It’s hard to believe we’re already a month into the college football season, but when you look at the Week 4 schedule it’s clear enough that the campaign is in full swing.
The college football Week 4 slate is full of compelling matchups and huge games that will alter the national power structure. With that in mind, here’s a look at the games we’re most interested in watching this coming weekend.
No. 10 Utah vs. USC
The pressure is on for Clay Helton to squeeze out a win after his Trojans were upset on the road against BYU last weekend. Freshman quarterback Kedon Slovis made some big mistakes in his first road game, and they were costly. But the team’s defense deserves plenty of blame as well for allowing Zach Wilson to go bananas in the fourth quarter.
Things get no easier for USC this Friday night when Utah comes to town. The Utes feature a dominant defense and one of the best running backs in the nation in Zack Moss. Helton’s seat is already roasting. Another loss in Week 4 could swiftly spiral into three losses in a row with road games against Washington and Notre Dame next up on the schedule.
Tennessee vs. No. 9 Florida
This game provides compelling reasons to watch, despite what appears to be on the surface a huge gap in overall talent.
The Volunteers opened the season with a putrid loss to Georgia State, then dropped a second straight home game to BYU. Last weekend they woke up from their slumber and shut out Chattanooga, 45-0. Now comes the biggest test of the season with a road game against a Florida team with its back against the wall.
The Gators lost starting quarterback Feleipe Franks to a season-ending ankle injury last weekend. Kyle Trask came to the rescue with an incredible fourth-quarter performance that sparked a comeback against Kentucky. The big question now is, can he do that on a game-to-game basis? And if not, can Florida’s defense win the day?
No. 11 Michigan vs. No. 13 Wisconsin
This is an absolutely huge game for both programs. It will set the tone for the rest of the season as both Michigan and Wisconsin attempt to prove they belong in the same conversation as B1G powerhouse Ohio State.
The Badgers haven’t allowed a single score so far in 2019. They also feature one of the best offensive players in the nation in running back Jonathan Taylor, who has been incredibly productive in his first two games with eight total touchdowns.
Michigan hasn’t looked nearly as impressive. The Wolverines were slow starting against Middle Tennessee and then had a big scare against Army in Week 2. With two weeks to prepare for this huge conference rivalry game, Jim Harbaugh and Co. better come out hot, or they are apt to be destroyed on the road by this hungry Badgers squad.
No. 8 Auburn vs. No. 17 Texas A&M
The Tigers better be ready for an all-out brawl this Saturday as they head to College Station to take on a ticked-off Aggies squad. Texas A&M showed its mettle a couple weeks back giving Clemson all it could handle in Death Valley and is eager to show what it is made of against another top-10 opponent.
Since a thrilling win over Oregon in Week 1, Auburn has flown under the radar with two games against cupcake opponents. Freshman quarterback Bo Nix struggled against Tulane but bounced back last weekend against Kent State with an efficient day throwing the ball. He’ll need to be magical once more if the Tigers are going to escape Kyle Field with a win.
No. 16 Oregon vs. Stanford
Is this truly the beginning of the end for David Shaw and the Stanford Cardinal? A program that’s been a national powerhouse for years has now lost two games in a row while giving up 45 points in each of them.
Stanford’s defense was absolutely shredded by UCF last weekend. Now back home, the Cardinal will host one of the most dynamic offenses in the nation led by Heisman candidate Justin Herbert.
The Ducks have recovered nicely from their Week 1 heart-breaker to Auburn with two straight blowout wins at home. If they can replicate that same success on the road, they’d not only bury Stanford but remain in the conversation as one of the best teams in the nation.
No. 7 Notre Dame vs. No. 3 Georgia
This primetime matchup should be a fun game to watch as both teams feature high-powered offenses led by quarterbacks who have NFL-caliber arms. Anticipation is running high, and ticket prices are soaring for the biggest game in college football Week 4.
On paper, Georgia should have a big edge. The Bulldogs have more dangerous weapons on offense, the better quarterback in Jake Fromm, and a defense that has looked dominant through three weeks.
However, should Ian Book return to the form we saw last year when he won the starting job over Brandon Wimbush, the Fighting Irish will have a fighting chance. Certainly, a Notre Dame win Saturday night in Athens would signal to the rest of the nation that this team is for real.