Saturday morning in Week 4 of the college football season will begin in an unfamiliar place with ESPN’s College Gameday heading to Time Square in New York.
Week 4 brings us six games where both opponents are 3-0 and at least one team is ranked. It will all begin at 2:30 when No. 1 Alabama takes on Vanderbilt in Nashville, No. 5 USC heads to Berkley to take on Cal, and No. 6 Oklahoma State hosts No. 16 TCU.
At 6:00, No. 17 Mississippi State travels to Athens in a dog eat dog match-up against No. 11 Georgia. You can see the preview of that game in the video below with Tim Melton and Jon Lunceford.
At 6:30, No. 4 Penn State is in Iowa City to face the Hawkeyes. And at 9:00 to cap your night, Colorado will host No. 7 Washington in Boulder. Jon SaBerre and I took three of those games to preview in the video up top. Here are those three games:
No. 1 Alabama at Vanderbilt
The Tide comes off an uninspiring win over Colorado State in which Nick Saban found plenty to be mad about with his defense in the second half of the 41-23 win. That’s now two straight weeks Alabama’s offense has put up 41 against Mountain West Conference opposition following their 17-point win over Florida State to open the year. Jalen Hurts has continued to do damage with his legs, finding the end zone on the ground three times in the last two weeks. He’s also been the leading rusher in the Fresno State and Colorado State games. Kansas State QB Jesse Ertz did the same thing against Vanderbilt Saturday but mistakes and penalties cost the Wildcats in a 14-7 Vandy win. Vandy has found a nice balance on offense with quarterback Kyle Shurmur and running back Ralph Webb. Webb’s no longer leaned on like he was last year, and it’s allowed the offense to grow. But Vandy’s strength under Derek Mason is still their defense. The Commodores lead the nation in total defense and held K-State to under 300 yards of offense. If the ‘Dores want to be successful, they’ll need to keep Jalen in the pocket and slow down the running backs. Not an easy task.
No. 7 Washington at Colorado
The Huskies and Buffaloes have been underwhelming to start the year with Washington struggling early in the season with Rutgers and Colorado having a close game for a little while with Northern Colorado before pulling away. Washington is still led at quarterback by Jake Browning, but it’s Myles Gaskin that’s key for the Washington offense. The dynamite running back hasn’t been able to rack up a 100-yard game so far this season at it could be critical against a Colorado defense that will want to reel Browning in. The Buffs are tied for fourth in the country in points allowed at nine a game. However, the list of opponents has not been great for Colorado: Colorado State, Texas State, and Northern Colorado. Washington will be a major leap for the Buffs to overcome, but Colorado has pulled greater upsets in Folsom Field before. Just ask Bob Stoops.
No. 16 TCU at No. 6 Oklahoma
This is the one that people will want to watch if they love quick strike offense. Both teams are averaging over 500 yards and 49 points on offense. Each defense is also allowing 17 or less points a game. Oklahoma State has beaten the likes of Tulsa and Pitt while TCU has defeated Arkansas and SMU. Both teams are primed for this match-up, and it’s one that may just come down to who has the ball last. Mason Rudolph went off last week with five touchdown passes in the first half of a 59-21 demolishing of Pitt. Kenny Hill and TCU spotted SMU a 19-7 lead before dominating the last three quarters to a 56-36 win. Kenny Hill seems to be improved as he’s thrown eight touchdowns to two interceptions so far, but Rudolph has been damn near perfect with 11 TDs and one pick along with over 1,100 yards passing. The difference could be home field advantage as TCU is normally better in big games at home. Regardless, it should be entertaining.