27, Maryland 24
Andy: Maryland 31, West Virginia 19
David: Maryland 28, West Virginia 24
Jonathan: West Virginia 24, Maryland 20
Josh: Maryland 30, West Virginia 23
Kevin C.: Maryland 42, West Virginia 34
Kevin M.: West Virginia 24, Maryland 20
Tom: Maryland 20, West Virginia 13

Rutgers vs. Arkansas: Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ESPN

Andy’s Take: Don't let the awesome defensive numbers of the last two weeks fool you, Rutgers isn't going to hang in this game for very long. Arkansas quarterback Gary Nova has played some decent football for Bielema's Hogs and couple that with the best freshman running back in the country, Alex Collins and you have a recipe that equals victory on Saturday. Especially considering their advantages up front too.

Aaron: 
Allen: Arkansas 20, Rutgers 16
Andy: Arkansas 41, Rutgers 20
David: Arkansas 27, Rutgers 23
Jonathan: Arkansas 20, Rutgers 13
Josh: Arkansas 24, Rutgers 21
Kevin C.: Rutgers 28, Arkansas 20
Kevin M.: Arkansas 24, Rutgers 13
Tom: Arkansas 28, Rutgers 17

No. 5 Stanford vs. No. 23 Arizona State: Saturday, 7:00 p.m. FOX

Aaron's Take: This is arguably college football’s most interesting Saturday game…and not just because it’s the only matchup of Top 25 opponents all weekend. How good is Stanford really? And how will Arizona State handle hitting the road after last week’s controversial win?

In terms of the Sun Devils’ bounce back, admittedly I think they’ll be fine. The problem is I’m not sure it’ll matter against a superior Cardinal football club.

I mean at the end of the day, isn’t Stanford really just a slightly better version of the Wisconsin team that Arizona State lost to last weekend? A big, physical club, that wants to control the line of scrimmage and win in the trenches? I say so, especially it was the Cardinal who beat the Badgers in last January’s Rose Bowl.

So with that said, I’m going to take the Cardinal. David Shaw’s club hasn’t been overly impressive in two weeks. But with their first conference game, under the lights in Palo Alto, they get a close, hard-fought victory.

Aaron: Stanford 28, Arizona State 24
Allen: Stanford 28, Arizona State 24
Andy: Stanford 28, Arizona State 17
David: Stanford 31, Arizona State 27
Jonathan: Stanford 31, Arizona State 24
Josh: Arizona State 34, Stanford 28 (OT)
Kevin C.: Stanford 28, Arizona State 20
Kevin M.: Stanford 27, Arizona State 23
Tom: Stanford 35, Arizona State 21

Texas vs. Kansas State: Saturday, 8:00 p.m. ABC

Josh’s Take: If Texas gets off to a slow start against the Wildcats, I fully expect Mack Brown to be fired at halftime. Seriously, the train has run so far off the tracks at Texas that a bowl game seems like wishful thinking at this point. The Wildcats have regrouped after an embarrassing loss to North Dakota State in week one, but wins over Louisiana-Lafayette and UMass don’t exactly inspire much confidence. I’m feeling reluctant today. Texas wins a close one.  

Aaron: Texas 42, Kansas State 28
Allen: Texas 31, Kansas State 23
Andy: Texas 31, Kansas State 27
David: Kansas State 38, Texas 24
Jonathan: Texas 24, Kansas State 20
Josh: Texas 27, Kansas State 24
Kevin C.: Texas 21, Kansas State 20
Kevin M.: Texas 30, Kansas State 24
Tom: Texas 21, Kansas State 20

No. 6 LSU vs. Auburn: Saturday, 7:45 p.m. ESPN

Jonathan’s Take: Auburn’s newly revamped, no longer terrible football team travels to Death Valley for one of this boring weekend’s more interesting games. A night game at LSU is tough for any team, especially a team who has squeaked by every opponent so far like Auburn has. Gus Malzahn has Auburn on the right track, but Les Miles has LSU back again. LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger is playing the best football of his life, and the Louisiana State Tigers should beat the Auburn ones on Saturday night.

Aaron: LSU 34, Auburn 14
Allen: LSU 27, Auburn 16
Andy: LSU 37, Auburn 20
David: LSU 31, Auburn 30
Jonathan: LSU 31, Auburn 21
Josh: LSU 38, Auburn 21
Kevin C.: LSU 31, Auburn 20
Kevin M.: LSU 31, Auburn 27
Tom: LSU 38, Auburn 17

Indiana vs. Missouri: Saturday, 8:00 p.m. Big Ten Network

Andy’s Take: This is going to be a fun nightcap for those of us in Big Ten country and a great test to see exactly where these two teams stand as they head into the storm of conference play ahead. Both teams can light it up offensively, but Indiana has done it under the radar more so than Mizzou. Did the Tigers get a little SEC love in this one as a 3 point favorite? That seems highly likely. Look for the key to be the play of Hoosiers running back Tevin Coleman, who has rushed for over 100 yards twice already this season and has five rushing touchdowns. I'm going Big Ten over SEC in this one, especially with the Hoosiers at home in a mild upset.

Aaron: Missouri 28, Indiana 20
Allen: Indiana 38, Missouri 34
Andy: Indiana 44, Missouri 38
David: Missouri 37, Indiana 34
Jonathan: Missouri 25, Indiana 21
Josh: Indiana 35, Missouri 28
Kevin C.: Missouri 35, Indiana 31
Kevin M.: Indiana 38, Missouri 34
Tom: Missouri 31, Indiana 20

BYU vs. Utah: Saturday, 10:15 p.m. ESPN2

Andy’s Take: Throw out the records when one of the most hotly contested rivalries in the country is played. A lot more than pride is on the line in the Battle for the Beehive Boot. Utah lost a heartbreaker in overtime last week to Oregon State. The last time we saw BYU, they were running up and down the field on Texas. This one will be a shootout, and expect the Cougars to come out on top.

Aaron: BYU 34, Utah 12
Allen: Utah 9, BYU 6
Andy: BYU 24, Utah 20
David: BYU 42, Utah 38
Jonathan: BYU 28, Utah 25
Josh: Utah 24, BYU 17
Kevin C.: BYU 24, Utah 21
Kevin M.: BYU 24, Utah 23
Tom: Utah 28, BYU 24

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Kevin McGuire

About Kevin McGuire

Managing editor of Crystal Ball Run and contributor to College Football Talk on NBCSports.com. Member of the FWAA and National Football Foundation. College Football Hall of Fame voter. Also managing Bloguin's NittanyLionsDen.com and Macho-Row.com.

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