Ranking the top Week 4 college football games you should be watching on Saturday.
1. No. 22 BYU at Michigan, Noon, ABC
It’s taken three weeks for BYU to establish itself as a viable College Football Playoff contender from outside the Power Five conferences. The Cougars have beaten Boise State and Nebraska and are only a few days removed from a near-upset of UCLA. BYU’s next challenge is a trip to the Big House, where an awaiting Michigan team still must find an offensive identity. Quarterback Jake Rudock has thrown five picks this season alone and hasn’t looked like the answer coach Jim Harbaugh wanted under center. But running backs Ty Isaac and De’Veon Smith could find success against BYU’s front.
2. No. 20 Georgia Tech at Duke, Noon, ESPN2
In Notre Dame’s 30–22 win over Georgia Tech last week, the Fighting Irish held the Yellow Jackets’ triple-option offense below its rushing average of 7.8 yards per carry entering the game. Of course, Paul Johnson’s team still managed 6.7 per carry, which shows Georgia Tech can run the ball effectively even on a bad day. Duke, meanwhile, has allowed just 2.7 yards per carry against an admittedly weak early slate of games. David Cutliffe’s squad upset the Ramblin’ Wreck last season in Atlanta, so the coach knows how to win this one.
3. No. 8 LSU at Syracuse, Noon, ESPN
1. Tennessee at Florida, 3:30 p.m., CBS
The last time Tennessee beat Florida, Friends was still on primetime TV. Indeed, the Volunteers have dropped 10 straight to their SEC East rivals since 2004. Now Tennessee hopes to take its first big step as an SEC contender in Gainesville. This week Florida coach Jim McElwain announced suspensions to quarterback Treon Harris and starting cornerback Jalen Tabor for the Tennessee game, which means Will Grier should get the start at quarterback. But can the Vols, who blew a 17–0 lead in a home loss to Oklahoma in Week 2, match up with a defense that ranks second in the SEC in scoring (15.3 points per game allowed) and yards allowed per play (3.95)?
2. No. 3 TCU at Texas Tech, 4:45 p.m., FOX
Horned Frogs quarterback Trevone Boykin finally looked like a Heisman Trophy contender in last week’s win against SMU. Boykin piled 454 passing yards and six total touchdowns on the Mustangs, but he now must venture to Lubbock and face a hot Texas Tech squad. The Red Raiders sunk Arkansas 35–24 in Fayetteville last Saturday and now quarterback Patrick Mahones faces a TCU defense decimated by injuries. The Horned Frogs need to handle business against Texas Tech to kick off a successful Big 12 campaign.
3. No. 24 Oklahoma State at Texas, 3:30 p.m., ESPN
Oklahoma State heads to Austin with a 3–0 record courtesy of wins over Central Michigan, Central Arkansas and UTSA. A dejected Texas squad awaits the Cowboys after falling 45–44 at home to Cal last week. The good news for Texas is that it appears to have found an answer at quarterback: Redshirt freshman Jerrod Heard set a school record against the Bears with 527 yards of offense. Perhaps he can build off that performance for the Longhorns, who have won seven straight Big 12 openers.
1. No. 18 Utah at No. 13 Oregon, 8:30 p.m., FOX
What’s the status of Vernon Adams? The Oregon quarterback sat out last week’s 61–28 rout of Georgia State while nursing a broken index finger. Adams plans to play against Utah, and the Ducks might need him against one of the best defenses in the Pac-12. But the Utes, which recorded their highest ranking since 2010 this week, hope running back Devontae Booker and the offense can take advantage of an Oregon defense that ranks 96th nationally (5.93 yards per play allowed). A Utah win would shake up the Pac-12 South race.
2. No. 9 UCLA at No. 16 Arizona, 8 p.m., ABC
In UCLA’s opener against Virginia, quarterback Josh Rosen looked like the five-star signee he was by throwing for 351 yards and three scores. But in the Bruins’ last two games against UNLV and BYU, Rosen tossed four interceptions alongside just two touchdowns. We’ll get to see what the freshman has in store for his first Pac-12 game in Tucson. Arizona is still a bit of a mystery after avoiding a major test during its 3–0 start. But the Wildcats could get a boost on defense with the possible return of linebacker Scooby Wright.
3. Mississippi State at Auburn, 7:30 p.m., ESPN2
Auburn has been one of the most disappointing teams in the country. After just three games, coach Gus Malzahn benched quarterback Jeremy Johnson, who threw six interceptions during the Tigers’ lackluster 2–1 start. This week Malzahn tabbed redshirt freshman Sean White to start against Mississippi State, which happens to boast one of the SEC’s most seasoned quarterbacks in Dak Prescott. But perhaps Auburn’s biggest problem is its defense. Injured end Carl Lawson is set to miss an extended period of time on a unit that ranks 12th in the SEC in yards allowed per play (5.65).
From the SI.com Photo Archives
Mouse over each photo to get a pop-up view; click a link to go to the gallery.