Top 10 College Football Games To Watch In Week 4
Look No More, Here's The Best Of Week 4
Because of the lack of marquee top-10 matchups in Week 4, some are dubbing it “Weak Week.” No. 1 Alabama has a punching bag, Colorado State in front of it. No. 2 Oregon is off. The fourth-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes take on, wait for it, Florida A&M. We could certainly cite some of the rest of the Top 10 teams' Week 4 matchups as further proof of the “Weak Week” claim, but a game doesn’t need to feature two, or even one, highly ranked team for it to be intriguing.
On the surface it may appear there aren’t many great games on the slate this weekend, but there’s good news: A closer look reveals some potential for college football fireworks, upsets and revelations. After all, aren’t those three of the things fans live for week in and week out?
Even better news is the fact that Week 4 spreads the good-game wealth. There are quality matchups in virtually every conference and region in the country. You just have to know where to look to find some of them. Luckily for those reading, 10 of Week 4’s best games have already been identified and listed right here.
So without further delay, here’s a quick guide to the best college football action in Week 4.
10. Utah State @ USC
Reason to watch: To see if Utah State's dynamic quarterback, Chuckie Keeton and his high-scoring offense can pull off the upset in the Coliseum.
The USC Trojans played well offensively in a 35-7 win over Boston College last week, but is the new-found success on that side of the ball here to stay? They may need it against Utah State, which is averaging more than 49 points per game. Oh, and the Aggies aren’t giving up a lot of points either. The good feelings might not last very long for Lane Kiffin and USC.
9. La.-Monroe @ No. 20 Baylor
Reason to watch: Because it’s Baylor’s first legitimate test of the season.
So far, the Bears have beaten up on the likes of Wofford and Buffalo, so the No. 20 ranking doesn’t mean all that much at this point. La.-Monroe has beaten, and nearly beaten, some good teams in the last few years. This game could reveal a lot about the true strength of this Baylor team.
8. Arkansas @ Rutgers
Reason to watch: It could be Arkansas’ last chance at a win this season.
After Rutgers, the Razorbacks probably won’t be favored in any more games this season. Six of Arkansas’ final eight games are against currently ranked teams. The rest of the schedule is as such: No. 10 Texas A&M, at No. 19 Florida, No. 12 South Carolina, at No. 1 Alabama, Auburn, at No. 21 Ole Miss, Mississippi State and at No. 6 LSU. The Hogs better take advantage of this opportunity to enjoy success, because their winning prospects are about to go downhill in a hurry.
7. Michigan State @ No. 22 Notre Dame
This rivalry began way back in 1897 and has produced some really good games over the years. Though Notre Dame has won the last two meetings convincingly – 21-3 last year and 31-13 in 2011 – this series has seen several classics recently. In 2010, Michigan State ran the “Little Giants” fake after lining up for 46-yard field goal for a 29-yard TD pass that gave the Spartans a 34-31 win. The year before, Notre Dame intercepted a Michigan State pass at the 4-yard-line with less than a minute left to hang on, 33-30. Hopefully, the 2013 version of this rivalry will be equally compelling.
6. Kansas State @ Texas
Reason to watch: Conference title dreams are still alive for both… in theory, at least.
Texas (1-2) will take on Kansas State (2-1) Saturday evening in Austin in each school’s first Big 12 contest, offering a fresh start for both after underwhelming non-conference results. Kansas State has owned Texas lately, going 5-0 against the Longhorns since 2003, including a 42-24 win last season. Texas is proclaiming this week as the new first week of the season, hinting at a renewed sense of focus with the start of the conference slate. This game is the Longhorns' chance to sell that message to fans, analysts, heck, even to their own players and coaches.
5. North Carolina @ Georgia Tech
Reason to watch: On the off chance these two repeat the 2012 game.
North Carolina and Georgia Tech combined for 118 points, 1,085 yards and just five punts in the Yellow Jackets’ sensational 60-58 win last season. Eleven different players scored touchdowns in the ACC’s highest-scoring football game in history. If this year’s game is only half as exciting, it will be worth tuning in.
4. Missouri @ Indiana
Reason to watch: To see if these offenses combine for a triple-digit point total.
This weekend’s game between Missouri Tigers (2-0, 0-0) and Indiana Hoosiers (2-1, 0-0) features two prolific offenses matched-up against some less-than-stellar defensive units. The result should be an explosion of points – possibly more than 100 combined. The Tigers are averaging 48 points per game and the Hoosiers’ defense is ranked 82nd in scoring defense. Indiana’s offense, however, is ranked sixth in scoring at 50 points per game, and Missouri’s defensive numbers (18.5 points per game) are skewed by the low level of competition through two games. The most combined points scored in a non-overtime game featuring an SEC team was 93, when LSU played Southwestern Louisiana in 1936. The most points ever scored in a non-overtime Big Ten game was 115, when Minnesota beat Purdue 59-56 in 1993. When these two kickoff on Saturday, those records could be in jeopardy.
3. Utah @ BYU
Reason to watch: It’s the Holy War – ‘nuff said!
Though the Boston College-Notre Dame game goes by the same name, the state of Utah version gets the nod as college football’s official Holy War. BYU-Utah is an extremely underrated rivalry that has featured some wild contests over the years. But the 2012 edition might have been the craziest yet – one some feel Utah was forced to win three times.
The Utes streaked out to a 24-7 lead, but the Cougars fought back to within three points by the fourth quarter. On the game’s final drive, BYU QB Riley Nelson was under pressure and forced to throw the ball away. Utah believed the game was over and the ecstatic home crowd ran on the field. The game, in fact, was not over, as the officials ruled there was one second remaining. Utah blocked BYU’s ensuing game-tying field goal attempt and fans rushed the field again – but the game still wasn’t over. An unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on the Utes for fan interference gave the Cougars yet another shot to tie the game. After the crowd cleared the field, again, BYU’s field goal unit lined up. The kick boinked off the upright and Utah’s fans were finally allowed to rush the field for good.
Whew, that’s going to be a tough act to follow this year.
2. Auburn @ No. 6 LSU
Reason to watch: To see if Auburn can win in Death Valley for the first time this century.
Auburn hasn’t beaten LSU at home since 1999, and although the Bayou Bengals are more than two-touchdown favorites, these two always seem to play pretty close games. LSU looks like the most well-rounded team in the SEC right now, but Auburn has improved in each of its first three games. We could find out if LSU is as good as it looks on paper and how far Auburn has really come since last season’s 3-9 debacle.
1. No. 23 Arizona State @ No. 5 Stanford
Reason to watch: It’s the only Week 4 matchup featuring two ranked teams.
This game is also the Pac 12 opener for each team, so the winner gets off on the right foot in conference play. Both Arizona State and Stanford are unbeaten, but each still has a lot to prove. The Sun Devils are looking for a signature win to become a major player in the conference after going 0-4 last year against Pac-12 opponents that finished with a winning conference record. Stanford is looking to answer questions about what some are calling less-than-impressive victories over San Jose State (34-13) and Army (34-20). Both teams have a lot to lose, and gain, from this game, so expect both sides to play with a lot of intensity.