College Football Picks Week 4: TCU at Texas Tech, Texas A&M vs Arkansas, UCLA at Arizona, Utah at Oregon, USC at Arizona State

September 25, 2015

By Brad Carroll

 

There's just two matchups this week in college football that feature ranked teams playing each other, both in from the Pac-12, but there are plenty of games with College Football Playoff implications. In all, there are 12 big-time matchups this Saturday, and we have you covered with previews and analysis, plus our college football experts pick each game against the spread.

 

Below are the late Saturday games, featuring No. 3 TCU at Texas Tech, No. 14 Texas A&M vs. Arkansas, No. 9 UCLA at No. 16 Arizona, No. 18 Utah at No. 13 Oregon and No. 19 USC at Arizona State. Read our previews and picks from the early games here

 

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No. 3 TCU at Texas Tech, 4:45 p.m., FOX

The Spread: TCU -7; Texas Tech +7

 

Analysis: You would think Horned Frogs players would be all-in for the football program this season, as they have legitimate national title aspirations, but two didn't quite get the memo. Defensive end Mike Tuaua and receiver Andrew Petties-Wilson were both kicked off the team this week after both were arrested Monday for robbery and bodily injury. It puts a cloud over what is a huge matchup on the road for TCU, against fellow 3-0 Texas Tech. There's also the fact the Horned Frogs defense will be without its seventh starter from the beginning of the season. Last year, TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin passed for 438 yards and seven touchdowns in an 82-27 win over Texas Tech at home. It likely won't be that lopsided in this go-around, but the Horned Frogs are still a solid road favorite. Red Raiders coach Kliff Kingsbury made last week's win over Arkansas personal, as he called out Hogs coach Bret Bielema after the game for trying to get Texas high school coaches to run his style offense. Kingsbury had a big problem with that and certainly made it a point to his team that they needed to teach the Razorbacks and their coach a lesson, which they did, 35-24. He could be doing the same in the locker room this week for this matchup with TCU, without as much hate, as the Raiders were humiliated by the Horned Frogs a year ago. The Frogs were thought to be much better this season than last, but have had a pair of unimpressive victories over Minnesota and SMU, sandwiched between a blowout of Stephen F. Austin. Texas Tech, meanwhile, had impressive wins over UTEP and Arkansas. The Red Raiders won't have enough to pull the upset, however, but will make this a game late into the fourth quarter.

Brad's Score: TCU 42, Texas Tech 38

Craig's Score: TCU 56, Texas Tech 35

Glenn's Score: TCU 45, Texas Tech 21

Matt's Score: TCU 63, Texas Tech 49

 

No. 14 Texas A&M vs. Arkansas, AT&T Stadium, 7 p.m. ESPN

The Spread: Texas A&M -8; Arkansas +8

 

Analysis: Arkansas was expected to make a giant step forward as a program this year, but the Razorbacks have done the exact opposite, falling further into SEC obscurity. After an opening win over UTEP, Arkansas has dropped back-to-back games, to Toledo and Texas Tech. The latter was an embarrassing defeat for coach Bret Bielema, who made headlines for saying Texas high school football should play more like his team does. Texas Tech coach, and Texas native, Kliff Kingsbury did not take that well and his team made it a point to beat Arkansas last week. Bielema did shoot back, saying he's not worried a short-term coach with a .500 record. Still, it's an unwanted distraction for a team that needs a win in the worst way and has to play Texas A&M Saturday night at the home of the Dallas Cowboys. Arkansas allowed 486 total yards of offense to Texas Tech last week, something Texas A&M could easily surpass. The Aggies gained 523 yards against the Hogs last year, coming back from a 28-14 fourth quarter deficit to win 35-28. Texas A&M has easily won its first three games of the season against then-No. 16 Arizona State, Ball State and Nevada. Quarterback Kyle Allen has nearly 600 yards passing and nine touchdowns this year, and has a pair of big-play wide receivers in Christian Kirk and Josh Reynolds. The Aggies will continue Arkansas's downfall this season with a big win in Arlington.

Brad's Score: Texas A&M 38, Arkansas 28

Craig's Score: Texas A&M 31, Arkansas 20

Glenn's Score: Texas A&M 38, Arkansas 17

Matt's Score: Texas A&M 24, Arkansas 3

 

No. 9 UCLA at No. 16 Arizona, 8 p.m., ABC

The Spread: UCLA -3.5; Arizona +3.5

 

Analysis: The Pac-12 gets the national spotlight Saturday night when arguably the two best teams in the conference meet in primetime. Both teams are 3-0, with UCLA coming off a one-point win over BYU and Arizona cruising to three victories against over-matched opponents. This will be either team's biggest challenge of the season. UCLA will be getting star cornerback Ishmael Adams from a three-game suspension. He was arrested last month on suspicion of robbery. It's not all good news on defense for the Bruins, however, as Wednesday the team announced the knee injury suffered by star linebacker Myles Jack will cost him the entire season, a serious blow. UCLA's offense looked like it would be a juggernaut with freshman quarterback Josh Rosen after an opening win over Virginia. But Rosen has struggled in his last two starts, against UNLV and BYU, throwing four interceptions, including three in the first half against the Cougars. The running game has been solid, however, averaging 240 per game. That number could be reached against Arizona, especially if the Wildcats will be without All-America linebacker Scooby Wright, who has an knee injury. Arizona does have the offense to make up for an undermanned defense, with quarterback Anu Solomon throwing 778 yards and 10 touchdowns without an interception this year. Last year, UCLA won this game 17-7 and coach Rich Rodriguez is 0-3 against the Bruins. But Arizona has beaten a top 10 team in each of the last three seasons. Playing at home will be huge for the Wildcats, and they will upset the Bruins.

Brad's Score: Arizona 27, UCLA 24 (upset pick)

Craig's Score: Arizona 34, UCLA 30 (upset pick)

Glenn's Score: UCLA 31, Arizona 27

Matt's Score: Arizona 28, UCLA 24 (upset pick)

 

No. 18 Utah at No. 13 Oregon, 8:30 p.m., FOX

The Spread: Utah +11.5; Oregon -11.5

 

Analysis: If Oregon wants to make it back into the College Football Playoff this season, it will have to run the table, and it starts with a tough conference matchup against undefeated Utah. The Ducks have scored 61 points in both of their victories, but their one loss, a 31-28 setback to Michigan State, is the one that can end up ruining their season. Oregon is eighth in the nation in rushing yards and ninth in both overall offense and scoring offense. Royce Freeman has rushed for 373 yards, 14th best in the nation, and five touchdowns. Quarterback Vernon Adams missed last week's game with a broken finger, and Utah is preparing to face him Saturday night. The Ducks have allowed over 456 yards per game on defense and rank 104th in the nation in scoring defense. Utah is 3-0 with a season-opening win over Michigan its most impressive victory. Utah has allowed just 105.7 rushing yards per game, 27th best in the nation, but hasn't faced a great rushing team yet. The Utes should get a rude welcome to Pac-12 play, as the Ducks will roll to a big victory at home.

Brad's Score: Oregon 56, Utah 20

Craig's Score: Oregon 30, Utah 24

Glenn's Score: Oregon 42, Utah 35

Matt's Score: Utah 38, Oregon 37 (upset pick)

 

No. 19 USC at Arizona State, 10:30 p.m., ESPN

The Spread: USC -6; Arizona State +6

 

Analysis: No one could forget last year's meeting between these two schools, as Arizona State scored three touchdowns in 3:53, the final play a Hail Mary scoring pass from quarterback Mike Bercovici with no time left to stun Southern Cal, 38-34. Bercovici threw for 510 yards and five touchdowns that night, and will be back under center for this important conference matchup late night Saturday. Arizona State became the season ranked, but suffered a lopsided loss to Texas A&M in the opener, 38-17. The Sun Devils have won two straight games since, easy wins over Cal Poly and New Mexico. Demario Richard had a breakthrough performance against New Mexico, rushing for 104 yards and adding 150 receiving yards last week. After reaching No. 6 in the rankings, Southern Cal plummeted 13 spots after losing to Stanford at home last week. The Cardinal put up 474 yards of total offense, as quarterback Kevin Hogan played perhaps the best game of his career, throwing for 279 yards and two touchdowns. USC quarterback Cody Kessler has already lost twice in his career to the Sun Devils, and Arizona State will make it three straight with another upset.

Brad's Score: Arizona State 35, Southern Cal 30 (upset pick)

Craig's Score: Southern Cal 40, Arizona State 24

Glenn's Score: Southern Cal 31, Arizona State 27

Matt's Score: Southern Cal 42, Arizona State 35

 

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