College Football’s 100 Best Traditions

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College Football is a sport that’s known for its historic traditions and pageantry.

Mascots, marching bands and school chants are the true lifeblood of the sport, and they’re what make a college football game day so special.

Here’s a look at college football’s 100 best traditions.


1. Texas A&M’s 12th Man

Texas A&M’s 12th man is the type of tradition that represents everything that college athletics should be about—a fan base that goes out of its way to support and show its love for both the school and the football program.

It’s a tradition revolves around the inspiring story of E. King Gill, a Texas A&M student who came out of his stands and took the place of an injured player in a game against defending champion Centre College back in 1922. Although Gill did not actually play in the game, his willingness to help out his team has come to symbolize the enthusiasm that the team’s fan base has for supporting their Aggies.

Whether its standing united throughout the entire game, practicing chants in the late hours of the night or showing off their passion and pride for their team whenever they get the chance, the 12th man has come to embody everything that’s truly great about college football.


2. Florida State’s Chief Osceola Planting His Flaming Spear

The most powerful pregame ritual in college football is when Florida State mascot Osceola rides out to midfield on his horse Renegade and plunges his flaming spear into the grass.

The way the crowd and stadium atmosphere builds in intensity as Osceola approaches midfield before rising up on his horse and hurls the spear into the ground is truly remarkable.

It’s the type of spectacle that you can only find on a college football field.


3. The Ohio State Band’s Script Ohio Formation

Every marching band in college football has some sort of signature formation that they’re known for. However, none of them can compare to the Script Ohio formation that the Ohio State marching band forms during their pregame performance.

It’s one of the most iconic images in all of college football.

It’s the type of moment that gives Buckeyes fans chills, and it’s probably caused more than a few tears to be shed over the years.

The defining part of the performance comes when a sousaphone player trots out and dots the “I” as the crowd over 100,000 roars with excitement.

4. Clemson Players Run Down the Hill

Clemson’s pregame stadium entrance is loaded with excitement.

After players grab the famous Howard’s Rock for good luck, a cannon is fired, and the team comes running down the hill towards the field, as the fans around the stadium go crazy.

Once the Tigers reach the field, the fans let out a loud C-L-E-M-S-O-N chant and the energy level in the stadium reaches an all-time high.

It’s been called “The Most Exciting 25 Seconds in College Football” and it’s the type of thrilling entrance that you won’t see anywhere else in the country.

5. Georgia’s UGA Mascot

College Football features numerous different live animal mascots who stand on the sidelines during games, but none of them are as famous as Georgia’s bulldog UGA.

Although he may be small in stature, UGA is a big part of the program, and he’s truly beloved by the Bulldogs fan base.

Since the mascot’s introduction back in 1956, there have been a total of nine UGAs.

All of the deceased bulldogs eventually end up in a mausoleum near the main entrance of Stanford Stadium.

6. Auburn’s War Eagle Fly-In

One of the most unique pregame rituals in college football occurs during Auburn home games.

Before the start of every game, the team’s eagle mascot known as War Eagle comes soaring into the stadium to the delight of the thousands of fans in attendance, who let out a special War Eagle chant.

It’s certainly a one-of-a-kind tradition that you won’t see replicated anywhere else in the country.

7. The Ohio State vs. Michigan Rivalry

Ohio State vs. Michigan is arguably the most intense rivalry in college football history.

The Buckeyes and Wolverines have been playing each other since 1897, and during that time, the two schools have grown to truly despise one another.

The late-season meeting between the two teams, known simply as The Game, is always one of the most anticipated matchups on the schedule every year, and it usually has had Big Ten championship implications.

The week leading up to the game is filled with great traditions, including Ohio State student making the famous jump into the frigid Mirror Lake on the Thursday before the game.

8. Notre Dame’s “Play Like A Champion Today” Sign

Many college football teams touch a sign or an object during their pregame walk out onto the field, and Notre Dame players touching the “Play Like a Champion Today” sign is the most famous example.

Although the Irish haven’t exactly been blessed with much luck or played like a true champion in recent years, the team is still one of the most celebrated and renowned programs in the country.

The sign, which is hanging on the staircase leading from the team’s locker room to the tunnel, is one of the most-well known symbols that fans associate with the Notre Dame Football team.

9. The Rose Bowl

The Rose Bowl is referred to as the “Granddaddy of Them All” because in terms of prestige and tradition, there isn’t another bowl game in college football like it.

The game, which dates all the way back to 1902, is surrounded with pageantry.

It’s hard to imagine New Year’s Day without watching the Tournament of Roses Parade in the morning, or seeing a beautiful Pasadena sunset glistening over the iconic stadium packed with 100,000-plus fans during the afternoon.

10. Ralphie Runs Onto Colorado’s Folsom Field

Ralphie—Colorado’s 500-pound Buffalo mascot—is a part of one of the most famous pregame traditions in college football.

At every Buffalo home game, Ralphie leads the team out onto the field with a thunderous run from one side of the field to the other. It’s definitely a remarkable and rare site to witness on a football field.

The fact that big buffalo needs five handlers to keep her under control during her pregame charge just goes to show how powerful she really is.

11. USC’s Traveler Mascot

USC is one of the most prestigious programs in college football, so it figures that the Trojans would have one of the most well-known mascots in the sport.

The school’s mascot Traveler is a white horse, who is ridden around the field by a Trojan warrior character at every USC home game at the L.A. Coliseum.

The horse has been a fixture at USC games since 1961, and over the years he’s grown into one of the most famous mascots in all of college football.

12. The Army-Navy Game

Army vs. Navy is a rivalry that may not feature star players or champion caliber teams on an annual basis, but there’s no doubt that it’s still one of the biggest events of every college football season.

It’s a rivalry that started all the way back in 1890, yet it’s still running strong 122 years later.

The two teams may be fighting a heated battle for bragging rights on the field. Nevertheless, no matter which squad ends up winning, the players from both sides always show mutual respect for each other, as they know that they’ll be fighting together for the same cause in the future.

13. Nebraska’s Tunnel Walk

There are very few venues in the country that can compare to Memorial Stadium. The most exciting moment of a Nebraska game day occurs when the team first enters the field.

The Cornhuskers leave the locker room and make the walk through the tunnel leading out to the field, making sure to touch the lucky horseshoe on their way out.

Fans can see everything that’s happening on the video board, as the Alan Parson Project song “Sirius” blasts throughout the stadium.

When the players finally do emerge from the tunnel, the crowd lets out a roar and the Cornhuskers fly out onto the field.

14. Wisconsin Fans Jump Around

Between the third and fourth quarters of every Wisconsin home game, the Badgers student section enthusiastically dances while the stadium P.A. system blasts the House of Pain song “Jump Around.”

No matter what the score of the game may be, Camp Randall Stadium always gets a big boost in energy once the song comes on and the kids start jumping.

15. The Iron Bowl: Alabama vs. Auburn

If you don’t live in the state of Alabama, it’s hard to really describe just how big of a game the annual Iron Bowl between in-state rivals Alabama and Auburn really is.

The two fan bases can’t stand each other, and they spend all year counting down the days until the big matchup.

The Iron Bowl is one of the sport’s greatest and longest-running rivalries, dating all the way back to 1983, and it’s a matchup that’s steeped in tradition.

Currently, Alabama holds a 41-34 edge in the series, and there has been one tie.

16. Oklahoma’s Sooner Schooner

During every Oklahoma home game, the Sooner Schooner—a Conestoga wagon pulled by two white ponies named Boomer and Sooner—will race out onto the field every time the team scores while the band belts out the team’s fight song.

Seeing the Schooner racing out onto the field really whips Oklahoma fans into a frenzy.

17. West Virginia Fans Sing “Take Me Home, Country Roads”

Following every West Virginia home victory, Mountaineer fans all around the stadium join together to sing John Denver’s hit “Take Me Home, Country Roads.”

The song has become an unofficial anthem and theme for the university and it’s a tune that every true Mountaineer fan knows by heart.

18. South Carolina’s Pregame Entrance

There aren’t many pregame entrances in college football that can compare to the one that occurs at Williams-Brice Stadium for every South Carolina home game.

As the iconic theme from “2001: A Space Odyssey” begins, South Carolina fans get amped up as the song continues to build to a crescendo.

Once it finally reaches its peak, the Gamecocks come bursting out of the tunnel while the fans erupt with applause.

19. Auburn Fans Roll Toomer’s Corner

Toomer’s Corner, which is located on the corners of Magnolia Avenue and College Street in Auburn, Alabama, is considered a sacred ground by Tigers fans.

You can usually find toilet paper covering the two massive oak trees located there following a big Auburn win.

This celebratory tradition, which is believed to date all the way back to the 1950s, has become known simply as rolling Toomer’s Corner.

20. The Red River Rivalry: Oklahoma vs. Texas

Every college football season, one of the most anticipated games of the year is always the Red River Rivalry, pitting Big 12 powerhouses Oklahoma and Texas against each other.

The game takes place at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas during the State Fair of Texas, and the crowd is usually split evenly between Sooner fans and Longhorns fans.

The first meeting was back in 1900, and since then, the two teams have battled each other 106 times. Texas currently holds a 59-42 advantage in the series, and there have been five ties.

21. Alabama’s “Rammer Jammer” Chant

Besides Roll Tide, there’s nothing that Alabama fans love to say more than “Rammer Jammer, Yellowhammer, give ‘em hell, Alabama!”

That’s because the cheer signifies an Alabama victory, and you can hear Tide fans passionately screaming it in the closing minutes of games when the outcome is certain.

Some consider the somewhat controversial line, “We just beat the hell out of you” to be inappropriate and unsportsmanlike, but don’t try telling that to Alabama fans, because they don’t want to hear it.

22. Arkansas Fans Call on the Hogs

“Woo, Pig Sooie!” is a chant that can be heard loud and clear before every single Arkansas home game.

Razorback fans use the saying to call the Hogs out onto the field before the start of the game.

The cheer includes fans raising their arms in unison and then wiggling their fingers before making a clenched fist and giving a forceful pump.

23. Virginia Tech’s “Enter Sandman” Entrance

New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera may be the most famous athlete who runs out to Metallica’s “Enter Sandman.” However, Rivera’s entrances don’t hold a candle to the Virginia Tech football team’s “Enter Sandman” pregame entrances.

When the Hokie faithful first hear the intro to the song come on the stadium speakers, they go nuts, and the whole stadium begins to rock before the players finally burst out onto the field.

If that entrance doesn’t get you pumped up, then you aren’t a true college football fan.

24. Notre Dame’s Touchdown Jesus

One of the most well-known features of the Notre Dame game day experience is looking up at the World of Life mural on the outside of the school’s Hesburgh Library, which can be seen from inside the stadium.

The 134-foot-tall mural features artist Millard Sheets’ vision of the resurrected Jesus Christ.

The way Jesus happens to be holding his arms up in the air makes it seem as if he’s signaling a touchdown, which has earned the piece of art the nickname “Touchdown Jesus.”

25. The Oregon Duck’s Motorcycle Entrance

You have to hand it to Oregon’s Duck mascot, because he certainly knows how to enter a stadium in style.

Before every game at Autzen Stadium, the Duck leads the team out onto the field on the back of a Harley Davidson.

Considering Oregon’s one of the fastest teams in college football, it seems only right that they have a motorcycle leading them out of the tunnel.

26. Georgia Tech’s Ramblin’ Wreck Entrance

Since 1961, the Ramblin’ Wreck, a golden 1930 Model A Ford Sport Coupe, has led the Georgia Tech football team out onto the field.

The car has become synonymous with both the school as well as the Yellow Jackets fan base, which was given the nickname Ramblin’ Wreck back in the late 19th century.

27. Florida’s Gator Chomp

You’re likely to see the Gator Chomp quite often during a Florida home game, as Gator fans love to use the simplistic hand clap to try to psyche out opponents.

Although it may not seem all that intimidating in general, when nearly 90,000 fans begin thunderously clapping their arms together while the band plays the Jaws theme, it can definitely be disconcerting for the visiting team.

28. Texas’ Hook ‘Em Horns

The most famous hand gesture in all of college football is the Hook ‘Em Horns sign that Texas fans use frequently throughout games.

The Horns are obviously pay homage to the team’s Longhorn mascot Bevo, and they’re used to show solidarity and unity amongst the massive Texas fan base.

29. Miami’s Smoky Pregame Entrance

Miami isn’t the only school that incorporates smoke in its pregame entrance, but the Hurricanes do utilize it the best.

When the smoke starts to pour out of the big helmet that Miami players run out of, it drives the fans wild. Once the Hurricanes finally emerge and come running through the smoke, the stadium becomes absolutely electric.

30. Michigan’s Winged Helmets

There are many instantly recognizable helmets in college football, but one design that has stood the test of time is Michigan’s winged helmets.

The Wolverines weren’t the first school to use the design, but they were the team that really made it famous.

Since 1938, Michigan has used the winged design for their helmets, and over the years it’s grown into one of the most illustrious icons in all of sports.

31. Texas A&M’s Midnight Yell Practice

Texas A&M fans are some of the most passionate in the country, and they display their support for the Aggies on the night before every home game during a rally at the stadium known as Midnight Yell Practice.

The Midnight Yell has been one of A&M’s most important traditions since it started back in 1932.

Typically, the practice consists of five yell leaders guiding a group of roughly 20,000 fans, as they sing school songs such as “Spirit of Aggieland” and “Aggie War Hymn.”

There comes a certain time in the night when the stadium lights are turned off, which is a signal for fans to kiss their dates.

32. Florida State’s War Chant

Florida State’s War Chant is definitely one of the most well-known cheers in college football, and it’s one that you’ll hear numerous times during a Seminoles home game.

Once the Marching Chiefs begin to bang on the drums, the fans know that’s their cue to break out the famous chop and start chanting.

Many trace the chant’s origin back to a game against Auburn in 1984. Since then, it’s become a main staple at every game at Doak Campbell Stadium.

33. Ole Miss’ Tailgate at the Grove

One of the most interesting tailgating experiences in all of college football takes place on the campus of Ole Miss, specifically in a section near the stadium called the Grove.

It’s there where Rebel fans dress up in their best attire for a day of tailgating unlike any other in the country.

Between 20,000 and 25,000 fans spend the day eating upscale food off fancy china and indulging in a large assortment of alcohol before heading into the stadium.

The Grove has consistently finished near the top of basically every college football tailgating rankings, and it should be on the bucket list of any real college football fan.

34. Iowa’s Pink Locker Room

The most famous feature of Iowa’s Kinnick Stadium is the pink-painted visitor’s locker room.

Former Iowa head coach Hayden Fry is the one who originally came up with the idea to paint the locker room pink, as he believed it would have a psychological effect on the visiting team.

The locker room has remained pink for over 30 years, but it’s impossible to say if it actually gives the Hawkeyes any sort of advantage.

35. LSU’s Mike the Tiger

There are plenty of live animal mascots in college football, but not many of them are so dangerous that they have to be caged for the entire game.

LSU’s Mike the Tiger, a 450-pound Siberian-Bengal mixed breed tiger, is certainly the scariest living animal mascot in the sport.

Mike is paraded around on game days in a cage on the sideline, and he’s become a key feature of the game day experience in Baton Rouge.

There have been a total of six tigers who have served as the school’s mascot since Mike was first introduced back in 1938. Mike VI has been handling the role since the 2007 season.

36. Texas Tech’s Masked Rider

Texas Tech isn’t the only school that features a horse and rider as its game day mascot. However, the school’s Masked Rider was the first mascot to feature a live horse when it debuted as the team’s official mascot back in 1956.

Since then, the Masked Rider has become an integral part of the game day experience at Red Raiders games.

Dressed in a black outfit, which includes a cape, hat and mask, the Masked Rider and its trusty stallion always lead the team onto the field during home games.

37. Tennessee Runs Through the “T”

Tennessee’s band, the Pride of the Southland, is one of the best marching bands in the country, and one of the most impressive feats the group pulls off each game is when it makes a perfect “T” formation for the team to run through.

With 102,000 Volunteer fans screaming in the background, it’s one of the most thrilling pregame entrances in all of college football.

38. Nebraska’s Blackshirt Defense

Nebraska’s blackshirt defense tradition dates all the way back to the 1960s when then head coach Bob Devaney wanted his starting defensive players to have their own specific color practice uniforms.

The Cornhuskers defense eventually ended up with black shirts, and the rest is history.

During the Tom O’Brien era, the team routinely featured some of the most dominant defenses in the country, which only helped to enhance the image.

You will now often see Nebraska fans and players “Throwing up the Bones” after a great defensive play, which is a reference to the skull and cross bones that were featured on the front of the jerseys.

39. The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party

Every season, 80,000 Georgia and Florida fans descend onto Jacksonville for what has been dubbed “The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party.”

The game marks one of the only times that you’ll see EverBank Field actually filled to capacity.

The matchup is usually an important showdown with SEC East implications on the line, but in recent years, the pregame festivities have gained just as much attention as the actual game.

If you’re looking for a fantastic college football tailgating experience, you couldn’t go wrong with attending this mega-matchup down in Jacksonville.

40. Mississippi State Fans Clang the Cowbells

If you’ve ever been to a Mississippi State football game, or even just watched one on television, then you know all about the school’s cowbell tradition.

Bulldogs fans love to clang their cowbells all game long.

Even though the constant noise and ringing is enough to give even the toughest fans a headache, it does provide a one-of-a-kind atmosphere and backdrop for a college football game .

41. Michigan Players Touch The Go Blue! Sign

There aren’t many stadiums that can compare to the Big House on a Saturday afternoon in the fall.

Over 100,000 Wolverines fans pack Michigan Stadium to create a game day experience that is almost indescribable.

The huge crowd usually reaches a fevered pitch when the players come running out of the locker room and touch the famous Go Blue! sign on their way out to the field.

42. Night Games at Death Valley

Tiger Stadium, also known as “Death Valley,” has gained a reputation as one of the loudest and most intense college stadiums in the country. Night games have been notoriously deafening and overwhelming for opponents. The 90,000-plus Tigers fans are usually a rowdy bunch after they’ve had all day to properly prepare for that night’s contest.

The Tigers currently hold a remarkable 77 percent winning percentage in night games at Death Valley.

43. The “We Are, Penn State” Chant

With a capacity to fit more than 106,000 fans, Penn State’s Beaver Stadium is the second largest sporting venue in the United States.

It’s quite impressive to hear all of those Nittany Lion fans chant the school’s motto “We Are, Penn State” on game days.

Outsiders may look at the program in a different light following the child sex abuse scandal that rocked the school late in 2011. However, there’s no question that the Penn State fan base is one of the best and most loyal groups in all of college football, and they love to show the pride they have in their team with their favorite game day chant.

44. USC’s Song Girls

USC’s Song Girls are certainly not an ordinary cheerleader group.

Unlike most cheering squads, the Song Girls do not perform aerial stunts or gymnastic-type maneuvers during games. Instead, they are a primarily a dance squad who are there to keep the fans energized and entertained all game long.

The white sweater-clad group, which has been around since 1967, is one of the most recognizable parts of USC game days at the L.A. Coliseum.

45. Purdue’s Big Bass Drum

Although it’s never been officially confirmed that Purdue’s bass drum is indeed the largest in the world as the school claims, it’s certainly big enough to get Boilermakers fans excited during the pregame festivities.

The drum crew, which includes two beaters and two pushers, is in charge of the 10-foot-high drum on game days.

The massive instrument is definitely a unique piece of college football history and tradition.

46. Texas’ Bevo Mascot

It’s only right for a team called the Longhorns to feature a Longhorn steer mascot with a huge set of horns.

Texas’ Bevo certainly doesn’t look like the type of animal mascot that you want to go near, but for the most part, he’s usually pretty peaceful during his time spent behind the end zone on game days.

In total, there have been 14 cattle that have served as Bevo through the years. Bevo XIV has been in the role since the start of the 2004 season.

47. Notre Dame’s Golden Helmets

There’s a reason that Notre Dame’s famous golden helmets always look pristine and spotless on game days. It has to do with the fact that the team’s helmets are constantly repainted and retouched every single week of the season.

On every Monday of a game week, the helmets receive a fresh coat of gold paint, which includes actual gold flakes.

The helmets are truly one of the most recognizable uniform features in all of college football.

48. Yale’s Handsome Dan Mascot

There are a lot of teams that now feature live animal mascots on the sidelines during games, but none of them has been around for as long as Yale’s Handsome Dan bulldog.

Handsome Dan is believed to be the oldest live animal mascot in the history of college athletics with his origin dating all the way back to 1889.

There have been 17 total bulldogs that have filled the role over the years. Handsome Dan XVII has been the team’s mascot since 2006.

49. Kansas’ Rock, Chalk, Jayhawk Chant

Kansas may be known as a basketball power, but the school’s famous Rock, Chalk, Jayhawk chant is the type of universal battle cry that sounds great at a football stadium as well.

The chant is considered by many to be one of the best in all of college sports, and the slow pacing and tempo that fans use when screaming it only adds to its uniqueness.

50. Oklahoma’s Boomer Sooner Chant

Throughout every Oklahoma home game, you will often hear fans chanting their favorite two words—Boomer Sooner!

The volume and enthusiasm that fans use when screaming the chant is enough to rattle any opposing player, while also helping to pump up the Sooners.

51. Army’s Cadet Parade at “The Plain”

Before every Army home game at the picturesque Michie Stadium, cadets perform a parade on “The Plain” three hours before kickoff.

The cadets perform the parade in full dress gear, and it’s amazing to see just how precise and disciplined the group actually is during the performance.

52. Navy’s Pregame March onto the Field

Before the start of many Navy games, thousands of Midshipmen will take the field in what’s known as a march-on.

Watching all the companies stand at attention in different groups, spanning the entire field is certainly an impressive sight to see.

53. Air Force’s Wings Of Blue Drop In

Before the start of most Air Force home games (depending on the weather), the famed Wings of Blue parachute team will skydive into the stadium from thousands of feet above to deliver the game ball.

The crowd definitely gets pumped up watching as the group slowly descends onto the stadium from above before finally reaching the field below.

54. California Fans’ Card Stunts

Many college football fan bases now have some form of card stunts, in which a section of fans holds up cards in unison to form a picture. However, many credit the Cal Golden Bears with starting the tradition back in 1910.

These days, the fans often perform numerous card stunts per season, and you can find pictures ranging from the word Cal to the team’s famous Bear logo.

55. Hawaii’s Haka

The Haka that Hawaii players perform before and after games is definitely one of the most intimidating chants you’ll hear in college football.

The players live up to their Warrior nickname, as they scream and pound their pads in unison, creating a very compelling and frightening effect.

56. Jackson State’s Sonic Boom of the South

One of the most impressive marching bands in college football is Jackson State’s Sonic Boom of the South.

The band, which includes over 250 total members, is a renowned, award-winning group that puts together some of the best and most entertaining halftime performance you’ll ever see.

57. Tennessee’s Rocky Top Chant

Tennessee fans have adopted the bluegrass song Rocky Top as one of their main rallying cries during football games.

The song’s chorus, “Rocky Top, you’ll always be home sweet home to me. Good ole Rocky Top, Rocky Top Tennessee, Rocky Top Tennessee,” can be heard numerous times throughout games at Neyland Stadium, as Vols fans will never get tired of singing it.

58. Iowa’s Swarm Entrance

Once Iowa fans hear AC/DC’s “Back in Black” start to blast on the speakers, they know what that means. It’s time to welcome the Hawkeyes onto the field.

After a minute or two of listening to the crowd roar, Iowa players join hands and jog out onto the field together, sending the fans into overdrive.

The so-called “Swarm” entrance dates all the way back to the Hayden Fry era in the 1980’s, when the coach came up with the idea to have players hold hands as they ran out onto the field in order to promote the idea of unity and teamwork.

59. Washington Fans Arrive From Lake Washington

Husky Stadium, which is located right next to Lake Washington, is one of the most stunning settings that you’ll ever see for a college football game.

Given how close the stadium is to the lake, it’s not unusual to see some fans arrive by boat, or even spend the day tailgating out on the lake before the start of the game.

The pregame festivities at the lake, which usually includes dozens of boats filled with Husky fans, is one of the most unique sports scenes in the country.

60. Michigan’s Hail to the Victors

Michigan’s fight song, “The Victors” is one of the most famous and iconic fight songs in all of college football.

The song, which dates all the way back to 1899, is played any time the Wolverines come up with a big play or score. Fans often stand up, clap and sing along with the chorus any time the marching band belts out the tune.

61. Kansas State’s Wabash Cannonball

Kansas State has used Wabash Cannonball as its unofficial fight song ever since 1968, when a fire at Nichols Hall destroyed all of the marching band’s sheet music.

The only music that the band had to play in its following game against Syracuse was Wabash Cannonball. Ever since then, Wildcats fans have embraced it, believing that it symbolizes the team’s feisty underdog spirit and the will to persevere.

The song can be heard at every Kansas State home game, and fans routinely join together and sway back and forth any time the band begins to play it.

62. Ohio State’s Helmet Stickers

Numerous college and high school football teams around the country now use helmet stickers as a reward system for players. However, Ohio State was one of the first schools to start using them back in the 1960’s. They’ve since become ingrained in the team’s culture.

The stickers, which are approximately the size of a quarter, are made to resemble buckeye tree leaves, and they’re handed out to players for great plays and consistent effort.

It’s not unusual to see some of Ohio State’s top players have their whole entire helmet covered with the stickers.

63. Missouri’s Granite “M”

The best feature of Missouri’s Memorial Stadium is without a doubt the huge “M” above the north end zone.

The “M” is made up of thousands of whitewashed rocks and it measures 90-feet wide by 95-feet high.

Every year, before the first Tigers home game, incoming freshmen take part in cleaning the “M” as part of the school’s welcoming activities.

64. The Pride of West Virginia’s Pregame Performance

West Virginia’s Pride of West Virginia is one of the most respected marching bands in the country. A big reason why the group has received so much acclaim throughout the years has to do with their fantastic pregame performances.

Before every Mountaineer home game, the band electrifies the crowd with songs such as “Hail, West Virginia,” “Country Roads” and “Simple Gifts.”

The highlight of the show is when the 390-member group comes together to form an outline of the state of West Virginia.

65. ESPN’s College GameDay

When ESPN’s College GameDay first took its show on the road to the battle between No. 1-ranked Florida State and No. 2-ranked Notre Dame back in 1993, no one could have foreseen just how big of a role the show would play in the sport’s popularity explosion in the coming years.

GameDay is now a vital part of the fabric of college football, and it’s become required Saturday morning viewing for fans across the country.

Whether it’s Lee Corso putting on mascot heads or one of the many clever signs that you’ll find in the crowd, GameDay is the type of show that perfectly suits the atmosphere of a big college football weekend.

66. Tennessee’s Smokey Mascot

Since 1953, Tennessee has had a live canine mascot named Smokey on the sidelines, and over the years, he’s become adored by Volunteer fans.

There have been nine total dogs who have served as the team’s mascot since it was first introduced.

Smokey IX, who is a bluetick coonhound breed, has handled the role since 2004.

67. Ohio State’s Victory Bell

Ohio State is one of the winningest programs in college football history, which means that the school’s Victory Bell has gotten plenty of use.

The bell, which is located 150 feet high in the southeast tower at Ohio Stadium, has been used since 1954.

It’s believed that the bell can be heard from up to five miles away.

68. The Stanford Axe

The Stanford Axe symbolizes one of the best and oldest rivalries in college football—Cal vs. Stanford.

The axe has been the victim of numerous thefts and pranks during its existence, and it has one of the wildest back stories of any of the famed rivalry trophies in college football.

69. Pregame Arrivals

In recent years, pregame stadium entrances have become commonplace at many major schools, as teams have begun the tradition of walking into the stadium through thousands of fans a few hours before the game.

Some of the best walk-ins are Alabama’s “Walk of Champions,” Georgia’s “Dawg Walk,” LSU’s “Walk Down Victory Hill,” Tennessee’s “Vol Walk,” Army’s “Black Knight Walk” and Georgia Tech’s “Walk Down Yellow Jacket Alley.”

70. West Virginia’s Mountaineer Mascot

One of the most recognizable mascots in college football is West Virginia’s Mountaineer.

The Mountaineer, who is dressed in a buckskin suit and coonskin hat, is in charge of leading the team out onto the field before every game and leading fans in the chant “Let’s Go Mountaineers!”

He’s also known for firing off his musket after every West Virginia score and at the end of every quarter.

71. Georgia’s “Battle Hymn of the Bulldog Nation”

Before the start of every Georgia home game, a trumpet player from the school’s Redcoat Marching Band will stand in the upper deck of the southwest corner of the stadium and begin to play the first few notes of the song “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” or as Georgia fans refer to it “The Battle Hymn of the Bulldog Nation.”

Eventually, the rest of the band joins in and the crowd begins to roar with excitement.

72. Notre Dame’s Post Game Alma Mater

Following every Notre Dame home game, win or lose, the Irish players, coaches and cheerleaders all gather in the end zone and join together as the band plays the school’s alma mater “Notre Dame, Our Mother.”

Watching the players wrapping their arms around each other on the field while 80,000 fans sway back and forth in the stands will give any Irish fan the chills.

73. Texas A&M’s Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band

College Football is filled with some truly outstanding marching bands, but not many can compare to Texas A&M’s Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band.

The band, which includes over 300 members, is the largest military marching band in the world and it’s one of the most disciplined units in all of college football.

The group routinely puts on some truly spectacular and memorable halftime performances.

74. Georgia Tech Fans Chow Down at The Varsity

The Varsity in Atlanta, Georgia is the world’s largest drive-in fast food restaurant, and it happens to be located just a few blocks away from Georgia Tech’s Bobby Dodd Stadium.

On game days, thousands of Yellow Jackets fans pack the place before and after the game, ordering hot dogs, hamburgers, onion rings and fries.

75. Nebraska’s “Sea of Red”

Nebraska fans are one of the most loyal groups in the country, and they show that loyalty every home game when they don red shirts to create a “Sea of Red” at Memorial Stadium.

Overhead shots of the red-soaked stadium on game day are certainly awe-inspiring.

76. Watching A Game From Cal’s Tightwad Hill

You don’t necessarily need a ticket if you want to watch a University of California-Berkeley home football game.

Instead of sitting in the bleachers at California Memorial Stadium, some Golden Bears fans decide to make their way up to Charter Hill, also known as Tightwad Hill, to watch all the action.

The Hill is roughly 100 feet above the east rim of the stadium, and it offers up a surprisingly great view for spectators.

77. Michigan State’s Marching Band Spins the “S”

There are a lot of great pregame shows around college football, and one of the best can be found at Michigan State home games.

The Spartan marching band comes out firing on all cylinders after furiously entering the field with a signature kick step. After getting the fans riled up, the show finishes with the band forming its signature “S” formation as it marches down the field to thunderous cheers and applause.

78. Oregon’s Uniforms

Since 2009, Oregon has been one of the most successful teams in college football, winning 35 games and three Pac-12 championships under Chip Kelly’s watch. However, it seems that a lot of outsiders would rather talk about what the Ducks are wearing than what they’re actually accomplishing on the field.

Every season, Nike manages to outfit Kelly’s crew with some of the wildest uniform designs that you’ll ever lay your eyes on, whether they’re black, yellow, white, or any shade of green you could possibly imagine.

Oregon is definitely the reigning uniform king of college football.

79. Tennessee’s Vol Navy

Tennessee has one of the most unique traditions in college football, which is aided by the fact that the school’s stadium is located right near the Tennessee River.

For every home game, dozens of boats of various sizes, referred to as “The Vol Navy” makes the trip up the Tennessee River and forms college football’s largest floating tailgate.

The tradition was believed to have begun back in 1962 when the team’s broadcaster Paul Mooney began driving his boat to games in order to avoid the traffic mess on game days.

Since then, “The Vol Navy” has grown to include every type of boat you could imagine, whether it’s a small speed boat or a 60-foot yacht.

80. Ohio State Singing “Carmen Ohio”

Following every Ohio State home game, win or lose, the Buckeyes always stand in the end zone in front of the marching band, as the band belts out the school’s alma mater “Carmen Ohio.”

The players and coaches sway back and forth, singing the lyrics, before ending the song with O-HI-O hand gestures.

81. Kansas Fans “Waving the Wheat”

You’ll see fans doing “The Wave” at pretty much every stadium in the country, but you have to go to Kansas to find fans “Waving the Wheat.”

At every football game, Jayhawks fans imitate the many wheat fields that can be found in Kansas, as they throw up their hands in unison and sway back and forth to create a pretty spectacular visual effect.

82. Penn State’s White Out

Many fan bases in all different sports have adopted the tradition of wearing the same color shirts to the stadium to show their unison and to create a pretty stunning visual effect.

Penn State’s “White Out” for special home football games is certainly one of the most breathtaking examples of the growing trend.

Over 100,000 fans come to Beaver Stadium all donned in white shirts, which creates a huge sea of white.

The tradition was only started back in 2005, but it’s already become one of the most talked-about annual events in college football.

83. Oklahoma State’s Pistol Pete

Pistol Pete has served as Oklahoma State’s mascot since 1958, and over the past few decades, he’s become one of the most recognizable mascots in college football.

Pete’s best known for his giant oversized head, which was created to resemble famous American cowboy Frank “Pistol Pete” Eaton.

84. Florida Fans Sing “We Are the Boys from Old Florida”

At the end of every third quarter at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, Florida fans join together in unison and sway back and forth, as they recite the lyrics to “We Are the Boys from Old Florida” while the school’s marching band the Pride of the Sunshine plays along.

85. Notre Dame’s Irish Guard

Notre Dame’s Irish Guard is a group of ten uniformed students that is in charge of leading the band out onto the field during the pregame ceremonies.

All members of the guard wear full uniforms, which includes traditional kilts and shakos.

The group is known to perform a Victory Clog to the tune of “Damsha Bua.”

86. Tailgating at South Carolina’s “Cockaboose Railroad”

One of the most unique tailgating features that you’ll find in college football is South Carolina’s “Cockaboose Railroad.”

The Railroad consists of 22 cabooses lined up on the tracks just outside of Williams-Brice Stadium. Inside the cars, fans have a pleasant tailgating experience that includes televisions, air-conditioners, running water and a full living room to relax in.

87. Penn Students Throwing Toast

At most stadiums, a fan would get ejected pretty quickly if they’re caught throwing anything out onto the field, but that’s not the case at Franklin Field.

At every Penn home game, Quakers fans throw toast onto the field after the end of the third quarter.

The tradition was started back in the 1970s when alcohol was banned from the stadium. The fans now use it as a way to “toast” the team.

88. UCLA’s “Eight Clap” Cheer

At every UCLA football game, you’ll be sure to hear the Bruins fans performing the 8-clap cheer.

The cheer consists of fans raising their arms up in the air, then clapping eight times and letting out a chant of U-C-L-A while clapping and pumping their fists before ending with UCLA fight, fight, fight!

89. Wisconsin’s “5th Quarter”

Following every Wisconsin game, the Badgers marching band proceeds out onto the field and plays both the winning and losing teams’ fight songs.

The band then follows that up with a performance that can last anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes and it usually includes songs such as “On Wisconsin,” “Beer Barrel Polka,” and “You’ve Said it All.”

The performance usually ends when the band plays “Varsity” while many of the Badgers fans who stuck around sing along.

90. Lafayette vs. Lehigh: “The Rivalry”

The long-running Lehigh-Lafayette rivalry is the most played football rivalry in college football, as the teams have met a total of 147 times since 1884. Plus, it’s also the longest uninterrupted rivalry series, as the teams have squared off in every single season since 1897.

The two eastern Pennsylvania schools are located just seventeen miles apart, and their fan bases share a mutual dislike for one another.

Lafayette currently leads the series 76-66, and there have also been five ties.

91. Florida State’s Sod Cemetery

One of the strangest traditions in college football has to be Florida State’s Sod Cemetery.

Since 1962, the Seminoles have always made sure to bring back pieces of the opponent’s turf to be buried in the cemetery.

The “Sod Games” are considered to be any game on the schedule that Florida State is the underdog, any game against in-state rival Florida, any conference championship game and any bowl game.

92. Yale’s Upscale Tailgating

Many schools are known for their wild tailgating experiences, but few can offer the unique pregame experience that Yale does.

Linen cloth-covered tables, fine wine and cheese wedges can often be found around the stadium before Bulldogs home games, which creates a much more upscale-type of feel than most traditional college football tailgates.

93. Navy’s Bill the Goat

Navy has had a live goat at its games ever since 1893, when the mascot debuted at the Army-Navy game. The Midshipmen won that contest 6-3, and they decided to adopt the goat as part of the team for good luck.

There have been 33 goats that have handled the role over the years. Bill XXXIII is currently the team’s mascot, and his backup is Bill XXXIV.

Bill has been kidnapped numerous times by rival students from Army, Air Force and Maryland, but he’s always been returned safely.

94. Virginia Fans Sing the Good Old Song

Every time Virginia scores during a home game, Cavaliers fans join together, sway back and forth and begin to sing the Good Old Song.

The song is set to the tune of Auld Lang Syne, and it includes the modified line “Wah-hoo-wah” which refers to the unofficial Wahoo nickname of Virginia’s sports teams.

95. Toledo’s Cannon

If it happens to be your first time at the Glass Bowl to see a Toledo football game, you may be taken off guard the first time you hear the loud “Boom!” of the cannon fired from the southeast corner of the field after the Rockets score.

Toledo has been firing the Civil War era model cannon since 1953, and it would be hard to imagine a Toledo home game without it.

96. Tennessee’s Checkered End Zones

The checkered end zones at Tennessee’s Neyland Stadium have become synonymous with the Volunteers program over the past few decades.

The orange and white checkerboard design is one of the most original and creative features in any football stadium in the country.

The design dates back to 1964 when head coach Doug Dickey decided to add some more color and life to the stadium because he thought it was too drab.

The checkerboard end zones disappeared when the school installed artificial turf in 1968, but they returned in 1989, and they’ve been an iconic part of the program ever since.

97. Ten Thousand Men of Harvard

The Harvard football team has been around since 1873, and it’s one of the oldest programs in the country.

The Crimson have many notable traditions, and one of the most famous is the singing of the school’s fight song “Ten Thousand Men of Harvard” back in the locker room following every victory.

After finishing the song, players then begin to count off how many points the team scored in that day’s game.

98. Wyoming’s Beer Song

At every Wyoming home game, Cowboys fans can be heard chanting for the band to play “In Heaven There Is No Beer,” which is known more simply as the “Beer Song.”

The school’s marching band will eventually give in and begin playing the fan favorite, and students will sing along, screaming the lyrics “In heaven there is no beer, no beer. That’s why we drink it right here, right here. And when we’re gone from here, are friends will be drinking all the beer.”

99. Oklahoma State’s Waving Song

Oklahoma State fans know the lyrics to the team’s fight song, named the Waving Song, by heart, as it’s played at every single football game during the pregame, after touchdowns and following a victory.

When the song is played, Cowboys fans join in unison and sway to the melody of the “The Streets of New York,” a song originally used in the operetta the Red Mill.

100. Maryland Players Touching Testudo

Before every Maryland home game, Terrapin players and coaches make sure to touch Testudo, a 300-pound statue of the team’s mascot, on their way out to the field.

Rubbing Testudo’s nose is believed to give the team good luck for the upcoming game.

College Football Week 5 Picks and Predictions For Every Saturday Game

College Football, College Football Picks

Week 4 of the college football season somehow managed to be even worse than many were predicting. After last week’s abominable slate of games, college football fans should consider themselves lucky, because there are plenty more intriguing matchups such as LSU-Georgia, Wisconsin-Ohio State and Oklahoma-Notre Dame to get excited about this weekend.

Week 5 marks the real beginning of conference play. This weekend should give us some good early indications of which top teams are really ready to compete for a championship.

Here’s a look at full predictions and picks for every Saturday game.

Note: All Lines Courtesy of Covers.com

Marquee Game of the Week (LSU at Georgia) PickLSU Tigers

So far this season, no other player in college football has displayed the type of dramatic improvement as LSU QB Zach Mettenberger has. Following a mediocre debut campaign in 2012, Mettenberger has looked like a completely different quarterback this year in Cam Cameron’s offensive system, as he’s completed 64 percent of his passes, averaged over 11 yards per attempt and thrown 10 touchdowns compared to just one interception.

Now the question is: Can Mettenberger oud-duel one of college football’s top quarterbacks, Georgia’s Aaron Murray, in a hostile road environment?

Personally, I think he can.

Mettenberger and his group of explosive offensive weapons such as RB Jeremy Hill and receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry should do plenty of damage to a Bulldogs defense that is still showing its inexperience early in the season.

Though they’re ranked No. 6 in the current AP Poll, the Tigers have been somewhat flying under the radar so far this season, as the media’s focused mainly on their two SEC West division counterparts: Alabama and Texas A&M.

Make no mistake about it, though, LSU is a team that has the talent to not only compete for an SEC title, but a national championship as well. This tough road test early in the season will give Les Miles’ squad a chance to make a big statement to the nation. The Tigers should make the most of the opportunity.

 


Top “Against the Spread” Pick Of the Day
Washington Huskies (-10)

Like LSU, Washington is another team that has been a bit overshadowed by its conference counterparts like Oregon and Stanford so far this season. Nevertheless, the Huskies have looked like a legitimate conference contender thus far, and they should continue their impressive run with a big win over an undefeated Arizona team that has yet to face a quality defense. 

The Huskies dominant defense, which is allowing just 10 points and 279 yards per game, should be able to keep the Wildcats’ star rusher Ka’Deem Carey properly contained, and force first-year starting quarterback B.J. Denker to try to win the game with his arm.

Unfortunately, Denker simply won’t be able to keep up with Washington’s offensive attack, which is led by one of the top running backs in the nation, Bishop Sankey.

Before the season, Carey was the Pac-12 running back who received most of the recognition and publicity. But in this game, it will be Sankey, who proves who the conference’s top rusher really is.

 


Top “Total” Pick Of the Day: Oklahoma-Notre Dame — Under 50

This is a game that is seemingly shaping up to be a rather low-scoring defensive battle.

Notre Dame’s defense, led by the dangerous defensive line duo of Stephon Tuitt and Louis Nix, should cause plenty of problems for Oklahoma QB Blake Bell, who has yet to shed his one-dimensional label.

This is simply not a vintage Sooners offense, as we saw in the poor performance against West Virginia a few weeks ago. The Irish have the pieces in the front-seven to cause plenty of problems for Bell and Oklahoma offense.

On the other side, Oklahoma’s secondary, led by standout CB Aaron Colvin, should be able to neutralize the threat that Notre Dame’s dynamic receiving duo of TJ Jones and Davaris Daniels present.

These two teams combined to score just 43 points in last year’s meeting. I wouldn’t be shocked at all if they scored even less in this year’s game.

 

Upset Special: Wisconsin Badgers Over Ohio State Buckeyes

This matchup represents the case of one team, Ohio State, being overrated coming into the season, while the other, Wisconsin, was undervalued.

The Buckeyes received plenty of hype this season, but what exactly have they proven so far this season to deserve such lofty praise?

The Buckeyes have yet to face a defense the caliber of the Badgers, and they’ve yet to see an offensive playmaker who can do the type of things that Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon can do.

Admittedly, it’s a bit difficult to trust first-year Wisconsin coach Gary Andersen in his first tough conference road game. But I still expect Andersen to have his players ready to compete, and he should have them motivated and ready to avenge last year’s 21-14 loss to the Buckeyes.

 

The 10 Best Bets Of the Day

  • Washington Huskies (-10)
  • LSU Tigers (+3)
  • Rice Owls (-13.5)
  • Wisconsin Badgers (+6)
  • East Carolina Pirates (+12)
  • Buffalo Bulls (+1)
  • Iowa Hawkeyes (-2)
  • USC Trojans (+3.5)
  • Pittsburgh Panthers (-5.5)
  • Missouri Tigers (-21.5)

Full Predictions For Every Saturday Game…

 

Miami Hurricanes at South Florida Bulls

Spread: Miami (-19)

Total: 47

Picks: South Florida (+19), Under

Prediction: Miami 31, USF 17

 

Oklahoma State Cowboys at West Virginia Mountaineers

Spread: Oklahoma State (-19)

Total: 57

Picks: Oklahoma State (-19), Over

Prediction: Oklahoma State 45, West Virginia 21

 

Miami (Ohio) RedHawks at Illinois Fighting Illini

Spread: Illinois (-25)

Total: 50.5

Picks: Illinois (-25), Under

Prediction: Illinois 38, Miami (Ohio) 10

 

South Carolina Gamecocks at UCF Knights

Spread: South Carolina (-7)

Total: 53

Picks: UCF (+7), Under

Prediction: South Carolina 27, UCF 23

 

SMU Mustangs at TCU Horned Frogs

Spread: TCU (-19.5)

Total: 52.5

Picks: SMU (+19.5), Over

Prediction: TCU 35, SMU 24

 

Northern Illinois Huskies at Purdue Boilermakers

Spread: Northern Illinois (-3.5)

Total: 59

Picks: Northern Illinois (-3.5), Over

Prediction: Northern Illinois 38, Purdue 28

 

South Alabama Jaguars at Tennessee Volunteers

Spread: Tennessee (-18.5)

Total: 53.5

Picks: South Alabama (+18.5), Under

Prediction: Tennessee 31, South Alabama 17

 

East Carolina Pirates at North Carolina Tar Heels

Spread: North Carolina (-12)

Total: 60.5

Picks: East Carolina (+12), Over

Prediction: East Carolina 38, North Carolina 35

 

Virginia Cavaliers at Pittsburgh Panthers

Spread: Pittsburgh (-5.5)

Total: 50.5

Picks: Pittsburgh (-5.5), Over

Prediction: Pittsburgh 34, Virginia 24

 

Navy Midshipmen at Western Kentucky Hilltoppers

Spread: Navy (-3)

Total: 57.5

Picks: Western Kentucky (+3), Over

Prediction: Western Kentucky 35, Navy 28

 

Akron Zips at Bowling Green Falcons

Spread: Bowling Green (-14)

Total: 54.5

Picks: Akron (+14), Under

Prediction: Bowling Green 27, Akron 20

 

Colorado Buffaloes at Oregon State Beavers

Spread: Oregon State (-11)

Total: 59.5

Picks: Oregon State (-11), Over

Prediction: Oregon State 45, Colorado 24

 

Troy Trojans at Duke Blue Devils

Spread: Duke

Total: 68.5

Picks: Troy (+13), Over

Prediction: Duke 49, Troy 38

 

Toledo Rockets at Ball State Cardinals

Spread: Ball State (-2.5)

Total: 67

Picks: Ball State (-2.5), Over

Prediction: Ball State 42, Toledo 34

 

Connecticut Huskies at Buffalo Bulls

Spread: Connecticut (-1)

Total: 48.5

Picks: Buffalo (+1), Under

Prediction: Buffalo 24, Connecticut 17

 

UTEP Miners at Colorado State Rams

Spread: Colorado State (-14)

Total: 53

Picks: UTEP (+14), Under

Prediction: Colorado State 30, UTEP 19

 

Oklahoma Sooners at Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Spread: Oklahoma (-3.5)

Total: 50

Picks: Oklahoma (-3.5), Under

Prediction: Oklahoma 28, Notre Dame 17

 

Iowa Hawkeyes at Minnesota Golden Gophers

Spread: Iowa (-2)

Total: 46

Picks: Iowa (-2), Over

Prediction: Iowa 34, Minnesota 27

 

Central Michigan Chippewas at NC State Wolfpack

Spread: NC State (-23.5)

Total: 52

Picks: NC State (-23.5), Under

Prediction: NC State 38, Central Michigan 13

 

Florida State Seminoles at Boston College Eagles

Spread: Florida State (-23.5)

Total: 53.5

Picks: Boston College (+23.5), Over

Prediction: Florida State 35, Boston College 21

 

Wake Forest Demon Deacons at Clemson Tigers

Spread: Clemson (-28.5)

Total: 58.5

Picks: Clemson (-28.5), Over

Prediction: Clemson 59, Wake Forest 24

 

LSU Tigers at Georgia Bulldogs

Spread: Georgia (-3)

Total: 62

Picks: LSU (+3), Over

Prediction: LSU 37, Georgia 33

 

Army Black Knights at Louisiana Tech Bulldogs

Spread: Louisiana Tech (-2)

Total: 52.5

Picks: Louisiana Tech (-2), Under

Prediction: Louisiana Tech 24, Army 17

 

Houston Cougars at UTSA RoadRunners

Spread: Houston (-2.5)

Total: 64

Picks: UTSA (+2.5), Over

Prediction: UTSA 38, Houston 35

 

Temple Owls at Idaho Vandals

Spread: Temple (-7)

Total: 55.5

Picks: Temple (-7), Under

Prediction: Temple 31, Idaho 21

 

Ole Miss Rebels at Alabama Crimson Tide

Spread: Alabama (-14.5)

Total: 55

Picks: Alabama (-14.5), Under

Prediction: Alabama 35, Ole Miss 17

 

Arizona Wildcats at Washington Huskies

Spread: Washington (-10)

Total: 62

Picks: Washington (-10), Over

Prediction: Washington 45, Arizona 24

 

Tulane Green Wave at UL-Monroe Warhawks

Spread: UL-Monroe (-13.5)

Total: 55

Picks: UL-Monroe (-13.5) , Over

Prediction: UL-Monroe 38, Tulane 21

 

Kent State Golden Flashes at Western Michigan Broncos

Spread: Western Michigan (-2.5)

Total: 50

Picks: Western Michigan (-2.5), Under

Prediction: Western Michigan 27, Kent State 20

 

Florida Gators at Kentucky Wildcats

Spread: Florida (-12)

Total: 47

Picks: Kentucky (+12), Under

Prediction: Florida 26, Kentucky 16

 

Texas A&M Aggies at Arkansas Razorbacks

Spread: Texas A&M (-14)

Total: 62

Picks: Arkansas (+14), Under

Prediction: Texas A&M 35, Arkansas 24

 

Florida Atlantic Owls at Rice Owls

Spread: Rice (-13.5)

Total: 52.5

Picks: Rice (-13.5), Over

Prediction: Rice 41, Florida Atlantic 20

 

Wyoming Cowboys at Texas State Bobcats

Spread: Wyoming (-12)

Total: 55.5

Picks: Wyoming (-12), Over

Prediction: Wyoming 38, Texas State 21

 

UAB Blazers at Vanderbilt Commodores

Spread: Vanderbilt (-19.5)

Total: 56.5

Picks: UAB (+19.5), Under

Prediction: Vanderbilt 33, UAB 17

 

Arkansas State Red Wolves at Missouri Tigers

Spread: Missouri (-21.5)

Total: 62.5

Picks: Missouri (-21.5), Over

Prediction: Missouri 49, Arkansas State 14

 

Air Force Falcons at Nevada Wolf Pack

Spread: Nevada (-10)

Total: 59

Picks: Air Force (+10), Under

Prediction: Nevada 31, Air Force 24

 

San Diego State Aztecs at New Mexico State Aggies

Spread: San Diego State (-17.5)

Total: 54

Picks: San Diego State (-17.5), Under

Prediction: San Diego State 35, New Mexico State 10

 

UNLV Rebels at New Mexico Lobos

Spread: UNLV (-2.5)

Total: 54

Picks: UNLV (-2.5), Under

Prediction: UNLV 28, New Mexico 20

 

Wisconsin Badgers at Ohio State Buckeyes

Spread: Ohio State (-6)

Total: 55.5

Picks: Wisconsin(+6), Over

Prediction: Wisconsin 34, Ohio State 30

 

Stanford Cardinal at Washington State Cougars

Spread: Stanford (-9.5)

Total: 47.5

Picks: Stanford (-9.5), Under

Prediction: Stanford 31, Washington State 14

 

Southern Miss Golden Eagles at Boise State Broncos

Spread: Boise State (-27.5)

Total: 56.5

Picks: Boise State (-27.5), Over

Prediction: Boise State 52, Southern Miss 17

 

California Golden Bears at Oregon Ducks

Spread: Oregon (-37)

Total: 82

Picks: Oregon (-37), Over

Prediction: Oregon 66, Cal 21

 

USC Trojans at Arizona State Sun Devils

Spread: Arizona State (-3.5)

Total: 49.5

Picks: USC (+3.5), Under

Prediction: USC 24, Arizona State 21

 

Fresno State Bulldogs at Hawaii Warriors

Spread: Fresno State (-18.5)

Total: 58.5

Picks: Fresno State (-18.5), Over

Prediction: Fresno State 49, Hawaii 21

NFL Week 4 Picks: Predictions For Every Game Against the Spread

NFL, NFL Picks, Picks, Predictions

Week 3 turned out to be the first real “surprise Sunday” of the 2013 season.

At this point last week, who would have guessed that we’d see the 49ers lose to the Colts at home, the Giants get absolutely embarrassed and shut out by the Panthers, the Browns win a game on the road just days after trading Trent Richardson, and the Bengals cough up five turnovers yet still find a way to beat the Packers?

If last week is any indication, 2013 could be one of the wildest and most unpredictable seasons in recent memory.

Hopefully, though, the league will return to some type of normalcy this week.

The Week 4 slate of games features its fair share of duds like Arizona-Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh-Minnesota and Washington-Oakland. However, there are plenty of big, intriguing matchups as well such as New England-Atlanta, Miami-New Orleans Seattle-Houston, Chicago-Detroit and San Francisco-St. Louis.

Here’s a look at the predictions for every single Week 4 game.

*Note: All lines courtesy of Covers.com

Records Through Three Weeks

Against the Spread Picks: 29-16-3

Total Picks: 31-17

San Francisco 49ers at St. Louis Rams

Spread: San Francisco (-3)

Total: 42

Picks: San Francisco (-3), Over

Prediction: San Francisco 34, St. Louis 24

Following a surprising and disappointing 1-2 start to the season, the sky is now apparently falling in San Francisco. The 49ers are “overhyped”, Colin Kaepernick is a “one-year wonder,” and Aldon Smith is a “loser boozer.”

While it’s true that the defending NFC champs are showing a lot of glaring deficiencies, the fact is they’ve still got plenty of talent. They’ve got too much talent to go to 1-3, no matter the circumstances. Those circumstances, of course, involve a tough road visit to St. Louis after a short week of practice.

Ever since walking off the field in a dreadful losing effort to Indianapolis last Sunday, Kaepernick has been hearing all about how he was overrated coming into the season. So how will the incredibly gifted young playmaker respond to the new-found heat?

If he’s ready to defy the criticism and play up to his true potential against the Rams, the 49ers should finally have the breakout offensive performance we’ve been waiting for, which should quiet the critics.

 

Baltimore Ravens at Buffalo Bills

Spread: Baltimore (-3.5)

Total: 44.5

Picks: Baltimore (-3.5), Under

Prediction: Baltimore 23, Buffalo 16

After a lousy showing against Denver in the season-opener, Baltimore has managed to right the ship over the last two weeks, beating both the Browns and the Texans at home.

Now, however, the Ravens must head back out onto the road, and they’ll do so after a distracting week, which included an embarrassing story about players reportedly being involved in a fight on a party bus.

While that’s the type of distraction that could throw the team off its game this week at Buffalo, I still think coach John Harbaugh will be able to flip it around and use it as motivation.

Expect another ugly, low-scoring win for the Ravens on Sunday.

 

Arizona Cardinals at Tampa Bay Bucs

Spread: Tampa Bay (-1)

Total: 40.5

Picks: Arizona (+1), Under

Prediction: Arizona 23, Tampa Bay 14

Will rookie QB Mike Glennon be able to provide Tampa Bay’s offense with the same type of spark that Brian Hoyer did for the Browns last week?

It’s a tough question to answer, considering this will be Glennon’s first ever career start, and it’s impossible to know what to expect from him.

Though this would seem to be a situation that favors the Buccaneers, since the Cardinals will be playing their second consecutive road game, it’s still tough to trust that Glennon will be able to get the job done, especially since this is a team that already seems to be ready to pack it in for the season.

 

Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Minnesota Vikings

Spread: Pittsburgh (-1)

Total: 42

Picks: Pittsburgh (-1), Under

Prediction: Pittsburgh 19, Minnesota 16

Can’t you just feel the anticipation and excitement permeating from across the pond, as London welcomes two 0-3 teams for what is shaping up to be the weakest matchup of Week 4?

No?  Ok then.

In a battle of two crappy teams, it’s tough to figure out which side will be less crappy than the other. Ultimately, though, it’s always safer to side with the better quarterback and the better head coach in theses type of games, and that’s clearly Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger and Mike Tomlin.

 

New York Giants at Kansas City Chiefs

Spread: Kansas City (-4.5)

Total: 44

Picks: Kansas City (-4.5), Over

Prediction: Kansas City 34, New York 24

The one thing the 0-3 Giants could use right now is a nice easy home game against a soft opponent to help get them back on track. But unfortunately, this week, they’ll have the exact opposite of that, as New York will have to go on the road to face a 3-0 Kansas City squad that has had an extremely impressive start to the season.

The Chiefs are one of the most balanced teams in the league, but it’s their defense, which features budding star pass-rusher Justin Houston, which will really be the key to this game.

After allowing a whopping seven sacks in last week’s blowout loss to the Panthers, it’s tough to see the Giants offensive line fairing much better against Kansas City this week.

Ultimately, Eli Manning just won’t have the time necessary to make the plays he needs to in order to keep up with Alex Smith, Jamaal Charles and the Kansas City offensive attack.


Indianapolis Colts at Jacksonville Jaguars

Spread: Indianapolis (-9.5)

Total: 43

Picks: Jacksonville (+9.5), Over

Prediction: Indianapolis 26, Jacksonville 20

This is the type of situation that calls for a big-time letdown performance from the Colts. After picking up a huge statement victory on the road against the 49ers last week, Indianapolis will now have to try to get back up emotionally for another road battle with the league’s worst team, the Jaguars.

The Colts clearly have too much talent for the Jaguars to handle, but if they come out and sleepwalk through the first half, Jacksonville could at least end up hanging around and keeping this game relatively close.

 


Seattle Seahawks at Houston Texans

Spread: Seattle (-3)

Total: 41.5

Picks: Houston (+3), Over

Prediction: Houston 27, Seattle 23

The Texans have failed to play up to their potential in any of their first three games of the season, especially in a terrible losing effort to Baltimore last week. However, Houston should be ready for battle this week, as I expect the team to have its best effort of the season.

The Seahawks have looked great in their two home games this year. But the same can’t be said for their performance on the road in Week 1 against Carolina, when they barely hung on to win 12-7.

Without the energy and the noise of the 12th man, Seattle could be in a vulnerable spot against a Texans defense that is much better than the numbers would lead you to believe.

 

Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns

Spread: Cincinnati (-4)

Total: 41.5

Picks: Browns (+4), Under

Prediction: Cincinnati 17, Cleveland 14

As strange as it may sound, this could actually be a letdown situation for both of these teams, since both of them are coming off of big wins last week.

The Browns finally look like they’ve found some life after giving Brian Hoyer a chance to lead the offense, instead of Brandon Weeden. They should be able to hang around with a Bengals team that lost by 10 points the last time they made a trip to Cleveland.

This is shaping up to be a hard-fought, low-scoring defensive battle that should remain close deep into the fourth quarter.

 

Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions

Spread: Detroit (-3)

Total: 47

Picks: Detroit (-3), Over

Prediction: Detroit 35, Chicago 27

Is Chicago for real?

That’s the question many have been asking since the Bears’ come-from-behind win over the Bengals in Week 1.

So far, Chicago has looked like a legitimate contender. But now the Bears will have a chance to really prove themselves on the road against a division foe.

We know that the Lions are capable of scoring plenty of points, especially at home, and they’ll pose quite a challenge for the Bears defense.

After barely surviving to win their first two games, and then benefiting from a ton of turnovers in a win over the Steelers last week, it seems like the Bears are finally due to have a letdown performance. This seems like the perfect spot for it to happen.

Though Chicago may be the better all-around team in the long run, this is a situation that seems to favor the home-standing Lions.

 

New York Jets at Tennessee Titans

Spread: Tennessee (-3.5)

Total: 39

Picks: Jets (+3.5), Over

Prediction: New York 26, Tennessee 21

Considering the level of criticism and media scrutiny that Geno Smith was slammed with throughout the draft process and during the offseason, you have to really admire the way he’s played so far during his rookie season.

Sure, Smith has made his fair share of dumb mistakes, most notably during a rainy and sloppy second half in a loss to the Patriots. However, he’s displayed the type of explosive arm strength that has added a new down-field, vertical element to New York’s offense.

Geno and the Jets will face a tough test on the road this week against a strong Titans defense. But now that it seems that Smith is starting to grow more comfortable in the offense, there’s no reason he shouldn’t be able to out-duel Jake Locker, especially if the Jets defense handles their job and continues to play in the same dominant fashion we’ve seen so far.

 

Washington Redskins at Oakland Raiders

Spread: Washington (-3)

Total: 43.5

Picks: Raiders (+3), Over

Prediction: Oakland 27, Washington 21

Is there a reason why anyone would trust the 0-3 Redskins right now, especially after another disastrous, sloppy loss at home to Detroit last week?

Sure, Washington may be facing one of the league’s least talented teams, but the Raiders are at least showing some fight for a change this season.

If RGIII continues to look rusty, the Raiders should be able to capitalize and ultimately balance out their record with their second win of the season.

 


Philadelphia Eagles at Denver Broncos

Spread: Denver (-10.5)

Total: 57.5

Picks: Denver (-10.5), Over

Prediction: Denver 45, Philadelphia 24

Remember back to that time not all that long ago when Philadelphia was 1-0, and everyone was talking about how Chip Kelly was going to revolutionize the NFL?

Well, don’t expect any of that talk to return any time soon, since Kelly’s 1-2 Eagles are now staring at a brutal midseason stretch of games, which starts off with a road trip to the thin air of Denver.

Peyton Manning and the Broncos have managed to look even better than originally advertised so far this season, and there doesn’t seem to be any reason to bet against Denver now, even if the team is laying double-digit points.

Dallas Cowboys at San Diego Chargers

Spread: Dallas

Total: 47

Picks: Dallas (-1), Under

Prediction: Dallas 24, San Diego 17

The Cowboys are going to be a bettor’s worst nightmare this season, as Dallas looks like it’s going to be the league’s most unpredictable team on a week-to-week basis.

After looking overpowering in a dominant win over the Rams last week, it’s tough to trust that Dallas can have that same type of effort on the road against a feisty team like the Chargers.

This matchup appears to hinge on whether or not Dallas will be able to establish a consistent rushing attack. If the Cowboys can get a good ground game going early, they should be able to control the tempo of the game, avoid mistakes and ultimately come away with a tough road win.

 

New England Patriots at Atlanta Falcons

Spread: Atlanta (-1)

Total: 49.5

Picks: Atlanta (-1), Over

Prediction: Atlanta 38, New England 31

The Falcons haven’t beaten the Patriots since 1998, but they’ve got a great shot to end their three-game losing streak to New England with a big victory at home on Sunday night.

After a tough road loss to Miami last week, Atlanta should have plenty of motivation to come out and have a big performance in front of their home crowd against a marquee team in front of a national audience.

Though the Pats may be 3-0, this is clearly not a vintage Bill Belichick team, as New England seems to be lacking that same type of intimidation factor that it’s had in years past.

Matt Ryan is clearly looking to take that next step towards elite status this season. He should inch a little closer by beating a legend like Tom Brady in a spotlight showdown.

 


Miami Dolphins at New Orleans Saints

Spread: New Orleans (-6.5)

Total: 48.5

Picks: New Orleans (-6.5), Under

Prediction: New Orleans 27, Miami 17

When you consider the fact that the Saints defense was one of the worst statistical units in the history of the league last year, you simply have to appreciate and admire the job Rob Ryan has done turning the unit around.

New Orleans currently ranks fourth in the league in total defense and fifth in scoring defense, allowing just 12.7 points and 295 yards per game.

The Saints should be up to the task of shutting down a Miami team that just had a huge, yet emotionally draining win over Atlanta at home last week.

Given all that’s gone on surrounding the franchise over the last couple of years, New Orleans is clearly playing with a different type of edge and mindset than the rest of the league this year. 

That attitude should carry the Saints to another big win on Monday night.

NFL Week 3 Picks: Predictions For Every Game Against The Spread

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As we now head into Week 3 of the NFL season, there are still plenty of questions and mysteries permeating through the league.

At this point, there are eight teams who still have a zero in the loss column, but there are also eight teams who unfortunately still have yet to pick up their first victory.

This week, big-name contenders such as Seattle and Denver will be looking to continue their wave of early success against weak competition, while disappointing squads such as the Giants, the Redskins and the Steelers will search for answers as they try to salvage their seasons.

Though there will likely be a few lousy blowout games, this weekend should once again be filled with plenty of exciting action.

Here’s a look at my picks and predictions for every Week 3 game.

NoteAll lines are courtesy of Covers.com

Records Through Two Weeks

Against the Spread Picks: 20-10-2

Total Picks: 23-9

 

Kansas City Chiefs at Philadelphia Eagles

Spread: Philadelphia (-3)

Total
: 50.5

Picks: Chiefs (+3), Under

Prediction: Kansas City 24, Philadelphia 20

This is a game where we’ll find out a lot about just how much Kansas City has improved with Andy Reid at the helm. So far, the Chiefs have shown much more consistency on offense with QB Alex Smith running the show, and they’ve looked terrific on defense, especially in last week’s win over the Cowboys.

That defense will be put to the test against Philadelphia’s up-tempo spread attack. But Reid should have his players motivated and up for the challenge, considering he’ll want to come into Philadelphia and get a big win in front of an Eagles fan base that heavily criticized him toward the end of this tenure.

Ultimately, the Chiefs should be able to exploit Philadelphia’s mediocre defense in a similar fashion to what the Chargers did last week, and their stout defensive front-seven should be able to make the plays necessary to keep Mike Vick and LeSean McCoy contained.

Houston Texans at Baltimore Ravens

Spread: Houston (-2.5)

Total: 45

Picks: Texans (-2.5), Over

Prediction: Houston 35, Baltimore 23

After picking up two close-call wins over inferior opponents in their first two games, the Texans will now be looking to put together a dominant performance to prove they are one of the top teams in an otherwise weak AFC.

Houston should be able to finally have that showcase showing against a Baltimore team that looks like a shell of last year’s Super Bowl champion.

The Ravens simply don’t have the explosive offensive weapons needed to keep up with Matt Schaub, Arian Foster, Andre Johnson, DeAndre Hopkins and the rest of the Texans offense.

 

New York Giants at Carolina Panthers

Spread: Carolina (-1)

Total: 45.5

Picks: Panthers (-1), Over

Prediction: Carolina 27, New York 24

Before the season started, I thought that this was going to be an uncharacteristically ugly and unsuccessful season for Big Blue. So far, that looks exactly like what it’s shaping up to be. The Giants have no semblance of a running game, their offensive line is soft, and their defense features a few players such as Spencer Paysinger, Mark Herzlich and Ryan Mundy, who just aren’t starting-caliber players.

Carolina may not be on the same level as the two teams that have beaten New York this season, the Cowboys and the Broncos. However, the Panthers do have a dynamic playmaker in QB Cam Newton who should cause plenty of headaches for the undermanned Giants defense.

Though I expect New York to play inspired, following the unexpected death of Tom Coughlin’s brother this week, I just don’t think the Giants have enough playmakers on defense to keep Newton contained.

Detroit Lions at Washington Redskins

Spread: Washington (-1)

Total: 49

Picks: Redskins (-1), Over

Prediction: Washington 30, Detroit 24

It’s hard to put any type of faith in a Redskins defense that has gotten obliterated in its first two games of the season. However, when you consider that those poor performances came against two of the most explosive offenses in the league, it’s at least understandable why Washington’s defensive numbers look so bad right now.

I expect the Redskins defense to play with more pride this week at home against a Detroit offense that could be without one of its main weapons: RB Reggie Bush.

You also have to figure that Robert Griffin III will eventually shake off the rust and start playing like the superstar dual-threat playmaker we saw last year. RGIII has a great opportunity to do just that this week against a Lions defense that lacks a true standout player on defense besides DT Ndamukong Suh.

San Diego Chargers at Tennessee Titans

Spread: Tennessee (-3)

Total: 43.5

Picks: Titans (-3), Under

Prediction: Tennessee 23, San Diego 17

I’ll admit that I was very surprised that San Diego was able to shake off a disastrous loss to the Texans in Week 1 and go into Philadelphia and pick up a big win over the Eagles last week. Still, I don’t expect the Chargers to be able to repeat that feat once again this week in their second straight road game.

With the exception of a late-game collapse against the Texans last week, Tennessee’s defense has looked much better than originally advertised. The Titans, who have totaled seven sacks this season, should be able to get some serious pressure on Philip Rivers and keep the Chargers offense in check.

Arizona Cardinals at New Orleans Saints

Spread: New Orleans (-7)

Total: 49

Picks: Cardinals (+7), Under

Prediction: New Orleans 24, Arizona 21

So far this season, the Saints’ new-look 3-4 defense has looked much better than the historically bad unit we saw last season. However, the New Orleans offense hasn’t yet seemed to fully jell and put it all together just yet.

While I expect the Saints to be able to take care of business at home, I think Arizona can do enough defensively to keep this game interesting.

 

Tampa Bay Bucs at New England Patriots

Spread: New England (-7)

Total: 43.5

Picks: Bucs (+7), Under

Prediction: New England 20, Tampa Bay 17

This a matchup that features the least impressive 2-0 team in the league, the Patriots, hosting, the most impressive 0-2 team, the Bucs.

Though there have been rumblings about how Greg Schiano may be on the verge of losing the locker room, I actually expect Tampa Bay to come out and play inspired against a New England team that looked like a mess offensively in an ugly win over the Jets last Thursday.

These two teams have each played two ugly low-scoring games that have been decided by less than a touchdown, and that’s exactly what I expect this game to be.

 

Green Bay Packers at Cincinnati Bengals

Spread: Green Bay (-2.5)

Total: 48.5

Picks: Bengals (+2.5), Over

Prediction: Cincinnati 30, Green Bay 28

This is a big proving ground game for the Bengals, a team that is clearly looking to take the next step and become a legitimate contender in the AFC this season.

The Packers come into this game averaging a league-leading 482 yards per game. But they won’t have such an easy time moving the ball on a Bengals defense that is allowing just 300 yards per game.

Ultimately, this game will likely come down to whether or not Andy Dalton can create enough explosive plays in the passing game to match Aaron Rodgers. I expect Dalton to rise to the challenge, and I expect Cincinnati to come away with a big statement win at home.

 

St. Louis Rams at Dallas Cowboys

Spread: Dallas (-4)

Total: 47

Picks: Rams (+4), Over

Prediction: Dallas 30, St. Louis 27

When I run the scenarios through my head of how this game could play out, for some reason, I just keep foreseeing a back-and-forth battle that will likely come down to a late-game field goal.

Though I think Dallas will ultimately be able to prevail at home, I wouldn’t trust the Cowboys laying more than three points to a Rams team that has enough playmakers in the passing game to go toe-to-toe with them.

Cleveland Browns at Minnesota Vikings

Spread: Minnesota (-6)

Total: 41

Picks: Browns (+6), Under

Prediction: Minnesota 20, Cleveland 16

The good news for the Browns is that things can’t get any worse with Brian Hoyer at quarterback instead of Brandon Weeden. Though Hoyer is still a huge unknown at this point, he, along with explosive WR Josh Gordon, who is returning from a two-game suspension, should at least add a much-needed spark to a Browns offense that has been abysmal so far this season.

Though it would be tough to ask Hoyer to pick up a victory on the road in just his second-ever career start, I expect him to at least play well enough to keep this game close.

If Hoyer can limit his mistakes, which is something Weeden clearly couldn’t do, and if the Browns defense plays at the same level it did against Baltimore last week, this will likely end up being a close, low-scoring defensive battle.

Atlanta Falcons at Miami Dolphins

Spread: Miami (-2.5)

Total
: 44

Picks: Dolphins (-2.5), Over

Prediction: Miami 31, Atlanta 21

Much like the Green Bay-Cincinnati game, this is a proving ground game for the Dolphins as well. After starting 2-0, Miami now hosts an Atlanta team that is dealing with some injuries to key offensive players such as RB Steven Jackson, WR Roddy White and OT Sam Baker.

The Dolphins have managed to build some momentum, but if they want to prove they’re indeed for real, this is the type of game they have to win.

I think Ryan Tannehill and Miami will answer the call and handle this tough test, and pick up a big win in front of what should be one of the most energized home crowds that we’ve seen in Sun Life Stadium in a while.

 

Buffalo Bills at New York Jets

Spread: New York (-1)

Total: 39

Picks: Jets (-1), Under

Prediction: New York 20, Buffalo 16

The two top quarterbacks from the much-maligned “crappy” 2013 quarterback class: EJ Manuel and Geno Smith, have actually performed pretty well in the first two starts of their pro careers, with the exception of a few costly turnovers by Geno.

This game will likely be determined by which of those rookie quarterbacks makes the fewest mistakes.

Though Manuel has looked a little better and a little more consistent so far this season, he’s the one who will have to face the tougher defense on the road, which is why I’d rather side with Smith at home.

 


Indianapolis Colts at San Francisco 49ers

Spread: San Francisco (-10.5)

Total: 46

Picks: Colts (+10.5), Over

Prediction: San Francisco 38, Indianapolis 30

Normally, I would expect a big bounce-back effort from a team like San Francisco after an embarrassing loss the week before. But I’m a bit troubled by what I’ve seen from the 49ers this season. Is it possible that maybe the defending NFC champs just aren’t as good as they were built up to be?

It’s too early to tell, but I know one thing: After seeing what I saw last week in Seattle, I wouldn’t feel very confident laying double-digit points against a decent team like Indianapolis.

The 49ers should win this game, but Andrew Luck and the Colts offense, which now welcomes in bruising RB Trent Richardson, should do enough to at least keep this game within a single-digit deficit.

 

Jacksonville Jaguars at Seattle Seahawks

Spread: Seattle (-19)

Total: 40.5

Picks: Seahawks (-19), Under

Prediction: Seattle 31, Jacksonville 6

Though they’re clearly the league’s most pathetic team, you could easily make the case that the Jaguars could cover this gigantic spread. This is a sandwich game for the Seahawks, who are coming off a big win over their division rival, the 49ers, last week, and who could be looking ahead to a matchup with Houston in Week 4, so a letdown performance wouldn’t be all that surprising to see.

You also have to factor in the fact that Seattle coach Pete Carroll likely won’t want to embarrass his former defensive coordinator Gus Bradley.

Still, when you look at Jacksonville’s atrocious offense, which will be relying on players like Blaine Gabbert (or Chad Henne), Ace Sanders and Cecil Shorts to produce plays through the air against one of the league’s best secondaries, it’s just hard to see the Jags producing enough on offense to cover, even though they are getting an almost unprecedented amount of points.

 

Chicago Bears at Pittsburgh Steelers

Spread: Chicago (-1)

Total: 40.5

Picks: Steelers (+1), Over

Prediction: Pittsburgh 26, Chicago 23

There are plenty of things that the Steelers clearly don’t have. They don’t have a capable offensive line, they don’t have any semblance of a running game, and they don’t have a big wide receiver that can create matchup problems with his size.

What Pittsburgh does have, however, is plenty of veteran players who have pride. Ever since their lackluster showing in a loss to Cincinnati on Monday night, Ben Roethlisberger, Troy Polamalu and the rest of the team’s veteran leaders have been hearing all about how this year’s team is headed for disaster.

After receiving plenty of motivation from the non-believers in the media all week long, I expect the Steelers to come out and play their best game of the season at home against a Bears team that will likely be a bit worn out after having to stage second-half comebacks in back-to-back weeks.

 

Oakland Raiders at Denver Broncos

Spread: Denver (-14.5)

Total: 49

Picks: Broncos (-14.5), Over

Prediction: Denver 41, Oakland 17

This spring, ESPN surprisingly laid off hundreds of its employees. While it always sucks to see people lose their jobs, you at least have to hope that one of the people who got axed was the person who thought it would be a good idea to put the Raiders on Monday Night Football this season.

College Football Week 4 Picks: Predictions For Every Saturday Game

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Trying to make the Week 4 slate of college football games sound interesting to the common fan is certainly no easy task. Since we’re still a week away from conference play kicking into full gear, this weekend marks a time when many of the top teams in the country will be looking for one last chance to snack on cupcake opponents.

The Pac-12 showdown between No. 5 Stanford and No. 23 Arizona State is the only bout between top 25 teams that we have to look forward to this week. However, there are still a plenty of other intriguing matchups on this week’s card that could turn out to be highly entertaining contests.

Here’s a look at predictions and picks for every Saturday game.

Note: All lines courtesy of Covers.com; Games involving FCS teams are not included.

Predictions for Saturday’s Top 10 Games…

Michigan State Spartans at Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Spread: Notre Dame (-4.5)

Total: 42

Picks: Michigan State (+4.5), Under

Prediction: Michigan State 23, Notre Dame 16

Coming into the season, everyone expected Michigan State’s defense to once again be one of the most dominant units in the nation. So far, the Spartans defense, led by difference-makers such as LB Max Bullough, DE Shilique Calhoun and CB Darqueze Dennard, has been as good as advertised, allowing just 12 points and 177 yards per game.

Early on, though, the offense has not looked nearly as consistent. After two lackluster performances in the first two games of the season, the Spartans finally got the spark they were looking for last week when sophomore QB Connor Cook led the team to a 55-17 win over Youngstown State.

I like the way that Cook has energized this offense, and although he lacks any big-game experience, it seems he’s got the confidence and moxie to handle a tough road environment at Notre Dame Stadium.

If the Michigan State defense continues to play at the same shutdown level it has been so far, and if Cook can stand strong against the Irish’s intimidating defensive front-seven and avoid any critical mistakes, the Spartans should go into South Bend and pick up a statement win.

 

Arizona State Sun Devils at Stanford Cardinal

Spread: Stanford (-6.5)

Total: 51.5

Picks: Arizona State (+6.5), Under

Prediction: Stanford 26, Arizona State 21

These two teams haven’t played since 2010, which was a meeting in which Stanford prevailed 17-13. While I expect this year’s contest to be a bit more high-scoring than that game, I also expect it to be just as competitive.

After holding on for a win in the final seconds against Wisconsin in what turned out to be the most controversial ending of Week 3, Arizona State now has some much-needed momentum for this tough road challenge.

The Sun Devils’ backfield duo of QB Taylor Kelly and RB Marion Grice is one of the most underrated tandems in the country, and they should present plenty of challenges for Stanford’s stout defensive front-seven.

While the Cardinal will likely get all they can handle from Kelly, Grice and the rest of the Arizona State offense, ultimately, QB Kevin Hogan, who is undefeated as a starter, should be able to make the plays down the stretch to lead Stanford to a close, hard-fought victory.

 

Auburn Tigers at LSU Tigers

Spread: LSU (-16.5)

Total: 55

Picks: LSU (-16.5), Over

Prediction: LSU 45, Auburn 17

You have to give a lot of credit to first-year Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn, who’s doing a great job revitalizing a program that fell into the SEC basement last year. The Tigers have already matched their 2012 win total with a 3-0 start. Unfortunately, though, there’s going to be a big reality check when they step into Death Valley to face an LSU team that has a clear talent advantage at basically every key position.

Though they’re ranked No. 6 in the current AP Poll, The Tigers have been somewhat flying under radar so far this season, while the media’s been focusing on their two SEC West counterparts, Alabama and Texas A&M.

That will change soon enough, though, because this team clearly has the talent to compete for not just an SEC title, but a national championship as well.

Senior QB Zach Mettenberger has experienced a rebirth under new offensive coordinator Cam Cameron, and he’s looked like a completely different quarterback this season.

Mettenberger and his myriad of playmakers, including explosive game-changing wide receiver Odell Beckham, will be far too much for an overmatched Auburn defense to handle.

Though forecasts are calling for heavy rain in Baton Rouge, I still expect the purple-clad Tigers to put up plenty of points.

 

Utah Utes at BYU Cougars

Spread: BYU (-7)

Total: 61

Picks: BYU (-7), Over

Prediction: BYU 41, Utah 30

Utah has won four out of the last five meetings in the “Holy War” rivalry. But this year’s matchup appears to clearly favor the home-standing Cougars.

I watched the majority of BYU’s 40-21 mauling of Texas back in Week 2, and I came away extremely impressed with QB Taysom Hill and RB Jamaal Williams, who absolutely lit up the Longhorns.

Hill, Williams and the dangerous receiver duo of Cody Hoffman and Ross Apo should cause plenty of trouble for a Utes defense, which just allowed 51 points in a loss to Oregon State last week.

If Hill can continue to make the same types of plays with both his arms and legs that he did against Texas, the Cougars should break their three-game losing streak to the Utes and pick up a big win in front of what should be an electric crowd in Provo.

 

Tennessee Volunteers at Florida Gators

Spread: Florida (-16.5)

Total: 47

Prediction: Florida (-16.5), Under

Picks: Florida 31, Tennessee 13

I absolutely love Florida’s defense this year. As far as overall talent is concerned, there are few other units in the country that can compare to the Gators. What I certainly don’t love, however, is the type of play I’ve seen from QB Jeff Driskel so far this season, especially his poor performance in a loss to Miami in Week 2.

For the past two weeks, Driskel has been hearing all the rumblings from the Gator faithful who have been questioning whether or not he’s capable of leading the offense to success. The big question now is: how will he respond against Tennessee?

I expect the former blue-chip recruit to finally step up and play up to his potential against the rival Volunteers and put together one of the best performances of his career, as he leads the Gators to a big bounce-back win at home.

 

North Carolina Tar Heels at Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

Spread: Georgia Tech (-6.5)

Total: 59.5

Picks: North Carolina (+6.5), Over

Prediction: Georgia Tech 38, North Carolina 34

Georgia Tech’s triple-option offense has looked unstoppable in the team’s first two games. The Yellow Jackets are averaging 54 points and 356 rushing yards per game behind the strong play of QB Vad Lee, who has accounted for eight touchdowns.

This week, Lee and the Yellow Jackets should once again do plenty of damage to a North Carolina defense that currently ranks 91st nationally in rushing defense, allowing an average of 193 yards on the ground per game.

Still, QB Bryn Renner, WR Quinshad Davis and TE Eric Ebron should be able to do enough to keep the Tar Heels in this game, even if their defense struggles.

Ultimately, this game could turn into a shootout between Georgia Tech’s powerful ground game and North Carolina’s passing attack. While I think the Yellow Jackets will ultimately prevail at home, the Tar Heels could make this game very interesting, especially if Renner gets hot as the game goes on.

 

Utah State Aggies at USC Trojans

Spread: USC (-6.5)

Total: 49.5

Picks: Utah State (+6.5), Over

Prediction: USC 31, Utah State 27

If Chuckie Keeton switched sides and suited up for the Trojans, this game would be an absolute rout by USC. But Keeton is the great equalizer for Utah State.

The dynamic dual-threat quarterback is a gifted natural playmaker, who has totaled over 1,100 yards of offense and accounted for 13 touchdowns in his first three games.

Though the Trojans defense is loaded with plenty of talent, including standouts such as DT Leonard Williams, LB Morgan Breslin and safety Dion Bailey, the unit will have its hands full trying to contain Keeton.

If things break right for the Aggies early and they manage to dampen the mood of the L.A. Coliseum crowd in the first half, they should be able to settle in and turn this into a competitive game.

Though USC should find a way to prevail it home, it wouldn’t be surprising if Keeton and the Aggies gave Lane Kiffin and the Trojans a sizable scare.

 

Kansas State Wildcats at Texas Longhorns

Spread: Texas (-5.5)

Total: 58

Picks: Texas (-5.5), Over

Prediction: Texas 38, Kansas State 28

The Texas defense has gotten embarrassed in consecutive weeks, giving up 1,128 yards and 84 points to BYU and Ole Miss.

Though it’s tough to trust the Longhorns right now, considering what a mess their defense is, I expect them to at least show a little more pride in this week’s game against a Kansas State team, which has yet to face a team that has the overall athleticism that Texas has.

Over the last three years, Mack Brown’s teams have failed to respond when the pressure’s on and their backs are up against the wall. However, I expect the Longhorns to finally rise up to the challenge this week at home and pick up a win that they desperately need.

 


Arkansas Razorbacks at Rutgers Scarlet Knights

Spread: Rutgers (-1.5)

Total: 44

Picks: Arkansas (+1.5), Over

Prediction: Arkansas 26, Rutgers 20

These two teams have five wins between them, but none of those victories can be considered impressive. At this point in the season, we still don’t know just how good either of these teams really are.

Both teams will likely be looking to pound the ball with their running back duos and rely on their defense to come up with big stops. Ultimately, this game will likely come down to which rushing tandem is more effective, Arkansas’ Jonathan Williams and Alex Collins, or Rutgers’ Paul James and Savon Huggins.

Both squads have strong defensive lines, so neither duo will have an easy time finding space to create big, explosive runs.

Though it’s always tough to trust a Bret Bielema-coached team on the road, I expect the Arkansas defense to do enough to contain Rutgers QB Gary Nova and pick up a big revenge win.

 


West Virginia Mountaineers at Maryland Terrapins

Spread: Maryland (-5)

Total: 53

Picks: Maryland (-5), Under

Prediction: Maryland 28, West Virginia 20

West Virginia has won the last seven meetings between these two teams. But there’s a good chance that streak will come to an end this year.

Mountaineers freshman QB Ford Childress looked pretty good in his first career start last week, throwing for 359 yards and three touchdowns. But that was at home against a Georgia State team that is undoubtedly the weakest program on the FBS level.

The circumstances will be much different this week on the road against a Maryland defense that leads the nation with 14 sacks.

Though the Mountaineers’ drastically improved defense should be able to keep them in this game, ultimately, the Terrapins will likely force Childress to make a critical mistake which will swing the game in their favor.

Predictions For the Rest of Saturday’s Action…

 

FIU Golden Panthers at Louisville Cardinals

Spread: Louisville (-43)

Total: 56.5

Picks: Louisville (-43), Over

Prediction: Louisville 56, FIU 10

 

San Jose State Spartans at Minnesota Golden Gophers

Spread: Minnesota (-3.5)

Total: 50

Picks: Minnesota (-3.5), Under

Prediction: Minnesota 31, San Jose State 17

 

Vanderbilt Commodores at UMass Minutemen

Spread: Vanderbilt (-31)

Total: 52

Picks: Vanderbilt (-31), Over

Prediction: Vanderbilt 49, UMass 14

 

Marshall Thundering Herd at Virginia Tech Hokies

Spread: Virginia Tech (-9.5)

Total: 52

Picks: Marshall (+9.5), Over

Prediction: Virginia Tech 31, Marshall 24

 

Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders at Florida Atlantic Owls

Spread: Middle Tennessee State (-3.5)

Total: 48

Picks: Florida Atlantic (+4), Under

Prediction: Florida Atlantic 23, Middle Tennessee 21

 

Western Michigan Broncos at Iowa Hawkeyes

Spread: Iowa (-16.5)

Total: 47.5

Picks: Western Michigan (+16.5), Under

Prediction: Iowa 26, Western Michigan 17

 

Louisiana Tech Bulldogs at Kansas Jayhawks

Spread: Kansas (-10.5)

Total: 50

Picks: Kansas (-10.5), Over

Prediction: Kansas 35, Louisiana Tech 20

 

Wake Forest Demon Deacons at Army Black Knights

Spread: Wake Forest (-3)

Total: 50

Picks: Wake Forest (-3), Under

Prediction: Wake Forest 27, Army 17

 

Toledo Rockets at Central Michigan Chippewas

Spread: Toledo (-13)

Total: 56.5

Picks: Toledo (-13), Over

Prediction: Toledo 52, Central Michigan 28

 

North Texas Mean Green at Georgia Bulldogs

Spread: Georgia (-33)

Total: 66.5

Picks: North Texas (+33), Over

Prediction: Georgia 49, North Texas 21

 

Pittsburgh Panthers at Duke Blue Devils

Spread: Pittsburgh (-3.5)

Total: 50.5

Picks: Pittsburgh (-3.5), Over

Prediction: Pittsburgh 38, Duke 28

 

Tulane Green Wave at Syracuse Orange

Spread: Syracuse (-16)

Total: 54.5

Picks: Tulane (+16), Over

Prediction: Syracuse 35, Tulane 24

 

Ball State Cardinals at Eastern Michigan Eagles

Spread: Ball State (-10.5)

Total: 57.5

Picks: Ball State (-10.5), Over

Prediction: Ball State 38, Eastern Michigan 24

 

Houston Cougars at Rice Owls

Spread: Houston (-2.5)

Total: 64.5

Picks: Rice (+2.5), Under

Prediction: Rice 31, Houston 27

 

Purdue Boilermakers at Wisconsin Badgers

Spread: Wisconsin (-24)

Total: 49

Picks: Purdue (+24), Under

Prediction: Wisconsin 30, Purdue 17

 

Kent State Golden Flashes at Penn State Nittany Lions

Spread: Penn State (-21)

Total: 53.5

Picks: Penn State (-21), Under

Prediction: Penn State 38, Kent State 14

 

Cincinnati Bearcats at Miami (Ohio) RedHawks

Spread: Cincinnati (-23)

Total: 53

Prediction: Cincinnati (-23), Over

Picks: Cincinnati 42, Miami (Ohio) 14

 

UL-Monroe Warhawks at Baylor Bears

Spread: Baylor (-29)

Total: 75.5

Picks: Baylor (-29), Over

Prediction: Baylor 56, UL-Monroe 21

 

Arkansas State Red Wolves at Memphis Tigers

Spread: Arkansas State (-4)

Total: 54.5

Prediction: Memphis (+4), Under

Picks: Memphis 27, Arkansas State 20

 

UL-Lafayette Ragin Cajuns at Akron Zips

Spread: UL-Lafayette (-6)

Total: 63.5

Picks: UL-Lafayette (-6), Over

Prediction: UL-Lafayette 42, Akron 31

 

Colorado State Rams at Alabama Crimson Tide

Spread: Alabama (-39)

Total: 51

Prediction: Colorado State (+39), Over

Picks: Alabama 45, Colorado State 14

 

SMU Mustangs at Texas A&M Aggies

Spread: Texas A&M (-28.5)

Total: 78

Picks: SMU (+28.5), Under

Prediction: Texas A&M 49, SMU 21

 

Texas State Bobcats at Texas Tech Red Raiders

Spread: Texas Tech (-27.5)

Total: 58.5

Picks: Texas Tech (-27.5), Over

Prediction: Texas Tech 49, Texas State 17

 

Oregon State Beavers at San Diego State Aztecs

Spread: Oregon State (-8.5)

Total: 53

Picks: San Diego State (+8.5), Over

Prediction: Oregon State 38, San Diego State 34

 

Troy Trojans at Mississippi State Bulldogs

Spread: Mississippi State (-13.5)

Total: 61

Prediction: Troy (+13.5), Under

Picks: Mississippi State 30, Troy 21

 

Michigan Wolverines at Connecticut Huskies

Spread: Michigan (-17.5)

Total: 51

Picks: Michigan (-17.5), Over

Prediction: Michigan 38, Connecticut 16

 

Missouri Tigers at Indiana Hoosiers

Spread: Missouri (-2.5)

Total: 71

Picks: Indiana (+2.5), Over

Prediction: Indiana 55, Missouri 49

 

UTSA RoadRunners at UTEP Miners

Spread: UTSA (-2.5)

Total: 61

Picks: UTSA (-2.5), Under

Prediction: UTSA 30, UTEP 21

 

Hawaii Warriors at Nevada Wolfpack

Spread: Nevada (-7.5)

Total: 57.5

Picks: Nevada (-7.5), Over

Prediction: Nevada 38, Hawaii 24

 

Wyoming Cowboys at Air Force Falcons

Spread: Wyoming (-5)

Total: 66.5

Picks: Wyoming (-5), Over

Prediction: Wyoming 42, Air Force 31

 

New Mexico State Aggies at UCLA Bruins

Spread: UCLA (-42)

Total: 66.5

Prediction: UCLA (-42), Under

Picks: UCLA 56, New Mexico State 7

 

Idaho Vandals at Washington State Cougars

Spread: Washington State (-31)

Total: 58.5

Picks: Idaho (+31),  Over

Prediction: Washington State 42, Idaho 21