The college football slate in week 3 was definitely not good, as there were no ranked matchups. But, week 4 is setting up to be the best week of the season, with marquee games happening all day long.
In fact, it’s the most ranked matchup, 6, in one day since 2006! And, Clemson, who had the 26th-most AP votes this week, plays a ranked Florida State. So, seven games all involving top-26 teams.
Six ranked matchups this week… first time there has been this many ranked matchups on a September Saturday since 2006, when there were seven on 9/16/06.
— Chris Fallica (@chrisfallica) September 18, 2023
Look at this slate!
No. 4 FSU at Clemson 12 ET ABC
No. 19 Colorado at No. 10 Oregon 3:30 ABC
No. 15 Ole Miss at No. 13 Bama 3:30 CBS
No. 22 UCLA at No. 11 Utah 3:30 FOX
No. 14 Oregon St at No. 21 Wash St 7 FOX
No. 24 Iowa at No. 7 Penn St 7:30 CBS
No. 6 Ohio St at No. 9 Notre Dame 7:30 NBC
— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) September 18, 2023
Let’s talk about each of these matchups.
#4 FSU @ Clemson 12ET ABC
This game looked much bigger right after Florida State smacked LSU on Sunday of week 1. But, Clemson lost the night after to Duke, taking some shine off this game. Still, Clemson is the most talented team left on Florida State’s schedule, Clemson doesn’t lose at home much in conference play, and the Seminoles struggled with Boston College on Saturday, needing a facemask penalty to avoid punting the ball back to Boston College with plenty of time left in a 31-29 win. One big storyline is health of FSU quarterback Jordan Travis, who picked up an injury to his non-throwing shoulder. He should be good to go.
#19 Colorado @ #10 Oregon 3:30PM ABC
Deion Sanders’ Colorado Buffaloes face their biggest test yet as they go to the Autzen Zoo to take on Bo Nix and Oregon. Colorado will be without their best player, as two-way superstar Travis Hunter will miss three weeks following being hospitalized by a Colorado State cheap shot in the Buffs’ double-overtime win.
#15 Ole Miss @ #13 Alabama 3:30PM CBS
It’s the last year of SEC on CBS 3:30 kicks, and we have a classic matchup here. Lane Kiffin and Ole Miss are 3-0, including a pretty impressive win on the road against a very good Tulane team. Meanwhile, Alabama is out of the top ten for the first time in recent memory, lost to Texas, and led lowly USF 10-3 before a late touchdown made it 17-3. If you’re a ‘Bama hater, it could be the final nail in the Saban dynasty coffin.
#22 UCLA @ 11 Utah 3:30PM Fox
The big story in this game is the health of Utah senior quarterback Cam Rising. Rising tore his ACL in last year’s Rose Bowl loss to Penn State, and hasn’t played yet this year. He’s been practicing without limits, however. Utah’s week one demolition of Florida looks much better after Florida soundly defeated Tennessee over the weekend, and Kyle Whittingham’s team is as fundamentally sound as any. Chip Kelly once again has UCLA playing great football and true freshman quarterback Dante Moore has tons of potential.
#14 Oregon State @ 21 Washington State 7PM Fox
These two teams are still looking for a conference and teams to play for next year, but right now both have their sights set on a PAC 12 title and possible Cinderella College Football Playoff appearance. Both teams have great quarterbacks, with Clemson transfer DJ Uiagaleilei looking great for Oregon State while Cougar veteran Cam Ward is one of the sport’s most fun players. This should be an absolute battle with two fan bases that have become kindred spirits over the last few months.
#24 Iowa @ #7 Penn State 7:30PM CBS
It’s Penn State’s famous White Out game, and there is no love lost between these two fan bases. They’ve grown to despise each other through not just football, but in wrestling, where the two are routinely the top two teams in the country and Penn State has overtaken Iowa as the sport’s top power. Things reached a head in a top five football matchup two years ago when Iowa fans were caught booing and mocking injured Penn State players. Expect an atmosphere as hostile as any around the country all year as defensive end Chop Robinson and Penn State’s nasty defense look to keep Iowa offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz below the benchmarks he needs to hit to keep his job this season.
#6 Ohio State @ #9 Notre Dame 7:30PM
The day’s marquee game is arguably the biggest matchup of the season. Notre Dame’s offense looks the best it has in years with Wake Forest transfer Sam Hartman establishing himself as a bona fide Heisman candidate. Meanwhile, Ohio State’s offense sputtered in week one against Indiana, but is hitting its stride with Kyle McCord named the starting quarterback for the season prior to Saturday’s drubbing of Western Kentucky. This game may be decided in the trenches, where Ohio State’s offense has struggled so far.
All in all, it’s setting up to be a great Saturday to sit on your coach for 12 hours and watch copious amounts of college football.