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Week 4 Staff Predictions

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The unofficial last week of non-conference games is on tap this week as we look at ridiculous spreads all over the place.

HARBAUGH LIKES BUTT
HARBAUGH LIKES BUTT
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

It's that time of the week again, staff predictions! This is the unofficial last week of non-conference games, so it's also the last week we're going to see insane spreads on almost every game as well.  Let's get to it!

Kansas @ Rutgers (-12)

Straight-Up: Rutgers, 14-1

ATS: Rutgers, Rutgers, 9-6

Andrew Kraszewski: I'll take RU to cover. They alrea;dy showed earlier this year they can rough up a tomato can, and frankly, Kansas would be better off suiting up the basketball team in pads at this point. Like, no, seriously, think of the athleticism boost they'd get.  I'll put it this way, if Rutgers doesn't win this one, say hello to the 1-win season.

alnamiasiv: Kansas sucks, Rutgers sucks. Rutgers sucks a bit less, but not enough to cover the spread.

C4B: I believe this game is the correct answer to "With what weapons will World War 4 be fought?" Rutgers wins, Kansas covers.

MNW: Kansas, in two games, has given up 550 yards per game.  I would say small sample sizes and all, but they got boatraced by Memphis and needed a comeback to barely lose to FCS South Dakota State. Rutgers, 38-24.

87townie: Wow, Rutgers is favored by 12 points? That's no typo? The boys from Bayonne hammer a hapless Kansas squad by two touchdowns.

WhiteSpeedReceiver: Remember how I said that Rutgers vs. PSU was an abomination last year? This is worse. Just don't embarass yourself or the conference any more than you already have, Rutgers.

thumpasaurus: Rutgers to cover. Here's their chance to prove they're not the worst. Kansas is turbobad.

stewmonkey13: I don't want to know anything about this game. This is a tire fire inside a dumpster fire. (DJ: Couches involved too?)

Ray Ransom: In the 2015 Tire Fire Bowl, Rutgers pulls away late, proving that while a hot mess, the Knights don't belong in the conversation for teh worst teams in the game.

DJ: So, two of the worst teams in college football are playing each other? And they're televising it? Indiana and Wake Forest are offended.  I guess someone has to win and Rutgers has, uh, talent I think, so Rutgers wins and Kansas covers.

BYU @ Michigan (-5.5)

SU: Michigan, 8-7

ATS: BYU, 12-5

Andrew: I'll certainly take BYU to cover, though I think I'll hesitantly stick with the skunkbears to win and a thidf consecutive #hailmormon would be ah-mazing.

alnamiasiv: BYU is on a roll.  UM, good defense, but...BYU wins, but it's close.

C4B: The team nobody's really sure about whether or not they're good comes to play Michigan this week.  BYU wins on another Hail Mormon.

MNW: The team nobody's really sure about whether or not they're good or not could apply just as easily to BYU as it could to Michigan, Candy. I have no idea, and I don't believe in Jake Rudock, but I believe in Harbaugh. Michigan, 27-24.

87townie: BYU has squeaked out two wins this year with Hail Mormons. UCLA had to score two TDs in the fourth to seal the win. This will be a good test for the fightin' Harbaughs. Michigan wins and covers.

WSR: There's a good football team playing an imposter here, and acting like something you're not is an honor code violation at BYU.

thumpasaurus: BYU wins and Jim Harbaugh loses his mind.

stewmonkey13: I think MI's defense can slow down BYU, and their run game is effective enough to win.

Ray: Michigan is good, but they do seem to have a problem with schools from Utah.

DJ: BYU wins to complete the undefeated streak for teams from Utah playing Michigan this year.

CMU @ MSU (-26.5)

SU: Michigan State, 15-0

ATS: Central Michigan, 10-5

Andrew: Central getting the same spread at MSU as Air Force? Color me confused. They've played a couple P5 teams tough, but losing to Syracuse is still losing to Syracuse, and this offense should be much easier for the Spartans to devour. I'll take MSU to cover.

alnamiasiv: MSU had its slump against AF. They unleash holy hell against directional, 49-3.

C4B: Which directional Michigan team is the bad one this year, CMU or EMU? I can't keep track. Doesn't matter, still Sparty. MSU wins and covers.

MNW: The Chippewas' potent passing offense allows them to stick around just a little longer than we'd expect.  It's not close, but they get theirs in the air, raise more questions of the MSU secondary, and cover. Michigan State, 41-21.

87townie: Central Michigan? Icing flies as MSU doesn't struggle this week.  But Sparty only wins by 3 touchdowns.

WSR: I'll excuse last week as being the "letdown" (Air Force is a tough opponent) after a huge win. Sparty'll get back to doing Good Sparty things.

thumpasaurus: MSU covers. This team has an annoying way of putting their fans at ease after winning too close.

stewmonkey13: Sparty wins pretty big, but garbage time points allow CMU to cover.

Ray: MSU dominates, but 26 points is a lot to cover.

DJ: MSU wins but more questions are raised as the defense allows enough to let CMU cover the spread.

Southern Miss @ Nebraska (-22)

SU: Nebraska, 14-1

ATS: Southern Mississippi, 11-4

Andrew: I'm intrigued by Nebraska continuing to exhibit some combustibility, but this shouldn't be close. Huskers cover.

alnamiasiv: Nebby comes back, but still only wins by two scores.

C4B: I would like proof that Nebraska is decent this year, so I'm going to either force it out of them with this pick, or be ROFLIng after this game. Southern Miss to spring the upset.

MNW: Opponents have thrown on Nebraska to the tune of 1071 yards. That's...uh...not great. The Golden Eagles like to air it out and return a metric fuckton of offensive starters, centered around QB Nick Mullens, who racked up yards and completions on Mississippi State but was undone by a couple costly picks. It'll be touch-and-go for the Husker's defense, but I think the offense grinds down USM and the Huskers roll. Nebraska, 45-21.

87townie: While this should be another easy win for the Huskers, Mississippi State didn't beat that spread against Southern Miss. Nebraska wins but doesn't cover.

WSR: Nebraska's offense should be enough to overpower USM.

thumpasaurus: Nebraska to cover; has anyone ever been caught looking ahead to Illinois?

stewmonkey13: Southern Miss isn't that horrible this year. They kept it somewhat respectable with Miss. State. I think UNL wins, but is more nervous than they should be.

DJ: Nebraska will cover.  They'll take that anger out on someone eventually and this might be the week.

Bowling Green @ Purdue (even)

SU: Bowling Green, 12-3

First, before any picks here, let me point out how absolutely ridiculous it is that Bowling Green is not favored in this game (early week). Anyways:

Andrew: VaTech, a bad offense with a freshman QB, did whatever they wanted in [404: File not Found] last week. Bowling Green has a talented senior QB in Matt Johnson and a stud receiver in Roger Lewis. Purdue got its teeth kicked in in what their coach called a program-changing opportunity (or something like that). And somehow, this is a pick'em? I pick the Falcons, an might put some actual currency on this one.

alnamiasiv: PU gets a breakthrough win. Sort of. Thereby proving they are better than MD.

C4B: This is really pick'em? Huh. OK then. Bowling Green wins.

MNW: Purdue makes me sad. Bowling Green 41-35.

87townie: According to Terp fans, BGSU is a juggernaut. Prepare to get rolled Boilers but the Boiler's boiler up and take this one in a close game.

WSR: Stop picking MACrificies you can't beat, Purdue.

thumpasaurus: BGSU to win big. Dino Babers wants a B1G job.

stewmonkey13: Hazell continues to play musical QB. It still doesn't work. BGSU, by a couple of scores.

Ray: BGSU > Maryland > Purdue

DJ: Pretty much everything Andrew said is right on the money. This shouldn't be a pick'em game and I am actually considering putting money down on this. BGSU wins handily.

Indiana @ Wake Forest (no spread listed*)

SU: Indiana, 14-1

*No spread was listed at the time of making picks. Sorry about that!

Andrew: I don't think IU is very good (though the offense is starting to look like its old self), but Wake is super, super bad. How did B1G teams end up playing the 2 worst P5 programs in the same week? Bizarre. Give me the Hoosiers.

alnamiasiv: IU wins.

C4B: Whatever uncertainty may exist around the Wake QB position doesn't stop the Hoosiers' D from continuing their infuriating pattern of owning the third quarter, and pulling out just enough to win for the rest of the game. IU goes 4-0.

MNW: Indiana hasn't made me sad yet and I really think they will at some point but you don't lose to Wake Forest, kids. #IUFB4gameday Indiana 38-17.

87townie: Undefeated Indiana stays undefeated by beating Wake handily. I think the Hoosiers will win this one by more than 10.

thumpasaurus: Indiana to win. My dad used to work concessions at the Maryland games when he was just a wee lad, and he reports they had a special song/chat for Wake Forest. Something along the lines of "cheer up Wake Forest, the worst is yet to come."

stewmonkey13: Holy awful football, batman. With this and KS/Buttgers game we just need a Vandy/Wazzou game to complete the circle of suck.

DJ: Indiana wins, Wake sucks.  Side note: Thumpasaurus's dad must have did concessions when Maryland was good, which is a long time ago, which makes me sad. It's been a while.

Maryland @ WVU (-17.5)

Andrew: I have seen enough from Maryland to not really know what they are yet, and I have seen, firsthand, nothing at all of WVU. Kind of a big spread, so give me Maryland to cover.

alnamiasiv: MD loses. I really don't think much of MD this year. WVU has crushed two pathetic opponents. MD covers.

C4B: I almost feel bad for the Terps with this spread. Almost. WVU wins, Maryland covers.

MNW: While they haven't thrown it much, West Virginia is the most efficient passing offense in the nation. Maryland doesn't have a good pass defense. Thus ends the analysis. I feel bad for the Terps, though, so they can keep it close for a while until the stench of Morgantown (which I assume is Axe, moonshine, and burning couches) gets to them and Caleb Rowe faints. West Virginia, 42-27.

87townie: Ugh. West Virginia is going to take your lunch money. Will LIkely is now a known commodity (DJ: Yeah, they know, he almost crushed their souls last year). WVU covers.

WSR: Maryland isn't good.

thumpasaurus: WVU to cover because whatever.

stewmonkey13: I know very little about WVU because they've played two games: Georgia Southern, and Liberty. I think they beat MD, but it's close enough to give MD a sliver of hope.

DJ: WVU has exactly one sack against two teams worse than Buttgers.  This gives me hope that Maryland will have the time to pass the ball as much as WVU will.  Don't care if I get this wrong because it means the Terps win, but WVU wins and Terps cover. Maryland hasn't won in Morgantown in like 9 years or something. Tickets are going for over $100 supposedly, #borderrivalry

North Texas @ Iowa (-24.5)

SU: Iowa, 15-0

ATS: North Texas, 11-4

Andrew: Ah, I see Iowa's mixing up our Directional State non-con preferences by going with Directional Texas. I once started a dynasty in NCAA with the Mean Green, so I'm fully aware of this program's potential (7 consecutive national titles before I lost interest). Perhaps this is the week they show it by covering in Iowa City.

alnamiasiv: Iowa gets up by 3 scores at halftime, puts on the breaks. No way KF (even "New" KF) embarrasses NTx coach (and fellow Hayden Fry alum) Dan McCarney. Iowa wins by 21.

C4B: North Texas is a mediocre team. Iowa is a shade better than mediocre. Iowa wins, Mean Green cover.

MNW: GET A GRIP, IOWA. I will continue to trumpet my favorite statistic that Dan McCarney is 3-3 at Kinnick Stadium. That's all I got -- I'm afraid someone will yell at me again. Iowa 31-10.

87townie: The Mean Green of North Texas lost both games this year... to Rice and SMU. The Hawkeyes keep that trend rolling. Iowa wins but doesn't cover.

WSR: ALL HAIL THE NEW AND EXCITING IOWA HAWKEYES.

thumpasaurus: You'd think Iowa should cover, but wait til you see UNT punt.  (say it out loud).

stewmonkey13: Iowa puts this away, but why anyone would expect them to cover 24.5 points is beyond me.

Ray: Mean Green has to be the best name in college sports, right?

DJ: When has Iowa ever cover a spread this big?

Ohio @ Minnesota (-10.5)

SU: Minnesota, 15-0

ATS: Ohio, 11-4

Andrew: Bobcats cover, Gopher fans continue to demand Leidner's head on a plate despite a not actually terrible performance, myth of Minnesota Nice continues to be dispelled.

alnamiasiv: Minny wins. Has most successful outing to date, but still can't break 30.

C4B: I want to feel like this game should be over early, but Kent State. KENT. STATE. Gophers win, Bobcats cover.

MNW: InsertName pointed out earlier that the Gophers expected margin of victory for the Kent State game was something like 24 points. Gophers rein in the turnovers, that happens against the Ohio. Gophers 20-3.

87townie: The Ohio Bobcats are undefeated so far thsi year. That includes a solid drubbing of Marshall. This will be a good game for the Gophers to show us who they want to be this year...a rising star or a flash in the pan. I'm going to take Minnie to win but not cover.

WSR: Minnesota wins. Whether or not we cover is dependent on if the defense scores points and the offense prevents the other team from scoring.

thumpasaurus: Ohio covers but Minnesota wins. Kent State is apparently the least reliable barometer of team performance ever.

stewmonkey13: Ohio beat a pretty decent Marshall squad, and Solich is a solid coach. MN is in for another close call against a MAC team.

DJ: How can one ever pick Minnesota to cover? They win though.

WMU @ OSU (-31)

SU: Ohio State, 15-0

ATS: Ohio State, 8-7

Andrew: #ROW has run aground rather abruptly this year, but OSU hasn't been hitting on all cylinders just yet, either, and that's a big ol' spread there. Still, I'm going to take OSU to cover here; I think when Meyer's boys get it together, which I believe they will this weekend, he's going to let them gallop a bit to reassert OSU's hold on that top ranking. Buckeyes, big.

alnamiasiv: OSU's offense finally shows up. OSU 56, WMU 10

C4B: A good MAC team gave the Buckeyes fits. A decent MAC team will not keep it as close, but probably closer than anyone in the scarlet and gray would prefer. OSU wins, WMU covers.

MNW: I just can't get enough of all this rowing the boat, can you? Come on, PJ Fleck, do better. This whole season is your audition for Illinois/Rutgers/Purdue/Maryland! THE EYES OF THE MEDIOCRE TIER OF THE B1G ARE UPON YOU (all the live long day). The Buckeyes, like the Gophers, rein in the turnovers against a looswer MAC defense and don't get caught looking ahead to a #Battleoftheunbeatens as GameDay head to Bloomington. Ohio State, 49-10.

87townie: Mmmm, cupcakes again. This is the game that puts OSU quarterbacks back on track. Sparty only  beat these guys by 13 points. The line for you is 31...Vegas thinks you're the real deal. I don't...Buckeyes win but don't cover.

WSR: Why do I have to keep writing something about tOSU having a large spread. Maybe this week they'll try and cover it, but I get the feeling they might be sleepwalking a bit.

thumpasaurus: OSU covers. Same reason MSU covers.

stewmonkey13: OSU wins, and pulls away as Barrett finally captures the QB battle. WMU covers in garbage time. (DJ: LOL at early week predictions)

DJ: OSU obliterates WMU to prove a point and break the 60 point barrier to win 63 to...say 13

SDSU @ PSU (-15)

SU: Penn State, 14-1

ATS: Penn State, 9-6

Andrew: Saquon Barkley's pretty neat, and he doesn't even need a good line in front of him. Said lack of OL shouldn't matter, SDSU will be lucky to get on the board. PSU covers.

alnamiasiv: PSU wins but doesn't cover.

C4B: On one hand, we have a team that hasn't looked good this year. On the other, we have Penn State. Should be great. Penn State wins and covers, assuming they can score 15 points.

MNW: One San Diego columnist thinks SDSU coach Rocky Long should be fired. Long responded by calling it baloney. SDSU's one win came against FCS University of San Diego. Fun Fact: The Toreros of USD play basketball in Jenny Craig Stadium, which is apparently also called the Slim Gym. I giggled. Penn State 28-6.

87townie: SDSU takes on my beloved Nittany Lions. I see this game going a lot like the Rutgers game. This is a hapless team that Cal beat by 28 points and South Alabama beat by a TD. Penn State wins and covers.

WSR: This is the meat in the middle of PSU's easy game sandwich. Hopefully they take advantage of it.

thumpasaurus: PSU covers. SDSU doesn't have the type of defense to make this a game.

stewmonkey13: PSU wins, Hack continues to struggle, Barkley looks good. SDSU covers.

DJ: Look Penn State, how do you expect the SEC to take the Big Ten seriously if your cupcake opponents can't even beat their cupcake opponents? FOR FUCKS SAKE YOU SOMEHOW PICKED A TEAM THAT MADE SEC CUPCAKES LOOK GOOD. Oh, you all win and cover I hope.

Middle Tenn. State @ Illinois (-6)

SU: Illinois, 9-6

ATS: Middle Tennessee, 8-7

Andrew: God there are still more of these games? I'm going to need some OT for this. Illinois covers, why not.

alnamiasiv: Illinois wins but doesn't cover.

C4B: After getting throttled by UNC, the Illini will either recover nicely, or utterly crash and burn this week. Illinois gets a "nice thing", but just this once, if one can call a win over MTSU a nice thing.

MNW: MTSU played Charlotte last week, racking up 73 points to go with starter Brent Stockstill's throwing for 369 yards and 5 TDs on 23/27 passing before being pulled.  I didn't know Charlotte now played FBS football.  I'd rate MTSU passing attack as about as good as North Carolina's, but I don't really care because HAT. BLUE RAIDERS 38-30!

87townie: In their two wins, the Blue Raiders averaged 71.5 points per game. This could be a shit show if the Illini from last week show up again.  I think they do and the MTSU upsets Illinois at home.

WSR: Illinois finally started it's football season last week.  It goes downhill from here.

thumpasaurus: MTSU wins.  Last week the Illini donned the orange and blew. I want this win, but if we can't pass effectively under no pressure, tehir blitz is going ot wreck us. We can win this if we can dial up some long passing plays, Josh Ferguson continues to want it and we win the turnover battle. I think only the middle of those comes true and we lose. I just hope it's not a bloodbath.

stewmonkey13: IL beats a fiesty MTSU team, sand sucks some IL fans back in.

DJ: I think I picked Illinois to win, but damn now that I see their own fans can't do it I really question this...

Ball State @ Northwestern (-18.5)

SU: Northwestern, 15-0 OH GOD NO THE HORROR

ATS: BALLS, 13-2

Andrew: Meowtarps cover, generate discussion about whether they could beat the Bears on a neutral field.

alnamiasiv: NU wins and doesn't cover.

C4B: Are we sure that NU can score enough to cover? Because Ball State is semi decent this year and Northwestern has broken 20 points exactly once so far.  Wildcats win, Cardinals cover.

MNW: Expecting Northwestern to score 19 points again is a pretty dicey task, Mr. linesmaker. Bll State racks up a paltry 5.78 ypa through the air, but they can move it on the ground, coming in around 5.7ypc and having racked up 10 TDs on the ground. Ball State will get their yards and Northwestern's overall defensive ranking will drop, but the 'Cats have enough in tehm to hold off an upset bid at home under the lights. Northwestern, 23-14.

87townie: Texas A&M put up 49 points on these guys in the first half. If there was ever a cure for an anemic offense it's Ball State's D. You thought the Cats fans were insufferable last week? Wait until their offense shows a pulse and they are 4-0.

WSR: Just don't get hurt in the process, nerds.

thumpasaurus:Northwestenr will beat a Ball So Hard team that lost its biggest playmakers in QB Keith Wenning and WR Willie Snead. I miss ESPN's College Fantasy Football Challenge.

stewmonkey13: That's a whole lotta points for an offense this bad to cover.

Ray: Balls.

Balls indeed, Ray.

Hawaii @ Wisconsin (-20.5)

SU: Wisconsin, 15-0

ATS: Wisconsin, 13-2

Andrew: Copy and paste from last week.  Weak noncon opponent, Camp Randall.  I'm assuming that spread is because of Hawaii's feistiness agaunst OSU. That game was still decided by 38 points. Wisco covers.

alnamiasiv: UW wins, covers.

C4B: Another UW non-con game, another spread that's probably way too low. Badgers roll.

MNW: You suck, Wisconsin. But again, totally Joel Stave for Heisman or whatever because look what he did to Hawaii and Troy. PS please keep trying Tanner McEvoy at QV. It's just so damn funny to watch. Wisconsin, 48-9.

87townie: Poor Hawaii. This is two more trips to the mid-west in the month of September than I'd want to make...especially since it's likely to be a whipping. The Badgers will shred the rainbow warriors...but not quite as badly as the Buckeyes did. I'll take Wisconsin to win but not cover.

thumpasaurus: Wisconsin covers. Hawaii may be the worst team in FBS.

stewmonkey13: WI wins, running game still struggles a bit, Stave still looks decent.  HI covers.

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Stay tuned for standings next week from DJ Carver. Sorry about the delay in getting these out, and let us know your picks in the comments!