There are no huge blockbuster games in week four, but plenty of quality games throughout the weekend, including several sneak-good games that could be much more entertaining than expected (looking your way, Michigan State-Indiana).
Before getting into the this week’s games, I have to say it’s a bit amazing how much has changed in the past two decades. At one time, the Florida-Tennessee game was appointment viewing. Now I’d have to extend this list to 20 or so games before it came up. In addition to Florida and Tennessee, any time Nebraska or Florida State lost a football game, it sent shock waves through the world of college football. Oh, how the mighty have fallen.
Washington State at USC
ESPN 10:30 p.m. (Friday)
If you’re too fired up to go to sleep following the Penn State-Illinois game, you can catch the second half before hitting the hay. Washington State remains unbeaten, but has yet to be tested. USC is off to a terribly disappointing start after its offense went MIA against Stanford, and then getting shellacked against Texas last week. The Trojans will be looking to salvage their season, while you know watching any game involving Mike Leach will be well worth your time.
Prediction: Washington State-30, USC-24
(#22)Texas A&M at (#1)Alabama
CBS 3:30 p.m.
The Aggies gave Clemson all they could handle in week two before ultimately suffering a defeat. Two weeks later, they get another crack at another national title favorite. A young Alabama squad managed to win it all in 2017, and now seem like an unstoppable force heading for yet another championship under Nick Saban. Can they be stopped, or is this one of those years where they can bury just about any opponent on the schedule?
Prediction: Alabama- 38, Texas A&M- 24
(#7)Stanford at (#20)Oregon
ABC 8 p.m.
This has been one of college football’s most fascinating rivalries during the past decade, featuring two completely opposing styles of play. Oregon is looking to return to national prominence, and this will be a huge test for the Ducks offense after a hot start to the season. Stanford will likely need to go undefeated to reach the playoffs out of the PAC 12, so it’s survive and advance. If they can win in Eugene, they will try to remain unbeaten again with a trip to Notre Dame looming next week.
Prediction: Stanford- 28, Oregon-23
(#18)Wisconsin at Iowa
FOX 8:30 p.m.
The Big Ten West is a hot mess. Northwestern is coming off a loss to Akron. Purdue wasn’t ready for its status as a darkhorse contender. Nebraska is 0-2 following an embarrassing home loss to Troy. Wisconsin, which appeared as a lock for the division crown heading into the season, had looked off the first two weeks before being upset by BYU. Iowa remains unbeaten, but has not faced stiff competition yet. It’s just the opening of Big Ten play for both teams, but this may very well determine the conference crown. Plus, it’s a night game at Kinnick where anything can happen.
Prediction: Iowa-27, Wisconsin- 21 (OT)
Arizona State at (#10)Washington
ESPN 10:30 p.m.
You know that sensation where you have a flash image in your head of a dream you had the previous night? That’s kind of the feeling every time I remember that Herm Edwards was actually hired to be Arizona State’s head coach. But it wasn’t a weird dream after eating two burritos right before bed, the Sun Devils did hire Edwards to lead their program. The jury is still out following a close loss to San Diego State, but the Sun Devils pulled off a major upset in week two against Michigan State, and will look to do it again, this time by disrupting the power structure of the PAC 12.
Prediction: Washington-31, Arizona State-24