College Football Week 4
(Michael Conroy/AP)

2019-2020 Best College Football Games: Week 4

Thursday, September 19th –

The only game of the night features Houston (1-2) taking a trip down to New Orleans to face Tulane (2-1). Tulane sits as a 5 point favorite going into tomorrow night’s contest. Riding their blowout victory over Missouri State, they look to keep the offense rolling against a Houston squad who has dropped two of their first three games to Top-25 teams.

Houston is led by their star QB D’Eriq King who is still trying to find himself in this new season. Coming off a year where he accounted for 50 TD’s and completing 63% of his passes, and averaging 271 yards per game through the air, he is sitting at a completion percentage of 54.5 and only averaging 144 yards passing. Look for him to get back on track tomorrow night and return to the impact player he proved to be last season. Houston will need to tone it in defensively to avoid another shootout here.

Don’t count out Tulane in this game though, they are favored for a reason. The starters on offense and defense for Tulane all come in well-rested as they sat out the second half of their game against Missouri State. Senior QB Justin McMillian looks to pick up from his strong ground game against MOSU, as well as get back to hitting his passes. For an offense that is still a work in progress, averaging 436 YPG through the first three, is not that bad.

College Football Week 4
(Laura Seitz/Deseret News)

Friday, September 20th –

The game of the night here is going to be #10 Utah (3-0) taking a trip to the Coliseum where they will play USC (2-1). This will be Utah’s opener in Pac-12 play and USC’s second game. USC defeated Stanford 45-20 at home. Utah enters the game as a 4 point favorite and the interesting betting line here is the Over/Under set at 52. USC has topped the combined score of 52 in all three games so far this year.

Utah is the clear cut favorite to win the Pac-12 and should they beat USC on Friday night they will most likely ride an undefeated record into the Pac-12 championship. Zack Moss who has been the workhorse back since the start of his sophomore year will look to wreak havoc on the only Pac-12 team that held him without a TD last year. Tyler Huntley is completing 77% of his passes, only throwing 12 incompletions on the year so far, add to that his 4/0 TD/INT ratio and the damage he brings with his legs. This Utah team is nothing to take lightly.

USC’s worst nightmare came to light in Week 1 with star QB JT Daniels went down with a season-ending knee injury. Then came in Scottsdale, AZ freshman Kedon Slovis. Slovis is coming off a rough game where he threw 3 picks against BYU. Slovis has a chance to keep USC’s season alive despite facing a very polished defense. Vavae Malepeai, the Junior RB out of Hawaii last year saw 10 carries for 44 yards and a score against Utah. Averaging 19 carries a game through the first 3, look for him to double last year’s numbers. If Malepeai can break down the best part of Utah’s defense, then USC has a real chance to hang with them.

Saturday, September 21st –

Morning Kickoff
Saturday morning starts hot with #11 Michigan (2-0) facing off against #13 Wisconsin (2-0) in Madison. Wisconsin enters this game as a 3.5 point favorite. So far this season, Michigan sits at 0-2 against the spread while Wisconsin has covered.

Michigan is coming off a bye week, therefore, they should be well-rested for this matchup. The problem is, I don’t know how much that is going to matter. Coming off a double OT victory against Army in which they gave up 200 yards on the ground, they now have to figure out how to contain arguably the best back in college, Jonathan Taylor. As for the Michigan offense, Zach Charbonnet has come on strong this season and gave life to a run game that looked iffy at first when they expected to use a “five-man system” stated by Harbaugh early on in the season. If Donovan Peoples-Jones can return for this game, it will give Michigan a playmaker on the outside.

Wisconsin has managed to outscore their two opponents 110-0 through the first two weeks. The team has yet to face a moment of struggle in any sort. Their first true test will come Saturday morning with Michigan. Junior QB Jack Coan looks to carry his hot streak against a Michigan defense that is still trying to establish itself. If Coan can do better than the performance Alex Hornibrook gave in the 38-13 loss in Ann Arbor where he threw 7-20 with 2 INT’s, then Wisconsin has a real chance to pull this one out. Star RB Jonathan Taylor will more than likely go over 100 yards on the ground. In his last 15 games, he has only carried under 100 yards once, which came against Northwestern.

College Football Week 4
(Matthew Emmond/ USA TODAY)

Mid-day Game
Bo Nix and his #8 Auburn Tigers (3-0) head to College Station to face #17 Texas A&M (2-1) and Kellen Mond. Texas A&M hosting Auburn is set at 3.5 point favorites. The Over/Under here is set at 47.5 and could very well see the Under hit here. Texas A&M held the Nations best QB to just 24 points two weeks ago, while Auburn’s defense is starting to find its mark.

Auburn comes into this game averaging 465 YPG offensively. Their true test to this point so far was an Oregon team that has one of the drafts top prospects in Justin Herbert. Bo Nix and company won that game on a 26-yard strike with just 0:09 remaining on the clock. Nix, only a freshman, is still trying to find himself passing but when a big play is needed, he has been there. Star back Jatarvious Whitlow is averaging 5.8 yards per carry through three games and facing a defense who has held ground games to only 83.7 yards per game should make for a good matchup.

Kellen Mond had a bounce-back week throwing for 317 yards in Texas A&M’s 62-3 rout of Lamar. The strong point of that game was the defense and run game that Texas A&M showed. As a team, they combined for 34 carries, 223 yards, and 5 TD’s. While the defense held their own, giving up only 75 passing yards and 122 yards on the ground with about 70 of those rushing yards coming in the second half. Look for Texas A&M to try and establish their run against a typical SEC defense that plays the run well.

Nightcap

The most exciting game on the table this week comes when #7 Notre Dame (2-0) goes into Athens to face #3 Georgia (3-0). Georgia is highly favored by the bettors in this one as they are currently 14 point favorites. Up until December 29th of last year, Notre Dame looked like a real shot to be a wrecking force for years to come. After losing 30-3 in the CFB Playoff Semi-Final to Clemson, it is left to wonder, what do they have to do to get back? A win Saturday night would go a long way to helping that argument. In two games this year, Ian Book has thrown for 553 yards, 6 TD’s and 0 INT’s while rushing for a TD in both wins. The concern here is that Notre Dame in those two games gave up an average of 230 yards on the ground. In games where they have managed to outscore opponents on average 50-15, if they give up 230 yards on Saturday is going to be a rough time for them.

Through three games this year, Georgia has had a cakewalk. Star QB Jake Fromm looks just as good as he did his Freshman and Sophomore year. Yet to throw an interception and completing passes at 75%, he looks to lead Georgia’s high powered offense into this game Saturday night. The deciding factor for Georgia will come from the game D’Andre Swift gives them. In the two most meaningful games last year Swift struggled to top 100 yards against Bama and struggled against Texas on 8 carries for 12 yards. Swift can make himself a threat when it comes to his receiving as well, even if his ground game lacks, expect him to be a threat.

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