Clear Your Schedule | Week 4, 2023

By Brian Wilmer -

Howdy, folks.

Hey — did y’all hear there was a game in Boulder last week? It seems as though nobody watched it or talked about it. One would think that a game that important would get at least a little press.


Sunday Stories

It’s time for the four biggest stories from the week prior in college football. Agreement is not required, but I always appreciate it.

Four for FCS: The so-called “weaker” subdivision claimed another victim from the big boys on Saturday — and what a story it was. Kaiden Bennett hit Marcus Fulcher for a touchdown completion that spanned nearly half the field with 1:45 to play, giving Sacramento State a 30-23 victory over Stanford — yes, the same Stanford just courted by the ACC. It’s also the same Stanford that poached Troy Taylor, Sac State’s former head coach. Sure, the Hornets are a top-five team at the lower subdivision, but maybe it’s time we stop lending so much credence to “name brands” — especially when those brands haven’t been relevant in years.

UAB? Hello?:  Trent Dilfer’s troops got boat raced by a Sun Belt school for the second week in a row, with the latest coming at the hands of Louisiana in a 41-21 drubbing. The Blazers have coughed up 90 points in back-to-back losses — though they have scored 66 — and a hire that drew a lot of confusion in the offseason has already drawn more than a little grumbling. We should judiciously apply the brakes here — after all, we’re only three games into the season and those types of important details — but it gets no easier with trips to Georgia and Tulane and a visit from a USF team that looked surprisingly competent last week against Alabama. If the Blazers sit at 2-4 after six games — or, God forbid, 1-5 — the rumblings in the Magic City will be hard to ignore.

Flatterfield?:  Another hire that drew a modicum of scratched heads this offseason came when Cincinnati poached Scott Satterfield to replace Luke Fickell. Satterfield arrived in the Queen City off four wildly mediocre seasons at Louisville. Last week, Miami-Ohio — a 14.5 point underdog — marched into Nippert and got a game-winning touchdown toss from Brett Gabbert to stun the Bearcats. Cincy’s victories thus far have come against Eastern Kentucky — an FCS playoff team last season, sure, but also one who lost to Western Carolina last week — and a bad, bad Pitt team. Satterfield’s group now heads into the teeth of Big 12 play, with Oklahoma coming to call this weekend in Cincinnati. Oof.

Vandy vexed — again:  Vanderbilt had one of the all-time bad losses last week in Vegas. The Commodores intercepted a Rebel pass to get the ball back with one minute remaining. All that had to happen was a score. Any score. Instead:

1 and 10 at NLV21 Vanderbilt drive start at 01:00.
1 and 10 at NLV21 Shotgun Smith,Patrick rush middle for 2 yards loss to the UNLV23 (Williams,Jerrae; Shelton,Elijah).
2 and 12 at NLV23 Timeout UNLV, clock 00:56.
2 and 12 at NLV23 Shotgun Smith,Patrick rush middle for 3 yards gain to the UNLV20 (Baldwin,Johnathan; Martinson,Tatuo).
3 and 9 at NLV20 Shotgun Smith,Patrick rush middle for 5 yards gain to the UNLV15 (Johnson,Darius; Thompkins,Fred).
4 and 4 at NLV15 Timeout UNLV, clock 00:47.
4 and 4 at NLV15 Borcila,Jacob field goal attempt from 33 yards NO GOOD (H: Hayball,Matt, LS: Schelling,Wesley), clock 00:44.

UNLV took over with 44 seconds remaining, slowly drained 39 seconds from the clock, and won it on a 36-yarder from Jose Pizarro with five seconds to play.

Vanderbilt might not win again this year. If that’s the case, Clark Lea would be 9-27 after three seasons in Nashville. Derek Mason would look like Vince Lombardi by comparison.

Bad Bets

And now for the time that I show off my complete lack of handicapping skills. I make no claims to the contrary. With that, here’s what you’ll read every week:

I’ll pick four games each week, with many not in the huge P5 windows, because I tend to color outside those lines a bit. I’ll just pick straight lines as they are listed on the day I pick them — no money lines, no teasing, nothing else.  I’ll keep track of my record as the season goes along, and you can trash me in the comments each week for my lack of prediction prowess.

NOTE:  None of the text within is meant to serve as gambling advice. This is largely meant for parody and light-hearted review. At no point should any of the picks in this article be construed as gambling advice offered by or me.

Week 3

#15 Kansas State (-4) at Missouri
WHAT HAPPENED:  Missouri 30, K-State 27. Harrison Mevis banged a 61-yard field goal to end the game, and quite possibly end K-State’s run at anything but the Texas Bowl.

Liberty (-3) at Buffalo
WHAT HAPPENED:  Liberty 55, Buffalo 27.  Kaidon Salter just casually threw for 344 yards and five scores in only 26 attempts. To say that Jamey Chadwell’s offense — at least for now — is working in Lynchburg is an understatement after the Flames hung nearly 600 on the Bulls.

There was also…whatever this was.

East Carolina at Appalachian State (-8.5) 
WHAT HAPPENED:  Appalachian State 43, East Carolina 28. The Mountaineers trailed by five at the interval, only to come out and score 27 points over the final 30 minutes and run away from the Pirates. Nate Noel ran for nearly 200 yards and kept ECU on its heels.

To say this annoyed ECU’s administration would be a teensy understatement.

Western Kentucky (+29.5) at Ohio State
WHAT HAPPENED:  Ohio State 63, Western Kentucky 10. Oof. The 35-point second quarter by Ohio State was the embodiment of a death knell.

Week 4 (2-2 last week, 4-8 this season)

Virginia Tech at Marshall (-4.5) (noon, ESPN2)
Colorado (+20.5) at Oregon (3:30pm, ABC)
Georgia Tech at Wake Forest (-3.5) (6:30pm, CW)
Appalachian State (+3) at Wyoming (7pm, CBSSN)

And finally, here are the four “under-the-radar” games I’ll be watching this week and how to watch them. I’ll also include lines if there are any — for informational purposes only, naturally, as outlined in the above disclaimer. I don’t yet have a name for this section. All times are Eastern.

BYU (3-0) at Kansas (3-0) (3:30, ESPN):  This matchup feels weird, because a) it’s going to be a Big 12 faceoff and b) BYU? Kansas?

This was almost not a battle of 3-0 teams after Kansas faceplanted against Nevada, but the Jayhawks survived. Not a bad little game, in all seriousness.
LINE:  Kansas -9.5.

Eastern Michigan (2-1) at Jacksonville State (2-1) (5:00, ESPN+)We’ve looked at games involving both these teams already this season, but Chris Creighton and RichRod presents a coaching matchup you absolutely need to watch.
LINE:  Jacksonville State -6.5.

#14 Oregon State (3-0) at #21 Washington State (3-0) (7pm, FOX):  This game is fun for a number of reasons, but here’s the biggest one:  I get to shout out a “friend of the progrum”.

LINE:  Oregon State -3.

Memphis (3-0) at Missouri (3-0) (7:30, ESPNU):  Okay, if Harrison Mevis is going to kick a 61-yarder, he’s got the attention of this feature. The battle of kitties in Columbia should be worth watching. Memphis, however, has gotten through an undefeated quarter of the season by vanquishing such power institutions as Bethune-Cookman, Arkansas State, and Navy. If they win this one, things will get very interesting very fast in the Bluff City.

LINE:  Missouri -6.5.

There’s a little chill in the air — it’s now in the 80s instead of the 150s here in the southeast — and football is getting more and more fun each week. Also, if you’re in the middle of the path of Ophelia this weekend, please be safe.

Until next week, the week after, or the week after that, here’s to another great weekend on the grass — real or fake, green or blue, or whatever gets you through the days. Be sure to keep your swords in their sheaths.

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