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Week 4 Football: What to Watch

A look at games that might pique your interest

NCAA Football: Virginia Military at North Carolina State Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

What a week for college football we have ahead of us! There are five Top 25 matchups this week according to SP+, seven according to Sagarin, and six according to the human pollsters who for some reason view Colorado as a Top 25 team after last weekend. Those matchups aren’t all overlaps, either, so good games are abound.

The fun starts Thursday night with some Fun Belt action featuring an undefeated Georgia State squad (they haven’t really played anybody yet) playing at Coastal Carolina (only loss is at UCLA) and old friend Tim Beck. Coastal is the rightful favorite, but Darren Grainger has been lethal at QB for the Panthers, and they have plenty of big play weapons, including both leading receivers averaging over 20 yards/catch and Georgia State’s starting RB has 7 TDs in three games.

Friday is obviously all about the NC State vs Virginia game, but if you’re a betting person - and to be clear, never bet on college sports - SP+ projects Wisconsin to be 4.8 points better than the spread, NC State 5.7 points better, and Air Force 5.0 points better in their respective Friday night games.

Saturday kicks off with the ACC’s most anticipated game of the year, Florida State at Clemson. The game has lost some shine with the Tigers getting handled by Duke in the opener and FSU struggling against a bad BC team last week, but this game should be fantastic with A efforts from each.

In the midday slot, all the buzz is around Colorado at Oregon, but the Buffaloes looked horrendous last week, as the only thing that prevented their losing was the prevent defense that Colorado State went into in the last two minutes of the game. That was dumb, and so is expecting Colorado to be a Top 20 team after having beaten an overrated and rebuilding TCU team and a couple of tomato cans.

The two games you should be watching in that midday slate are UCLA at Utah and Ole Miss at Alabama. Utah has a dominant defense and UCLA’s offense is starting to take shape after losing their two best weapons from last year. Both teams are solid and that’s going to be a great game. Meanwhile in the SEC, Alabama appears to be in freefall... you know, by Alabama standards... and Ole Miss has an offense that’s primed to take advantage of that.

In the primetime slot, it’s all about that Ohio State at Notre Dame game. The Irish have been prone to slow starts over the last two weeks and the Buckeyes offense appeared to finally figure it out last week in a route of Western Kentucky. SP+ likes Ohio State by 1.4 points in a higher-than-expected scoring game. I, personally, hope Sam Hartman lights it up.

The other night game to watch is Iowa at Penn State. The Hawkeyes offense apparently remembered how to put the ball in the end zone, but still only just barely so, which takes pressure off their still stout defense. Penn State is always due to lay an egg under James Franklin, and this feels like the game where their NFL talent laden roster is going to do it.

Did I mention ‘Go Pitt’? No? Oh... Go Pitt!

Most importantly: Go Pack!

Rankings for SP+ Ratings and Sagarin Ratings listed, respectively, ahead of each team’s name.


79/91 Georgia State @ 63/70 Coastal Carolina - 7:30pm - ESPN


25/26 Wisconsin @ 67/67 Purdue - 7:00pm - FS1

46/61 NC State @ 94/110 Virginia - 7:30pm - ESPN

57/39 Boise State @ 84/88 San Diego State - 10:30pm - CBSSN

59/60 Air Force @ 88/78 San Jose State - 10:30pm - FS1


13/17 Florida State @ 12/16 Clemson - 12:00pm - ABC

7/4 Oklahoma @ 50/45 Cincinnati - 12:00pm - FOX

85/87 Army @ 35/32 Syracuse - 12:00pm - ACCN

23/27 Auburn @ 16/14 Texas A&M - 12:00pm - ESPN

78/79 Virginia Tech @ 72/71 Marshall - 12:00pm - ESPN2

48/36 SMU @ 27/22 TCU - 12:00pm - FS1

76/69 Colorado @ 11/12 Oregon - 3:30pm - ABC

19/24 UCLA @ 17/18 Utah - 3:30pm - FOX

14/13 Ole Miss @ 6/3 Alabama - 3:30pm - CBS

32/37 Duke @ 132/144 UConn - 3:30pm - CBSSN

22/28 Miami @ 103/124 Temple - 3:30pm - ESPN2

83/81 Boston College @ 34/34 Louisville - 3:30pm - ACCN

47/41 BYU @ 55/49 Kansas - 3:30pm - ESPN

80/86 Georgia Tech @ 45/64 Wake Forest - 6:30pm - CW

33/35 Arkansas @ 15/10 LSU - 7:00pm - ESPN

20/20 Oregon State @ 38/33 Washington State - 7:00pm - FOX

75/55 Appalachian State @ 89/82 Wyoming - 7:00pm - CBSSN

1/2 Ohio State @ 4/11 Notre Dame - 7:30pm - NBC

28/21 Iowa @ 9/7 Penn State - 7:30pm - CBS

41/68 Memphis @ 37/59 Missouri - 7:30pm - ESPNU

26/23 North Carolina @ 44/58 Pittsburgh - 8:00pm - ACCN

29/25 UCF @ 21/15 Kansas State - 8:00pm - FS1

5/5 USC @ 82/97 Arizona State - 10:30pm - FOX

53/44 California @ 8/9 Washington - 01:30pm - ESPN