Opinion

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: What To Watch In Week Four

   DailyWire.com
SOUTH BEND, IN - SEPTEMBER 11: Notre Dame Fighting Irish quarterback Jack Coan (17) looks to throw the football during a game between the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the Toledo Rockets on September 11, 2021, at Notre Dame Stadium, in South Bend, In (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The week four slate may not pop off the screen, but these are the weeks when the unheard of generally occurs. It’s always the weeks in which not much is expected when the upsets happen.

I certainly wouldn’t take this Saturday to get the chores done.

There will be just two top-25 matchups as No. 12 Notre Dame and No. 18 Wisconsin will play at Soldier Field in Chicago, while No. 7 Texas A&M and No.16 Arkansas square off at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

Let’s take a look at the best of week four in college football.

No. 12 Notre Dame vs No. 18 Wisconsin – 12:00 p.m. ET, FOX

Notre Dame quarterback Jack Coan returns to play against his former team as the two programs head to Chicago for a noon eastern kickoff.

Coan transferred to Notre Dame after the 2020 season in which a foot injury caused him to lose the starting quarterback job to Graham Mertz. Through three games with the Irish, Coan has thrown eight touchdowns to just two interceptions in leading Notre Dame to a 3-0 start, though the undefeated start has been anything but easy for Brian Kelly and the Irish.

“We all understand that’s the storyline that’s out there, but it’s important for Graham and our whole team to know that what’s awesome about football, it’s a team sport,” Wisconsin coach Paul Chryst said. “It’s going to take our team going up against a very good Notre Dame team. That’s where the game’s going to be played.”

Notre Dame needed overtime to beat now 0-3 Florida State in week one, were down to Toledo late in the fourth quarter, and were lackluster last week in a 27-13 win over Purdue. A win against Wisconsin would mean Kelly becomes the all-time winningest coach in Notre Dame history, passing legendary coach Knute Rockne with 106 wins. Though Kelly doesn’t seem to be all that excited about the accomplishment without a ring on his finger.

“I can tell you exactly where I sit in Notre Dame history,” Kelly said during a conversation with CBS Sports this week. “The coach that won more games that hasn’t won a national championship. That’s where I’ll sit.”

The Badgers are 1-1 after a tough loss at home to Penn State in week one and beating Eastern Michigan two weeks ago. Defensively, Wisconsin is stout, but the offensive side of the ball is where things need to improve. Mertz is yet to throw a touchdown pass this season and had two interceptions in week one against Penn State.

No. 7 Texas A&M vs No. 16 Arkansas – 3:30 p.m. ET, CBS

Texas A&M has won the last nine meetings between the two longtime rivals, but Arkansas head coach Sam Pittman has something going in Fayetteville.

Pittman certainly was not the sexy choice when he was hired after the 2019 season, but he’s turned the program around in just two years at the helm. The Razorbacks were impressive in a dominant week two win over Texas, rushing for 333 yards and four touchdowns against the Longhorns.

“I’m just the guy, the head coach. Everybody else does all the work,” Pittman said this week. “I’ve thought about us being ranked No. 16. I’d be lying if (I said) I hadn’t. We’re proud of that. But there’s not a whole lot of time to think about it. The biggest thing I’m proud of is the state of Arkansas is proud of this football team. That means a lot to me, and the players and the coaches.”

Arkansas will have their hands full on Saturday as they take on the Aggies, who many consider to be a real threat to Alabama in the SEC West.

Aggies starting quarterback Haynes King will be sidelined for several weeks after suffering a leg injury against Colorado in week two. Backup Zach Calzada struggled in relief against Colorado but was 19-33 for 275 yards and three touchdowns last week against New Mexico.

“Haynes won the job, but Zach was right there with him,” Fisher said Thursday on Calzada as he prepares for his second start. “That day-to-day prep has helped him. And I think winning last week. I think it really settled him down. He approached it very well last week and played well.”

NC State vs No. 9 Clemson – 3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN

This is not the Clemson offense we’ve become accustomed to over the past three years with Trevor Lawrence under center. After putting up just 180 yards of offense and three points against Georgia in week one, the Tigers managed just 14 points in a 14-8 win over 1-2 Georgia Tech. Quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei threw for only 126 yards with no touchdowns, and despite the win, Clemson dropped in the AP Top-25.

Clemson’s defense is one of the best in the country, and they’ve beat NC State eight consecutive times, and 15 of 16.

No. 4 Oklahoma vs West Virginia – 7:30 p.m. ET, ABC

The Mountaineers are coming off an upset of No. 15 Virginia Tech, and Nebraska gave Oklahoma a surprisingly tough game before the Sooners were able to put the Huskers away in week three.

It’s the beginning of Big 12 play for both schools and West Virginia has yet to beat Oklahoma since joining the conference. COVID claimed the matchup between the two teams last year.

“This was the one game we missed last year as far as playing in the conference,” OU head coach Lincoln Riley said. “So it’ll be good to get a chance to compete against these guys. They’re playing at a very high level. Obviously, had a very huge win last week against a very good Virginia Tech team.”

“This is a complete football team coming in here, experienced quarterback, strong run game, and one of the top defenses in the country. Were last year and certainly playing already at a very high level this year. It’ll be a big challenge for us.”

Heisman contender Spencer Rattler hasn’t been able to match the hype to start the year, OU was held to just 23 points against Nebraska — its worst offensive performance since 2016.

No. 3 Oregon vs Arizona – 10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN

Ceasars has the Oregon Ducks favored by 28.5 points against the winless Arizona Wildcats. I’m just going to keep this short and sweet — The Arizona program is in complete shambles and they are the current holders of a school-record 15-game losing streak after losing to FCS school Northern Arizona last week.

Don’t get cute here. Oregon is going to cover the spread.

Joe Morgan is the Sports Reporter for The Daily Wire. Most recently, Morgan covered the Clippers, Lakers, and the NBA for Sporting News. Send your sports questions to sports@dailywire.com.

The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.

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