For a week that featured just two top 25 matchups, there was no shortage of fireworks in Week 4 of the college football season. Washington and Oklahoma narrowly escaped matchups against unranked Arizona St. and Army, Kentucky blew out Mississippi St. and Stanford barely avoided an upset against Oregon, creating quite the shakeup in the rankings.
With five teams dropping out of the national rankings in Virginia Tech, Oklahoma State, TCU, A&M, and Boston College, this sets up another big week of matchups in Week 5.
This week, there is a loaded lineup of games which include two matchups inside of the top ten.
Here is our list of the five biggest games to watch for this weekend.
5) No. 12 West Virginia vs. No. 25 Texas Tech
One of five top 25 matchups this weekend, the Mountaineers hit the road to take on the scolding hot Red Raiders. If you’re a fan of offense, this is the game for you. After flopping in their opener against Ole Miss, and losing their first game of the season, Texas Tech has put up a combined 181 points over their past three games against Lamar, Houston, and Oklahoma State.
The Red Raiders have been led by breakout freshman Alan Bowman who threw what would be his first two interceptions of the season in a huge upset win over then No. 15 Oklahoma St. last week. That being said, the Mountaineers have one of the nations best under center in senior quarterback Will Grier.
While WVU hasn’t been challenged much yet, Grier has already amassed over 1100 yards passing along with 14 touchdowns to just 3 interceptions. It’s also worth noting that he’s done this playing in only three games as the team’s Week 3 matchup against NC State got postponed. A noticeable underdog, expect the Red Raiders to take their shots in this one while trying to slow down one of the more well-oiled offenses in the country.
As we saw last week, Texas Tech is no stranger to upsets, and West Virginia is going to have to play a clean game if they don’t want to be the second straight top 15 opponent to be taken down by the new No. 25 team in the nation.
4) Florida vs. No. 23 Mississippi State
Two teams that found themselves on the wrong end of upsets against Kentucky, the previously top 20 ranked Bulldogs will host the Gators in what should be a tightly contested Week 5 matchup. Although currently unranked, the Gators did find themselves in the top 25 earlier in the season and after a 47-21 win over Tennessee, last week are coming into this game on a two-game winning streak.
The Bulldogs, on the other hand, are fresh off of a blowout loss to formerly unranked Kentucky which dropped them from No. 14 all the way down to No. 23 this week. This one will likely come down to who can establish the run game more effectively as Florida has rushed for over 200 yards in all of their wins this year, and the Bulldogs are coming off of a game in which they rushed for under 60 yards total.
While Mississippi St. will be able to lean on quarterback Nick Fitzgerald to provide some offense in the passing game, the key to this one will be finding a way to stop the Gators from moving the ball on the ground.
3) No. 19 Oregon vs. No. 24 California
Another top-25 matchup sees No. 19 Oregon squaring off against No. 24 Cal for some PAC-12 action. The Ducks head into this game a three-point favorites after suffering a tough 38-31 loss to No. 7 Stanford last week, but the Golden Bears enter this game in the midst of a three-game winning streak that includes a 21-18 win over fellow top-25 ranked BYU.
The Ducks blew a 17 point lead last week, and ball security was largely to blame. While they may be the favorite in this matchup, they can’t turn the ball over like they did last week if they want to walk away with the win.
2) No. 7 Stanford vs. No. 8 Notre Dame
Arguably the biggest matchup of the week, No. 7 Stanford takes on No. 8 Notre Dame fresh off the heels of a huge come from behind win against Oregon. While Stanford may have the more complete team on paper, should they find themselves trailing early like they did last week, they likely won’t be able to leave with a win. Notre Dame opened the season with a huge win over what has been a fairly disappointing Michigan team, but none the less will enter week 5 with a 4-0 record.
Any unbeaten top-10 matchup is sure to be a must-see game, and this one will be no different when these two square off Saturday at 7:30.
1) No. 4 Ohio State vs. No. 9 Penn State
Our game of the week is easily No. 9 Penn State vs. No. 4 Ohio State in yet another battle of unbeaten teams. Urban Meyer made his return last week, and it would appear just in time as the Buckeyes will head to Happy Valley for a game against fellow top-10 ranked Nittany Lions in Week 5. After a shaky start to the season against Appalachian State in a narrow week one win, PSU has bounced back and once again staked their claim as one of the top ten teams in the nation.
While neither team has really been tested yet this season, the Buckeyes will head into this one without star defensive end Nick Bosa, creating a huge hole for coach Meyer and OSU to fill on defense. With serious playoff implications on the line, this is a must watch game. Kickoff is slated for 7:30 on Saturday.