The Saturday Football crew is back for another week to provide picks against the spread for 10 of the biggest games in college football.

Week 4 features six separate matchups pitting Top 25 teams against each other. We have a huge battle in Tuscaloosa, a top-10 showdown in South Bend, and a trio of ranked Pac-12 contests.

Here’s how things stand through three weeks:


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  • Ethan Stone: 18-12
  • Spenser Davis: 17-13
  • Derek Peterson: 15-15
  • Paul Harvey: 15-15

Let’s dive in.

No. 4 Florida State (-1.5) at Clemson

  • Spenser Davis: Florida State’s defense has really struggled at times this season, but so has Clemson’s offense. FSU’s offense and Clemson’s defense have both been absolutely dominant to start the year. This is a true clash of strengths and weaknesses. I’m going with the more talented team with the more proven quarterback — even on the road. PICK: Florida State
  • Paul Harvey: This feels like a trap game from what we’ve seen out of Clemson and FSU the first few weeks. As a result, I’m going to zig when I expect the rest of the country to zag. After all, another loss dooms Clemson’s season and would leave Dabo Swinney feeling… uncomfortable. PICK: Clemson
  • Derek Peterson: Clemson has outscored the competition 114-31 in the two weeks since Duke. That loss was a nightmare for Clemson, but it was pretty statistically flukey. And the Tigers are 34-1 at home since 2018. My gut tells me to go with the home team here, even if the better quarterback is on the other sideline. PICK: Clemson
  • Ethan Stone: Florida State got caught sleeping a little by Boston College, but good teams find a way to win. I do not expect Clemson to lay down for this game, but I do expect the Seminoles to win a close one. PICK: Florida State

Auburn at Texas A&M (-8)

  • SD: Given the way Auburn’s offense played against Cal in its only road game of the year so far, I’m going to go with the Aggies. Texas A&M’s offense is going to put up points in this game and I don’t think the same could be said for Auburn. PICK: Texas A&M 
  • PH: I’m not sure I buy Jimbo Fisher’s Aggies to win any of their SEC games by more than a touchdown. PICK: Auburn
  • DP: Since the start of the 2021 season, Auburn quarterback Payton Thorne has 23 interceptions. A&M has 16 pass breakups in its first three games but only one interception. That’s pretty unlucky. I think that luck flips this weekend. PICK: Texas A&M 
  • ES: Texas A&M should win this game by multiple touchdowns, which is why I’m riding with the Tigers. PICK: Auburn

No. 19 Colorado at No. 10 Oregon (-21)

  • SD: Colorado has the talent to make this a much closer game than 21 points. I do think the Buffs are probably going to run out of depth at some point during this Pac-12 run, but not yet. PICK: Colorado 
  • PH: Colorado’s a great story, but overlooked in the 3-0 start is the fact Colorado State is… probably not good. Coming off that emotional week (and the loss of Travis Hunter), look for the first true wake-up call in Boulder with Dan Lanning’s Ducks rolling at home. PICK: Oregon
  • DP: I have not been impressed with Colorado’s defense or its run game. I think Oregon will be able to jump all over the Buffs early and get what will already be an amped crowd really rocking. PICK: Oregon
  • ES: I don’t think Colorado wins this game, but I really don’t think it’ll be blown out either. This seems like one I may regret later, but I’ll take the Buffs to cover. PICK: Colorado

No. 22 UCLA at No. 11 Utah (-5.5)

  • SD: I think UCLA is a really good team — probably better than what the markets are recognizing. Certainly too good to be a 5.5-point dog against a team that might not have its starting quarterback. PICK: UCLA 
  • PH: Cam Rising could return, but he’s likely to experience some rough patches whenever he does return as he gets up to game speed. UCLA has the pieces to keep things close no matter what, so this could be a thriller at Utah. PICK: UCLA
  • DP: This is the most interesting game of the weekend to me. We’re going to find out if UCLA’s defense is legit. That group has quietly been outstanding to open the season, ranking fifth nationally in yards per play allowed. Utah has opened 3-0 thanks to sheer determination. The Utes have been decimated by injuries, yet the defense has been lights out regardless of who has been on the field. Can that kind of play continue against Dante Moore? Though just a freshman, he has looked like one of the best passers in the country. And it must be mentioned that Rice-Eccles Stadium is a disaster zone for other teams. I think it’ll be close, so I’ll pick the Bruins to cover that spread with no idea who actually wins it. PICK: UCLA
  • ES: I think I like UCLA straight up here. Dante Moore has been fun without really trying and I can see him letting loose against the Utes on Saturday in SLC. PICK: UCLA

No. 15 Ole Miss at No. 13 Alabama (-6.5)

  • SD: Nick Saban is coaching against 2 of his former assistants here in Lane Kiffin and Pete Golding. The problem is, I’m not sure Saban has the quarterback to take advantage of Ole Miss’ deficiencies. I think Alabama wins, but it’s close. PICK: Ole Miss 
  • PH: I understand the concerns related to Alabama, but this doesn’t feel like a game Nick Saban loses, particularly against a former assistant. This should be a very fun game, but I think Jalen Milroe shows a glimpse of his potential in a win. PICK: Alabama 
  • DP: Jalen Milroe has had trouble taking care of the football, supposedly didn’t respond well to his benching a week ago, and now gets to face an active Ole Miss secondary in front of what figures to be an antsy Alabama crowd. I thought Alabama would have a classic “this is still Alabama” moment against Texas and that proved far from accurate. I don’t know if this group has it. I could be totally wrong once again, but I think the wheels start to come off a little bit. PICK: Ole Miss
  • ES: I like Jaxson Dart, but I think he may be in for a reality check against the Tide’s defense in Bryant-Denny. Line was at 6.5 when I made this pick and the Tide could very well win by a touchdown, XP. PICK: Alabama

Arkansas at No. 12 LSU (-17.5)

  • SD: Arkansas is really, really bad and LSU is really, really good. I think LSU runs away with this one at home. PICK: LSU 
  • PH: I expect Arkansas to bounce back from the loss to BYU, but I also expect LSU to be ready in front of a home crowd for this one. With 2 talented QBs playing, I’ll go with Jayden Daniels and the Tigers to hit the number late. PICK: LSU
  • DP: I agree with Spenser. I don’t think 17.5 is enough. PICK: LSU 
  • ES: Even if Rocket Sanders is back it won’t be at 100%. I don’t think Arkansas can keep up here. PICK: LSU

No. 14 Oregon State (-3) at No. 21 Washington State

  • SD: Washington State is the more proven team and will be playing in front of its home crowd here. I’ll gladly take the points. PICK: Washington State 
  • PH: Wazzu’s 3-0 start is fun and Cameron Ward is a baller, but Oregon State is the more complete team. Particularly worrisome for the Cougars is that Ward is the team’s leading rusher at 95 yards going against a defense that is salty against the run. PICK: Oregon State
  • DP: This game is going to come down to how well Cameron Ward manages under pressure. Washington State was horrible at keeping him protected a year ago, and he’s still being pressured on 30% of his dropbacks. The difference is in what he has done when faced with that pressure. Last season, Ward threw six interceptions under duress and completed 43.7% of his throws. This year, he’s completing 50% and hasn’t yet been picked off. Oregon State has 12 sacks in three games, and I expect that group to come after Ward. Last year, they sacked him six times. That’s what I’m watching. I think Wazzu will be able to force one or two mistakes from Oregon State’s offense. Can Ward avoid them on his side? At home, I’ll say yes. PICK: Washington State
  • ES: On paper, it’s a tossup. Under those circumstances, I’ll roll with the home team and the points. PICK: Washington State

No. 6 Ohio State (-3) at No. 9 Notre Dame

  • SD: Notre Dame has 2 primary weaknesses: The interior of its offensive line and its pass rush. I think Ohio State is well-positioned to take advantage of the Fighting Irish in those areas. However, Notre Dame has the QB edge, will be playing at home and is talented enough in the secondary to hang with Ohio State’s receivers. I’ll take Notre Dame and the points. PICK: Notre Dame 
  • PH: This one’s eating at me because I still believe Ohio State wins, but even a 3-point spread on the road is a tough call. I’ll take Notre Dame +3 in a nail-biter, but I do believe the Buckeyes find a statement win (and growth moment for McCord) on the road. PICK: Notre Dame 
  • DP: It feels like I’m missing something here. Notre Dame has a far superior quarterback. Notre Dame has a feisty pass defense that has been among the nation’s best through four games without a pass rush. Notre Dame has a dynamic running back who is tearing teams up right now. And Notre Dame is at home. PICK: Notre Dame 
  • ES: Being at Notre Dame is the sole reason I like the Fighting Irish here, mostly because I just can’t get a read on the Buckeyes. OSU needs to make McCord comfortable early in this one, get the ball in the hands of its playmakers and let them work. It’ll be close, but I’ll ride with ND here. PICK: Notre Dame

No. 24 Iowa at No. 7 Penn State (-15)

  • SD: It’s been 7 years since Penn State beat the Hawkeyes by more than a touchdown. I think that drought will end on Saturday night in State College. PICK: Penn State 
  • PH: I do like Penn State by double digits, but 15 points feels a bit ambitious for a first-year starter going against Phil Parker’s defense. Iowa always seems to have something for these big games, but the Hawkeyes don’t have enough to pull off an outright upset. PICK: Iowa 
  • DP: I hate picking Iowa games. We all know the Hawkeyes are going to end up with seven or eight wins every year, but no one ever has any idea what this team is going to look like on a week-to-week basis. It’s a big shoulder shrug from me here. PICK: Iowa 
  • ES: Penn State has yet to steer me wrong this season. I don’t love the 15-point spread here, but I’ll roll with Allar and Co. regardless. PICK: Penn State

No. 17 North Carolina (-7.5) at Pitt

  • SD: This is a relatively straightforward pick. Pitt’s offensive line is a disaster and Phil Jurkovec has not been good enough to overcome that deficiency. North Carolina can beat you on the ground or through the air. Its defense is plenty good enough to slow Pitt down, too. PICK: North Carolina 
  • PH: I don’t love teams that are greater than a touchdown favorite on the road, particularly for a UNC team that hasn’t faced a true road game yet. Still, it’s hard for me to see the punchless Panthers getting points on the board even if they do slow down Drake Maye. PICK: North Carolina 
  • DP: Phil Jurkovec has been the worst quarterback in the ACC since the start of the 2021 season. That’s not my opinion; he was dead last in QBR in 2021 (36.1) and is dead last again this year (29.1). It flies under the radar because he’s good at deflecting the attention elsewhere (and fielding strong defenses) but this program has had one good season of quarterback play under Pat Narduzzi since Nathan Peterman left. I don’t think they have enough to hang with Carolina. PICK: North Carolina
  • ES: North Carolina fans are feeling good right about now. The Panthers have already looked poor at home this season, I’ll bet on UNC to keep its hot streak going. PICK: North Carolina