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Fearless Rick's 2011-12 College Football Week 4 - Early Games

Rick Gagliano | September 22-24, 2011

All times Eastern - Click here for late games.

Thursday, September 22

8:00 pm North Carolina State Wolf Pack at Cincinnati Bearcats (-8, 60) - The Bearcats have had some awfully lopsided games this season, though this one promises to be a little bit closer.

Cincy won their opener over Austin Peay, 72-10, then lost at Tennessee, 45-23, before rebounding over Akron, 59-14.

One would have to believe that the Wolf Pack is a far superior team to the two the Bearcats have defeated, though maybe not quite as good as Tennessee. One stat is telling for Cincy, though, and it's on defense. The Vols put up 45, and then they allowed Akron, one of the most sluggish offensive teams in the country, to score not one, but two TDs.

2-1 NC State rebounded from their 34-27 loss at Wake Forest to rip South Alabama, 35-13 last week. A dangerous squad on offense, QB Mike Glennon has 8 Td passes to just one INT, and has two favorite targets in TJ Graham and Tobias Palmer.

This one looks like a sure-fire OVER play with OT possible.

Prediction: Wolf Pack 37 Bearcats 34

Friday, September 23

8:00 pm Central Florida Knights at BYU Cougars (-3, 43) - This game was originally scheduled because BYU usually fields a good team and the Knights often put up good fights, but the 1-2 Cougars aren't that great after being absolutely steamrolled at home by the Utes, 54-10.

George O'Leary, head coach of UCF, has his team headed in the right direction at 2-1, despite losing to Florida International last week, 17-10. Losing to FIU is no shame, as they are 3-0, with a 24-17 win at Louisville already in the books.

Both teams have solid defenders, but may be a little light on the offensive department, though Central Florida offers a little more in their option run game. Mild upset in store.

Prediction: Knights 21 Cougars 16

Saturday, September 24

12:00 pm San Diego State Aztecs at Michigan Wolverines (-10, 60) - Denard Robinson has it going on for the 3-0 Wolverines, but despite his heroics in Michigan's win over Notre Dame two weeks back, he's thrown for 6 TDs and 4 picks and is completing only 49% of his passes.

Besides the Irish, Michigan has only beaten two patsies, Eastern Mich. and Western Mich., so they are likely at least the best team in the state, but the Aztecs are a serious team, also 3-0, with wins over Cal Poly, Army and Washington St.

The Azetcs were 8-4 last season can light up the scoreboard and are balance offensively. The trip to the Big House might prove rewarding if the defense holds up.

Prediction: Aztecs 30 Wolverines 24

12:00 pm North Carolina Tar Heels at Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (-6 1/2, 58) - One of the favorites to appear in the ACC championship, the Tar Heels haven't generated a whole lot of offense, but they are 3-0 with wins over James Madison, Rutgers and Virginia.

Georgia Tech comes in unbeaten (3-0) as well, and leads the nation in both points per game, at 59.3, and rushing yards (1283) with a stable of speedy backs and QB Tevin Washington, who has thrown for 637 yards on 17-for-28 passing, with 7 TDs and no picks.

That's why the home Yellow Jackets are heavy favorites in this ACC showdown. The Heels have a good defense, but they won't keep the Jackets down all day.

Prediction: Yellow Jackets 38 Tar Heels 24

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12:00 pm Notre Dame Fighting Irish (-7, 53) at Pittsburgh Panthers - The Irish saved their season with a 31-13 home win over Michigan State last week and head back on the road still fighting the turnover blues. The Irish coughed it up three times against the Spartans, two on fumbles by RB Cierre Wood, who could have a monster game here if the Irish set the tone early.

Pitt has to get over their 4th quarter defensive meltdown as they blew a 17-point lead with less than 12 minutes left to lose at Iowa, 31-27. The Panthers haven't been too convincing in their previous two wins, 35-16 over Buffalo and 35-29 over Maine.

The Irish should have their way in Pittsburgh and get back to .500 with a 2-2 record.

Prediction: Fighting Irish 34 Panthers 17

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12:00 pm Toledo Rockets at Syracuse Orange (-2, 54) - Toledo is desperately seeking a win after back-to-back defeats by Ohio State and Boise State, and the Orange, fresh off a 38-17 loss at Southern Cal, look to be ripe for the picking.

Just draw a line through the 40-15 loss to Boise, and the Rockets still look like one of the best Mid-American teams with a solid defense and a shaky, but balanced offense.

The Orange get the most mileage out of QB Ryan Nasib and RB Antwon Bailey and their receivers are emerging as legitimate outside threats. The defense hasn't been as good as it's supposed to be, especially after being picked apart by the Trojans.

Syracuse is a miserable 2-5 ATS their last seven in the Carrier Dome, and facing a hungry Toldeo squad may spell trouble in a close call.

Prediction: Rockets 24 Orange 23

12:30 pm Temple Owls at Maryland Terrapins (-9 1/2, 51) - The Terps showed up a little too late last week, closing a 27-10 gap to West Virginia to lose, 37-31, and even their record at 1-1.

Meanwhile, the Owls came within a hoot of knocking off Penn State in a 14-10 loss and will come into this game loaded for Bear (or Terrapin, as the case may be). Both teams offer good doses of talent on offense, with tailback Bernard Pierce the main threat for Temple and QB Danny O'Brien leading the Terps.

Three turnovers and a stubborn Penn State defense killed the Owls chance at beating the Nittany Lions for the first time in 60 years, so Temple will likely be a bit more conservative. The question is whether the defense can slow down O'Brien and wideout Kevin Dorsey, who is averaging 101 yards in receptions after two games.

Tough spot for the Owls after an emotional loss. The Terrapins may crush here.

Prediction: Terrapins 31 Owls 16

All times Eastern - Click here for late games

Copyright 2011, 2012, Rick Gagliano, Downtown Magazine. All rights reserved. Downtown Magazine is located in the Uinted States of America and is not affiliated with the National Football League or the NCAA. For more information, contact us here. Use of this site is for entertainment purposes only.


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