By Chris Williams, CycloneFanatic.com Publisher
Last week was a doozy in our CF expert’s pick’em competition. Heading into week three, I was at the top of the standings with a 11-2 record. Last week, I went 2-4. I thought that I would take a massive beat down in our season standings. That didn’t exactly happen. Adam Carper, Chris Hassel and Adam Gray all went 4-2 on the week. Helmet stickers to them. But the rest of us were bad. Steve Deace and Bret Meyer managed to salvage .500 records. Brent Blum and I were 2-4. Then, you had Dave Zawalinksi of ABC 5 and Matt Perrault of 1460 KXNO turn in some troubling 1-5 performances! Will that duo bounce back this Saturday? Here’s what the standings look like heading into week four of the college football season. Note: The crew will be picking the final three games of this week AGAINST THE SPREAD.
Adam Carper, 14-4
Chris Williams, 13-5
Steve Deace, 12-6
Chris Hassel, 12-6
Brent Blum, 11-7
Adam Gray, 11-7
Bret Meyer, 10-8
Matt Perrault, 9-9
Dave Zawilinski, 9-9
FORMER CYCLONE LINEBACKER ADAM CARPER
Northern Iowa @ Iowa State – It is pivotal for ISU to end September at 2-2 because October’s schedule is absolutely atrocious. The offense gets back on track and regains some much needed confidence with a W against the Panthers.
Stanford @ Notre Dame – Being from the west coast, this Stanford team has not received much national exposure and I think they are one of the more underrated teams this early in the season. Their style of offense is capable to score on anyone and I think it’ll be more than the Fighting Irish can handle. Stanford sends Brian Kelly to 1-3.
South Carolina @ Auburn – In no other conference does it seem home field advantage is as much of a factor as the SEC. But after an emotional win over Clemson last week, I don’t think Chizik and the boys will be ready to top the Gamecocks. South Carolina in a close one.
Alabama (-4) @ Arkansas – Pig Sooie Country will be alive and well when the top-ranked Tide come to town. Nick Saban’s swarming defense vs. Ryan Mallett’s strong arm will make for good TV but in the end, this game isn’t going to be as close as the experts think. Bama covers.
Oklahoma (-13) vs. Cincinnati – Oklahoma goes into conference play undefeated and covers against the Bearcats.
TCU (-16) @ SMU – TCU is in the same boat as Boise State for the remainder of the year in that they not only need to win throughout to reach a possible title game, but to win convincingly. TCU does just that and covers.
CYCLONEFANATIC.COM PUBLISHER CHRIS WILLIAMS
Northern Iowa @ Iowa State – This game lands on Iowa State’s schedule at the perfect time. I’m not taking Northern Iowa lightly. They’ve bit the Cyclones at home before. But things are different now. The culture is different in Ames and UNI is down, for their standards. I think that Iowa State’s offense will get back on track in this one in a big way. Iowa State 34, Northern Iowa 17.
Stanford @ Notre Dame – My instinct tells me to take Notre Dame in this game. But then I look at the stats and see Stanford’s third national ranking in scoring offense and sixth ranked total defense. Not to mention, the Irish currently rank 102nd in total defense and are 90th against the pass. Andrew Luck is licking his chops. I’ll take the Cardinal in close one, 34-31.
South Carolina @ Auburn – I love South Carolina’s defense this year. The ‘Cocks rank sixth nationally against the pass. However, they have yet to be tested on the road this year, with three home wins over Southern Miss, Georgia and Furman. Auburn reminds me a little bit of last year’s Iowa team. They just find a way to win. They’ll do it again on Saturday night. The Fighting Chiz’s 21, South Carolina 20
Alabama (-4) @ Arkansas – Alabama’s defense is giving up an average of 6.33 points per game in contests against San Jose State, Penn State and Duke. Still, I think that Penn State is severely overrated and the other two teams suck. I say that it is time for a shake up in the landscape of college football. I’ll take the Hogs to cover and win the game outright. Let the playoff pleading begin! Arkansas 24, Alabama 21
Oklahoma (-13) vs. Cincinnati – This is the easiest game to pick on our docket this week. Oklahoma is an up and down football team. They get up for big games. Regardless of the state of Cinci’s program, this is a big game for the Sooners. They’ll peak here and win easily, 38-14.
TCU )-16) @ SMU – These Friday night games have been crazy this year. I anticipate tonight’s matchup to be the same. I actually think that June Jones’ Mustangs have a shot to play spoiler. They’ll make this a game. TCU 28, SMU 24
WHO RADIO’S STEVE DEACE
Northern Iowa at Iowa State – Cyclones will bounce back, but not impressively. Iowa State 28, Northern Iowa 17.
Stanford at Notre Dame – Irish are about 3 plays away from being 3-0 with the softest part of their schedule still to come. They wake up the echoes here. Notre Dame 27, Stanford 24
South Carolina at Auburn – Back-to-back slugfests take their toll on the Tigers and the Cocks will let it all hang out with a bye week up next. South Carolina 21, Auburn 14
Alabama (-4) at Arkansas – Young ‘Bama secondary will be tested by Ryan Mallett, but the difference will be the Crimson Tide offense versus the Arkansas defense. Alabama 31, Arkansas 28
Oklahoma (-13) vs. Cincinnati – The game is being played at Paul Brown Stadium, so it’s not a true road game for the Sooners. The desperate Bearcats will keep it close in the first half and this is a look-ahead game for Oklahoma. Oklahoma 31, Cincinnati 21
TCU (-16) at SMU – Rivarly game on the road usually means take the points. TCU 37, SMU 23
WHO TV 13’S CHRIS HASSEL
Northern Iowa @ Iowa State – This isn’t the same Cyclone team that lost to UNI in ’07, and it’s certainly not the same UNI team either. Iowa State takes care of business, and evens up its record. I’ll take the ‘Clones 24-14.
Stanford @ Notre Dame – The Fighting Irish haven’t had any luck against the Big Ten, this season, and their PAC-10 opponent is probably tougher than any team from Michigan. Stanford will hand Notre Dame its 3rd consecutive loss, 35-31.
South Carolina @ Auburn – Gene Chizik believes God helped Auburn beat Clemson, last Saturday. He’ll need to say his prayers against the confident ‘Cocks, this Saturday. Despite the fact that the Tigers have been living on the edge, I like Auburn at home 27-24.
Alabama (-4) @ Arkansas – If I allowed myself to have a second favorite football team, the Razorbacks would be my #2. Fayetteville will be "Woo Pig"-ing louder than they have in quite some time, but they’ll need a little more than a festive atmosphere to beat ‘Bama. I’ll take the Tide and 31-20.
Oklahoma (-13) vs. Cincinnati – The Sooners only won one of three home game by more than 13 points, so I’m taking the Bearcats to cover at the ‘Nip (Nippert Stadium). 28-20 OU.
TCU (-16) @ SMU – TCU has proved itself in two nice wins over Oregon State and Baylor, so I won’t pick against the froggies. TCU 34, SMU 14.
BRENT BLUM OF THE CYCLONE RADIO NETWORK
Northern Iowa @ Iowa State – I wrote about the "RDTF factor" before the season. I hypothesized that in order to get to another bowl Iowa State needed to keep that combined total around 100. To keep you updated, the Cyclones are 112th in the nation in run defense and 66th in turnovers forced. Good for a 178 total. Less than stellar. And it’s been well documented that the offense isn’t making up the difference. But I think the good guys put together a complete game against the Panthers in the front end of this critical three game stretch. Iowa State 31 UNI 17.
Stanford @ Notre Dame – It appears Stanford’s Andrew Luck is the quarterback everyone should have been paying attention to in the PAC 10 instead of Washington’s Jake Locker. Luck has thrown 10 touchdowns and 0 interceptions and is putting up numbers that not even Dave Zawilinksi’s PS3 skills could match. Notre Dame is the stiffest defense the Cardinal have faced, but they have too many weapons for the Golden Domers. Leading to my favorite part of CF Pick ‘Em…The bad headline of the week, "Luck over the Irish." Wow, I apologize. Stanford 28 Notre Dame 24.
South Carolina @ Auburn –Did you know the Chiz has four members of his staff at Iowa State with him at Auburn? Jay Boulware is his Special Teams Coordinator and Tight Ends coach, Scott Fountain is Football Operations Coordinator, Eric Link is Special Teams Quality Control and Wayne Bolt is Director of Football Operations. Yes that Wayne Bolt. No comment needed. This game has the 17-14 SEC special written all over it, South Carolina 17 Auburn 14.
Alabama (-4) @ Arkansas – I’m in a Heisman pool with several members of the local media. We each get 2 picks and the draft goes in serpentine format. I have won this illustrious contest two out of the three years with 2nd round sleepers Tim Tebow (’07) and Sam Bradford (’08). This year my 2nd rounder was Houston’s Case Keenum and he is done for the year. So I’m hitching my wagon to 1st round selection Arkansas’ Ryan Mallett. Believe it or not, Rico Stanzi was not selected. I was shocked. Mallett needs to have a big game and will if only to help me out. Alabama still wins but doesn’t cover. Alabama 23 Arkansas 20.
Oklahoma (-13) vs. Cincinnati – Quick.. name the head coach of Cincinnati. I’m guessing only about half of you can do so. The Bearcats have obviously struggled out of the gate. And OU’s Landry Jones is on his way to rivaling Landry from "Friday Night Lights" as the most famous Landry. Big honor. That said, I think Cinci is scrappy enough to hang within two scores. Keep in mind this game is at the Bengals Paul Brown Stadium and not a legit home game. Oh and Cincinnati’s coach is named Butch Jones. Oklahoma 34 Cincinnati 24.
TCU (-16) @ SMU – It’s the battle of the three letter acronym. Otherwise known as "Acronymgeddon." When I lived in Orlando two years ago, I did stats for CBS College Sports for a SMU-UCF game. Why was that game televised? I have no idea. But June Jones was in his first year at SMU and they were atrociously bad. He’s had quite the turnaround with that once sorry program. I absolutely loathe all things TCU because of the 2005 Houston Bowl and their ridiculous foghorn thingy that made obnoxious noises all the time. Give me the Mustangs. TCU 31 SMU 19
CF ADVERTISER, ADAM GRAY (ADAM GRAY AGENCY)
Northern Iowa @ Iowa State – Iowa State will rebound after their most recent heartbreak at Arrowhead Stadium (we better never schedule a game there again). Big game for the offensive line and A-Rob to get going and get some confidence for the remainder of the season. ISU 31- 13
Stanford @ Notre Dame – I really thought that Notre Dame would be 3-0 heading into this game. So far, Brian Kelly looks a lot like the previous head coaches at Notre Dame. Good offense. Poor defense. Losing a lot of games down the stretch. I am a big fan of Kelly and think he turns Notre Dame around. Just not this week. Stanford 38-27
South Carolina @ Auburn – Gene Chizik seems to have a lucky horse shoe up his "you know what." Where was that while he was Iowa State? We never seemed to get the breaks that the Tigers got last week against Clemson. An emotional win is tough to come back from and I think South Carolina goes into Auburn and comes out with a 21-10 victory
Alabama (-4) @ Arkansas – Huge win for Arkansas last week. Ryan Mallet is starting to get all the praise that was going Jake Locker’s way to start the season. But Mallet will face the toughest defense he will see all season. Saban is the best defensive mind in all of college football and this game will be no different. He will blitz early and often and Bama will roll to a 24-6 win.
Oklahoma (-13) vs. Cincinnati – Oklahoma has been a tough one to figure out thru the first 3 weeks this season. A 7 point win against Utah St? A 3 point win against Air Force? But they beat Florida State by 30? The same Florida State team that just got done pounding on BYU! Doesn’t make any sense. Which makes this game near impossible to pick. I will take OU 42-24
TCU (-16) @ SMU – TCU has been very impressive to start the season. I think they get a win against a good SMU team but don’t cover the spread. TCU 31-17
FORMER CYCLONE QUARTERBACK BRET MEYER
Northern Iowa @ Iowa State – My guess is that the physical nature of practice was turned up a few notches this week with an emphasis on the fundamentals of football. Austen will play better and our defense will expose an inexperienced UNI offensive line. ISU wins 28-10.
Stanford @ Notre Dame – Andrew Luck is one of the five best quarterbacks in college football. Notre Dame has struggled this year in close games, look for this to continue. Stanford wins a close one on the road. 24-21
South Carolina @ Auburn – Tough week for the Gamecocks with the passing of former WR Kenny Mckinley. Cam Newton may be a physical marvel, but that alone won’t get it done against the best run defense in the SEC. Look for South Carolina to load the box and make Newton make plays in the passing game. Auburn defense keeps it close, but in the end the lack of a pass threat will prove costly. South Carolina wins 17-10.
Alabama (-4) @ Arkansas – Ryan Mallett is a pro. I want to pick Arkansas in the worst way, but I don’t see any weakness in this Alabama team. Experienced quarterback, the nation’s top two running backs in the same backfield, a Nick Saban Defense. Wow. Look for Alabama to cover. Tide rolls 24-7.
Oklahoma (-13) vs. Cincinnati – Which Oklahoma team will show? Regardless of which Landry Jones we see, look for OU to cover, 34-14.
TCU (-16) @ SMU – TCU is the second most annoying college football story behind Boise State. Look for them to cover. TCU 42-21.
MATT PERRAULT FROM 1460 KXNO
Northern Iowa @ Iowa State – I think Iowa State could be in trouble here if they take UNI for granted but I think the home crowd in Ames will be too much for UNI after their loss at home last week. I’ll take Iowa State 24-14.
Stanford @ Notre Dame – Andrew Luck is becoming my favorite player in college football that nobody talks about. The Irish gave up too many big plays against Michigan and then got tricked vs. Michigan State. I’ll take Stanford here 27-24.
South Carolina @ Auburn – South Carolina is a running team now? Freaky, but true. Auburn at home went to OT to get the W over Clemson but I think ole Jordan-Hare is going to be in for a disappointing night. I’ll take Lattimore and Co to win on the road 30-27.
Alabama (-4) @ Arkansas – If Bama is going to lose to anyone this year, this might be the game. Arkansas can throw the ball down the field against Bama’s new secondary. However, the Tide can really pound the rock and I think they will keep the game low scoring and control the game 28-21.
Oklahoma (-13) vs. Cincinnati – Which OU team is going to show up?? I’ve been way off with them this year but I think Cincinnati is in real trouble here. I like OU big 31-14.
TCU (-16) @ SMU – TCU and Boise both have chances to throw up scores with the country paying attention. Playing on Friday helps TCU get some exposure with the voters. I think they run the score up on a tough SMU team that hung around at Texas Tech this year. 34-13 Frogs.
ABC 5’S DAVE ZAWILINSKI
Northern Iowa @ Iowa State – If there was a ever a such thing as a must win this game would be it. If Iowa State holds an hope for a bowl game they have to walk away victorious saturday night. Texas A&M just drilled Stephen F. Austin who beat UNI last Saturday. Iowa State 31 UNI 10
Stanford @ Notre Dame – Jim Harbough is the best young coach in the country. I think every program that had a chance to get him and didn’t is regretting it. Stanford is winning and looking good doing so. They are putting up 40 plus a game. Ill take Stanford 38 – 17.
South Carolina @ Auburn – How many close games can The Chiz win? OT last week and nerve racking finish the week before vs. Miss St. South Carolina appears to be the real deal. Even though this one is on the road, Ill take the OBC. South Carolina 20-14.
Alabama (-4) @ Arkansas – I really really really want to take Arkansas here, but I think Alabama is just that good. We certainly appear to be on a collision course for a Bama OSU title game. This is a BIG TRAP game for Bama with Florida in town next week, but Saban always seems to have his guys prepared for the game at hand. Bama 28-20.
Oklahoma (-13) vs. Cincinnati – Cincinnati has been dreadful since Brian Kelly left town. In a phrase… they are back to being a basketball school. Well last I checked, OU is still a football school. Sooners 38. Cincinnati 10.
TCU (-16) vs. SMU – TCU, SMU is one of the great rivalries no one knows about. One year, the SMU band members created the "SMU" on TCU’s field at halftime of their performance. All of the band members then emptied their pockets which were filled with rye grass seed. For those that don’t know, this is the only type of grass that grows in the late fall and winter down in Texas and acts like a weed the rest of the year. By early spring, and for most of the next year, TCU’s field was covered with a big SMU! Pretty clever. Maybe that’s why teams now have turf instead of grass. What does this have to do with Fridays game? Nothing. Give me the points and SMU. TCU 34 SMU 24