Conference play and a few interesting inter-sectional matchups highlight the week four schedule. Don’t forget your cooler, the college football season is a third of the way to its finale.
September 20th (Thursday)
BYU at Boise State
Bronco Mendenhall is one of those coaches who perpetually makes underrated lists in his profession. A victory over Chris Petersen, who enters 2012 with plenty of questions about his team, figures to solidify the label. Riley Nelson torches a Boise State defense that lost five players to the NFL and someone, somewhere writes a “Will Petersen Finally Leave?” column by sunrise Friday morning.
September 22nd (Saturday)
LSU at Auburn
The boys from Baton Rouge have won four of the last five in this rivalry with Cam Newton’s 2010 jaunt through the purple and gold secondary the sole blemish. Zach Mettenberger’s first SEC road game is a closer victory than the spread predicts and the southeastern United States will find a reason to blame it on Mark Richt.
Rutgers at Arkansas
Kyle Flood spoke of championships in his post-hiring press conference and avoiding a blowout in this matchup goes a long way toward backing those proclamations. Unfortunately for Flood, John L. Smith’s louder and coaches a team with an NFL quarterback.
Oregon State at UCLA
The Bruins are an ascending Pac 12 program with new life injected in tabbing Jim Mora to lead them and recent recruiting success. Mike Riley’s Beavers’ inhabit a ship that’s treading downward. Do any more Rodgers brothers exist?
California at USC
In the middle of the last decade, this was the premier Pac 10 matchup. Now, Jeff Tedford is searching for a quarterback to inherit Aaron Rodgers’ Iron Throne who doesn’t act like Joffrey or throw like Khaleesi.
Clemson at Florida State
Two teams that in recent years have matched every step toward elite production with a dive into manure — Clemson’s ACC title then Orange Bowl performance, Florida State’s recruiting hauls followed by losing to Wake Forest. Whichever team wins, I’m circling their next three weeks in red marker and counting on a Plague of Mediocrity to envelope them.
Kentucky at Florida
Boy, can you imagine the mood of Gator fans if Will Muschamp drops a game to Joker Phillips? Would he see Year Three? Would he see anything from the bunker Jeremy Foley secreted him to after the loss and then claiming he never hired the guy and who the hell is Will Mus-camp?
Miami at Georgia Tech
The Yellow Jackets are one of those squads that probably grates on players because you know exactly where they’re headed with the ball and yet they amass yardage at five per carry. This is the type of environment and frustration that might provoke a “U” response out of the Hurricanes so if you don’t watch for the football, at least tune in for the personal fouls.
Vanderbilt at Georgia
Should the Bulldogs win the SEC East like many expect, there’s no reason to fear Vandy at home. James Franklin knows this and seems a decent bet to take a leak in the hedges pre-game to see if there’s anyone else in the state that doesn’t despise him yet.
Kansas State at Oklahoma
The Sooners decimated Bill Snyder’s outfit in 2011 and unless Collin Klein reminds Landry Jones ahead of time that Ryan Broyles is never coming back, it’s tough to peg this one as competitive.
Temple at Penn State
Steve Addazio’s Owls saunter back to the Big East with a chip on their shoulder for being kicked out in 2004. That’s a bit of a Cinderella story to follow this fall juxtaposed by the villainy in Happy Valley.
Maryland at West Virginia
The Terrapins probably score somewhere around one thousand fewer points than total Twitter references during the game to “fugly uniforms” and “God I hate Randy Edsall.”
Arizona at Oregon
“Say girl, you like offense because I’ve never seen a play called as fine as you” – this is uttered in Eugene and Tempe far more than the assistants would like to admit.
Missouri at South Carolina
This game is basically a chance for Steve Spurrier to get to know Gary Pinkel before he dings him during a Media Day in future years. I pray that Dorial Green-Beckham runs a crossing route while Jadeveon Clowney is playing middle linebacker. The impact might cause another global shift.
Virginia at TCU
Two teams that revere defense and aren’t afraid of non-conference tests. They’re a dying breed. Were this television, an executive might try to join Mike London and Gary Patterson in a crime drama where two cops don’t play by the rules. Real creative stuff.
Louisville at Florida International
Mario Cristobal’s Golden Panthers don’t have the horses to upset Louisville without playing nearly perfect. A renovated stadium and a road game near Teddy Bridgewater’s home though? I’m intrigued.
Michigan at Notre Dame
Denard Robinson’s jump balls incited a raucous celebration as the Wolverines skated by the Fighting Irish last September. As is the rule of men with pride, Michigan will want to thump a high-profile opponent after taking a week one beating from Alabama. Cue the Brian Kelly screaming gif.