NCAA – Week 4 Top Matchups

Last week Jason and I both went 5-1 (missing again on Texas, perhaps one day we’ll learn). Brings our season totals to: Steve 14-4 and Jason 13-5.


This week we have a good set of games to pick from as Conference play starts up around the nation, offering us closer matchups. We have what is perhaps the MWC championship game, an ACC coastal matchup, Pac12 matchup, a Midwest Rivalry, and an SEC West matchup. With no further adieu, here we go!


Boise State (3.2) @ Fresno St (3.16)
Boise St offense (3.14) vs Fresno St Defense (3.17): This matchup is about as close as it gets. Boise St has a very balanced offense, equal in passing ability and running ability. Fresno St has talent on Defense (relative to the conference), however they have not performed well on the Field. Talent wise the matchup is a toss up, however Boise has performed where as Fresno St has not. Edge to Boise St.


Fresno St Offense (3.15) vs Boise St Defense (3.27): Boise St has an edge here in talent however Fresno St has one of the most prolific Offenses in the nation so far with Derek Carr at QB. Boise St’s worst performing unit so far is the pass defense. Probably not a good matchup for Boise St. Look for Fresno St to try and exploit that. Advantage to Fresno St.


Steve: Fresno State has played better so far this year and it might be their best team in a long time. Conversely this might be Boise’s worst team in over a decade. I still think this game will be close as Boise’s balanced attack on Offense will keep them in this game as well as their edge in the Trenches. However playing in Fresno St and with a large experience advantage for Fresno St I’ll take Fresno St 38-35


Jason: I’m not convinced Boise has enough offense to stay in this one. I’m going with the other FSU 34–24.


Georgia Tech vs. Samford, September 9th 2006, ...

Georgia Tech vs. Samford, September 9th 2006, Final Score: 38-6 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

North Carolina (4.06) @ Georgia Tech (3.91)
UNC offense (4.25) vs GT Defense (4.01): North Carolina’s offense came into the season with a lot of hype, so far it has failed to deliver, it had a lot of drives against USC, but little points to show for it. Georgia Tech’s defense so far has appeared to be one of the most improved units in the nation so far. So this is an interesting matchup. Both groups are talented. The difference will be in the trenches where GT is just not as talented up front as North Carolina. Despite their performances so far I will give the edge here to North Carolina.


GT offense (3.81) vs UNC defense (3.91): Georgia Tech’s scheme gives them a big boost in this matchup that is not reflected in the numbers. UNC was gashed up front by the USC rushing offense, Georgia Tech’s is better. Georgia Tech has also shown the ability to throw the ball this year (a dynamic that has been missing the last few years). Georgia Tech also has the talent advantage in the trenches in this one. Huge advantage to Georgia Tech in this matchup.


Steve: Georgia Tech is at home with a large experience advantage. Usually that is a recipe for a winning team. However I think UNC has not played to their ability so far this season. I think UNC’s offense will get on track in this game, but I do not think that UNC will be able to stop the GT option offense, despite having 2 weeks to prepare. GT 40-35


Jason: Before the season I thought UNC was the favorite in the Coastal Division, but so far their offense hasn’t gotten on track and this looks like the best Georgia Tech squad in the last few years. I’m going with GT 45–41.


Michigan State (3.87) @ Notre Dame (4.26)
MSU offense (3.79) vs ND Defense (4.14): There has been a lot of talk about Michigan State’s offense setting football back 60 years because of their lack of a passing attack. Well it’s true, their passing attack is dreadful. Their OL while it is good, is no match for Notre Dame’s Defensive front. Notre Dame has a huge advantage here with ND’s weakness on defense being its pass defense, since MSU just doesn’t have the ability to beat them (or anyone) in the air. Michigan State should not get much on offense.


ND Offense (4.38) vs MSU Defense (3.95): Here is where Michigan State makes its name, and they have been quite good on defense so far this year. There is a talent disparity here, however Michigan State’s defense plays above it’s talent level, while Notre Dame’s offense plays below it’s talent level. I will give the big advantage here to Michigan State.


Steve: There will not be much offense in this game, as both teams have strength on defense. This will be an ugly close matchup. With Notre Dame being at home I will go with ND 17-10


Jason: Notre Dame really should win this game, but I’m going with Sparty in an upset, Michigan State 20–17.


Arizona State (3.74) @ Stanford (4.05)
ASU offense (3.65) vs Stanford Defense (3.87): Both of these units typically play over their talent levels. Stanford holds the advantage in the secondary with ASU holding the advantage on the line of scrimmage. I do not think it will play out that way however. Arizona State should be able to move the ball through the air, despite a good pass rush from Stanford. I’ll give this matchup a Toss-Up.


Stanford offense (4.22) vs ASU defense (3.82): Stanford has the advantage in talent and in how they have played so far. Stanford has a balanced attack and Arizona State was not able to stop Wisconsin last week (in their only real game). Stanford should be able to move the ball at will in this game. Big advantage to Stanford.


Steve: I do not think Stanford was all that impressive against Army last week and just do not think they are a top 5 team this year (maybe not a top 10 team). Still a good team but not as good as many “experts” are saying. However they are at home and do have a talent advantage in this game. Stanford 35-24


Jason: I really want to pick Arizona State in this game and would if the game weren’t played in Palo Alto. But I think the Tree pulls it out in a squeaker, Stanford 30–28.


Auburn (4.1) @ Louisiana State (4.4)
Auburn offense (4.22) vs LSU defense (4.12): Auburn is still finding it’s footing in the new offense.

Photo of LSU cheerleader taken by Jeff at an L...

They have a slight advantage in terms of talent believe it or not over LSU’s defense, however they have not performed like it so far. LSU’s defense has performed well so far but not great. It is essentially a dead-heat in the trenches with this matchup. However based on performance so far I’ll give the slight advantage to LSU.


LSU offense (4.67) vs Auburn defense (3.98): There is a big talent disparity here as LSU is much more talented especially on the line of scrimmage. LSU is one of the most improved offenses in the nation and have been playing well so far particularly in the passing game. Auburn’s weakness is in their run defense however. LSU should have no trouble moving the ball on Auburn. Big advantage to LSU here.


Steve: The more I have looked at this matchup the more I think LSU does roll. I think Auburn is a better team than they have shown so far and a better team than people think. But playing in Death Valley at night is one of the harshest road environments. I think it will be too much to overcome for an inexperienced team like Auburn. LSU rolls 35-21


Jason: I like Auburn more than most this year. But I also like LSU more than most and think the Bayou Bengals will win the SEC West. LSU 38–28.



  1. Hi Steve and Jason, good site and good predix. In retrospect, Steve’s pic on AU-LSU was dead on balls accurate. Though I wish my tigers had beat their tigers, which seemed within our grasp until the end. Not sure how a “4.1 to 4.4” rating translates to a 10-14 point score differential though, care to explain? Like Kurtz, your methods may be unsound but hard to argue with the results. BTW I picked you up from the AU Scout board. Thanks for posting it there, ignore the haters, some folks you just can’t please. Never understood FSU hate myself, though as an AU man, I’m certainly familiar with hate in general – Robert Frost made an interesting point about that — and as a well practiced hater I always sympathize with earnest hate to some extent. Peace. Out.

    • Steve Poyner says


      Thanks for visiting the site and commenting, hope you continue to stop by (and subscribe for free).

      The score prediction isn’t completely based on the 4.4-4.1 numbers. Those are just guidelines as to how much talent/experience each team has. IE LSU is more talented than Auburn. The prediction is not based solely on any formula, but on those numbers, how they have performed so far to date and my own thoughts.

      I will give you this tidbit. Preliminary results have that .3 differential (including LSU’s homefield advantage) as 12 points in LSU’s favor (so pretty close).

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