College Football Week 4 Games to Watch

The SEC is back, the ACC is starting to take shape, and the Big Ten is… practicing. Here are the best games to watch during college football Week 4.

Florida vs. Ole Miss

Date: Saturday, Sept. 26
Time: Noon (ET)
Spread: Florida -14.5

Florida enters the 2020 season with high hopes of regaining elite status in the SEC East. The Gators are led by senior quarterback Kyle Trask, who had a great first season as a starter after Feleipe Franks went down due to injury. Trask will have to hold off Emory Jones, who will likely see specialized packages to get him on the field. Regardless of who takes the snaps, they will have weapons to throw too with Kyle Pitts, Trevon Grimes and Kadarius Toney all returning. The defense will be a work in progress in the front seven after seeing multiple players depart for the NFL over the past two seasons, but the secondary should be strong as usual with Marco Wilson and Shawn Davis possessing legit NFL talent. The Gators’ defense will be a question mark early on, and it will be up to the offense to be consistent and carry the team early on. The talent is there for the Gators to be one of the country’s best teams in 2020.

The Lane Kiffin era begins for Ole Miss with a question at quarterback. Kiffin has yet to name a starter between Matt Corral and John Rhys Plumlee with both expected to play on Saturday. Whoever throws the passes will have a young group of receivers to rely on. However, Temple transfer Kenny Yeboah at tight end provides some veteran depth and a reliable option over the middle. Like the offense, the defense has a lot of young pieces that will have to step up. The linebackers will be the best unit with leading tackler Lakia Henry and pass rushing specialist Sam Williams back at school. The defensive line will need some young contributors to step up and the secondary will have to improve on what was an average showing in 2019. Kiffin is an offensive mastermind, has SEC experience and should have the Rebels prepared to compete on offense, but the defense will need to show up in a big way to keep Ole Miss competitive.

While the future looks bright for Ole Miss the present could be a bit rocky. The veterans of Florida should be ready to play and likely take control of this game early. Ole Miss will put up some points, but the Gators continuity and talent level put them at a decisive advantage in this one.

Prediction: Florida wins 41-24

Kentucky vs. Auburn

Date: Saturday, Sept. 26
Time: Noon (ET)
Spread: Auburn -7.5

Gone is program superstar Lynn Bowden for the Kentucky Wildcats, but starting quarterback Terry Wilson returns and has plenty of experience around him. The run game will be special once more with seniors Drake Jackson and Landon Young paving the way for a trio of running backs led by another senior in Asim Rose. Receivers are a question mark, but with Bowden’s limited throwing ability, there were not many targets to go around last year. The defense is also a veteran unit starting with 6-foot-4, 367-pound senior Quinton Bohanna anchoring the line. He is surrounded by a solid group of defenders on the line and a veteran secondary returning both starting corners and leading tackler Yusef Corker at safety. The Wildcats are underrated once more and will grind it out with the best of them in 2020.

Auburn comes into the season with high hopes starting with sophomore Bo Nix, who completed only 58% of his passes during his freshman campaign. Nix will be surrounded by one of the best receiving groups in the country with Seth Williams, Eli Stove and Anthony Schwartz all returning. The offensive line is a question with four starters departing including both tackles, and Nix may find himself having to extend plays more often than he would like. The defensive line also must replace the majority of their snaps with Marlon Davidson, Derrick Brown and Nick Coe all off to the NFL. Luckily, Big Kat Bryant is back to provide pass rush and KJ Britt also returns to provide leadership and tackling in the middle of the defense. Auburn will need linemen on both sides of the ball to step up early and solidify themselves if they hope to challenge in a rugged SEC West.

This game should be on a marquee network with all the talent on the field. Nonetheless, Auburn and Kentucky should be a low-scoring slugfest with both offenses struggling to hit their stride early on. Nix will hit a few big plays, and Kentucky should break a long run or two, but this will ultimately be a defensive battle. With veterans on both sides of the ball Kentucky will give the SEC its first upset with a low scoring win against the Tigers.

Prediction: Kentucky wins 24-20

Louisville vs. Pitt

Date: Saturday, Sept. 26
Time: Noon (ET)
Spread: Pitt -2.5

Louisville is coming off a loss to Miami that was surely disappointing, but the Cardinals still have one of the country’s most explosive offenses and will look to rebound against Pitt. The biggest killer for the Cardinals was fumbles, which if cleaned up, will go a long way in helping them stay on track. Elite playmakers Tutu Atwell, Dez Fitzpatrick and Javian Hawkins will keep Louisville in every game, but the defense needs to tighten up if they hope to bounce back.

Pitt is 2-0 entering Week 4 taking a step up in competition against ACC foe Syracuse. The Panthers’ defense was once again solid although it allowed a big-play touchdown to the back up quarterback for the Orange. Regardless, the defense has proven it will be absolutely relentless with its pass rush and should continue to disrupt what is generously an average offensive line for Louisville. The Panthers’ offense meanwhile was solid, but still leaves a lot to be desired in both the run and pass game. Kenny Pickett looked solid through two weeks and faces a tough test of not just scoring but sustaining drives to keep the high-powered Louisville offense off the field.

This is a matchup of strength versus strength with the Louisville offense going up against Pitt’s defense. The Cardinals can move the ball against anyone, but their offensive line will struggle to protect Micale Cunningham in this one. The Panthers should be able to move the ball as well, but it will be their defense that wins them this game.

Prediction: Pitt wins 33-31

Mississippi State vs. LSU

Date: Saturday, Sept. 26
Time: 3:30 p.m. (ET)
Spread: LSU -18.5

Welcome, Mike Leach! Mississippi State is flying under the radar right now and could surprise some people in the SEC this year. Leach will have his offense led by NFL prospect and Stanford transfer KJ Costello at the quarterback position. Costello is a proven winner at the college level and will be surrounded by some premium talent including stud running back Kylin Hill and receivers Osirus Mitchell and Tryrell Shavers, who both have NFL potential. The defense looks to be a solid group as well with a host of talented players along the defensive line and Erroll Thompson as an NFL prospect at linebacker. If the secondary can come together, Mississippi State could be a surprise team in the SEC.

They might still be partying at LSU after a historic season in 2019. However, the defending national champion’S 2020 outlook tells a bit of a different story. The offense must replace four of the five starters on the line, its quarterback, lead running back and nearly every major contributor in the pass game. New quarterback Myles Brennan will have to look to returning wideout Terrace Marshall and super-prospect Arik Gilbert at tight end for some help early on as LSU looks to establish its offense. Meanwhile the defense still has some elite talent with guys like Derek Stingley and JaCoby Stevens in the secondary and two-time FCS All-American Jabril Cox transferring in from North Dakota State at linebacker. With new assistants, coordinators and players all over the roster, LSU will focus on continuity and execution in the early going of their title defense.

This game has a lot of intriguing storylines with “The Pirate” and his air raid offense making its debut in the SEC, while the defending national champion LSU Tigers look to show it wasn’t a one-year wonder. At -18.5, Vegas seems to think the Tigers will win with ease, but expect Mississippi State to start hot and keep this game close throughout. Ultimately, the Tigers’ offense will get on track and secure the win, but Mississippi State will make it tough.

Final Prediction: LSU wins 34-26

Florida State vs. Miami

Date: Saturday, Sept. 26
Time: 7:30 p.m. (CT)
Spread: Miami -10

Florida State enters its second game of the season off a bye week where news did not get any better with head coach Mike Norvell announcing he tested positive for COVID-19. That news combined with the disappointing loss to ACC bottom dweller Georgia Tech has Seminole fans extremely concerned about the real possibility of starting 0-2. On a positive note safety NFL prospect Hamsah Nasilrideen looks on track to be back and adds another piece to a very talented defense for Florida State. If the offense can get on track and put together some drives, the FSU defense will give the Seminoles a chance in every game.

Miami is for real in the ACC after its primetime take down of the Louisville Cardinals. The Canes defense has been a consistently disruptive unit since Manny Diaz took over, and they showed up in a big way last weekend forcing three turnovers. With the defense established, it has been the offense in recent years that hurt Miami, but that looks to no longer be the case in 2020. New offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee has the running game figured out with Cam’Ron Harris and the dual threat capabilities of D’Eriq King to keep opposing defenses honest. However, the biggest weapon for Miami might be transfer kicker Jose Borregales, who knocked in four field goals for the Canes last week and has legit 50-plus yard range and accuracy.

Another primetime matchup for Miami against in-state rival Florida State will give both programs the chance to earn some bragging rights when recruiting. With no Mike Norvell and an offense that struggled against Georgia Tech, the Seminoles should find it tough to move the ball against an aggressive and veteran Miami squad. Likewise, the Canes will struggle moving the ball against a Florida State defense that is rested and played well in its opener. This game will come down to who can win the turnover battle and special teams where Miami should have a decisive advantage. Look for D’Eriq King and Co. to capitalize on a turnover or two sending the Noles to an 0-2 start in ACC play.

Prediction: Miami wins 30-17

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