Preview - Here's the Best of Week 4

September 14, 2018 by Dave Congrove

LSU-Auburn, USC-Texas, Washington-Utah, Boise State-Oklahoma State, and of course, Ohio State vs. TCU are among the top games on this week's docket. But there are some other hidden games, too.

A Hurricane-effected college football weekend got underway Wednesday with Coastal Carolina defeating FCS member Campbell 58-21 win. The game was moved from Coastal's campus near Myrtle Beach to the Fighting Camel's campus. The revised slate included Charlotte hosting Old Dominion on Thursday (Charlotte won 28-25), and Boston College winning 41-34 at Wake Forest in a game that was moved up to a 5:30 kick-off.

Six games were stricken from the slate - Southern Miss at Appalachian State, East Carolina at Virginia Tech, Marshall at South Carolina, West Virginia at N.C. State, UCF at North Carolina, and Norfolk State at Liberty. The game between Ohio and Virginia was moved from Charlottesville to Nashville.

The Congrove Computer Rankings at has projected 8 outright upsets this week with 3 of those going to the visitors. USC gets the computer's nod at Texas, Rutgers at Kansas, and Duke at Baylor.

Duke will be without starting QB Daniel Jones who suffered a fractured clavicle late in the 3rd quarter of the Blue Devils' 21-7 upset win at Northwestern last weekend. Three-year backup Quentin Harris gets the start. The computer takes Duke by 13.42 against a spread that had ballooned to 6 by Thursday.

The computer said Kansas would upset Central Michigan to snap its' 46-game road losing streak last week, and the Jayhawks did so with a 31-7 win. Kansas returns home this week, only to find the computer picking against the favorites and giving Rutgers the edge by 2.34 points.

USC is an 11.75 pick at a Texas squad that has already lost to Maryland and followed that up with an unimpressive 328-21 win at home over Tulsa last week.

The computer also likes home underdogs Syracuse by 1.76 over favored Florida State, UCLA by 1.31 over Fresno State, Tulsa by 3.43 over Arkansas State, UAB by 0.54 over Tulane, and New Mexico State by 1.48 over New Mexico.

The computer is 27-10 SU (.730), 30-7 (.811) ATS in its last 37 upset picks.

In what is arguably the biggest game this week, the computer likes Auburn (-10) by 12.73 at home vs. LSU in the SEC's 'Eye of the Tigers' battle. The Bayou Bengals have a 27-22-1 lead in the series that has been uninterrupted since 1992.

ESPN's College GameDay will be in Texas for Ohio State and TCU's showdown in Arlington where the computer favors the Buckeyes by 9.97. It will be the first meeting the two schools since 1973. The Horned Frogs are 1-4-1 all-time vs. the Buckeyes with their only win coming in 1957.

In the PAC-12 opener for both schools, Utah is an 8.22-point computer home underdog to Washington. The Huskies already had their national title hopes dampened with the season opening loss to Auburn and must get out of Rice-Eccles Stadium with the win. The Utes' lone win over Washington in 11 previous meetings came in 2015.

Boise State takes its upset machine to Stillwater to face Oklahoma State on Saturday as an  8.72-point underdog. An upset win could boost Boise State into the conversation of 'legitimate' playoff contenders. It's the first meeting between the Cowboys and Broncos.

Colorado State will try to make it 2 upsets in-a-row over SEC schools as the Rams attempt to hand Florida a 2nd straight upset loss in "The Swamp". CSU rallied for a stunning 34-27 win at home over Arkansas last Saturday. Mike Bobo, a former Georgia quarterback and assistant coach is Colorado State's head coach, lending more intrigue to this matchup. The computer, however, likes the Gators to 'right the ship 'by a whopping 26.29 points.

Herm Edwards takes his Arizona State Sun Devils on the road as a 3-point Vegas favorite, and he should keep his collegiate head coaching record perfect as the computer likes ASU by 10.15 at San Diego State. The Aztecs won 30-20 last year in Tempe for their first victory in the series in 12 attempts.

Alabama visits an Ole Miss team that can only play for pride, thanks to NCAA probation, and the computer thinks this game will be tighter than the experts' 22-point line. It still likes Saban's bunch to win, but only by 12.62 points.

Oklahoma, the computer's No. 1 team, heads to Iowa State in search of a little payback after the Cyclones upset the Sooners, 38-31, in Norman a year ago. Iowa State's first win in the series since 1990 ended an 18-game losing skid streak against the Big 12 heavyweight. The computer favors Oklahoma by 12.74 to extend its' nation-leading 16-game road winning streak.

Miami (Fla.) turned our heads when the school scheduled a road trip to Appalachian State two years ago. This week, the Hurricanes go to Toledo after the Rockets lost 52-30 in Miami last year. Even though the Rockets are a very good team, they should be no match for Miami as the computer likes the 'Canes by 19.95.

Notre Dame welcomes a dangerous Vanderbilt team to South Bend, a week after being taken to task by Ball State in a 24-16 Irish win. No upset is expected here with Notre Dame favored by 22.63, but that doesn't mean the Commodores can't turn that trick as they've outscored their first two opponents - MTSU and Nevada - by a combined 76-17.

We'll get an idea if Vandy's 35-7 win over MTSU in their opener means anything as Georgia hosts the Blue Raiders this week and takes the 'Dawgs to win by the same 28-point margin.

Some other interesting cross-sectional games this week have Houston at Texas Tech, and BYU at Wisconsin, and USF vs. Illinois at Soldier Field in Chicago.

There's also Missouri at Purdue. The Boilermakers haven't lost to the Tigers since 1953, and their win last year in Columbia was their 4th straight in the rarely-played series. Purdue, which is coming off a 20-19 upset loss at home to Eastern Michigan, is the home underdog in this game though the computer has it at just 2.48 points.

How Early Can A Coaches' Hot Seat Become a Hot Seat?

Kevin Sumlin is 0-2 at Arizona, losing the opener at home to BYU and then getting blown out 45-18 at Houston. Sumlin is 3-6 in his last 9 games as a head coach, including 3-4 at Texas A&M (he didn't coach the bowl loss) and 0-2 at 'Zona. He gets FCS member Southern Utah at home this week.


107 FBS teams will play 110 games vs. FCS members this year. That represents a sharp increase from last year's totals of  98 FBS teams playing 98 such games. However, it's not as many as the all-time high set in 2016 when 110 FBS schools played 113 games vs. FCS squads.

So far in 2018, the FBS is 66-6 (.917) vs. the FCS. Since 2003, the FBS is 1,285-123 (.913) vs. the FCS.

Here are all of the FCS victories over FBS teams this season:

August 30: UC Davis 44, San Jose State 31
September 1: Villanova 19, Temple 17
September 1: Northern Arizona 30, UTEP 10
September 1: Nicholls State 26, Kansas 23 (OT)
September 2: North Carolina A&T 28, East Carolina 23
September 8: Maine 31, Western Kentucky 28

There are 17 FBS vs. FCS games scheduled next week (reduced from 18 after Norfolk State at Liberty was postponed due to Hurricane Florence).


UCF - Won 15 straight overall (FBS longest), Won 10 straight conference games including AAC title last year (FBS longest). Game at North Caroilna on Saturday was canceled due to Hurricane Florence.

FAU - Won 9 straight conference games (FBS second-longest). Had 10-game overall winning streak snapped in 59-14 loss at Oklahoma in season opener. Hosts FCS member Bethune-Cookman on Saturday.

Alabama - Won 20 straight home games (FBS longest). Visits Ole Miss on Saturday.

Oklahoma - Won 16 straight road games (FBS longest). Visits Iowa State on Saturday.

UTEP - Lost 14 straight overall (FBS longest). Visits Tennessee on Saturday.

Ball State - Lost 13 straight conference games (FBS longest). Visits Indiana on Saturday.

Oregon State - Lost 20 straight road games (FBS longest). Visits Nevada on Saturday.