College football Week 4: Schedule, game predictions, lines, tv info

By Matt Johnson
John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

The 2020 college football season rolls into Week 4 and the schedule is getting even better with SEC teams finally set to join this week’s action. As we look ahead to the top games across the country in Week 4, it’s evident college football will enjoy Saturday.

We couldn’t ask for a better game to begin Saturday’s college football slate with Lane Kiffin making his coaching debut for the Ole Miss Rebels against the Florida Gators. While the Gators will be massive favorites in this one, Kiffin is always capable of surprising us.

While fans won’t get to see Trevor Lawrence and the Clemson Tigers this week, the SEC’s return ensures that everyone will be entertained. But, if Alabama Crimson Tide, LSU Tigers and the Georgia Bulldogs returning to the field aren’t enough, the Oklahoma Sooners will also return in Week 4 of the college football season.

Let’s dive into the college football schedule for Week 4 with our game predictions, matchup previews and notes for Saturday’s action.

College football schedule: Week 4 game predictions and television info

Florida Gators (5) at Ole Miss Rebels

Time/television: 12:00 PM EST, ESPN

Point spread: Florida (-14), O/U (57)

It’s college football time in Florida and Dan Mullen’s program will kick off its 2020 season with a great opportunity. On offense, quarterback Kyle Trask will be tasked with getting the most out of a young receiving corps. Even if the receivers struggle, tight end Kyle Pitts is an athletic wonder with the ability to be a go-to option for Trask. The rushing attack will also be strong with Dameon Pierce and Lorenzo Lingard. As always, the Gatos’ defense is loaded with talent and we’ll be witnessing future NFL players on Saturday.

For Kiffin’s Rebels, this is going to be a work in progress. Fortunately, Ole Miss will be entertaining. Quarterback John Rhys Plumlee, who rushed for 1,023 yards in 2019, will split time with Matt Corral. On defense, the Rebels will be led by edge rusher Sam Williams and linebacker Jacquez Jones, They are the headliners, but this is a deep group. However, it’s still too early for Ole Miss to upset the Gators.

Week 4 prediction: Florida 31 Ole Miss 20

Kansas State Wildcats at Oklahoma Sooners (3)

Time/television: 12:00 PM EST, FOX

Point spread: Oklahoma (-28), O/U (59)

Given the Wildcats suffered a season-opening loss to Arkansas State, a trip to Norman is probably the last thing this program needs. Kansas State’s defense surrendered 330 passing yards and 35 points in Week 2, but at least the offense put up a fight. While quarterback Skylar Thompson might rack up some stats against Oklahoma’s defense, it will mostly come in garbage time.

Oklahoma will not see its starting quarterback taken with a No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft or even a top-50 selection. Of course, that’s because Spencer Rattler is a freshman. Named the starter right before the season, he left the college football world stunned in his debut with unfathomable throws. Buckle up in Week 4, because you’re about to witness a future NFL star just at the early stages of his collegiate career.

Week 4 prediction: Oklahoma 42 Kansas State 10

Kentucky Wildcats (23) at Auburn Tigers (T-8)

Time/television: 12:00 PM EST, SEC Network

Point spread: Auburn (-7), O/U (47.5)

Kentucky gets quarterback Terry Wilson back this season after he missed most of the 2019 campaign following a devastating knee injury. He’ll be protected by an experienced offensive line and will benefit from a receiving corps that is happy for this offense to have a legitimate passing attack again. As for the Wildcats’ defense, it’s a solid group with several starters returning and defensive coordinator Brad White putting guys in position to make plays. That said, this Week 4 matchup will be tough for Kentucky.

For Auburn, everyone’s eyes will be on quarterback Bo Nix. He showed flashes of greatness as a freshman last season, but he really struggled with his touch and didn’t have consistent accuracy with a 57.6% completion rate. If he does improve as a passer, receiver Seth Williams can challenge for All-American honors with NFL-caliber talent. The problem for Auburn, its offensive line is an alarming weak spot. If the Wildcats pressure Nix and he gets rattled, we’ll see the first SEC upset of the college football season.

Week 4 prediction: Auburn 24 Kentucky 17

Louisville Cardinals (24) vs. Pittsburgh Panthers (21)

Time/television: 12:00 PM EST, ACC Network

Point spread: Pittsburgh (-3), O/U (53)

Louisville’s offense proved it can hang around with almost anyone in Week 3, nearly going punch-for-punch with the Miami Hurricanes. At quarterback, junior Malik Cunningham continues to make a strong impression and is a force both through the air and on the ground. We know the Cardinals are capable of beating Pittsburgh, but it will come down to the defense in a close game.

Pittsburgh doesn’t always win pretty, but the program is happy to enter Week 4 with a 2-0 record. At quarterback, senior Kenny Pickett looks sharp with a 69.6% completion rate, 492 passing yards and five total touchdowns in two starts. He’ll be the key against Louisville’s defense in a high-scoring game that comes down to the wire. In the end, the safe pick lands on the Cardinals’ offense pulling out a victory.

Week 4 prediction: Louisville 31 Pittsburgh 27

Iowa State Cyclones at TCU Horned Frogs

Time/television: 1:30 PM EST, FOX SPORTS 1

Point spread: Iowa State (-3), O/U (46.5)

As if things couldn’t get worse for Iowa State, with the school facing a staggering revenue hit, the Cyclones suffered a season-opening loss to the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns in Week 2. While there’s blame to go around, quarterback Brock Purdy had one of the worst performances in his career. He’s now set to face an even better defense, led by TCU’s rising safeties Trevon Moehrig and Ar’Darius Washington. Fortunately for the Cyclones, there are bigger problems in Texas.

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Under non-2020 circumstances, the Horned Frogs would be in great position to win in Week 4. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on this program. Starting quarterback Matthew Duggan was sidelined by a heart condition that was discovered during testing for the coronavirus. Meanwhile, backup quarterback Matthew Downing missed practice for undisclosed reasons. Fortunately, both quarterbacks were cleared to return this week. We might see a rotation here, but it’s a vastly better situation than what it could have been.

Week 4 prediction: TCU 27, Iowa State 24

Texas Longhorns (T-8) at Texas Tech Red Raiders

Time/television: 3:30 PM EST, FOX

Point spread: Texas (-17.5), O/U (69)

Life is good right now for the Longhorns. They started their 2020 season by dismantling UTEP, behind Sam Ehlinger’s 426-yard, five-touchdown performance. Texas now gets to square off against the Red Raiders in a matchup Ehlinger is very familiar with.

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In three meetings with Texas Tech, the Longhorns’ star quarterback has crushed them like a grape. He enters Saturday with 799 passing yards, 132 rushing yards and eight touchdowns in three starts against TTU. We expect that level of domination to continue in their final meeting and Texas Tech will be elated when it’s over.

  • Week 4 prediction: Texas 45 Texas Tech 21

Mississippi State Bulldogs at LSU Tigers (XX)

Time/television: 3:30 PM EST, CBS

Point spread: LSU (-16), O/U (56)

Mike Leach believed there would be a college football season and he was right. After months of waiting, the sports world finally gets what it wanted. Leach in the SEC will be magical and we can’t wait to see what his offense looks like, especially with KJ Costello and Kylin Hill in the backfield. Now, that said, prepare for the Bulldogs to be crushed.

There’s no denying LSU lost an unprecedented amount of talent this offseason. Not only is Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow gone, but running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire, receivers Ja’Marr Chase and Justin Jefferson, multiple starters on the offensive line and offensive guru Joe Brady all left. There are so many questions on offense, but this is LSU and we expect them to crush Ole Miss.

Week 4 prediction: LSU 38 Mississippi State 20

West Virginia Mountaineers vs. Oklahoma State Cowboys (15)

Time/television: 3:30 PM EST

Point spread: Oklahoma State (-8.5), O/U (54.5)

The Mountaineers are feeling good after their offense exploded for 57 points in a season-opening win, including 42 points in the first half. But that came against Eastern Kentucky, a program that will never be competing with the likes of WVU. Things are going to be much tougher for the Mountaineers in Week 4 against an underrated defense, setting them up for a potential double-digit loss.

Oklahoma State narrowly escaped its opener with a win over Tulsa, which isn’t exactly a ringing endorsement for the No. 15 team in the country. If Spencer Rattler can’t play on Saturday, this offense will need to be much better against the Mountaineers. Fortunately, with Chuba Hubbard in the backfield, you can count on that happening.

Week 4 prediction: Oklahoma State 27 West Virginia 13

Georgia Bulldogs (4) at Arkansas Razorbacks

Time/television: 4:00 PM EST, SEC Network

Point spread: Georgia (-26.5), O/U (51)

Before the COVID-19 pandemic happened, Georgia found itself in the dream situation. While it lost Jake Fromm, the arrival of Jamie Newman put this team back in the CFP hunt. Things looked even more promising when JT Daniels enrolled at Georgia. Now, Newman is gone, receiver Dominick Blaylock is out for the season and Daniels is still recovering from last season’s knee injury. So, redshirt freshman D’Wan Mathis will likely be starting in Georgia’s opener.

The good news, Georgia’s backfield remains loaded and we’re even more excited about the pass-catching weapons. George Pickens is a star in the making and five-star tight end Darnell Washington could have a prominent role in his freshman season. There’s more than enough reason to be excited to watch this offense against the Razorbacks.

Week 4 prediction: Georgia 38 Arkansas 13

Alabama Crimson Tide (2) at Missouri Tigers

Time/television: 7:00 PM EST, ESPN

Point spread: Alabama (-27), O/U (55)

Alabama finally arrives for the college football season in Week 4. It’s going to feel very different watching this team without Tua Tagovailoa. Mac Jones will open the season as the starter, but we have to wonder how long he keeps the job. Freshman Bryce Young is a generational talent and the ceiling of this offense might be higher with him as the starter. Even if he isn’t ready, Jones is more than capable of taking advantage of an offense with two future first-round picks at wide receiver.

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On the other side, there are a lot of lingering questions for the Tigers. Shawn Robinson is intriguing, but his most recent play in 2018 with TCU created more frustrations than highlights. He’s not exactly going to be helped out by a strong supporting cast either, with a steep drop in talent after receiver Damon Hazelton Sr. Needless to say, this won’t be an enjoyable opener for the Tigers.

Week 4 prediction: Alabama 38 Missouri 10

Vanderbilt Commodores at Texas A&M Aggies (10)

Time/television: 7:30 PM EST, SEC Network (alternative)

Point spread: Texas A&M (-30.5), O/U (47.5)

The days of James Franklin making the Commodores a competitive team feels like centuries ago. Coming off a three-win season, while it might seem impossible, Vanderbilt might be even worse this year. There’s inexperience on the left side of the offensive line with a freshman at quarterback, not exactly ideal circumstances for a program. Frankly, given Vanderbilt’s schedule, a winless season is possible.

Jimbo Fisher’s program entered the 2019 season with pretty high expectations, but a rough schedule wiped out any hope of competing for an SEC title. Heading into the opener, there’s more reason to be optimistic about Texas A&M. The offensive line should take a step forward this season, which would be pivotal for quarterback Kellen Mond to finally become a star. This should be a blowout victory, but the Aggies won’t have much time to celebrate with a clash versus Alabama on deck.

Week 4 prediction:

Tennessee Volunteers (16) at South Carolina Gamecocks

Time/television: 7:30 PM EST, SEC Network

Point spread: Tennessee (-3), O/U (46.5)

Tennessee experienced the tale of two halves in 2019. After suffering back-to-back upsets at the hands of Georgia State, things looked bleak. When the Volunteers had a 2-5 record, some called for coach Jeremy Pruitt to be fired. Tennessee stuck by its coach and reeled off six consecutive wins, including a Gator Bowl victory. It looks like this program is trending upwards, especially with the young talent Pruitt is bringing in, but let’s see if they can beat South Carolina first.

Ryan Hilinski learn showed flashes of quality play as a freshman, which makes it a bit surprising that he didn’t get the starting gig. Of course, transfer quarterback Colin Hill’s familiarity with Mike Bobo’s system should help South Carolina maintain some consistency out of the gate. It just might not be enough against a team with a bit more talent on both sides of the ball.

Week 4 prediction: Tennessee 21 South Carolina 17

Florida State Seminoles at Miami Hurricanes (12)

Time/television: 7:30 PM EST, ABC

Point spread: Miami (-11), O/U (57.5)

Heading into week 4 of the college football season, Miami looks like one of the most impressive teams in the country. D’Eriq King’s arrival is making a huge difference for this program, with his All-Conference talents also getting the most out of his teammates. We haven’t even seen King torch teams on the ground, he’s just picking defenses apart with his arm and it could soon make Miami a top-10 program.

As for the Seminoles, the season-opening loss to Georgia Tech showed us everything we needed to see. This program is a massive work in progress and it could get ugly in Miami. Expect Justin Blackman to be under pressure all night and the results, as they have been for too long, will be disastrous.

Week 4 prediction: Miami 35 Florida State 14