Week three gave us two incredible upsets that shook the top 10. Oklahoma and LSU both lost giving two of the four playoff participants from last year with a long road back to the playoffs. Additionally, the return of the SEC brought some power back to our football weekend. This week, we have intriguing matchups from each of the conferences that will help shape this young season. We take a look at those matchups in our week 4 college football watch guide.
Note: All game times are in central standard time
Week 4 College Football Watch Guide
The Gamecocks went toe to toe with Tennessee last week before losing by four. A fumbled punt ended up being the nail in the proverbial coffin for South Carolina. But, transfer quarterback Collin Hill was mostly solid in his first start. He threw for 290 yards and a touchdown. However, in order force the upset, they will have to contain Kyle Trask. Trask threw for over 400 yards with six touchdowns in game one. The Gators and Trask are right in the middle of the College Football Playoff discussion as well as the Heisman.
It was hard to get a read on the Tigers after the first week. On one hand, Alabama led 35-3 early in the fourth quarter. But, Missouri showed a lot of resolve in battling to force a 38-19 final score. Shawn Robinson and Larry Roundtree III provide a nice offensive punch. Conversely, Tennessee got a tough road win last week against South Carolina. Jarrett Guarantano was not great, but solid in the win. The Vols running back tandem of Ty Chandler and Eric Gray might be the best in the SEC.
Quarterback Max Duggan came in the game in the third quarter and nearly brought the Horned Frogs back against Iowa State. But, his 241 yards and three scores were not enough as the Cyclones got a 37-34 decision. A full four quarters and the debut of five-star freshman running back Zack Evans could be a difference-maker. The Longhorn snatched victory from the jaws of defeat last week coming back to win after trailing by 15 with four minutes remaining. Texas will have to be much better on defense this week, even with the hot start from Sam Ehlinger.
Both the Aggies and the Crimson Tide were in games where they appeared to get a little bored last week. Texas A&M struggled their way to a 17-12 victory over Vanderbilt. Kellen Mond was just average in throwing for only 189 yards. But, Isaiah Spiller was solid in carrying the ball eight times for 117 yards. Meanwhile, Alabama was dominant early in building a 35-3 lead over Missouri. However, Nick Saban couldn’t be happy with the way Alabama finished with the Tigers outscoring Bama 16-3 late in the game. Rest assured we will see a much better effort from both teams.
For the Tar Heels, it’s been three weeks since their opening weekend victory against Syracuse. After the way they ended that game, Sam Howell and company will be itching to get back on the field. The upstart Tar Heels find themselves just outside of the top 10 in a top-heavy ACC. Boston College was very impressive in their 26-6 week one win over Duke. But, perhaps they were looking ahead to this week as they had to score 17 unanswered points in the second half to take care of Texas State last weekend.
The biggest game in the American Athletic Conference so far this season happens in Big D as SMU hosts Memphis. The edge in game experience this year clearly belongs to the Mustangs as this will be their fourth game and only the Tigers’ second game. Look for an up-tempo, basketball on carpet game with two of the conferences best quarterbacks in Brady White and Shane Buechele. With Cincinnati and Central Florida looking strong, this game feels like a must-win for both early in the year.
Any time the service academies get together, it’s always one of the better games of the weekend. This year is no different with Navy taking on Air Force. The Naval Academy is one of the most improved teams from game one to two after the blowout loss to BYU and then the epic comeback win in overtime against Tulane. For Air Force, it might be one of the strangest schedules in the country. This will be the first game of the year for the Falcons. But, after this game, they will have another three weeks off before the Mountain West schedule begins on October 24th.
The biggest game of the weekend is also the only top 10 matchup as the Tigers tussle with the Bulldogs in Athens. Auburn blew open a back and forth game against Kentucky last week for a 16-point win. The improvement from Bo Nix was on full display as he was much more accurate and threw for three touchdowns against the Wildcats. For Georgia, we’ll likely see the debut of JT Daniels at quarterback for the Bulldogs. Georgia struggled in the first half after settling down and dominating the second half.
The Sooners come into this game with a potentially season-crippling loss against Kansas State last weekend. Especially considering Oklahoma held a 35-14 lead in the third quarter before giving up the final 24 points of the game. But, Oklahoma simply doesn’t lose back to back games. However, this might be their biggest challenge after a loss. The Cyclones avenged their loss with a win last week against TCU. The Cyclones have what many believe as the best running back in the conference in Breece Hall in a critical game for both teams.