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Jersey Contest: Week 4 -- Blogger Picks

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First, if you haven't made your picks, you can do so here.  The deadline is tonight at 11.59 PM PT.

Here's what those of us at ATQ thought about this week's games.   Our thoughts on each game can be found after the jump.

Minnesota at

Northwestern

Miami at

Virginia Tech

Arizona at

Oregon State

Washington

at Stanford

Texas Tech

at Houston

Jared Minnesota Miami Oregon State Stanford Texas Tech
Nick Minnesota Miami Oregon State
Stanford Houston
Dave Minnesota Miami Oregon State Stanford Houston
Dominic Minnesota Miami Arizona Stanford Texas Tech
Jeremy Minnesota Miami Oregon State Washington Houston
Paul Minnesota Virginia Tech Oregon State Stanford Houston

Minnesota at Northwestern:

Jared:  I think this will be a pretty even matchup. Both teams have played Syracuse, and both games were close, though Minnesota won, and Northwestern lost. Beyond that, Minnesota's schedule has been much tougher, and they have gone 2-1, as well as can be expected, and they will be improved from playing those tough teams.  Pick: Minnesota

Nick:  The two teams share an opponent in common this year, with Minnesota winning at Syracuse in OT and Northwestern losing by 3.  Northwestern is currently a slight favorite at home -- though after being at Ryan Field a few years ago and coming away feeling like I just watched a high school football game, I have serious doubts about it being a legitimate home field advantage.  I'll go with Minnesota, who hung with Cal for much of the game last week.  Pick:  Minnesota

Dave: Both of these are mediocre lower level Big Ten teams.  But Minnesota has a decent QB in Adam Weber, and a fantastic playmaker in Eric Decker.  Its not a confident pick, but I think Minnesota wins more often than not.  Pick: Minnesota

Dominic:  Both of these teams have a common foe in Syracuse where Minnesota eeked it out in overtime and Northwestern lost by a field goal. What Minnesota has going for them is that they hung with Cal for about three quarters before the Golden Bears pulled away. Even though Northwestern has Minnesota beat in most statistical categories, I like Kafa's completion percentage at 74.4. Making good decisions wins this ball game.  Pick:  Minnesota

Jeremy:  Tough call right out of the gate. Minnesota and Northwestern share a common opponent in Syracuse. Minnesota got it done. Northwestern didn't. I'll take the Gophers.  Pick:  Minnesota

Paul:  I never really have much of an opinion on these middle-of-the-road Big 10 match-ups, but I actually like Minnesota this year. With a brand new stadium, third-year coach Tim Brewster is starting to put together perennially competitive teams in Dinkytown.  Because of the up-and-coming nature of the program, I just don't see Minnesota losing very many of these games, even on the road, so I'm going with the Golden Gophers. Pick: Minnesota

 

Miami at Virginia Tech:

Jared:  Virginia Tech's defense has not been the defense of old. They have struggled to tackle, while Miami has moved the ball very well, and has enough defense to stop the Hokies.  Pick: Miami

Nick:  Last week, I thought the Hokie defense at home would be enough to hold off Nebraska.  It was, but not by much  This week, a better Miami team will give them their second loss of the season.  While Miami has been living off the arm of QB Jacoby Harris, look for them to also establish a running game against a Virginia Tech defense that gave up over 200 yards on the ground last week.    Pick: Miami

Dave:  Miami is back.  The Hokie offense is its usual blah, but the D hasn't been its stout self this year, giving up over 200 rushing yards a game.  The 'Canes roll into Blacksburg and take them out.  Pick: Miami

Dominic:  Is Miami for real? I like that the swagger is back at the U and, more importantly, they seem hungry. When you have this level of confidence, the desire to finish, and the ability to get things done, you have a very motivated football team. The main difference between these two teams is offensive balance. The Hurricanes can throw the ball and Virginia Tech can't. We learned a lot about the Hokies last week against Nebraska. I think Miami catches them and, in doing so, catapults themselves into serious BCS talk.  Pick: Miami

Jeremy:  VaTech's defense continues to be compelling. Their offense will struggle to make plays against the speed of Miami's defense. Nebraska didn't have the fire-power on offense to beat the Hokies in Blacksburg, but Miami will. Canes' surprising run through top-25 opponents continues.  Pick:  Miami

Paul:  According to an April article in the Wall Street journal, Virginia Tech is tied with Notre Dame for having the most returning offensive line starts in the nation.  I love this statistic.  I think a veteran offensive line can carry a team.  Because of this, I'm picking VA Tech in every match-up this year to test my theory.  So far, I'm 1-for-1.  Pick: Virginia Tech

 

Arizona at Oregon State:

Jared:  If this were at Arizona, things may be different, but at Reser, OSU should win this one easily. Arizona simply doesn't have a good offense, and does not have a QB situation settled enough to take advantage of OSU's biggest weakness, passing defense. The Rodgers brothers alone will score enough points to beat Stoops, who I will never again pick on the road.  Pick:  Oregon State

Nick:  Are the Beavers any good this year?  At this point, we don't have a whole lot to go on from their two wins (Portland State and a two-point win at UNLV).  I think we'll know more after this weekend when they take care of Arizona at home.  Pick: Oregon State

Dave:  Arizona doesn't have a quarterback, and Mike Stoops is their coach.  On the road against a decent team, thats a bad combination.  Pick: Oregon State

Dominic:  The betting line started off favoring Arizona at the beginning of the week and has gradually moved back in Oregon State's favor. I like the Wildcats defense in this game, especially since Oregon State doesn't seem to have anyone to go to other than the Rodgers Brothers. The Beavers also aren't getting much of a pass rush which should help a young Arizona offense. I think this game will determine where Oregon State's season will go on the defensive side of the ball. If they can stuff Nick Foles and cause turnovers, Reser will be rocking and the Beavers take the game. I don't think that will happen. Too early in the season and I think the Beavers give it away.  Pick: Arizona

Jeremy:  QB issues won't get you far in the Pac-10. Ask USC, and perhaps the Ducks after the Cal game. Arizona has QB issues. Oregon State, not so much. Lil' Quizz get his rush on and the Beavs D makes the plays they didn't make last week. It might not even be close.  Pick: Oregon State

Paul:    Arizona laid an egg on the road at Iowa after holding off Central Michigan a week prior.  With a trip to Corvallis, I just don't see them doing any better against the Beavers. Although OSU lost at home last weekend, it was to a very good Cincinnati team. Expect the Beavs to bounce back with a low-scoring win over the Wildcats. Pick: Oregon State:

 

Washington at Stanford:

Jared: Frankly, I'm shocked at how much better Washington is from last season. But not having a corpse on the sidelines definitely pays dividends. Jake Locker has his short-intermediate passing game working exceptionally well, and no one can afford to overlook UW anymore. That said, UW won last week because they took advantage of mistakes, which were plentiful. I don't think Stanford will make these same mistakes. UW hasn't played on the road this season, and Stanford should be able to move the ball against the porous Washington D.   Pick: Stanford

Nick:  Washington comes back to earth after their huge upset in Seattle last week.  Did you know that Stanford opened as nine point favorites in this game?   I don't think I would have given that many points, but I definitely like them to win.  Pick:  Stanford

Dave:  Please shut the Husky backers up for a week.  Pick: Stanford

Dominic:  The Huskies are back! The Huskies are back! Washington is no pushover anymore and they've proven that by catching an out of sorts USC team. Remember the sexy pick of Stanford before the season? They are still that team and you can bet they have been watching film all week getting ready for this game. If the Dawgs win this game, I'll give them credit but until then....  Pick: Stanford

Jeremy:  Picking Washington to stumble will be a sexy prediction this week. I just sense that Sark isn't doing this with smoke and mirrors. The Dawgs are playing good football on both sides of the ball. More importantly, they now believe. Stanford needs this win. I don't think they'll get it.  Pick:  Washington

Paul:  Last year, the Beavers lost in a close one to Utah after shocking the nation and beating then-No. 3 USC. In 2007, it was Stanford who crapped the bed against TCU a week after handing then-No. 4 USC a shocking loss at home. This year, it's Washington's turn to get a classic case of the letdowns. Sorry, Husky fans...you're not there yet. Pick: Stanford

 

Texas Tech at Houston:

Jared: To me, this is the hardest pick of the whole lot. Houston looked very good @Okie State, but Texas Tech looked good against Texas last week, where they lost despite outgaining Texas. This game could go either way, and could go down to who has the last possession. I think that Tech will be motivated to not lose two in a row, and will pull it out in the last few minutes.   Pick: Texas Tech

Nick:  This should be a really interesting game between two high-powered offenses (current over-under on total points sits at around 72).  It doesn't look like either team has much use for running the ball, and in that case, I'll go with the more experienced QB in Houston's Case KeenumPick:  Houston

Dave:  The Cougars are the real deal.  Neither team has much of a defense, and there could be fifteen gazillion passing yards in this game, but I like Case Keenum at home against a new Tech QB.  Regardless, it should be entertaining as hell.  Pick: Houston

Dominic: A lot of folks are looking at the Houston victory over Oklahoma State as a sign of how good the Cougars are and I'm not buying it. Both teams are pass first, ask questions later types of squads and seem fairly even on paper. I liked the Red Raiders loss against Texas a lot more than I liked Houston's win against Oklahoma State.  Pick: Texas Tech

Jeremy:  What? No MAC pick-em game? If you like offense you might get several weeks worth in this game alone. I want to pick Tech, the bigger boys from the bigger conference. But what would 2009's week four be without the emergence of a new compelling cinderella story. If you're betting, don't even look...just take the over. Houston's Cougar finally regains his manhood.  Pick:  Houston

Paul:  Expect a high-scoring affair.  Houston leads the nation in scoring, and the Red Raiders aren't that far behind.  I consider Houston the underdog, but I like them outscoring Texas Tech at home. Pick: Houston