Scully's Week 4 NCAAF Picks: Wisconsin is ready for Notre Dame
A number of powerhouse programs have shown chinks in the armor after the first three weeks of the 2021 college football season.
Ohio State was overrun by Oregon in Week 2, while Alabama, Clemson, and Oklahoma all escaped one-score games as heavy favorites in Week 3.
I’m betting three home teams in Week 4, and two will grab points.
Notre Dame vs. Wisconsin
Sat, September 25 2021, 4:00 PM
Wisconsin’s formidable defense presents a problem for Notre Dame’s uneven offense.
Ranked second in total defense, the Badgers have allowed an average of just 66 rushing yards per game, and Wisconsin will run roughshod on a young Notre Dame defense that has been outgained by Florida State and Purdue.
Jack Coan carried the Irish to an overtime win over Florida State, but the transfer quarterback completed only 15 of his 30 passes against Purdue in Week 3. Given that Wisconsin leads the FBS in time of possession, Notre Dame must generate a ground game to keep its defense off the field, but that is an unrealistic scenario.
Notre Dame has averaged only 105.7 rushing yards per game (115th nationally), and its ineffective ground game will put too much pressure on Coan.
Look for another big afternoon from Wisconsin’s 10th-ranking rushing offense (263 yards per game), and the Badgers will pull away to win by more than one score.
NCAAF pick: Wisconsin -6
UCLA vs. Stanford
Sat, September 25 2021, 10:00 PM
UCLA figures to be motivated, after a sloppy home loss to Fresno State, but this is too many points to lay on the road against Stanford, which has found its footing under quarterback Tanner McKee.
A five-star high school quarterback, McKee played sparingly last season, after a two-year Mormon mission. The sophomore didn’t start in Week 1, an ugly road loss to Kansas State, but led Stanford to its lone touchdown from off the bench.
McKee took the helm in Week 2, when he threw for two touchdowns and ran in another, as Stanford routed No. 14 USC. The rising sensation accounted for three more touchdowns in an easy, Week 3 win over Vanderbilt. He has enabled Stanford to play with confidence.
UCLA has plenty of offense, but after it surrendered 455 passing yards to Fresno State, defense is the clear Achilles' heel. LSU’s lethargic offense couldn’t exploit the Bruins defense, but Stanford will score early and often.
Stanford utilizes a balanced attack, and has averaged 177.5 rushing yards in the last two games, and the Cardinal has a +2 turnover margin since McKee became the starter. A
After an unusual three-game road trip to start the season, Stanford will be motivated for its first home game.
NCAAF pick: STANFORD +4.5
LSU VS. Mississippi State
Sat, September 25 2021, 4:00 PM
Mississippi State should be 3-0, but gave one away at Memphis last week, when the Bulldogs surrendered an 11-point fourth-quarter lead. They will rebound at home.
Up against the nation’s top-ranked offense, Mississippi State outgained Memphis by a 468-246 margin in total yards.
The Bulldogs played well at home in Week 2, when they crushed North Carolina State as an underdog, and Mississippi State's 16th-ranked run defense will frustrate LSU.
The Tigers will miss top defensive end Andre Anthony, who sustained a season-ending injury last week, and LSU quarterback Max Johnson completed only 26 of his 46 passes in LSU’s lone road test, an 11-point loss to UCLA.
Mississippi State quarterback Will Rogers has a big edge, as he has completed 83 of his 116 passes (71%), for 713 yards and five touchdowns, in the last two games, and LSU won’t be able to keep up.
NCAAF pick: Mississippi State +2.5