This article is part of our College Football Best Bets series.
Week 4 was an excellent rebound after Week 3's losing affair, but we're still not quite where we want to be. We need a run of 70% winners to get our total closer to 60 percent on the year.
Week 4 Results: 37-30-1
Win Pct: 54.4%
ROI (w/rake): 5.34%
Total Results thru Week 4: 157-138-2
Win Pct: 52.8%
SIMULATED PICKS (1 unit, unweighed)
HOU +3.5, IOWA -3.5, USU +9.5, MICH +2, UNC -20, TCU +4, TENN +2.5, PUR -2.5, ILL -10.5, ARK +17.5, MEM -11, MASS +27, PITT -3, BUFF +7, WAKE -7, APP -10, USC -7.5, CIN -2, NIU -1.5, CC -34, BSU -5, SYR +5.5, FIU +10.5, UCF -16.5, AKR +9.5, ORE -7.5, KANST +11.5, RUT +15.5, MSSST +14.5, CMICH -0.5, BGSU +16.5, TROY +6.5, WVU -7, ARST +2, USF +21, ARMY -9.5, CAL -7.5, UTSA -21, NCST -18.5, FLA -7.5, AFA -11.5, USM +1.5, UAB -2.5, MARSH -10, BAY +3.5, TA&M -7.5, ISU -34.5, BC +14.5, CONN +14.5, MSU -11, NEB -12, PSU -12.5, ULL -12.5, UTEP -6, ORST -1.5, AUB +3, NMST +26.5, UCLA -3, FRES -10.5, MIA -3.5
Hold your horses this week because I'm siding with some underdogs and going upset alert on nearly every pick.
Real-Money Week 4 Results: 3-2-0
Win Pct: 60%
Real-Money Results thru Week 4: 13-7-0
Win Pct: 65.0%
CINCINNATI -2 vs. Notre Dame
In the past, the Bearcats have folded in games like this because the stage is too big for them. That's no longer the case because Luke Fickell has transformed this team into a legitimate CFP contender. On the other side, the Irish's unbeaten record is deceiving and their narrow wins against lesser opponents leave a lot to be desired. Brian Kelly used to coach in Cincy back in the day, and the Irish also have poached other coordinators from the Bearcats, so there might be a slight advantage in Notre Dame's pocket when it comes to pre-game preparation, but there's no preparing for the weather - rain and high winds are predicted. If the game shifts to the run, Jerome Ford will lead the way for Cincy on the ground, and the Bearcat defense will try to speed up Jack Coan's release (who is dealing with an injury). The Irish have had every toss-up turnover and penalty go their way this season - this week, the Luck of the Irish runs out.
ARKANSAS +17.5 vs. Georgia
This is another game with deep ties, as Arkansas coach Sam Pittman used to work under Kirby Smart. He'll be playing against many players he recruited in Athens this weekend, which is an added wrinkle to this marquee contest. A big question will be KJ Jefferson's effectiveness against one of the best defenses in the country. The Razorbacks have lived off of big explosive passing plays from Jefferson, peppered in with a relentless ground game. If the Georgia secondary can limit those big plays, it could be a long night for Arkansas. JT Daniels is dealing with a lat injury and it's anyone's guess how that will affect his production, but the re-invigorated Arkansas defense, filled to the brim with transfers, has become a force to be reckoned with in the SEC. I think Georgia will pull out a win between the hedges, but a spread of over two touchdowns is another matter entirely.
BOSTON COLLEGE +14.5 vs. Clemson
It's a sad autumn for my hometown team, and it pains me even to type this pick out. The losses of Will Shipley and Bryan Bresee kills the momentum on both sides of the ball, and D.J. Uiagalelei simply isn't getting the job done. Rather than blaming DJ, it's worth noting just how good Trevor Lawrence and Travis Etienne were during their tenure, and despite loads of defensive talent, Clemson has often lived and died on the quality of their QB play. Tajh Boyd got them only so far, then enter Deshaun Watson, who delivers a championship. The switch to Kelly Bryant doesn't pan out. Enter Trevor Lawrence. The Tigers are once again on the downward swing of that pendulum, and the jury's still out if it will swing back up during Uiagalelei's tenure - but I digress. The Eagles have always played the Tigers tough and have had some historical success at home against them. Aside from South Carolina State, the rest of Clemson's opponents have kept games too close for comfort, and I don't think this contest will be any different.
MICHIGAN +2 vs. WISCONSIN
This is an opportunity for the Wolverines to prove how good they are in a huge rivalry game. Defense will be the name of the game here. On one side, Michigan will do its best to plow through a rushing defense that is the best in the country. On the other end, Graham Mertz will try to keep mistakes to a minimum against a relentless Michigan secondary. The Badgers endured an embarrassing fourth quarter where they were outscored 31-3 against Notre Dame, with two of the touchdowns coming courtesy of pick-sixes off of Mertz. A feather in Wisconsin's cap is their home record against Michigan - it's been 20 years since the Wolverines prevailed in Madison. I want Michigan's line to be a bit wider, but if the Wolverines can establish the running game, it could be a long day for Wisconsin.
AUBURN +3 vs. LSU
Both of these teams are mired in dramas involving player and coaching personnel. Auburn benched Bo Nix last week and fired their wide receiver coach, and it's currently uncertain who will be under center against the Tigers. Ed Orgeron is facing the hot seat in Baton Rouge, and the team's offensive line and running game are underperforming, putting maximum pressure on Max Johnson to deliver through the air. That will be a massive undertaking for Johnson, as Auburn has one of the best passing defenses in the country at the moment. LSU's pass-first offense will have trouble, and with a non-existent running game, offense may be hard to come by for LSU. Orgeron could also be without cornerback Derek Stingley this week, and you can bet that Aubrun will target that side of the field with whoever ends up throwing the ball.