We’ve reached Week 4 of the 2013 college football season, and there are numerous games to keep an eye on. No, this week does not feature a game like last week’s bout between Texas A&M and Alabama. But there are still a few games that could change the landscape of the entire season.
Both of these teams are on the bubble of the Top 25, so a win in this game could catapult one into the rankings. Arkansas has started the season 3-0 behind one of the nation’s best rushing attacks, but it has been against a soft schedule. Rutgers will be their toughest test so far. If it were not for a tough overtime loss at Fresno State, then the Scarlet Knights would be 3-0 as well. A win in this game would make a serious statement to the rest of the FBS.
After this game, Arkansas’ next four games are against Texas A&M, Florida, South Carolina, and Alabama. Ouch. There is a good chance that they lose all four of those games, so a win over Rutgers would be crucial for their bowl chances. Behind running back Alex Collins, the nation’s fourth-leading rusher, a win is entirely possible. However, Rutgers has the nation’s leading rusher in Paul James. Add in the fact that this game will be played in New Jersey, and I’m taking Rutgers in a close one.
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These SEC rivals are competitive year in and year out, but this week they happen to both be coming off losses. Tennessee was whooped last week at Oregon, but you can’t blame them for that one. Florida, on the other hand, lost to Miami in a game that they should have one. Both teams will leave it all on the field this week, because a two-game losing streak in the SEC is tough to overcome.
Florida played terribly last week against Miami, including quarterback Jeff Driskel. He will step it up this week, especially with the game taking place at home. Tennessee is a good team, but there is no way that they are taking this one away from the Gators.
From one SEC game to another, this battle between Auburn and LSU matches up two 3-0 teams. Auburn was been the more surprising 3-0 team, with victories over Washington State and Mississippi State. LSU was predicted to start 3-0, and they have done just that behind dominating wins. Nick Marshall and Zach Mettenberger have both been awesome at quarterback, but now one of their teams will have to fall to 3-1.
LSU has been dominant on both sides of the ball so far this season, so Auburn is in for a tough game. To throw some salt on the wound, this game is also being played in Baton Rouge. Auburn might be able to keep this game somewhat close, but an upset would be absolutely shocking. Of all of the games on this list, this one has the most blowout potential.
This might as well be a battle between ranked teams, as Michigan State was the first team left out of the Top 25. This week they have their toughest opponent of the young season in 2-1 Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish’s only loss was a close game at Michigan, so they might be even better than their record indicates. Senior quarterback Tommy Rees shows flashes of greatness, so we’ll have to wait and see if he brings his A-game this week. If he doesn’t, then Michigan State can definitely pull off the road upset.
This game could honestly go either way, but with it happening in South Bend I’ll take Notre Dame. Rees should play much better than he did in the Michigan game, and the defense will be solid as always. Michigan State hasn’t had a tough opponent all year, so I’m not sure they’ll be ready for the Irish.
The clear-cut game of the week is a clash of two undefeated Pac 12 teams, Arizona State and Stanford. Arizona State is coming off of an extremely impressive win over Wisconsin. Behind quarterback Taylor Kelly, their offense is one of the best in the nation. Stanford has yet to face a difficult opponent, but they were still impressive in their first two games. The Cardinal boasts one of the country’s best defenses and they remain a legitimate title threat. The winner of this game will make a huge leap towards the BCS.
Stanford has been untested so far this year, but David Shaw will have them ready come Saturday. Kevin Hogan always plays well in big games, and the defense will be as good as advertised. Arizona State is a very good team, but this matchup does not favor them. Stanford will pull out a win in what could be a shootout.