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CBSSports.com Senior College Football Columnist

Week 4 Picks: Not betting against defenses of A&M, LSU


I had an OK week, going 11-9 against the number, putting me 13 games over .500 for the season. The good: picking Notre Dame to handle Michigan State. The bad: picking Auburn to beat Clemson. The ugly: picking Northern Illinois to keep things kinda close against Wisconsin. Here are this week's guesses:

Michigan 34, San Diego State 21: Brady Hoke's staff knows all about the Aztecs team and should be able to contain its offensive stars, while QB Denard Robinson and the experienced Michigan O-line take over the game in the second half.

North Carolina 28, Georgia Tech 20: Tevin Washington has been impressive thus far at QB for Georgia Tech, but this North Carolina front seven is way better and much faster than anything he has seen this season. The Tar Heels defense will be the difference in this one. North Carolina-Georgia Tech preview

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TCU 52, Portland State 10: The Horned Frogs' D was very shaky again in the first half last week against an undermanned opponent. TCU is young and banged up. Gary Patterson's team won't have any trouble here though as his offense will cruise.

Alabama 27, Arkansas 17: Bobby Petrino brings a talented but somewhat banged-up Arkansas team into Tuscaloosa, where they'll face arguably the best D in the country. My feeling is that the Crimson Tide's physicality will eventually take this game over in the fourth quarter as the 'Bama run game comes up big late. Alabama-Arkansas preview

Wisconsin 59, South Dakota 3: Russell Wilson has been remarkably sharp for his new team, hitting on 76 percent of his passes after never connecting on more than 59 percent in his three years at N.C. State. The Badgers have it rolling, and it's going to take a big, physical team to slow them down.

Texas A&M 34, Oklahoma State 27: I love this matchup between two of the most explosive offenses in college football. Both Texas A&M and Oklahoma State are loaded with great skill talent. The difference here for me will be the savvy of Aggies defensive coordinator Tim DeRuyter and his ability to be creative in mixing things up and getting pressure on Brandon Weeden. Texas A&M-OSU preview

Florida State 27, Clemson 20: The big issue with Clemson is how will they deal with success? I like Tajh Boyd and his skill level, but they will face a much better defense in Florida State than the very inexperienced one they exploited last week against Auburn. Look for the 'Noles to bounce back after a shaky offensive performance against an outstanding OU team. Florida State-Clemson preview

Virginia Tech 31, Marshall 14: Last week Arkansas State dared Logan Thomas to beat them and the Virginia Tech QB hit enough passes for the Hokies to handle the Sun Belt foe. Expect the Herd to do the same, wondering if Thomas can be accurate enough to consistently beat them and avoid turnovers. He should be OK, especially since the Hokies' D has shut down better offenses than Marshall's, which is 107th in scoring.

Illinois 37, Western Michigan 13: Ron Zook's team is cruising now. The Fighting Illini have some good weapons and some young playmakers to spark the defense. As I said the other day, this is a team to watch. WMU's one road trip -- and one opponent who was decent -- was a 34-10 loss at Michigan.

South Carolina 27, Vanderbilt 13: Marcus Lattimore has been fantastic, but this has been a pretty stout Commodores defense thus far, 26th vs. the run. Then again, Vandy hasn't seen anyone like Lattimore. The Gamecocks' weakness on D, their secondary, is something Vandy's not really suited to exploit either. South Carolina-Vanderbilt preview

Florida 28, Kentucky 14: Charlie Weis has a scary amount of speed at his disposal, starting with Chris Rainey. It will be interesting to see if his former defensive coordinator Rick Minter can come up with some answers to slow down Florida's attack. A bigger problem for Kentucky: coping with a talented group of Gators D-linemen who will be matched up against a team that is 117th in sacks allowed.

Baylor 45, Rice 21: The Owls have had two weeks to prep for Robert Griffin III, Kendall Wright and Co. That won't be enough. Baylor has been very sharp thus far with Griffin throwing as many TDs as incompletions. Bears keep on rolling.

South Florida 38, UTEP 7: The Miners make their third road trip in three weeks and will have their hands full with a team that is much more physical and has more team speed. South Florida also does a much better job in the turnover game, ranking eighth in the country in turnover margin. UTEP is 90th.

Nebraska 35, Wyoming 17: The Cornhuskers actually played better on the road than at home in 2010 and I was tempted to go with them very big here, but expect Wyoming to have some success against the young NU corners. Also, the Cowboys would catch a big break if Jared Crick doesn't play, which would make life at least a little easier up front for them.

Oklahoma 42, Missouri 17: The Sooners are rolling after a big road win at FSU. Missouri's one road test, and one game against a decent team, at ASU, did not go well and playing in Norman against a team with experience, talent and focus is a lot tougher than taking on the Sun Devils. A bright spot for the Tigers is getting DE Jacquies Smith back after missing two games with an elbow injury. Missouri-Oklahoma preview

LSU 27, West Virginia 20: Les Miles' team has played in so many crazy atmospheres in SEC country that the Tigers won't be rattled by what they see in Morgantown on Saturday night. No defense thus far has been as impressive as LSU's. They are about 20 deep and they shut down Oregon and Mississippi State. Dana Holgorsen's system is a different test, and Geno Smith is the best passer the Tigers have seen. Don't be surprised if he plays very well in a big spot. I'm very tempted to go with the upset, but I'll stick with the Tigers, who have the edge on both lines. LSU-West Virginia preview

Boise State 48, Tulsa 13: Kellen Moore and Boise State have been playing at an incredibly high level. Moore will carve up a visiting Tulsa D that is 112th in the country in total defense. Making matters worse, Tulsa QB G.J. Kinne has a banged-up knee and Tulsa is 104th in the country in sacks allowed. Bad news when you're facing one of the best D-lines in the nation, as the Broncos have.

Oregon 42, Arizona 24: Mike Stoops' team is so young on both lines and looks to be reeling as it stares at a possible 1-3 start, while the Ducks come in very loose, having scored 125 points the past two games. Oregon has too many explosive weapons for a young Arizona team that has been blown out in back-to-back weeks.

Southern California 28, Arizona State 21: This will be, by far, the stiffest challenge the Trojans have faced. Lane Kiffin's team has been shaky, but much more talented than everyone they faced. Arizona State's defense can cause trouble for the inexperienced Trojans O-line, but look for Matt Barkley to respond well on the road with one of his better games as a USC QB. His young group of wideouts is really emerging.

Bruce Feldman is a senior writer for CBSSports.com and college football commentator for CBS Sports Network. He is a New York Times Bestselling author, who has written books including Swing Your Sword, Meat Market and Cane Mutiny. Prior to joining CBS, Feldman spent 17 years at ESPN.

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