Week 3 of the college football season provided several upsets and saw the race for the College Football Playoff become a little bit clearer. Alabama passed a possibly tricky road test against Ole Miss with flying colors, Ohio State looked solid in a win over a good TCU team, Notre Dame struggled mightily at home against Vanderbilt, Wisconsin was upset at home by BYU and LSU got a last second win on the road at Auburn. On paper, Week 4 doesn’t seem to have as many good games as Week 3 did, but college football has proven time and again that anything can happen on any given week. Here are the best games to watch in Week 4. All games listed are in chronological order and all times listed are Central Time. All rankings reflect the most recent AP Poll. And remember, if you’re team doesn’t make this list, it’s only because I hate them.
Thursday, September 19
Tulsa @ Temple
Lincoln Financial Field – Philadelphia, PA
Why you should watch: It’s the only game of the night. Other than that, there’s really not much reason to watch this game (unless you’re from Tulsa or Philly) because both of these teams are just really bad. Tulsa is 1-2 with losses against Texas and Arkansas State (plus a win against Central Arkansas) while Temple is 1-2 with losses to Villanova and Buffalo (but somehow a win against Maryland).
Friday, September 20
FAU @ #16 UCF
Spectrum Stadium – Orlando, FL
Why you should watch: You could make the argument that since the start of the 2017 season, these have been the two best teams in the state of Florida (and throw USF into that mix as well). UCF went 13-0 and won the Peach Bowl last year while Lane Kiffin guided FAU to an 11-3 record and a CUSA title. UCF has a new coach but is still rolling while FAU lost it’s only other marquee matchup of the season (a drubbing in Norman against Oklahoma).
Washington State @ USC
LA Coliseum – Los Angeles, CA
Why you should watch: USC is a five alarm fire right now. It seems like Clay Helton has been on the hot seat since the minute he took the job halfway through the 2015 season. This despite winning a Pac-12 title last year and a Rose Bowl the year before. The Trojans have looked bad all year: an ugly win against UNLV, an inept offensive performance in a loss to Stanford, and a walloping against Texas. Washington State meanwhile has quietly gone 3-0 and weird things tend to happen in Friday night games, which suits Mike Leach to a T.
Saturday, September 21
#2 Georgia @ Missouri
Faurot Field – Columbia, MO
Why you should watch: The toughest test of the season so far for Georgia, whose schedule has been Charmin-Ultra soft to this point (and will be for the rest of the year). The Dawgs look every bit as good as they did last year with a balanced offense and a stout defense. Missouri is undefeated after playing a string of nobodies and can score in bunches. Their QB Drew Locke is being touted as one of the best in college football. So you have a good Missouri offense against a good Georgia defense: something’s got to give.
#22 Texas A&M @ #1 Alabama
Bryant-Denny Stadium – Tuscaloosa, AL
Why you should watch: The first of only two ranked vs. ranked matchups this weekend. In Texas A&M’s first year in the SEC way back in 2012, the Aggies rolled into Tuscaloosa with a QB named Johnny Manziel and shocked the Crimson Tide. It’s been all Bama since then. Several of the meetings have been bloodbaths (59-0 in 2014, 41-23 in 2015, 33-14 in 2016). But Jimbo Fisher is running the show in College Station now and has Aggie fans believing good things are just around the corner. Interesting note that three men have coached at both schools: Bear Bryant, Gene Stallings and Dennis Franchione.
#17 TCU @ Texas
Darrel K Royal Memorial Stadium – Austin, TX
Why you should watch: This game is looking like a much juicier matchup now than it was a week ago. TCU lost but played well against Ohio State while Texas (which was reeling after an ugly loss to Maryland and an ugly win against Tulsa) absolutely mashed USC. However, since joining the Big XII in 2012, TCU has owned Texas. The Longhorns have won only once in the six meetings since then with the Horned Frogs winning four straight, including three straight in Austin.
#14 Mississippi State @ Kentucky
Kroger Field – Lexington, KY
Why you should watch: Did anybody think that Mississippi State and Kentucky would be a big-time matchup this early in the season? I certainly didn’t. Most figured that both teams would have at least one loss coming into this game, but they are both 3-0 and have both looked pretty good in all of their games. Week 2 was a big week for both teams as Mississippi State went on the road and smoked Kansas State while Kentucky went to the Swamp and exorcised some 31 year old demons and beat Florida.
#7 Stanford @ #20 Oregon
Autzen Stadium – Eugene, OR
Why you should watch: The second of two ranked vs. ranked matchups. This game had long been the bell-weather of the Pac-12 North but Oregon’s last two seasons have been bad and taken some of the luster out of this game. But both the Ducks and the Cardinal are undefeated. However, Stanford is the more tested team having beaten San Diego State and USC up to this point while the Ducks have yet to play a Power 5 team.
#18 Wisconsin @ Iowa
Kinnick Stadium – Iowa City, IA
Why you should watch: A rivalry game that is always a slugfest. Wisconsin’s College Football Playoff hopes took a massive hit last week against BYU, but they still control their own destiny in the B1G. Iowa has quietly gone 3-0 to this point and they tend to make life difficult for ranked teams coming to Kinnick (just ask Ohio State last year and Michigan the year before that).