19 ranked teams have lost over the first three weeks of the season. That is the most ever this early into a college football season in recorded history. With only two ranked versus ranked matchups this weekend, there’s more of an opportunity for an unranked team to land a surprise. Should Iowa State, Oklahoma, Clemson, and North Carolina be on upset alert? Our ranked matchups are both neutral site games as Texas A&M faces Arkansas in Arlington and Notre Dame battles Wisconsin at Soldier Field. Now, let’s get into it as we look at the best matchups in college football with our 2021 week four college football watch guide.
Note: All game times are in central standard time
2021 Week Four College Football Watch Guide
We get started with our 2021 week four college football watch guide with two 1-1 teams as Marshall travels to Appalachian State. The Thundering Herd comes off of a heartbreaking loss to East Carolina, 42-38. Quarterback Grant Wells hasn’t been quite as strong with four touchdowns and five interceptions. The Mountaineers’ lone blemish on the season came against Miami, 25-23. Chase Brice has been good early completing nearly 70% of his passes.
Liberty travels to Syracuse on Friday night in an interesting matchup against the struggling Orange. Malik Willis is a Heisman candidate and has accounted for 11 touchdowns through three games for Liberty. Syracuse is 2-1 but struggled mightily against Rutgers in a 17-7 defeat a couple of weeks ago. Sean Tucker has been a bright spot at the running back spot with 367 yards and six touchdowns.
It’s a battle of former teammates as Jack Coan and Notre Dame battle it out against Graham Mertz of Wisconsin at Soldier Field. Coan has been the better of the two at this point with eight touchdowns and two interceptions. Comparatively, Mertz has yet to throw a touchdown pass through two games. This is a must-win for both teams as Notre Dame hosts Cincinnati and Wisconsin hosts Michigan next week.
A rematch of one of the most interesting games of 2020 as LSU travels to StarkVegas. Both teams have been much better offensively this season behind stellar quarterback play from Max Johnson and Will Rogers. The Bulldogs lost in heartbreaking fashion last week against Memphis. Conversely, LSU has a murders row schedule of five ranked opponents in the next six games.
A battle in the Lone Star State has undefeated Texas Tech battling the Longhorns to start Big 12 play. Texas bounced from the loss to Arkansas with a 58-0 drubbing of Rice. Casey Thompson is the guy at quarterback for now. Meanwhile, Tyler Shough is completing nearly 68% of his passes with six touchdowns and two interceptions. With an upset win, the Red Raiders would only be two wins away from bowl eligibility.
One of only two ranked versus ranked matchups give us the premier SEC game of the week in our 2021 week four college football watch guide. The upstart Razorbacks have climbed all the way up to 16th in the national rankings thanks to the dominant performance against Texas. Meanwhile, the Aggies are riding a suffocating defense that has allowed only 20 points in three games.
The Cyclones rebounded from their loss to Iowa with a convincing win against UNLV on Saturday. They hit the road for the second time in as many weeks. But, this time against the much-improved Bears. Baylor has won their last two games by a combined score of 111-14 against Texas Southern and Kansas. Gerry Bohanon has been a bright spot for the Bears at quarterback five touchdowns and zero interceptions on the year.
It’s been a rough start to the season for Clemson with only 17 points scored total against FBS competition. Now, comes what could possibly be their toughest matchup in the ACC as they travel to Raleigh to face NC State. The Wolfpack are relatively untested on the year but did lose 24-10 at Mississippi State. The Wolfpack have only given up seven points total in two home games this season.
The biggest surprise of the season might be the now ranked, 3-0 Michigan State Spartans. Fresh off a 38-17 win against Miami, the Spartans return home to face an improving Nebraska team. Heisman candidate Kenneth Walker III is having one of the best seasons of any running back in the country. For Nebraska, they gave Oklahoma everything they wanted Saturday and in some respects outplayed the Sooners. Can they do it again?
In what has become a trend among some of the preseason blue-bloods, Oklahoma has struggled in two of their three games. Inconsistency is the buzzword in Norman, particularly around Lincoln Riley’s offense. For West Virginia, they emerged victorious with a goalline stand against then-ranked 15th Virginia Tech. Contrary to previous matchups, this game could turn into a defensive struggle.
After a dismal start to the season, the North Carolina offense has scored 118 points in their last two games. The Tar Heels have a nice three-headed monster on offense with Sam Howell, Ty Chandler, and Josh Downs. Georgia Tech counters with a defense that held Clemson to 14 points and had a chance to take the Tigers to overtime. That defense will get another test in a sneaky intriguing game in Atlanta.