College Football, Week 4: Let the Games Begin

FILE - In this Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018, file photo, a Rutgers player, left, prepares to snap the ball during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Maryland in College Park, Md. The best offensive lines are greater than the sum of their parts. Former Notre Dame star offensive lineman Aaron Taylor, now an analyst for CBS Sports, is one of the driving forces behind the Joe Moore Award, which honors the best offensive line in the college football. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

Things settled down a little bit last week, though there were some absolutely crazy moments like that deflected App State Hail Mary that somehow still became a touchdown (Sun Belt, Fun Belt).


But you had some great match-ups and more predictable results. However, there are several tough match-ups that the betting odds may not be adequately prepared for. We’re now on Week 4 of college football, and some of the old rivalries are in play while other teams have to go out and continue proving they’ve truly earned their rankings. Here’s a look at the top games of the week.

No. 5 Clemson at No. 21 Wake Forest

This one is very likely a Clemson win, but you shouldn’t be surprised if Wake Forest makes it a tough game. This ACC match-up features the Tigers on a 9-game win streak (now the longest in the nation after the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns lost to Rice last week) (I am bitter about that loss, by the way), and they have beaten Wake Forest 13 straight times. That No. 5 ranking is not for show, either. Clemson boasts a lot of powerful tools. But, Wake Forest has a chance of lighting things up, assuming they can protect their quarterback (something they have struggled with in past meetings with the Tigers).


No. 20 Florida at No. 11 Tennessee

An SEC, ranked-versus-ranked match-up which should just be fun. Tennessee is at home, ranked higher, and is currently enjoying a solid start to the season. They are third in the nation in scoring offense, and Florida… is not. But, Florida is going to be aggressive on both sides of the ball, and if the Vols’ defense doesn’t watch out, Anthony Richardson is going to be a problem. The Gators have always had good luck against Tennessee, winning 16 of their past 17 meetings. Much as I like Billy Napier, though, this one is going to be a challenge for Florida.

Wisconsin at No. 3 Ohio State

The Badgers are 2-1, but their defense has only allowed three touchdowns in as many games. They clearly hope that Washington State was a hiccup rather than the norm, but Ohio State is going to be a tough one. The Buckeyes have a high-powered offense, which will put that Badger defense to the ultimate test. If C.J. Stroud is not under any sort of pressure, then it’s business as usual for Ohio State.


No. 10 Arkansas vs. No. 23 Texas A&M

Sure, you’re an SEC team and you’re No. 10 in the rankings. You’re riding high with a great start to the season, staying undefeated at home. But now you’re on the road, taking on another SEC team, and one that has recovered from a painful loss to App State early in the season. The Razorbacks have their reasons for feeling confident. They are absolutely stellar at sacking the quarterback – 17 sacks so far this season. Of course, when you rush all the time, you can get those numbers… while also sacrificing coverage. They’re last in the nation at defending against the pass, and the Aggies’ defense has allowed only two touchdowns this year. Meanwhile, Devon Achane is a thing that is going to happen. A lot.

Maryland at No. 4 Michigan

It’s quite possible the inflation crisis has hit Michigan’s ranking. No. 4 after beating Colorado State, Hawaii, and Connecticut? Sure. I mean, the Wolverines have put up incredible numbers, but how much do those numbers mean against those opponents? Meanwhile, Maryland is 3-0 and has actually had a schedule. The Wolverines may justify that ranking, but they’re going to have to work for it a bit more this week.

Notre Dame at North Carolina

Okay, Notre Dame. Let’s have a talk. I don’t know what you’re doing, or why you’re doing it. But it’s time to settle down and take this seriously. You’re fighting to break even, and it’s against North Carolina. They’re unbeaten so far, but they scored 98 points in the last two games and still almost lost them, both to Sun Belt teams (Georgia State and App State). The Irish started the year ranked (highly!) and have absolutely collapsed. They are more than likely out of contention for anything remotely comparable to recent years, but they have to prove they are still a team to watch. The Tar Heels, meanwhile, need to find a defense.


The Bottom Line

Mostly, it’s a put-up-or-shut-up week for a lot of teams across the country. We’re starting to get a better idea of what each team brings to the table (except for Michigan because, seriously, what the hell?) and how they’re going to match up against their opponents. Unlike the NFL (damnit Saints), injuries aren’t having too much impact on the games, so we’re seeing most of these teams at their peak (except, again, for Michigan).


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