I can’t believe we are already headed towards Week 4 of the college football season. The season is flying by, and many teams will start conference play this weekend. Here are the early lines for this weekend’s games along with my thoughts and predictions for Week 4.
1. Houston at Tulane
Spread: Tulane -4.5
Tulane destroyed Missouri State 58-6 on Saturday. It was a complete mismatch from the opening kickoff. Quarterback Justin McMillan completed 13 of 16 passes for 122 yards and had two touchdowns on the ground. McMillan only played about two quarters and it was a nice bounce back performance after his rough outing at Auburn. Houston had a tough loss against Washington State on Friday night in a game they were leading at halftime. Washington State put together a huge 3rd quarter to take control of the game. The Houston offense has not been as explosive as expected over the first three games. Quarterback D’Eriq King has run for close to 200 yards but only has 434 yards passing in three games. The time of possession battle will be important as the Green Wave will look to control the ball and keep D’Eriq King off the field. The Tulane offense averages 256 yards per game on the ground and I think that will be the difference in the game.
I lean Tulane in this matchup
2. UCF at Pittsburgh
Spread: UCF -12
This is a clear revenge spot for Pittsburgh after getting destroyed by the Knights last season 45-14. The Panthers are coming off a heartbreaking loss in a rivalry game at Penn State. UCF had a big win over Stanford on Saturday, and freshman quarterback Dillon Gabriel was amazing in the win. On the season, he has 9 touchdowns and has not thrown an interception. Pitt will have revenge on their mind, but I have a hard time seeing them staying in this game. The Knights have scored 30 or more points in 29 straight games and have won 25 straight regular season games. The tempo of the UCF offense will cause Pitt problems in the second half which will give the Knights a big advantage.
UCF should win and cover the spread
3. SMU at TCU
Spread: SMU +10
These teams have historically played a total of 98 times and TCU has a 51-40-7 lead in the overall series. TCU had an impressive win over Purdue on Saturday and seem to be playing at an elite level defensively. The Horned Frogs clearly benefited from not having to face Purdue quarterback Elijah Sindelar who missed the game due to a concussion. Even still, it was a dominant performance as they held the Boilermakers to 13 points, only giving up 204 yards of total offense. The Mustangs had a solid win over Texas State and are 3-0 for the first time since 1984. Shane Buechele is leading an explosive offense that averages 44 points per game. SMU has elite receivers and talented running backs that will challenge the Horned Frogs defense. The key will be how SMU holds up on defense against a TCU offense that has not been dominant this year. This will be a fun game to watch and I think SMU has a chance to win outright.
I’m confident in taking SMU and the points
4. Air Force at Boise State
Spread: Air Force +8
Air Force beat Colorado as a four point dog in Boulder on Saturday. The Falcons won in overtime after being up by 13 points in the fourth quarter. Air Force ran for almost 300 yards and beat Colorado for the first time since 1968. Air Force was able to control the game on the ground and had an approximately nine minute time of possession advantage. Boise State is 3-0 this year and has quality wins over Florida State and Marshall and seem poised for another run at a Mountain West Conference championship. Boise freshman quarterback Hank Bachmeier is one of the top newcomers in the country and leads a potent Broncos attack. Air Force is ranked second in the country in rushing, averaging 356 yards per game on the ground. It will take a disciplined effort by the Broncos’ defense to contain the Air Force rushing attack. Since 2015, Boise State is 23-5 SU and only 10-18 ATS at home during this stretch.
I’m leaning Air Force and the points in this matchup