Week 4 of the 2012 college football season has one top 10 clash in the ACC between Clemson and Florida State; 3 more top 25 games in Kansas State at Oklahoma, Michigan at Notre Dame and Arizona at Oregon; number one team and national champions Alabama play Florida Atlantic while LSU travel to Auburn in the battle of the Tigers of the SEC West.
Florida Atlantic at Alabama (1) (5:00 PM)
Alabama have shutout their last two opponents, and have outscored their rivals this season 128-14, which includes two teams that were in the preseason top 10. Florida Atlantic are coming off a 36 points loss against Georgia, and while Nick Saban is trying to keep his troops motivated by looking at every imperfection, knowing that there’s quite a tough road ahead with trips to Missouri, Tennessee, Mississippi State and of course LSU, it’s hard to think of anything but a 40 point win for the Crimson Tide.
LSU (2) at Auburn (7:00 PM)
Everything we’ve seen this season so far suggests this isn’t going to be close, despite the history of the rivalry in the SEC West. LSU best the other Tigers by 35 points last season in Baton Rouge. Their running game, which produces nearly 270 yards a contest, against a defense that’s been struggling (allowing Louisiana Monroe 28 points in Auburn), seems to be in for treat. They haven’t dropped three of their first four games since 1998, when they began the season 1-5. Unfortunately, this looks like that kind of start.
Arizona (22) at Oregon (3) (10:30 PM)
Two teams with similar up tempo philosophy, between them combining for over 100 points per game, but Oregon just have more speed and talent on their offense and defense against Arizona, who have already beaten a ranked team this season, Oklahoma State, in the week 2 59-38 shootout. For the Ducks, who started 4-0 in 2010, when they reached the national championship game, this is the first real test this season, and another chance for De’Anthony Thomas to show who’s the best playmaker in College Football.
Clemson (10) at Florida State (4) (8:00 PM)
Florida State got burned by Sammy Watkins last season, but they’ve allowed only three points so far in 2010 through the first three games, and a win over Clemson should put them in excellent position for a national title game, bringing the no.1 defense in the nation so far. Both teams have prolific offensively, especially Florida State (with some easy opposition before Wake Forest), second in the nation in points per game. Clemson don’t only bring Watkins in his second game off the injury, with Andre Ellington, the leading running back so far among ACC players. Tajh Boyd is second in the conference only to E.J. Manuel in quarterback efficiency. If FSU’s defense is as good as it’s been up till now, this is theirs.
Vanderbilt at Georgia (5) (7:45 PM)
This one got a little bit heated (among coaches) last season, so expect some bad blood between the Commodores and the Bulldogs on Saturday. Fair fight? Vanderbilt are 1-2 and a lot of problems showing in their passing game, entering this game with a bit of a quarterback controversy. Georgia demolished Florida Atlantic 56-20 last week, and have beaten Vanderbilt 16 of their last 17 meeting. Vandy haven’t beaten a ranked SEC rival since 2008.
Kansas State (15) at Oklahoma (6) (7:50 PM)
Oklahoma don’t lose at home to ranked opponents, and have beaten Kansas State 42 out of the Wildcats’ last 43 visits to Norman. Last season Landry Jones threw for over 500 yards as the Sooners won by 41 points. Kansas State, led by Collin Klein, do have a formidable running game with both Klein and running back John Hubert, but unless they manage to put some pressure on the OU quarterback, this is going to be another big loss for Snyder against Stoops. Oklahoma have won the last five meetings between the schools.
Missouri at South Carolina (7) (3:30 PM)
Mizzou play their first SEC road game in what has been called the battle of the Columbia campuses. Both have hurting starting quarterbacks, but South Carolina will star Connor Shaw, hoping he’ll give them the running dimension alongside Marcus Lattimore, while James Franklin, who misses the Tigers’ win over Arizona State, will start for Mizzou. South Carolina’s advantage on both the defensive and offensive line should give them the edge, whether Shaw or Thompson play.
Maryland at West Virginia (8) (12:00 PM)
An early game in Morgantown where Geno Smith will try and show he can pull him his Heisman heroics (nine touchdown passes to only nine incompletions so far) against a bit more of competition than the Mountaineers have seen in the start of the season. Maryland (2-1) are already tied with their win total from last season, but their home loss to UConn last week doesn’t really show they have what it takes, especially defensively, to stun WVU. West Virginia have won the last six games in this series, including 37-31 last season.
The rest of the games involving Top 25 Teams –
Boise State (24) have already beaten BYU 7-6 on Thursday night.
Michigan (18) at Notre Dame (11), 7:30 PM
California at USC (13), 6:00 PM
Kentucky at Florida (14), 12:00 PM
UAB at Ohio State (16), 12:00 PM
Virginia at TCU (17), 12:00 PM
Oregon State at UCLA (19), 3:30 PM
Louisville (20) at Florida Atlantic, 7:00 PM
Eastern Michigan at Michigan State (21), 3:30 PM
South Alabama at Mississippi State (23), 7:00 PM
Idaho State at Nebraska (25), 3:30 PM