Welcome to the most exciting week of the current college football season.
Week 4 has everything. Two regulars in the College Football Playoff are at home in must-win scenarios. A top-10 battle between two illustrious programs and a ranked contest between two more programs whose league affiliation for the upcoming season is uncertain. On network TV, there is a “Whiteout,” and Coach Prime is a given. All of that is a part of a week that will have significant playoff and conference ramifications nationwide.
Will the Noles defeat Clemson at No. 4 Florida State?
Some might wonder if Jordan Travis can lead the Seminoles to victory in Death Valley after Florida State barely avoided a 31-29 victory against Boston College. Despite this, Florida State still prevailed, because Travis had one of the top receiving teams in the country in Johnny Wilson and Keon Coleman. Coleman, however, was unable to make a reception against the Eagles.
Since their season-opening 28-7 setback to Duke, Clemson has won back-to-back routs and has taken the past seven games in the series. Cade Klubnik, the quarterback, has an opportunity to atone in this contest, and Dabo Swinney has a chance to play the underdog. Is this the Tigers’ final chance to compete in the CFP in 2023?
Given the improvement of other contenders in the ACC, there is no guarantee that this will be a rematch in the ACC championship game. This is a great table-setter for the rest of Saturday’s action.
No. 15 Ole Miss is ranked 13th. Alabama: Bama’s starting quarterback will be who?
Recall when Lane Kiffin had a choice between three quarterbacks during fall camp. Will he lend Nick Saban one for this match?
Week 3 saw Alabama defeat South Florida 17-3 despite Tyler Buchner and Ty Simpson’s combined 10 of 23 completions for 107 yards. How did Jalen Milroe fare? Will Saban start the Rebels’ game with his original starter again?
Before this game, the quarterback drama is certain to take center stage. When was the last time Saban’s situation at the most crucial position was this bad?
In the final meeting at Bryant-Denny Stadium in 2021, Kiffin quipped “Get your popcorn ready” in a pregame interview, and the Crimson Tide raced out to a 28-0 lead in the first half to win 42-21. Although the final score was 30-24 in favor of Saban last year, Kiffin has yet to defeat his coach.
No. 22 UCLA at No. 11 Utah: Which freshman QB will steal show?
The Bruins defeated Utah 42-32 last season thanks to 28 points in the second half.
Can Chip Kelly accomplish the same thing while traveling? Through three weeks, the Bruins have been a complete unit. With Ball State transfer Carson Steele and TJ Harden leading the Bruins’ classic two-back assault, rookie quarterback Dante Moore has thrown for 615 yards on average this season.
But winning in Utah is a another matter. Since Cam Rising is still recovering from an ACL tear, Nate Johnson, who had 193 passing yards, 71 rushing yards, and two touchdowns in a 31-7 victory over Weber State in Week 3, might get the start. At your own risk, underestimate Utes head coach Kyle Whittingham.
No. 19 Colorado at No. 10 Oregon: How will Deion Sanders make it personal?
Remember when Oregon coach Dan Lanning said this about Colorado when the Buffaloes left the Pac-12 for the Big 12?
Deion Sanders may be rejoining Nike, but considering the past several weeks, there is no need to speculate as to whether he will take this personally. In Week 3, Oregon thrashed Hawaii 55-10. Shedeur Sanders’ heroics helped Colorado defeat Colorado State 43-35 in double overtime. With the prime afternoon spot, the Pac-12 opener should draw substantial television audiences. What will this week’s Buffaloes do?
Sanders and Bo Nix’s QB duel should be outstanding. The Ducks will be the favorites, and given Lanning’s remarks from back in July, there may be more at stake for him.
No. 14 Oregon State at No. 21 Washington State: Who wins ‘Left Behind Bowl?’
The final two teams in the Pac-12, Oregon State and Washington State, are competing to be the adopted-underdog for the remainder of the season. Both the Beavers and Cougars, who were overlooked in the realignment chaos, have come out swinging.
It’s a contest between quarterback transfers who have settled in. After having a difficult season debut against San Diego State, Clemson transfer DJ Uiagalelei is coming off of it for Oregon State. He must surpass the 61.7% completion rate he had against Washington State. For the Cougars, Cam Ward averaged 328.7 passing yards per game, nine touchdown passes, and zero interceptions. In his second season under Jake Dickert, he has lived up to expectations.
Don’t let this game get lost in the prime-time shuffle.
No. 6 Ohio State at No. 9 Notre Dame: Will Irish upset Buckeyes?
In the first two meetings between the two institutions in 1935–1936, Notre Dame prevailed.
However, Ohio State has prevailed in five games since the turn of the century, winning by an average margin of 14.6 points.
With quarterback Sam Hartman’s big-play passing ability—he averages 265.3 passing yards per game with 13 touchdown passes and no interceptions through four games—the Irish have their greatest chance ever to break that skid.
In contrast, Ohio State’s offense began to gel during a 63-10 rout of Western Kentucky on Saturday. As of now, Kyle McCord, who averages 271.7 passing yards with six touchdown passes and one interception, is the starter. Is Benjamin Morrison, a cornerback for Notre Dame, Marvin Harrison Jr.’s replacement outside?
Which coach is more in need of this? Will Marcus Freeman, the head coach of Notre Dame and a former linebacker at Ohio State, record his first memorable triumph? With top-10 matchups against Penn State and Michigan looming later in the season, could Ohio State coach Ryan Day improve to 17-6 against ranked teams?
No. 25 Iowa at No. 7 Penn State: Hawkeyes face the ‘Whiteout’
On October 9, 2021, Iowa defeated Penn State 23–20, although neither team remembers the result. James Franklin and Kirk Ferentz, the coaches, engaged in a lengthy back-and-forth with Iowa fans jeering injured Nittany Lions players.
“We don’t really coach it, haven’t really been exposed to it,” Ferentz remarked following the game. But our fans reacted in the way they did because, I think, I don’t know, they thought they smelt a rat.
A “Whiteout” will now be entered by the Hawkeyes for the first time since 2009. One of college football’s finest spectacles, yet Penn State is 7-7 versus rated opponents in “Whiteout” scenarios. With new quarterback Drew Allar and a strong defense that has outscored opponents 131-35 after three games, the Nittany Lions have appeared to be playoff contenders, but Sunday is the first genuine test.
Penn State will be the overwhelming favorite, yet Michigan defeated Iowa in Cade McNamara’s final start at Beaver Stadium in 2021. The outcomes of four of the previous five games were all decided by a single point.
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