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Man vs. Woman vs. Machine: Week 4

By Tom Fornelli | College Football Writer

Man vs. Woman vs. Machine is a feature that runs every Thursday afternoon. It's here where Tom Fornelli fights against the rising tide of female empowerment and technology to ensure that men everywhere can at least claim college football is still theirs. He does this by picking a set of games against the spread against his girlfriend, Lynn, and his Playstation 3.

If you're solely looking at Top 25 games this weekend there isn't a whole lot there to keep your interest. In fact, of the 19 Top 25 games we picked in the CBSSports.com Expert Picks, only two of them had a spread in the single digits. However, when you look outside the Top 25, you can find some interesting games.

And those are the games we'll be focusing on for the most part this week in Man vs. Woman vs. Machine.

We head into the fourth week of our competition with Woman in the lead thanks to a terrible week from yours truly. However, I'm still only two games behind and there are a lot of games left to be picked this season, so I am not worried. Yet. All right, I'm a little worried, but don't let Woman know that. We can't show any weakness.

Clemson (-14 ½) at North Carolina State -- Thursday, 7:30 p.m. (All times ET)

Man: I'm totally aware of the fact that this is Clemson we're dealing with and this is an ACC favorite going on the road on a Thursday night. Trust me, I'm worried. However, I'm a believer in Clemson this season, and I'm not going to abandon my beliefs just yet. Maybe around 10 p.m. Thursday, but not now. Pick: Clemson

Woman: "Greetings, y'all, and congratulations on your #3 ranking, Tigers! We just love welcoming top 10 teams to Carter-Finley Stadium, so please make yourself at home. Here is the locker room you'll be using -- just ignore that silly graffiti scrawled across the door." Sorry, Wolfpack, it's likely Tajh Boyd and his Clemson team will ignore it. Pick: Clemson

Machine: Nobody doubts the Tigers anymore, as The Machine has Clemson taking this one rather easily, 38-14. Pick: Clemson

Boise State at Fresno State (-4) -- Friday, 9 p.m.

Man: This is a tough game to call, because Boise State has just been so good for the past decade, especially in conference play. It's just that when I watch the Broncos play this season there's something missing. And that something is the kind of defense we've grown used to seeing from this team. So in the first of what I believe will be two meetings between these teams this season, I'm going with the home team. Pick: Fresno State

Woman: Don't know much about the Bulldogs but it sounds like they're working to change that. Meantime, here's what I know now: the Broncos have won 11 of their past 12 matchups against Fresno State and have gone 21-11-1 against the spread in their past 33 games as underdogs. Pick: Boise State

Machine: The WAC, the Mountain West. It doesn't matter. All conferences belong to Boise State. Broncos win 38-24. Pick: Boise State

Michigan State at Notre Dame (-7) -- Saturday, 3:30 p.m.

Man: I tend to have a policy of never picking Notre Dame when it's favored at home because the Irish have a tendency to underperform. Also I'm just not convinced this Irish offense will be able to manage more than 20 points against the Spartans, so in a low-scoring battle like this I'm going to take that touchdown. Pick: Michigan State

Woman: If this were last year's Irish, no discussion. But this season their defense has given up 24 points a game and Michigan State (albeit against lesser teams) has been giving up a stingy 12 per. The Irish may have something to prove after last week but I think Sparty has it in them to hand Brian Kelly his second loss of the season. Pick: Michigan State

Machine: The Machine is not aware that Michigan State has a defense, apparently. It has Notre Dame winning this game 34-14. Pick: Notre Dame

Tennessee at Florida (-16) -- Saturday, 3:30 p.m.

Man: Under Will Muschamp, Florida has failed to cover the spread more often that it has succeeded, and even though Tennessee's defense got torn to bits by Oregon last week, Florida's offense is not Oregon's. I just can't pass up the 16 points here. Pick: Tennessee

Woman: Sit down, children, and let me tell you a tale about a time long, long ago when this rivalry used to matter. (It did once, right?) Gators win but c'mon, look at their scoring record this season. A 16-point spread? I don't think so. Pick: Tennessee

Machine: It's a clean sweep, as The Machine sees Florida winning this game, but not covering that spread. Gators win 27-20. Pick: Tennessee

Utah State at Southern California (-6 ½) -- Saturday, 3:30 p.m.

Man: Listen, if there's a Chuckie Keeton Bandwagon, if I'm not the man driving it I'm at the very least navigating. So I'm picking Utah State to cover out of pure Keeton adulation. However, if you want an actual fact or something, how about the fact that Utah State is 11-4 against the spread in nonconference games since 2011 and 15-3 vs. the number as road dogs since 2009? Pick: Utah State

Woman: Fornelli puts USC in every week because he knows when it comes to me and the Trojan-head-coach-who-shall-remain-nameless, rational thought goes out the window (Edit. note: Maaaaaybe). Besides, Utah State is for real this year. I'll be rooting for the Aggies this weekend so we can get one step closer to this happy moment. Pick: Utah State

Machine: Well, at least somebody still believes in USC at this point. The Machine has the Trojans winning 41-20. Pick: USC

West Virginia at Maryland (-4) -- Saturday, 3:30 p.m.

Man: I'm not exactly confident in this pick because it's Maryland and we've all seen Maryland in recent seasons. However, Eye on College Football's Chip Patterson has been selling the Terps to me for weeks. So I'm taking his word for it this week. Pick: Maryland

Woman: Man, these Terrapins have been something else this season. Between the play of senior quarterback C.J. Brown, who has thrown for an eye-popping 800 yards while rushing for five TDs, and one of the best receivers in the country, Stefon Diggs, they won't just beat the spread, they'll triple it. Pick: Maryland

Machine: Oh wow, things are going to get ugly on Saturday afternoon as The Machine foresees a 45-13 West Virginia win. Pick: West Virginia

Arizona State at Stanford (-7 ½) -- Saturday 7 p.m.

Man: I know Arizona State beat Wisconsin last week -- it counts! -- but the Sun Devils defense also gave up more than 7 yards per carry. Well, Stanford has an offense very similar to Wisconsin's, so I don't see that changing much this week. Combine that with the fact this game is in Palo Alto and I'll roll with the Cardinal. Pick: Stanford

Woman: Last week might have given Arizona State big hopes for this season. Sorry, Sun Devils, you're about to crash into the Cardinal truth squad. Pick: Stanford

Machine: Looks like that Todd Graham contract extension was the right move as The Machine predicts the upset with the Sun Devils winning 34-31. Pick: Arizona State

Auburn at LSU (-16 ½) -- Saturday, 7:45 p.m.

Man: I feel like LSU isn't getting nearly enough attention for the way it has played this season. It's a legit title contender at the moment, and nobody's talking about it. As for this game, well, it's in Baton Rouge at night and the past two times Auburn has made this trip it lost by an average of 28 points. Pick: LSU

Woman: After Auburn's performance last week, not feeling too confident about their chances against my favorite underrated player, quarterback Zach Mettenberger. Besides, Les Miles didn't take kindly to Wisconsin stealing one of his two-minute drills last week, so rumors are flying he has some special plans for this game. I'm able to confirm this after obtaining secret footage of a Les Miles strategy meeting with Cam Cameron. Pick: LSU

Machine: The Machine thinks you should find better things to do with your Saturday night, Auburn fan. LSU wins 51-13. Pick: LSU

Kansas State at Texas (-6) -- Saturday, 8 p.m.

Man: What's the one thing Texas has had so much trouble stopping on defense? The run game? Oh, well then it's a good thing they're playing Kansas State this week since we all know how pass-happy Bill Snyder's teams can get. Pick: Kansas State

Woman: Hey, Longhorns fans, here's something to make you smile! Yeah. That's all I got. Pick: Kansas State

Machine: Last week The Machine was hoping to get both Lane Kiffin and Mack Brown fired. This week it's trying to save their jobs. Texas wins 31-23. Pick: Texas

Utah at Brigham Young (-7) -- Saturday, 10:15 p.m.

Man: The last two times this game was played in Provo the Utes won by 44 and lost by three in overtime. Also, in the past five meetings, Utah is 4-1 against the spread. So I'm going to cherry-pick those stats to make my pick when I'm really just hoping for a fun game to watch on Saturday night. Pick: Utah

Woman: After a rivalry that has raged for 68 straight years, the Holy War ends this season with a final battle at LaVell Edwards Stadium. This game will be a lot of fun to watch. BYU prevails but a nailbiter to the end. Pick: Utah

Machine: Nobody believes in the Cougars at home. Well, at least not against the spread. The Machine has BYU winning 20-17. Pick: Utah

Man vs. Woman vs. Machine
GameManWomanMachine
Clemson (-14.5) at North Carolina State
Boise State at Fresno State (-4)
Michigan State at Notre Dame (-7)
Tennessee at Florida (-16)
Utah State at USC (-6.5)
West Virginia at Maryland (-4)
Arizona State at Stanford (-7.5)
Auburn at LSU (-16.5)
Kansas State at Texas (-6)
Utah at BYU (-7)
Last Week3-75-54-6
Overall16-1418-1214-16
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