IN THE CROSSHAIRS

In the Crosshairs: Pac-12, ACC Week Four Picks

Ken Cross

September 20, 2018 at 1:15 pm.

Pac-12 Picks

Stanford at Oregon – The Ducks have predominantly dominated their three tune-ups, so now they look over the line at the Stanford Cardinal. A hyped Autzen Stadium will be not be a comfy environment for the Cardinal, which will welcome back Bryce Love after he sat out of last week’s win over Cal-Davis. With a big evening and a win, Justin Herbert could enter the Heisman race. Cardinal (-2) 28, Ducks 24.

Arizona State at Washington – The Sun Devils actually lost last week’s 28-21 decision to San Diego State when a clear targeting situation on wide receiver Frank Darby knocked the ball loose inside the SDSU 5-yard line with less than 10 seconds remaining. The pass was ruled incomplete and the Aztecs were hit with a 15-yard penalty. Huskies coach Chris Peterson is impressed with the size and physicality of ASU wide receivers, led by N’Keal Harry, and with how hard Herman Edwards’ defense has played in its 2-1 start. Huskies 31, Sun Devils (+17 ½) 17.

Washington State at USC – Friday evening the Trojans get a chance for the revenge for last year’s loss in Pullman which kept USC out of a potential shot at an FBS Final Four berth. Mike Leach is using graduate student Gardiner Minshew inside of his offense and it has paid off with a 3-0 start. USC jumped on Texas in taking a 14-3 lead before the Longhorns scored 34 consecutive points in taking out the Trojans, 37-14. USC has many new faces on both sides of the ball as the team is suffering from inexperience. Although in the Coliseum, it feels like Leach may know how to pull this one out with his Air Raid Offense. Cougars (+4 ½) 33, Trojans 31.

Arizona at Oregon State – After dispatching Southern Utah for Kevin Sumlin’s first win, Arizona needs a win over a PBS opponent in its Pac-12 opener. Watch for the Wildcats to turn up the juice with their pass rush as Oregon State is 99th in the nation in sacks allowed in the Beavers’ 1-2 start. Wildcats 34, Beavers (+7) 29.

ACC Picks

Notre Dame at Wake Forest – The Irish visit Winston-Salem for the fifth meeting of the teams in the last eight seasons. Notre Dame has been less than impressive on offense in eking past Ball State and Vanderbilt in the last two weeks. The Irish will have to adjust to new dual threat quarterback Sam Hartman and the hurry-up WFU attack that netted 38 points in the loss last season. The Deacons have the fire power to make this more the interesting at home, as Hartman outduels Brandon Wimbush for Wake’s first win in history over the Irish. Deacons (+7 ½) 34, Irish 28.

Boston College at Purdue – The Eagles may be the one team that can give Clemson all it wants with the running prowess of AJ Dillon which sets up quarterback Anthony Brown’s play-action ability. Purdue is 0-3 with four losses by a total of eight points. Eagles (-6 ½) 37, Boilermakers 30.

Pitt at North Carolina – The Tar Heels had a bye week after the cancellation last week of the matchup with Central Florida due to Hurricane Florence. The Panthers had a balanced attack last week from quarterback Kenny Pickett and a good running day from Qadree Ollison in the 24-19 win over Georgia Tech. Panthers (-3 ½) 27, Tar Heels 23.

Louisville at Virginia – When the season started, it looked like this would be an easy road win for the Cardinals. Now all of a sudden, Virginia scored over 40 points each in wins over Richmond and Ohio, while the Cardinals struggled before winning over Indiana State, then easing past Western Kentucky. Freshman Malik Cunningham gets the call at quarterback, as Jawon Pass has struggled mightily to start the season. Cavaliers (-4 ½) 30, Cardinals 24.

Clemson at Georgia Tech – The Tigers should have no problem with a Yellow Jackets team that has had a slow start with losses to South Florida and Pitt. While the Tigers piled up 589 yards in last week’s 34-7 win over Georgia Southern, they played far from a clean game with three turnovers in Eagles’ territory. The Tigers won’t be affected in this one that could be over by halftime. Tigers (-16 ½) 48, Yellow Jackets 23.

NC State at Marshall – Isaiah Green beat out touted Wagner transfer Alex Thomson and found himself in the quarterback spot for Marshall right off the bat. Marshall has depth at wide receiver led by Tyre Brady which will cause the Pack lots of defensive problems. It’s going to be up to Ryan Finley to win his one-on-one matchups with the State wideouts against the Herd defensive backs. Clearly a game to watch this weekend. Thundering Herd (+5) 41, Wolfpack 37.

Virginia Tech at Old Dominion – The Hokies love those non-conference games where they can run the score up and post big numbers, a la the Big Ten. William & Mary was a victim. ECU would have been, and now the poor Monarchs, off a 28-25 loss at Charlotte, will be another easy win over a cupcake. Hokies (-28) 57, Monarchs 10.

FIU at Miami – Another tune up for the Hurricanes who should get the lion’s share of the roster involved early.
Hurricanes (-27) 49, Golden Panthers 7.

North Carolina Central at Duke – Quentin Harris played quarterback in relief of injured Daniel Jones in last week’s 40-27 win at Baylor. He threw three touchdown passes and rushed 14 times for 89 yards. He will get a chance to pad his numbers against the Eagles from the MEAC. Blue Devils 52, Eagles 7.

Northern Illinois at Florida State – The Huskies battled Utah at home two weeks ago in a 17-6 home loss. At some point, the Seminoles will turn upward and be able to execute Willie Taggert’s newly installed offensive attack. Interestingly, they are a double-digit favorite after getting blasted at Syracuse last week. Seminoles (+10) 20, Huskies 12.

UConn at Syracuse – Jim Boeheim versus Jimmy Calhoun in the old Big East … Oh, how the Huskies wish that was the case. Orange (-27 ½) 45, Huskies 14.