You never saw it coming.
But we did. After starting a bit slow -- lulling fan adversaries into a false sense of security -- the "experts" have reclaimed their rightful place in the predictions hierarchy, wresting the Week 3 title from the fans. Okay, fan. And technically we tied.
We'll take what we can get.
Week 3 Obligatory Results
Week 3 Franz v. Filler winner FRANZ
Despite picking less games correctly, Franz storms back into relevance by smarting the spreads. He trails Filler 1-2 on the season.
Crystal Ball Call (pick of the week): Iowa by 14 (FRANZ). The Hawkeyes flew through the storm, defeating the in-state Cyclones by 12. Franz's 3 point total here (1 game + 2 spread) was the difference in a week that was decided by just one point.
What were you thinking?: UCLA by 7 (FRANZ). As Franz put it "[e]xpect quarterback Kevin Craft to make less pocket mistakes, and the Bruins to better their 29 total team ground yards in the opener." Well, he was half right. Kevin Craft threw just one interception, an improvement lost on a Bruin backfield that managed to grind out just 9 yards in a 59-0 loss at BYU.
Here are our Week 4 Predictions:
Remember, you can play too. If you don't buy our "expert" opinions, or think you can do better -- enter your picks for all seven games in the comments section of the article at least an hour before kickoff (EST) of the first match in question. At the end of the week we'll tally your predictions with our own and anyone who successfully outmatches both of us will be given the chance to say anything they want on the main page of The Rivalry, Esq. (500 words maximum, limited to football-related musings).
1. No. 9 ALABAMA at ARKANSAS 12:30 p.m. EST, ESPN.com
FILLER predicts BAMA by 14
The "Liar" Game. Nick Saban and Bobby Petrino have been universally skewered for leaving high profile jobs under the shadiest of circumstances, alienating fans and media in the process. But winning trumps all and ‘Bama’s early victory over Clemson has put a Top 10 shine on this talented, physical Tuscaloosa team. Arkansas does not have an explosive offensive without departed RB Darren McFadden, while the Tide will roll through with John Parker Wilson and Julio Jones.
FRANZ predicts BAMA by 10
Arkansas has trailed at halftime in both of its games and managed to wrangle the lead away for a combined total of 3:11 in the second halves. Talk about cutting it close. Making matters worse the competition hasn't exactly been grand cru (especially after last week's scheduled matchup against Texas was postponed to Sept. 27th). Despite dropping 6 starters, Alabama's defense has allowed just one offensive touchdown all season. Tune in early to see Saban steamroll into the SEC.
2. No. 4 FLORIDA at TENNESSEE 3:30 p.m. EST, CBS
FILLER predicts FLORIDA by 16
The "Kickoff to Tim Tebow’s 2nd Heisman Run" Game. Tennessee has lost three games in a row to the Gators, getting slammed by five touchdowns last year. Volunteer fans, reconciled back to Phillip Fulmer after last year’s SEC title game appearance, would love to see RB Arian Foster disprove the notion that Florida’s defense is improved. Gator female fans, reconciled to the fact that Tebow is waiting ‘til marriage, would settle for Percy Harvin, Brandon James, and Chris Rainey to take pressure off Timmy by running wild in the Urban Spread.
FRANZ predicts FLORIDA by 7
I'm with Graham on this one, except he underestimates the impact the Neyland Stadium crowd will have on the spread. The Vols will do what the Canes could not: turn in a four-quarter effort.
3. NOTRE DAME at MICHIGAN STATE 3:30 p.m. EST, ABC
FILLER predicts MSU by 14
The "Michigan Sweep" Game. The Irish scored 35 points last week against Michigan; I think this miracle of point production can be attributed not only to Golden Tate and the Irish D-line, but also to the horrid quality of Wolverine football. MSU scored 31 points against California, even with stud Javon Ringer stymied, so the Spartans can subsist without a power running game...
FRANZ predicts MSU by 10
...But they won't need to. Ringer is too much for the Domers, and this north/south Spartan squad is on a different latitude than their in-state predecessors.
4. No. 20 UTAH at AIR FORCE 4:00 p.m. EST
FILLER predicts UTAH by 11
The "Contrasting Offenses 1.0" Game. Utah’s spread features accurate veteran QB Brian Johnson, whose confidence in the pocket showed in victories over Michigan and UNLV. Johnson is especially effective throwing short passes to quick wide receivers running "stutter" routes where his WR’s run up to defenders, chop their feet, and then make their cut. Air Force runs my favorite offense, a beautiful veer option that utilizes the three yard fullback dive better than any team in the nation. Air Force’s defense has been solid against the run, but last week’s game against Houston may have given support to my theory that Air Force (due to the nature of the school’s cadets) will never have the defensive athleticism and speed to stop big time passing games. (For further proof, see the Falcon’s last four losses to BYU. Average PPG Allowed: 42).
FRANZ predicts UTAH by 3
Air Force was 6-0 last year in Falcon Stadium but they've also lost eight straight games against Top-25 teams. The Utes will stumble early by trying to match the Veer grind, before, ultimately going back to the spread. The tragedy here is that this one won't be televised for the masses.
5. No. 18 WAKE FOREST at No. 24 FLORIDA STATE 7:00 p.m. EST, ESPN 2
FILLER predicts WAKE FOREST by 10
The “Times Have Changed” Game. Beginning in 1993, Wake Forest lost 13 straight games to the Seminoles. Some game scores were 72-13, 54-0, 58-7…You get the idea. Jim Grobe has shocked the (ACC) world by leading a Wake Forest renaissance and defeating FSU two years in a row, bringing bowl bids and an ACC championship to North Carolina. I love Riley Skinner’s experience, WF has what Florida State hasn’t had in years: an effective QB. Christian Ponder seeks to follow in the FSU footsteps of Danny Kanell, Chris Weinke, and Charlie Ward…not Drew Weatherford, Wyatt Sexton, and Xavier Lee. After scheduling two patsies to begin the season, no one knows if the Seminoles are returning to their dominant ways.
FRANZ predicts FLORIDA STATE by 7
So what if they don't have a roster? Bobby Bowden is long overdue for an ACC title run and the winner of this one will be the predominate favorite.
6. No. 6 LSU at No. 10 AUBURN 7:45 p.m. EST, ESPN
FILLER predicts LSU by 17
The “New Offensive Players and Formations” Game. Originally, I called Auburn the “2008 Michigan of the SEC.” The parallels were similar: Storied program, great athletes, and a brand new spread offense with players who might not fit in their new roles. Auburn’s Spread has looked mediocre, with a mix of O-line penalties and inefficient WB play. Can Auburn score against an LSU unit that always seems to reload, even after losing players like Glenn Dorsey, Laron Laundry, and Craig Steltz?
FRANZ predicts LSU by 7
Since 2000, home field advantage has won this mascot identification match eight out of eight times. This year snaps the streak.
7. No. 3 GEORGIA at ARIZONA STATE 8:00 p.m. EST, ABC
FILLER predicts GEORGIA by 8
The “I Can’t Believe You Got Upset and Spoiled the Ratings” Game. I still don’t know how the Sun Devils lost to UNLV. They didn’t commit a plethora of penalties, QB Rudy Carpenter only threw one INT, and the defense didn’t give up 500 yards. But the Sun Devils so-so 3.5 yards per run and 20% conversion rate on 3rd down led to its downfall. On the Bulldog side, Georgia’s defense caused key turnovers in a hard hitting win over South Carolina, but the offense was held to 252 total yards, far below what’s expected of the No. 3 team in America. Craziest Schedule Note: Georgia plays ASU, Alabama, Tennesse, Vandy, LSU, and Florida in its next 6 weeks. That’s four Top 10 teams and 2 perpetual Top 25 programs…in 6 weeks.
FRANZ predicts GEORGIA by 21
The Bulldogs haven't been this far west for a regular season game since 1960 when they lost to USC 10-3. Mark my words, Saturday will be a coming out party for Knowshon Moreno and Matthew Stafford who step up to earn their No. 3 ranking after both delivering career low performances against South Carolina.