Picking Every Game: College Football Predictions, Week 4

Game of the Week

Florida (3-0) at

Tennessee (3-0)

3:30 p.m. EST
Neyland Stadium, Knoxville, Tenn.
Tennessee -6.5 — O/U 43.5

Twelve years is a long time, especially in college football. That’s how long it’s been since Tennessee has beaten Florida. It was September 18, 2004, and the world was a much different place:

  • George W. Bush was running for re-election against John Kerry, who was still a U.S. senator.
  • Barack Obama was still a senator from Illinois and was running for the U.S. Senate.
  • Facebook was unheard of unless you were Mark Zuckerberg or a student at Harvard.
  • Most smartphones were named Palm or Blackberry, and were largely relegated to business use.
  • Tim Tebow was a junior in high school.
  • Tennessee’s current offensive stars, Joshua Dobbs and Jalen Hurd, were nine and eight years old, respectively.
  • Florida’s likely starting quarterback this Saturday, Austin Appleby, was a whopping 11 years old.
  • Tennessee led the series, 19-15.

Now, 12 years later, Florida owns the series lead 26-19, having won the last 11 contests by an average score of 29-16. There have been close ones – three by a single point – and blowouts, like 2007’s runaway 59-20, led by Tebow in his Heisman year.

They say that in games like this one, you can throw out the records, and I would generally agree with that mindset. But after 11 straight losses, Tennessee will be almost certainly be playing a little tight. They know they can’t afford to make mistakes, especially with Florida’s defense playing at such a high level. If Florida goes up early – like Appalachian State and Virginia Tech both did – it’s highly unlikely that Tennessee will be able to come back as it did in those games. At this point in the season, Tennessee hasn’t really been too impressive on either side of the ball. It’s been “good enough,” but for a team that was expected to challenge for the SEC title, that’s not quite what most people expected.

On Saturday, Joshua Dobbs may be better than he has been, but it’s doubtful that will be the case against perhaps the best secondary in the SEC. The key for Tennessee on offense is establishing a brutal running attack, which no one really has been able to do against Florida. So the real key to the game is forcing Florida into offensive miscues, which might be possible, given that Florida QB Luke Del Rio will be watching from the sidelines, and Austin Appleby will be playing in his stead. Should Appleby prove to be an effective game manager and Florida can establish a strong running game, the Gators will be extremely tough to stop. And if that happens, Tennessee’s tightness will only increase as the Gators hold them in check.

This one will probably be very close, and it will come down to a battle of defenses. Given that Florida’s defense is the dominant between the two, the needle definitely points toward the Gators at least covering the 6.5-point spread, and probably winning the game as well.

Prediction: Florida 23, Tennessee 17

Result: Tennessee 38, Florida 28. It was a tale of two halves. Florida owned Tennessee for the first 30 minutes, taking a 21-3 lead into the locker room. But the second half was all Tennessee, as the Vols posted 38 unanswered points before the Gator offense finally woke up and added a score much too late. The vaunted Florida defense – and especially the passing defense – crumbled in the second half, as the Vols put up almost 500 total yards, and 319 passing yards by QB Joshua Dobbs. With the win, Tennessee finally exorcised the demons of 11 straight wins by Florida in the series.

This week: SU – 41-17; ATS – 24-27; O/U – 29-22
Overall: SU – 233-54; ATS – 97-93-2; O/U – 101-86-5

Upsets are bold underlined
(Results in parentheses; wins are underlined; losses in italics)

Thursday, Sept. 22
Matchup Time (ET) TV Coverage Prediction (Result)
Clemson (-9.5) at Georgia Tech (O/U 57) 7:30 p.m. ESPN logo Clemson, 31-17
(Clemson, 26-7)
Friday, Sept. 23
Matchup Time (ET) TV Coverage Prediction (Result)
Wyoming (-3) at Eastern Michigan (O/U 64) 7:30 p.m. CBS Sports Network logo Wyoming, 41-34
(Eastern Michigan 27, Wyoming 24)
TCU (-21) at SMU  (O/U 63.5) 8 p.m. ESPN logo TCU, 38-24
(TCU 33, SMU 3)
USC (+3) at Utah (O/U 46.5) 9 p.m. FS1 logo Utah, 30-20
(GUtah, 31-27)
Saturday, Sept. 24
Matchup Time (ET) TV Coverage Prediction (Result)
Iowa (-13) at Rutgers (O/U 55) Noon ESPN2 logo Iowa, 34-17
(Iowa, 14-7)
Kent State (+44) at Alabama (O/U 50) Noon SEC Network Logo Alabama, 51-3
(Alabama, 48-0)
San Jose State (+6.5) at Iowa State (O/U 55) Noon FSN logo Iowa State, 27-24
(Iowa State, 44-10)
Nevada (+5.5) at Purdue (O/U 58.5) Noon ESPNews logo Nevada, 31-28
(Purdue, 24-14)
Florida State (-6) at USF (O/U 61) Noon ABC logo Florida State, 38-34
(Florida State, 55-35)
Charlotte (+27.5) at Temple (O/U 53.5) Noon ASN logo Temple, 38-20
(Temple, 48-20)
Wisconsin (+5.5) at Michigan State (O/U 43.5) Noon BTN logo Michigan State, 21-17
(Wisconsin, 30-6)
Colorado State (+16.5) at Minnesota (O/U 56.5) Noon ESPNU logo Minnesota, 38-24
(Minnesota, 31-24)
Georgia (+7) at Ole Miss (O/U 60) Noon ESPN logo Ole Miss, 34-28
(Ole Miss, 45-14)
East Carolina (+11.5) at Virginia Tech (O/U 56) 12:30 p.m. ACCN logo Virginia Tech, 34-24
(Virginia Tech, 54-17)
Central Michigan (-3.5) at Virginia (O/U 50) 12:30 p.m. RSN Central Michigan, 38-24
(Virginia, 49-35)
Wagner (NL) at Boston College 1 p.m. Boston College, 34-0
(Boston College, 42-10)
Syracuse (+4.5) at Connecticut (O/U 57) 1 p.m. CBS Sports Network logo Connecticut, 21-17
(Syracuse, 31-24)
Gardner-Webb (NL) at Ohio 2 p.m. ESPN3 logo Ohio, 41-7
(Ohio, 37-21)
Miami (Ohio) (+17.5) at Cincinnati (O/U 55) 3:30 p.m. ESPNews logo Cincinnati, 34-20
(Cincinnati, 27-20)
BYU (+7) at West Virginia (O/U 51) 3:30 p.m. ESPN2 logo West Virginia, 24-20
(West Virginia, 35-32)
Mississippi State (-22) at Massachusetts (O/U 45) 3:30 p.m. ASN logo Mississippi State, 31-14
(Mississippi State, 47-35)
Penn State (+18.5) at Michigan (O/U 56.5) 3:30 p.m. ABC logo Michigan, 41-20
(Michigan, 49-10)
UTSA (+3.5) at Old Dominion (O/U 51.5) 3:30 p.m. KMYS-CW 35 UTSA, 34-27
(Old Dominion, 33-19)
Duke (+20.5) at Notre Dame (O/U 60) 3:30 p.m. nbc-logo Notre Dame, 45-20
(Duke, 38-35)
Pittsburgh (+7) at North Carolina (68) 3:30 p.m. ESPNU logo North Carolina, 45-37
(North Carolina, 37-36)
Appalachian State (-6) at Akron (O/U 59) 3:30 p.m. ASN logo Appalachian State, 31-28
(Appalachian State, 45-38)
Florida (+6.5) at Tennessee (O/U 43.5) 3:30 p.m. CBS logo Florida, 23-17
(Tennessee, 38-28)
Wake Forest (+7.5) at Indiana (O/U 45.5) 3:30 p.m. BTN logo Indiana, 31-27
(Wake Forest, 33-28)
Western Illinois (NL) at Northern Illinois 3:30 p.m. ESPN3 logo Northern Illinois, 38-24
(Western Illinois, 28-23)
Boise State (-13) at Oregon State (O/U 61) 3:30 p.m. FS1 logo Boise State, 41-20
(Boise State, 38-24)
Delaware State (NL) at Missouri 4 p.m. SEC Network Logo Missouri, 41-10
(Missouri, 79-0)
Tulsa (-14) at Fresno State (O/U 66.5) 4:30 p.m. MWN logo Tulsa, 38-17
(Tulsa, 48-41)
Vanderbilt (+7.5) at Western Kentucky (O/U 51.5) 4:30 p.m. CBS Sports Network logo Western Kentucky, 38-17
(Vanderbilt, 31-30)
Colorado (+10.5) at Oregon (O/U 68.5) 5:30 p.m. Pac 12 Network logo Oregon, 41-27
(Colorado, 41-38)
Ball State (-3.5) at FAU (O/U 55) 6 p.m. CUSA-TV Logo Ball State, 27-21
(Ball State, 31-27)
LSU (-3.5) at Auburn (O/U 44) 6 p.m. ESPN logo LSU, 24-17
(Auburn, 18-13)
North Texas (+7.5) at Rice (O/U 53.5) 6 p.m. CUSA-TV Logo North Texas, 21-17
(North Texas, 42-35)
Houston (-34.5) at Texas State (O/U 65) 7 p.m. ESPNU logo Houston, 49-14
(Houston, 64-3)
Central Arkansas (NL) at Arkansas State 7 p.m. ESPN3 logo Arkansas State, 34-14
(Central Arkansas, 28-23)
UCF (-6.5) at FIU (O/U 54) 7 p.m. bein SPorts logo UCF, 31-21
(UCF, 53-14)
Louisiana Tech (+5) at Middle Tennessee (O/U 68) 7 p.m. ASN logo Middle Tennessee, 41-38
(Middle Tennessee, 38-34)
Army (-14) at Buffalo (O/U 51) 7 p.m. ESPN3 logo Army, 35-14
(Buffalo, 23-20)
New Mexico State (+20) at Troy (O/U 65.5) 7 p.m. ESPN3 logo Troy, 41-24
(Troy, 52-6)
Georgia Southern (+7) at Western Michigan (O/U 54) 7 p.m. ESPN3 logo Western Michigan, 41-37
(Western Michigan, 49-31)
Nicholls State (NL) at South Alabama 7 p.m. ESPN3 logo South Alabama, 31-20
(South Alabama, 41-40)
Missouri State (NL) at Kansas State 7 p.m. K-StateHD.tv Kansas State, 55-7
(Kansas State, 35-0)
Oklahoma State (+9.5) at Baylor (O/U 73) 7:30 p.m. fox-logo Baylor, 45-38
(Baylor, 35-24)
Nebraska (-7.5) at Northwestern (O/U 48) 7:30 p.m. BTN logo Nebraska, 34-21
(Nebraska, 24-13)
South Carolina (+2.5) at Kentucky (O/U 58) 7:30 p.m. SEC Network Logo Kentucky, 27-20
(Kentucky, 17-10)
Louisiana (+5) at Tulane (O/U 47) 8 p.m. ESPN3 logo Tulane, 24-21
(Tulane, 41-39, 4OT)
Southern Miss (-10.5) at UTEP (O/U 57) 8 p.m. Stream Southern Miss, 41-17
(Southern Miss, 34-7)
Louisville (-25.5) at Marshall (O/U 74.5) 8 p.m. CBS Sports Network logo Louisville, 63-20
(Louisville, 59-28)
Stanford (-3) at UCLA (O/U 46.5) 8 p.m. ABC logo Stanford, 31-21
(Stanford, 22-13)
Bowling Green (+17) at Memphis (O/U 68.5) 8 p.m. ESPNews logo Memphis, 38-24
(Memphis, 77-3)
Idaho (+15) at UNLV (O/U 64.5) 9 p.m. MWN logo UNLV, 44-24
(Idaho, 33-30, OT)
Arkansas (+6) at Texas A&M (O/U 49.5) 9 p.m. ESPN logo Texas A&M, 41-38
(Texas A&M, 45-24)
California (+4) at Arizona State (O/U 82.5) 10 p.m. ESPN2 logo California, 48-45
(Arizona State, 51-41)
Air Force (-3.5) at Utah State (O/U 53) 10:15 p.m. ESPNU logo Air Force, 31-24
(Air Force, 27-20)
Washington (-12) at Arizona (O/U 58) 10:30 p.m. Pac 12 Network logo Washington, 45-20
(Washington, 35-28 OT)
Copyright © 2016 Doug DeBolt

About Douglas Blaine

Capnpen is a writer who was a newspaper and magazine journalist in a previous life. A college journalism major, he now works as an administrator, but gets his writing fix by blogging about a variety of topics, including politics, religion, movies and television. When he's not working or blogging, Capnpen spends time with his family, plays a little golf (badly) and loves to learn about virtually anything.
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