Written by: Drew Duff
Member of Ball State Sports Link
Ah. I love this time of year. The leaves change colors, fall nights turn chilly, and for the typical white girls, pumpkin spice flavored coffee is back. Now, you might be wondering what my favorite part about fall is. Well, for me and many others, it’s the return of college football.
So far, this season has not been a letdown. Just last week we watched the #2 team fall at home, and we saw the defending national champions save themselves from an upset by a late interception.
Week 4 of the young college football season is coming up, and if you’re going to spend your entire Saturday glued to the TV (as I will be) you need to know what to look out for. That’s where I come in.
First off, I’m going to give you two games that everyone, commentators and fans alike, will be watching. These games will play a large role at shaping the four team playoff come late December.
- #18 Utah at #13 Oregon
Time/TV: 8:30 pm, FOX
What happens in this game will depend highly on the quarterbacks for each team. Oregon QB Vernon Adams broke his index finger during the Ducks season opener against Eastern Washington and didn’t play last week. His counterpart Travis Wilson sprained his shoulder against Utah State two weeks ago and also rode the bench last Saturday.
Utah’s biggest test so far was their first game against Michigan, during which the Utes won on account Michigan’s three turnovers. Oregon played in East Lansing against then fifth-ranked Michigan State. A terrific game by all accounts, but the Ducks couldn’t make big plays when they needed to.
Both quarterbacks are expected to play in this game. If both play to their fullest potential, it could be an offensive shootout.
Oregon is now on a more level playing field with the rest of the conference since the departure of Marcus Mariota. This game really could go either way.
Utah 28, Oregon 24
- #9 UCLA vs #20 Arizona
Time/TV: 8:00 pm, ABC
It seems that the PAC-12 continues to get stronger, as they provide both games between ranked opponents this week.
Bruins freshman quarterback Josh Rosen has been called a superstar in the making. He completed 80% of his passes in the opening game against Virginia, and the praises rang through L.A. He then had three interceptions in a squeaker over BYU last week.
UCLA’s offensive coordinator wasn’t concerned, calling it “a great learning experience.” Clearly the Bruins have a lot of confidence in this kid, who should be a leader for years to come..
Let’s not forget this important fact however. He isn’t the only young quarterback destined for greatness in this game.
Wildcats QB Anu Solomon is one of the most underrated players in college football. As a freshman last season, he completed 58% of his passes and threw for almost 3,800 yards.
I wouldn’t sleep on this game if I were you. The QB competition will be very fun to watch. As close as this will be, I have to give a slight advantage to experience.
Arizona 34, UCLA 31
Each week, there are a good number of games that fly under the radar. This is usually due to the teams being unranked or part of a small conference. Players always play harder in these games because they usually don’t get any national recognition. Here are two under-the-radar games that present interesting match ups this weekend:
- Bowling Green vs Purdue
Time/TV: 12:00 pm, Big Ten Network
You’re probably now asking yourself why in the world you would want to watch this. However this MAC vs. Big Ten match up will be much better than you think.
Bowling Green has already beaten a Big Ten team this year, defeating Maryland 48-27 in their second game. 28 of those points came in the 4th quarter. This team is also currently leading the NCAA in passing yards, which is unheard of for a MAC team. The Falcons offense, behind senior QB Matt Johnson, will be the difference maker.
They go up against a Purdue defense that allowed 471 yards and 51 points last week in a loss to Virginia Tech. The Boilermaker offense was in pretty rough shape as well, converting 2 of 15 third down attempts. They already lost to a non Power Five team in Marshall this season, which makes this game even more interesting.
Look for Bowling Green to control Purdue on both sides of the ball. It will be yet another case of a team from the MAC beating a Big Ten team.
Bowling Green 35, Purdue 17
- #22 BYU at Michigan
Time/TV: 12:00 pm, ABC
Backup quarterback Tanner Mangum has filled in nicely for Brigham Young since replacing starter Taysom Hill, whose season is over due to a foot fracture. He has completed over 60% of his throws since he took over, and BYU is quite confident in him to lead the offense.
This Michigan team once filled with question marks has looked tremendous over the past two games. Granted the competition hasn’t been great, but the offense is on the same page, and that’s improvement from last year. The running game has been a strong point in their offense, and I suspect they will do more of the same.
The Wolverines defense has been solid this season, something that carried over from Brady Hoke’s leadership. Michigan is ranked 12th nationally is yards allowed per game. Look for that to be the difference maker.
Michigan will get tested by BYU, but it’s a test I believe they pass. Jim Harbaugh gets his first big win at his alma mater.
Michigan 28, BYU 24
There is an entire division that flies under the radar every single week. It does the league an injustice that these teams don’t get the attention they deserve. I’m talking about the FCS, and it’s filled with tight games and crazy plays. In order try and change that, I will be giving you the FCS game you should be on the lookout for this week. This week, it is:
Bryant at Coastal Carolina
These two teams are powerhouses in the FCS. Both have had their program less than 20 years, and have risen through the ranks with great coaching.
The Bryant Bears have increased their win total each of the past three seasons, and are off to a 2-0 start this year. With an 0-2 playoff record, Bryant is looking to be a sleeper when the FCS championship comes around.
The Chanticleers have really established themselves recently, making it to the quarterfinal round of the playoffs the past two seasons. They have rattled off three straight wins to start the year, and they’re looking to catch fire heading deeper into the season.
This is the first meeting between these two teams, and they both have zeros in the loss column. This game is going to get exciting.
Coastal Carolina 34, Bryant 30
Week Four in college football will be an interesting one to watch. I hope that I helped make informed decisions on what match ups to look out for on Saturday. Be on the lookout for future weekly preview articles.