Ranked Games Highlight College Football Week 4

Mante Te'o and the Notre Dame defense will look to take down the Michigan Wolverines.

Stanford’s win over Southern California in Week 3 made sure that the AP Polls had a very different look about them when they were released on Sunday. USC dropped from #2 to #13 in one fell swoop. This came on the back of those unlikely exits (Arkansas, Wisconsin, Nebraska) a week earlier.

This weekend’s ranked games offer some teams the opportunity to promote their stock further while others may well be looking up at the Top 25 come Sunday afternoon. Here’s a look at the four ranked games on tap this Saturday.

 

#18 Michigan @ #11 Notre Dame

(7:30 PM ET) This is the closest contest to pick from this week’s ranked games, at least according to the bookmakers. #11 Notre Dame (3-0, 1-0 home) enters the game as 5-point favorites. The Fighting Irish have impressed defensively, particularly in limiting Michigan State to 3 points last weekend.

#18 Michigan (2-1, 0-1 road) had a rough outing against Alabama in Week 1 but has continued to improve the past two weeks. The Wolverines were favorites to take the Big Ten but another loss this weekend could prove costly ahead of conference play.

The recent rivalry between these two makes it even tougher to pick a winner. It looks good for Michigan in that seven of the last eight games, the underdog has gone on to victory. Michigan has won the last three games by a combined 12 points, and taken six of the last seven. But that Irish defense looks like it’ll be tough to get by, especially at South Bend.

 

#15 Kansas State @ #6 Oklahoma

(7:50 PM ET) #6 Oklahoma (2-0, 1-0 home) has had an extra week to prepare for this Big 12 opener following last week’s bye. Wins over UTEP and Florida A&M have not really shown what the Sooners have inside the engine this year, but Saturday’s game will be a good first look proper.

#15 Kansas State (3-0, 0-0 road) has made fairly easy work of Missouri State, Miami (FL) and North Texas but last year’s mauling at the hands of the Sooners will be fresh in the mind. As will the fact that Oklahoma has taken five straight in the series.

Oddsmakers have opened their books accordingly, offering Oklahoma as 14½-point favorites. Kansas State will need to limit the offensive output of Landry Jones if they’re to get anywhere in this game, a tough ask if ever there was one.

 

#10 Clemson @ #4 Florida State

(8:00 PM ET) It’s time for #4 Florida State (3-0, 3-0 home) to face a challenge. The Seminoles have outscored their opposition (Murray State, Savannah State and Wake Forest) by a total of 176-3. Impressive, but that’s hardly sterling competition there, is it?

#10 Clemson (3-0, 0-0 road) beat Auburn in Week 1 before easing to victories over Ball State and Furman. That Auburn win is the one that has the Tigers at #10 in the polls.

Florida State starts 14½-point favorites in this one. Clemson has lost nine of the last 10 in Tallahassee, a statistic that haunts the team coming into this one. However, the Tigers bested Florida State last season on the back of 141-yards and two touchdowns from WR Sammy Watkins. If the Sophomore puts up those numbers this weekend, you can expect Clemson not only to beat the spread, but to beat Florida State outright.

 

#22 Arizona @ #3 Oregon

(10:30 PM ET) Like Florida State, the main criticism surrounding #3 Oregon (3-0, 3-0 home) has been that the Ducks have yet to play quality opposition. Many suspect when Chip Kelly’s team does come up against stiffer competition, it might start to slip down the rankings.

Meanwhile, #22 Arizona (3-0, 0-0 road) has been a surprise package under new coach Rich Rodriquez. A win this weekend would match the entire tally for last season. And with the offensive output the Wildcats can put up – 604 yards per game so far – a win is not completely out of the question.

However, oddsmakers have the Ducks as 21½-point favorites heading in. Oregon has a barnstorming offense of its own so the Wildcats will be in for a touch ride, that’s a big spread, and one that’s certainly beatable. Whether Oregon is beatable at Autzen Stadium is another thing.

 

AP Top 25 (Week 4 Fixtures)

#24 Boise State 7-6 BYU (Thursday)

Florida Atlatic @ #1 Alabama

#2 LSU @ Auburn

#22 Arizona @ #3 Oregon

#10 Clemson @ #4 Florida State

Vanderbilt @ #5 Georgia

#15 Kansas State @ #6 Oklahoma

Missouri @ #7 South Carolina

Maryland @ #8 West Virginia

#18 Michigan @ #11 Notre Dame

California @ #13 USC

Kentucky @ #14 Florida

UAB @ #16 Ohio State

Virginia @ #17 TCU

Oregon State @ #19 UCLA

#20 Louisville @ Florida International

Eastern Michigan @ #21 Michigan State

South Alabama @ #23 Mississippi State

Idaho State @ #25 Nebraska

#9 Stanford, #12 Texas both on a bye week

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