14 Things to Watch in College Football Week 4

College football week 4 kicks off this weekend with an exciting, much more crowded schedule. Three of the major conferences are in action for the first time in 2020 and there are some big time Group of Five games as well.

Here are the top 14 things I am most excited for in week 4.

SEC debuts!

All 14 SEC teams play on Saturday. Now, some may say, the college football season will officially begin.

3 games featuring two ranked teams

Last week’s Miami vs Louisville game is the only ranked vs ranked game of 2020. This Saturday, we will see three such games

  • 23. Kentucky @ 8. Auburn
  • 22. Army @ 14. Cincinnati
  • 24. Louisville @ 21. Pittsburgh

Miami vs Florida State in primetime

Is the U back? Who knows. But Miami was impressive last week in primetime in a 47-34 road win against Louisville. QB D’Eriq King looks like he could be the real deal as he threw for 325 yard and 3 TDs and did not turn the ball over.

Florida State lost their opener to Georgia Tech, who was terrible in 2019. Seminoles will be without head coach Mike Norvell, who tested positive for COVID-19.

Will Oklahoma State offense wake up after last week’s scare?

Oklahoma State averaged 32.5 ppg in 2019 and returned their top three offensive weapons – QB Spencer Sanders, RB Chuba Hubbard (a dark-horse Heisman candidate) and WR Tylan Wallace. That’s why it’s so concerning that the Cowboys beat Tulsa 16-7, with 13 of those points coming in the fourth quarter. Granted, Sanders got hurt early, which impacted the offense but Hubbard averaged just 3.4 yards per carry against a defense that has not been very good in recent years.

Sam Ehlinger and Texas try to build momentum

Texas is back! JK. We’ll see. Against an awful UTEP team, Sam Ehlinger threw for 426 years and 5 TDs. It feels like he is in his 7th year at Texas and there is a lot of pressure and high expectations for him to lead Texas to a win over Oklahoma and a Big 12 championship. But first, they must face Texas Tech who will be without star running back SaRodorick Thompson.

Willie Taggart Bowl

Taggart was a disaster at Florida State, where he coached for 21 years the last two years. Before FSU, he coached South Florida from 2013-2016, where he went 24-25. Taggart’s tenure was book-ended by a 2-10 debut season and a 10-2 finale. Saturday will be his Florida Atlantic debut.

LSU ready for their encore

After going 15-0 and winning the National Championship, LSU will have a completely different look in 2020. Joe Burrow, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, J’Marr Chase and pretty much the entire defense are gone. Myles Brennan debuts at QB. Sophomore CB Derek Stingley is the most notable returning defender.

Exciting coaches debut in Mississippi

Lane Kiffin returns to the big time, after three years at Florida Atlantic. His SEC return and Ole Miss debut will come at home against Florida.

Mike Leach going to Mississippi State was one of the oddest coaching moves of the off-season. He brings his exciting air raid offense to Starkville, and debuts against LSU.

Mac Jones given keys to Alabama offense

Jones started 4 games in 2019, including the final 3. In those 4 starts, he threw 13 TDs and 2 INTs. Now granted, 2 of those starts were against Western Carolina and Arkansas, one of them was a loss to Auburn, and the fourth was a bowl win against Michigan where he looked very impressive. Jones is surrounded by talent, with Jaylen Waddle and DeVonta Smith at WR, Najee Harris at RB and Alex Leatherwood at LT.

How will Spencer Rattler follow up his debut

Rattler put up video game numbers against Missouri State. Kansas State, despite losing their opener, is a “real” team and should pose a much larger threat to the Sooners, whom they shockingly beat in 2019. Rattler completed 14-17 passes for 290 yards and 4 TDs in his debut.

Group of Five momentum

As noted above, Cincinnati hosts Army in a battle of ranked teams. Bearcats are among the favorites to win the group of five bowl bid. UCF is one of the top contenders. Knights blew out Georgia Tech on the road last week and this week go on the road again to face ECU.

#19 Louisiana hosts Georgia Southern in Sun Belt action and #18 BYU makes their season debut hosting Troy.

Tennessee enters the season ranked #16

Vols open up against South Carolina. After winning 7 of their last 8, including 6 in a row to end 2019, the expectations are high for Jeremy Pruitt in his third season. Tennessee has won 4 SEC games in a row and their winning streak started with a win over South Carolina on October 26 last year.

Virginia and Virginia Tech kickoff their seasons

These rivals were scheduled to face each other last week, but due to positive COVID tests, the game was postponed. Virginia opens up against Duke, who has lost to Notre Dame and Boston College. Virginia Tech opens against NC State, who beat Wake Forest in a wild game last week.

Will any more games be cancelled or postponed?

So far two games have been rescheduled for week 4 – Notre Dame vs Wake Forest and Houston vs North Texas. Poor Houston has had their opener cancelled four times now.

Last week, Houston/Baylor was cancelled 24 hours before the game, so it’s possible more games will be cancelled this week too.

Mike is a member of the FWAA (Football Writers Association of America) and an alum of the University of Cincinnati.

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