We’re four weeks into the season and still haven’t seen one of those crazy weekends where everyone loses and the College Football Playoff race is — at least momentarily — thrown into chaos. But it’s coming.
All times Eastern.
|Noon||Akron at Iowa State||MASN2 (in D.C. area)|
|Noon||No. 8 Notre Dame at Wake Forest||ABC|
|Noon||No. 2 Georgia at Missouri||ESPN|
|Noon||No. 23 Boston College at Purdue||ESPN2|
|Noon||Ohio at Cincinnati||ESPNU|
|Noon||Navy at SMU||ESPNews|
|Noon||Nebraska at No. 19 Michigan||Fox Sports 1|
|Noon||Nevada at Toledo||CBS Sports Network|
|Noon||Kent State at Mississippi||SEC Network|
|Noon||Buffalo at Rutgers||Big Ten Network|
|Noon||Minnesota at Maryland||Big Ten Network|
|12:20||Pittsburgh at North Carolina||WDCA-20 (in D.C. area)|
|12:30||Louisville at Virginia||NBC Sports Washington (in D.C. area)|
|3:30||William & Mary at James Madison||NBC Sports Washington Plus (in D.C. area)|
|3:30||No. 22 Texas A&M at No. 1 Alabama||CBS|
|3:30||No. 3 Clemson at Georgia Tech||ABC|
|3:30||Kansas State at No. 12 West Virginia||ESPN|
|3:30||FIU at No. 21 Miami||ESPN2|
|3:30||Northern Illinois at Florida State||ESPNU|
|3:30||Kansas at Baylor||Fox Sports 1|
|3:30||Tulane at No. 4 Ohio State||Big Ten Network|
|3:30||No. 13 Virginia Tech at Old Dominion||CBS Sports Network|
|4||Arizona at Oregon State||Pac-12 Network|
|4||U-Conn. at Syracuse||ESPNews|
|4||South Carolina at Vanderbilt||SEC Network|
|4:30||No. 17 TCU at Texas||Fox|
|7||Florida at Tennessee||ESPN|
|7||No. 14 Mississippi State at Kentucky||ESPN2|
|7||Louisiana Tech at No. 6 LSU||ESPNU|
|7||Texas Tech at No. 15 Oklahoma State||Fox Sports 1|
|7||N.C. State at Marshall||CBS Sports Network|
|7:30||Arkansas at No. 9 Auburn||SEC Network|
|7:30||No. 24 Michigan State at Indiana||Big Ten Network|
|8||No. 7 Stanford at No. 20 Oregon||ABC|
|8||East Carolina at South Florida||ESPNews|
|8:30||No. 18 Wisconsin at Iowa||Fox|
|10:15||Air Force at Utah State||ESPN2|
|10:30||Arizona State at No. 10 Washington||ESPN|
|10:30||Eastern Michigan at San Diego State||CBS Sports Network|
Notre Dame is 3-0 but it’s not an overly dominant 3-0. All three of its wins — all of them at home — have come by single digits, and all three times the Fighting Irish held a double-digit halftime lead (they’ve been outscored 24-6 in the fourth quarter this season). A similar script played out in last year’s game against Wake Forest: Notre Dame led 34-10 and 41-16 before holding on for a 48-37 win. Part of the issue could be that the Fighting Irish’s defense simply can’t get off the field: In Week 2, Ball State ran 97 plays, and Notre Dame ranks just 84th nationally in third-down stoppage rate. Wake Forest enters its home game against the Fighting Irish averaging 93.3 plays per game and ran 105 of them in last week’s loss to Boston College. Plus, quarterback Kendall Hinton — the Demon Deacons' presumptive starter before a three-game suspension to start the season — likely will make his 2018 debut. . . .
Nebraska is 0-2, which is hardly the start anyone in that state imagined when Scott Frost took over as coach. Likely, these are hardly the quotes you want to hear out of your players: “You’d be surprised how big of a difference a few guys not buying in can make on a team” (senior right guard Tanner Farmer) and “there’s some guys who aren’t all the way bought in” (junior linebacker Will Honas). Whether Frost can get his team to cohere properly will go a long way toward determining the Cornhuskers' success this season, starting Saturday against Michigan . . .
Alabama has spent the early part of the season doing Alabama things. The Crimson Tide is the only team in the country to rank in the top 10 in terms of both S&P+ offense and defense and has allowed only 28 points over three games. Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa has completed 36 of 50 passes with eight touchdowns and zero interceptions and has yet to throw a fourth-quarter pass in blowouts of Louisville, Arkansas State and Mississippi. So, do Jimbo Fisher and Texas A&M have any sort of chance to topple Alabama? The Aggies kept things close with Clemson earlier this season, and Fisher spent some time as Nick Saban’s offensive coordinator at LSU. Plus, Texas A&M didn’t roll over in last season’s 27-19 win loss to Alabama, a struggle that prompted Saban’s now-infamous “rat poison” quote. So . . . maybe? Saban is a perfect 12-0 against his former assistants, however, so . . . probably not? . ..
The Pac-12 has taken its share of lumps over the past year or so, many of them self-inflicted. Shut out of the college football playoff last season, its teams flopped to a 1-8 record during bowl season, with the conference’s lone win (by Utah, that Pac-12 stalwart) coming against a West Virginia team that was playing without its standout quarterback because of injury. Its television network still is but a rumor to nearly the entire country. Its high-gloss programs — USC and UCLA — are a combined 1-5 this season. But Oregon and Stanford are both in the top 25 at the moment, with the Ducks sporting a smothering defense (though they’ve played exactly no one) and the Cardinal featuring a Heisman Trophy candidate in Bryce Love. Then there’s Arizona State at Washington, with Herm Edwards’s Sun Devils far from the punchline many people expected. They did, however, give up 311 rushing yards in a loss to San Diego State last weekend and now get to face the Huskies' Myles Gaskin, one of the nation’s best.
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