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Saturday, September 21, 2013

Week 4 Saturday Preview: The Mid-Afternoon Games (3:30-6:30)

Utah State (2-1) at USC (2-1), 3:30, ABC/ESPN2

USU rush O (.07) vs. USC rush D (-.230)
USU pass O (.58) vs. USC pass D (-.349)
USC rush O (.09) vs. USU rush D (-.171)
USC pass O (-.18) vs. USU pass D (-.002)
In backyard football growing up, we used to occasionally have 'full time QB', one kid who played QB for both teams.  This game would be much better if Chuckie Keeton were full time QB.  Unfortunately, USC has to provide their own QB.  Fortunately for us, we get to see Keeton go up against a stifling Trojan defense.  EPA star to watch: Utah State QB Chuckie Keeton (71.2, #1 in the country) is the nation's most productive player so far, and with the right performance Saturday, he could move into the Heisman discussion.

Tennessee (2-1) at #19 Florida (1-1), 3:30, CBS

Tenn rush O (.16) vs. Florida rush D (-.342)
Tenn pass O (.14) vs. Florida pass D (-.202)
Florida rush O (.01) vs. Tenn rush D (.055)
Florida pass O (-.06) vs. Tenn pass D (.025)
It's hard to know what to make of Tennessee, as they really haven't played any normal competition yet.  This is yet another tough matchup, but not in the same way as Oregon.  Florida is not likely to score over 60 points.  Florida's tendency to be bumbling on offense could keep this game too close for comfort for the Gators, but I think they'll still win.  The Florida defense is still one to behold, and while they may only have one great unit, that's one more than Tennessee.  EPA star to watch: Tennessee QB Justin Worley (10.7).

Maine (3-0) at #18 Northwestern (3-0) - Maine is no pushover, but Northwestern is well-coached and not the kind of team to be unprepared for cupcake matchups.

Michigan State (3-0) at #22 Notre Dame (2-1), 3:30, NBC

MSU rush O (.07) vs. ND rush D (-.065)
MSU pass O (-.02) vs. ND pass D (.067)
ND rush O (-.06) vs. MSU rush D (-.260)
ND pass O (.21) vs. MSU pass D (-.460)
Michigan State's has a mostly average but unspectacular offense paired with a championship caliber defense.  Notre Dame has good rush D and a good passing game, but below average rushing game and pass defense.  The one mismatch seems to be when Notre Dame tries to run.  It could really put them at a disadvantage, and MSU feasts on passing attacks.  EPA star to watch: Notre Dame QB Tommy Rees (27.3).

West Virginia (2-1) at Maryland (3-0), 3:30, ESPNU

WVU rush O (.13) vs. Maryland rush D (.005)
WVU pass O (.04) vs. Maryland pass D (-.381)
Maryland rush O (.03) vs. WVU rush D (-.038)
Maryland pass O (.32) vs. WVU pass D (-.286)
Bizarro West Virginia rolls along, with good defense and a rushing attack superior to the passing game.  Maryland is a bit bizarro as well, with one of the country's 25 best passing games on a per play basis.  This is all too weird for me to watch.  EPA star to watch: Maryland QB CJ Brown (36.5).

South Dakota State (3-0) at Nebraska (2-1) - Just what the doctor ordered for Bo Pelini: a beatable FCS team to take the [expletive deleted] fans' minds off his job status, if only for a week.

Arkansas (3-0) at Rutgers (2-1), 3:30, ESPN

Arkansas rush O (.18) vs. Rutgers rush D (-.208)
Arkansas pass O (.24) vs. Rutgers pass D (-.026)
Rutgers rush O (.19) vs. Arkansas rush D (.023)
Rutgers pass O (.13) vs. Arkansas pass D (-.210)
This is the first real test for Bret Bielema's Razorbacks.  Both teams have been efficient on offense, and the defenses excel at different things - Rutgers stuffs the run while Arkansas shuts down the pass.  Rutgers is more battle-tested, but Arkansas has better athletes.  All in all, it should be a pretty good matchup.  EPA star to watch: Arkansas QB Brandon Allen (20.7).

Murray State (2-1) at Bowling Green (2-1) - BGSU will win.

Kent State (1-2) at Penn State (2-1) - Kent State without Dri Archer really isn't as much fun.

VMI (1-2) at Virginia (1-1) - UVA has looked better than expected, and should move to 2-1 in this one.

Purdue (1-2) at #24 Wisconsin (2-1), 3:30, ABC/ESPN2

Purdue rush O (-.17) vs. Wisconsin rush D (-.235)
Purdue pass O (-.11) vs. Wisconsin pass D (-.091)
Wisconsin rush O (.32) vs. Purdue rush D (-.019)
Wisconsin pass O (.35) vs. Purdue pass D (.130)
There's really nothing about this game that bodes well for Purdue, and I'm not entirely sure why this will be on ABC in some areas.  Wisconsin should cruise thanks to superior offense and defense.  EPA star to watch: Wisconsin RB Melvin Gordon (27.8, 2nd among RBs).

Cincinnati (2-1) at Miami (OH) (0-2) - Bearcats shouldn't have any problems in this one.

ULM (2-1) at #20 Baylor (2-0), 4:00, Fox Sports 1

ULM rush O (.02) vs. Baylor rush D (-.279)
ULM pass O (-.03) vs. Baylor pass D (-.344)
Baylor rush O (.43) vs. ULM rush D (-.025)
Baylor pass O (.74) vs. ULM pass D (-.007)
Baylor's stats are off the charts good thanks to only playing Wofford and Buffalo, and they should continue against ULM.  The Warhawks like to throw the ball, and they're due for some positive regression, but it won't be enough for the upset.  EPA star to watch: Baylor QB Bryce Petty (38.8).

Arkansas State (2-1) at Memphis (0-2) - It's weird to think of this as a mid-major conference team taking on a BCS conference team, but that's what this is.  And Arkansas State, the mid-major, will win.

Bethune-Cookman (3-0) at #8 Florida State (2-0) - FSU just needs to stay healthy in what should be an easy win.

Citadel (1-2) at Old Dominion (1-2) - I really hope you didn't click on this post just to read some insight about this game.  If so, you're going to be disappointed.

UL-Lafayette (1-2) at Akron (1-2) - Take the Rajun Cajuns.

Brent Blackwell compiles the EPA rankings for  Follow Brent on Twitter by mashing the pretty button below.

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