College football: Wisconsin vs. Michigan State, other Week 4 games to watch
Week 3 in college football looked good on paper, though on the field some of the games were a tad lopsided. But, let’s not get nitpicky. Ohio State shellacked Oklahoma, Louisville had no problem asserting its top-of-the-ACC arrival by crushing Florida State and Alabama used a big second half to put the drama out of its win over Ole Miss, though the final score ended up being close.
That brings us to Week 4. What this week might lack in firepower, it could make up for in quality.
MORE: Week 4 TV schedule
Four games feature a pair of ranked teams going at it, and a few more have a ranked team against one that was previously ranked or would likely join the top 25 with a win.
Here are a few of those Week 4 contests to get excited for:
No. 11 Wisconsin at No. 8 Michigan State | GameCenter
Saturday, Sept. 24 at noon ET on Big Ten Network
An excellent Big Ten battle starts off the Saturday action between two teams who have largely exceeded expectations so far this year.
Wisconsin had far from its best performance last week against Georgia State in a six-point victory, but it still has to be ecstatic about its spot in the rankings after beginning the year outside of the top 25. The Spartans, on the other hand, ride a lot of momentum back home into East Lansing after knocking off Notre Dame in primetime.
This should be a good defensive battle, and though the teams are in separate divisions in the Big Ten, it could have a lot of conference championship game ramifications down the line due to the anticipated tightness of the conference.
One thing to monitor is who gets the starting job at quarterback for the Badgers. Bart Houston got off to a good start to the year but struggled mightily against Georgia State, leaving freshman Alex Hornibrook to take over. That switch had good results, and it could carry over into Saturday's contest.
No. 12 Georgia at No. 23 Ole Miss | GameCenter
Saturday, Sept. 24 at noon ET on ESPN
At the same time, two SEC opponents looking to rise from the middle of the pack to the top will also square off.
It’s been a tough start to the year for Ole Miss, a very good team having to endure a brutal schedule. Its two losses came against the current No. 1, Alabama, and a team that was ranked as high as No. 2 previously in Florida State.
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Now it might be make or break time, as the Rebels get a chance for a quality win to save its season. Georgia’s passing defense has been so-so in the early going, so it might be an opportunity for Chad Kelly to break out.
Meanwhile, the Bulldogs are looking to get out of a rut since their impressive opening win against North Carolina. They won each of their last two games, but those were by a combined three points against Nicholls and Missouri. The win over Missouri took a last-second touchdown to avoid the upset.
These are both good teams, but Ole Miss is playing better than its record indicates, while Georgia has been worse. Something’s got to give in this clash, and we should learn a lot about how good each truly is.
No. 7 Stanford at UCLA | GameCenter
Saturday, Sept. 24 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC
The Cardinal has to be on upset watch here on the road against a UCLA team that has been playing some good football. The Bruins’ only loss was by just a touchdown in Texas A&M to open the season. That was then followed up with wins over UNLV and BYU.
Last year’s edition of this game was not close, with Stanford taking care of business on its home field 56-35. But with the site shifting to Los Angeles and UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen pulling off a couple of very strong performances in the last two games, this is an intriguing possibility for the most memorable game of the weekend.
No. 17 Arkansas at No. 10 Texas A&M | GameCenter
Saturday, Sept. 24 at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN
Arkansas began the season unranked, but a big upset win over TCU sandwiched in between victories over Louisiana Tech and Texas State have people wondering just how good Bret Bielema’s squad truly is.
That question will become a lot clearer in this one as the Razorbacks get a very tough assignment in the road against the Aggies.
Texas A&M has looked like a legitimate Playoff contender early in the season with several playmakers on defense and a good quarterback in Oklahoma transfer Trevor Knight. Now, it really starts digging into the meat of its SEC schedule with this one.
This game should stand as a measuring-stick contest for each of these teams. The sample sizes are simply too small this early in the season to make any final judgements, but both teams are looking good though only one will wake up Sunday morning undefeated and at the top of the SEC West. And, if it is as good as last year's overtime matchup, it should be a very fun contest.
USC at Utah on Friday, Sept. 23 at 9 p.m. ET
Penn State at No. 4 Michigan on Saturday, Sept. 24 at 3:30 p.m. ET
No. 19 Florida at No. 14 Tennessee on Saturday, Sept. 24 at 3:30 p.m. ET
Colorado at Oregon on Saturday, Sept. 24 at 5:30 p.m. ET
Oklahoma State at No. 16 Baylor on Saturday, Sept. 24 at 7:30 p.m. ET
No. 9 Washington at Arizona on Saturday, Sept. 24 at 10:30 p.m. ET