Week 4 of the college football season isn't exactly one that fans have been clamoring for. Every year there is a week or two when there just flat out isn't all that much exciting going on across the world of college football, and this is one of those weeks. Only the TCU/Oklahoma State game features two Top 25 teams. However, madness ensues every single week in college football, and this week won't be an exception to the rule.
For one thing, a bunch of the top teams in America are going on the road. Six of the teams that are ranked in the top seven will be away from home, the exception being Clemson against Boston College. Would you seriously wager that all six of these teams that are on the road are going to stay undefeated? We certainly wouldn't, even though we must admit that there isn't a game on the schedule that truly screams to be a disaster waiting to happen for a National Championship contender.
Oklahoma seemingly has the easiest game of the bunch at Baylor. The Bears have been a wreck this year under Matt Rhule, and they have nothing going for them. Oklahoma is going to be one of the biggest away favorites of the entire season in major conference play, though if things keep going poorly for the Bears, they may become the butt of this joke later in the season against one of the other Big XII powers.
Alabama and Penn State are facing teams that are sure to bring solid defensive efforts to the table. Vanderbilt and Iowa aren't locations that normally host games that are front and center on your television on Saturdays, but Nashville is the site of the showcase 3:30 p.m. ET game on CBS, while Iowa City gets to be showcased under the lights on ABC at 7:30.
Over in the Pac-12, USC visits Cal, while Colorado hosts Washington in a rematch of the Pac-12 Championship Game from a season ago. Michigan could also face a real test against Purdue, a team that Jeff Brohm really has trending in the right direction, particularly on the offensive side of the ball right now.
But the game of the week in our eyes is clearly TCU/Oklahoma State. These two teams are legitimate contenders in the Big XII this season. The winner of this one is going to be an early contender for the College Football Playoff, while the loser will probably have to be flawless the rest of the way to keep the dream of a National Championship alive.
Temple at South Florida, 7:30 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Opening Line: South Florida -17.5
Preview: It was clear that the South Florida Bulls had a bit of an emotional chip on their shoulder when they took care of business against Illinois last Friday night. Now, after all of the devastation of Hurricane Irma has cleared on the Gold Coast of Florida, the Bulls have to get back to their initial goal of the season: Winning the AAC. The Temple Owls are going to bring a stout defense down to Tampa on Thursday night in what will be a short week for both teams. Continue...
Virginia at Boise State, 8 p.m. ET (ESPN2)
Opening Line: Boise State -13.5
Preview: Have the Boise State Broncos solved their quarterback quandary? With Brett Rypien sidelined with a concussion last week, Montrell Cozart stepped in and played a big game to beat New Mexico. If Rypien is healthy, though, that could pose a big question coming into Friday night's game against the Virginia Cavaliers. Continue...
Utah at Arizona, 10:30 p.m. ET (FOX Sports 1)
Opening Line: Utah -3
Preview: The Pac-12 South is setting itself up to be a bloodbath this year. Between USC, Colorado and UCLA, there are three legitimate contenders at the top. But let's not forget about the two teams that are going to be mixing it up on Friday night. The Utah Utes and Arizona Wildcats are 5-1 between them this year, and one of these two could become a sneaky Pac-12 South contender by November, too. Continue...
UNLV at Ohio State, 12 p.m. ET (Big Ten Network)
Opening Line: Ohio State -39.5
Preview: The Ohio State Buckeyes are surely going to finish 3-1 in non-conference play this season. But after losing to Oklahoma a couple weeks ago at home, none of those out of conference games are going to mean much. Saturday's soiree against the UNLV Rebels will be a nice boost to the statistics, but there's nothing to gain from this outing in Week 4. Continue...
N.C. State at Florida State, 12 p.m. ET (ABC)
Opening Line: Florida State -11.5
Preview: It's strange to think that the Florida State Seminoles have yet to win a game this season, yet they remain a legitimate Top 25 team with a shot at playing for all the marbles in January. Thanks to Hurricane Irma, two straight FSU games have been washed away. It should be an emotional afternoon in Tallahassee in Week 4 when an N.C. State Wolfpack team that always seems to be a thorn in the Seminoles' side comes calling. Continue...
Kent State at Louisville, 12 p.m. ET (ACC Network)
Opening Line: Louisville -38
Preview: MAC schools don't often gets shots to play against the big boys from the ACC, but in Week 4 of the season, there are a couple opportunities for some big upsets. Of course, the Louisville Cardinals probably won't be in much of a mood to fool around with the porous Kent State Golden Flashes in what could end up being one of the squash matches in what will be the last week of non-conference play for many teams in America. Continue...
Arkansas vs. Texas A&M (Arlington), 12 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Opening Line: Texas A&M -3
Preview: The old rivalry between the Arkansas Razorbacks and the Texas A&M Aggies is one that has really taken on some new heat since the two teams have come back together in the same conference in the SEC West. Now, they get to play each other every single season, and the rivalry is as fierce as it's ever been. This year's game will be played in Arlington in what will truly be a neutral site game for both clubs. Continue...
Old Dominion at Virginia Tech, 2 p.m. ET (ACC Network)
Opening Line: Virginia Tech -27.5
Preview: The Old Dominion Monarchs have only been playing FBS football for a couple seasons, and they're still trying their best for one of those signature moments when they beat a true powerhouse team. Last week, they failed badly against North Carolina, but they'll have a second opportunity against the Virginia Tech Hokies in Blacksburg in Week 4. Continue...
Alabama at Vanderbilt, 3:30 p.m. ET (CBS)
Opening Line: Alabama -18.5
Preview: It isn't all that often that the Vanderbilt Commodores are playing in the SEC Game of the Week on CBS. Even rarer is when that game happens to come at home. The 'Dores probably don't have much of a chance against the Alabama Crimson Tide, but you can bet they're going to be psyched for the opportunity to play against the top team in the land on their home turf. Continue...
Boston College at Clemson, 3:30 p.m. ET (ESPN2)
Opening Line: Clemson -31.5
Preview: The Clemson Tigers want to know why they're not being talked about as the No. 1 team in America. They're the defending National Champions and now have two straight wins over teams that were ranked in the top 20 in America, the second win of which came on the road. With the biggest win in the ACC already in the books, the Tigers know that the road to the ACC Championship Game is going to ride through Death Valley. The Boston College Eagles don't seem likely to be the ones to bump off the champs in Week 4. Continue...
USC at California, 3:30 p.m. ET (ABC)
Opening Line: USC -15
Preview: Week 4 of the college football season is quietly a very important one in the Pac-12. Before we even mention a rematch of the Pac-12 Championship Game from last year, we have the issue of the USC Trojans and the California Golden Bears. These two teams are absolutely capable of flying all over the field, and we suspect we're going to see some real fireworks when they meet in Berkeley. Continue...
TCU at Oklahoma State, 3:30 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Opening Line: Oklahoma State -10.5
Preview: Beating Pittsburgh shouldn't necessarily be a world-changing moment, but the fact that the Oklahoma State Cowboys ran roughshod over them at Heinz Field was big for sure. Now comes the start of conference play and a test against another Top 25 team in the TCU Horned Frogs. If the Pokes come up with nearly 60 points again in this one, they'll surely be turning heads. Continue...
Toledo at Miami, 3:30 p.m. ET (ACC Network)
Opening Line: Miami -12.5
Preview: South Florida was absolutely ripped to shreds by Hurricane Irma. Now, there's at least a chance to start the healing process with the power of sports. The Miami Hurricanes haven't been on the field since one of the biggest hurricanes ever ripped through South Beach, but they're going to be out there again when they take on the Toledo Rockets on Saturday afternoon. Continue...
Michigan at Purdue, 4 p.m. ET (Big Ten Network)
Opening Line: Michigan -9
Preview: The Michigan Wolverines have made it through their first three games of the season unscathed, but it's hard to say that they're truly ready for the Big Ten campaign. Granted, they've still got plenty of time to get ready for the serious games of the season, but this first legitimate road game of the year at the Purdue Boilermakers could be problematic if Big Blue isn't careful. Continue...
Oklahoma at Baylor, 6:30 p.m. ET (FOX Sports 1)
Opening Line: Oklahoma -25.5
Preview: Back in 2003, the Baylor Bears were perpetually amongst the worst teams in America. They ran into the title-contending Oklahoma Sooners in Norman in November, and they were 54.5-point underdogs, the biggest point spread ever recorded in a power conference game. Baylor covered that day in spite of the laughable final score of 41-3. Now, the Bears are in as bad of shape as they have been since that low point, while Oklahoma is back on the National Championship trail. Fortunately, this spread won't be 54.5, but it isn't exactly short at Oklahoma -25.5 either. Continue...
Syracuse at LSU, 7 p.m. ET (ESPN2)
Opening Line: LSU -23.5
Preview: Ed Orgeron has a lot of thinking to do about his LSU Tigers heading into Week 4 of the season. They were beaten down by Mississippi State last week in their first major test of the season on the road. They'll have a reprieve this week against the Syracuse Orange, but it would be easy to ponder on the mistakes of Week 3 and fall into a similar trap. Continue...
Mississippi State at Georgia, 7 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Opening Line: Georgia -6.5
Preview: It's going to be a two dog night in Athens on Saturday. The Mississippi State Bulldogs made a loud statement in the SEC West in Week 3 by beating LSU at home. If they can go on the road and take out another of the SEC's top teams, the Georgia Bulldogs, they'll cement their place in the early going as a National Championship contender. Continue...
Penn State at Iowa, 7:30 p.m. ET (ABC)
Opening Line: Penn State -11
Preview: The tests for the Penn State Nittany Lions are officially set to begin in Week 4 of the campaign. After a pretty putrid non-conference schedule littered with the likes of Georgia State, Pittsburgh and Akron, PSU has to go on the road for the first time to take on one of its own in the Big Ten. The Iowa Hawkeyes don't get a lot of chances to play under the lights at Kinnick Stadium, and you can bet this ABC game is going to be a beauty. Continue...
Auburn at Missouri, 7:30 p.m. ET (ESPNU)
Opening Line: Auburn -17
Preview: The Auburn Tigers are having themselves some issues at this point. They have yet to cover a point spread this year, and they're coming off of a dud of a 24-10 win over Mercer, a team they were favored to beat by 40. That said, it's hard to say they've done anything short of what's been expected of them with a 2-1 start to the year heading into the game against the Missouri Tigers in Week 4. Continue...
Florida at Kentucky, 7:30 p.m. ET (SEC Network)
Opening Line: Florida -2.5
Preview: Kentucky Wildcats fans know the score when it comes to the Florida Gators. It's been three decades since the last time Big Blue took out the men from the Swamp. There have been some good opportunities along the way for Kentucky to finally get that elusive win, but few have been better than the one that will present itself in Week 4 in Lexington. Continue...
Notre Dame at Michigan State, 8 p.m. ET (FOX)
Opening Line: Notre Dame -3.5
Preview: There was a point that the game between the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the Michigan State Spartans was can't miss television. Remember seven years ago when the Spartans beat the Fighting Irish in overtime on the "Little Giants" fake field goal in one of the greatest games in the last decade in college football? All of that seems to be a memory at this point. Both MSU and Notre Dame struggled mightily last season, and they both seem to be pointed towards a long 2017 campaign as well. Continue...
Washington at Colorado, 10 p.m. ET (FOX Sports 1)
Opening Line: Washington -10
Preview: The Washington Huskies and Colorado Buffaloes met in the Pac-12 Championship Game last year, a game won comfortably by the Huskies. If the Buffs are going to have a shot in the Pac-12 South this year, they're going to have to win a game or two that most don't see as a prospective upset. This could be one of those games against a team that played in the CFP last season. Continue...
UCLA at Stanford, 10:30 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Opening Line: Stanford -6.5
Preview: No one has come up with a creative name yet for Week 4 in the Pac-12, but someone certainly should. The UCLA Bruins and Stanford Cardinal are both involved in a game that is going to be a bit of a "prove it" showdown. Both teams were beaten last week by non-conference teams, and if either one is going to have a say in the Pac-12 title race this year, this game figures to be a game that has to be won. Continue...
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