Viewer's guide to Week 4: Eyes on Wisconsin, Texas A&M, Georgia, and more
Icon Sportswire / Getty Images

Many teams begin conference play in Week 4, which means more games that affect the future College Football Playoff field.

theScore is here to guide your viewing experience. Here's our look at the can't-miss matchups and under-the-radar games for Week 4.

(All times ET)

The early slate

Must-watch: No. 11 Michigan at No. 13 Wisconsin (noon, FOX)

Jonathan Taylor has eight touchdowns in two games for a Badgers team that has outscored opponents 110-0. Icon Sportswire / Getty Images

Is Wisconsin's dominant start to 2019 legitimate? Has Michigan solved any of the issues it showed against Army? The Badgers and Wolverines will provide one of the first clues as to who wins the Big Ten in Saturday's matinee.

Wisconsin already obliterated South Florida and Central Michigan 49-0 and 61-0, respectively. Jonathan Taylor has limited his touches (35 carries through two games) but not his production (eight touchdowns, including three receiving). It's no surprise the offensive line and run game have been strengths, but if Jack Coan (76.3% passing) can continue his improved play against better competition, the Badgers are the team to beat in the Big Ten West.

The more interesting matchup might be on the other side of the football. Michigan's offensive line caved in short-yardage situations against Army and the Wolverines are averaging 3.8 yards per carry on the season. South Florida and Central Michigan combined for 41 rushing yards on 44 touches against the Badger defense. Can the Wolverines keep Keeanu Benton, Zack Baun, and Co. out of the backfield? The game may hinge on it.

Has potential: Tennessee at No. 8 Florida (noon, ESPN)

Kyle Trask makes his first career start for Florida Saturday. Andy Lyons / Getty Images

Florida's hopes of unseating Georgia in the SEC East took a massive hit when quarterback Feleipe Franks sustained a season-ending injury. The Gators now turn to Kyle Trask, a junior from Manvel, Texas, to replace him. Trask has completed 27-of-40 passes in limited playing time but has never started a game.

The quarterback change creates an opportunity for a Tennessee team that desperately needs one. The Volunteers' numbers against the run have improved since their season-opening debacle against Georgia State, and the Gators haven't run the football all that well against FBS competition.

Still, Florida should be able to rely on its defense. UF has limited opponents to 2.7 yards per carry and has more interceptions (four) than passing touchdowns allowed (three).

Upset alert: Western Michigan at Syracuse (noon, ACC Network)

Haven't heard of Jon Wassink yet? The Western Michigan quarterback is averaging nearly 300 yards per game. Icon Sportswire / Getty Images

Through three weeks, Syracuse looks nothing like last year's 10-win team. The Orange enter Week 4 with a minus-54 point differential after blowout losses to Maryland (63-20) and Clemson (41-6).

Syracuse gets a slight reprieve against a Western Michigan defense that surrendered 51 points to Michigan State two weeks ago. But don't count out the Broncos; they'll have an advantage under center.

Senior Jon Wassink has thrown for 866 yards and seven touchdowns in three games. He's also complemented by a run game that exploded for 450 yards in last weekend's 57-10 win over Georgia State - the same Georgia State team that won at Tennessee to open the season.

Keep an eye on: No. 23 California at Mississippi (noon, ESPNU)

Cornerback Camryn Bynum helps lead a Cal defense that ranks ninth in yards per pass attempt allowed. Icon Sportswire / Getty Images

The over/under for this game is 41.5, and even that might be a little high. Both California and Ole Miss arguably have stronger defenses than offenses this season, which could make for a close game worth checking out in the fourth quarter.

With their win at Washington, the Golden Bears own the most impressive victory on either team's record. They'll need more from sophomore quarterback Chase Garbers, though, after he completed just 9-of-22 in a 23-17 win over North Texas last week.


Must-watch: No. 8 Auburn at No. 17 Texas A&M (3:30 p.m., CBS)

Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher topped Auburn coach Gus Malzahn in the 2014 national championship game while at Florida State. Michael Chang / Getty Images

Freshman Bo Nix and junior Kellen Mond will grab the headlines before kickoff Saturday, but Auburn-Texas A&M will be all about defense and running the football.

Nix, who's completed just 52.4 percent of his passes this year, gets a hellacious true road debut at Kyle Field. The Aggies boast a strong pass defense, so the Tigers' offensive recipe will include a healthy dose of JaTarvious Whitlow (391 rushing yards in three games).

Texas A&M will need to establish a run game of its own. The Aggies are 2-5 in the last two seasons when Mond throws 30-plus passes, as he did in a 24-10 loss to Clemson two weeks ago.

Has potential: No. 22 Washington at BYU (3:30 p.m., ABC or ESPN2)

UW's Hunter Bryant leads all tight ends in receiving yards (236) after three weeks. Icon Sportswire / Getty Images

BYU has already produced two of the most intense finishes of the young season, defeating Tennessee and USC in overtime in back-to-back weeks. Kalani Sitake's team doesn't quit, but it will have its hands full at home against Washington.

The Huskies bounced back from a loss to California by blowing out Hawaii 52-20, intercepting quarterback Cole McDonald three times in the process while Washington QB Jacob Eason threw for 262 yards and three scores.

Upset alert: Appalachian State at North Carolina (3:30 p.m.)

Zac Thomas leads an Appalachian State offense averaging 49 points per game. Icon Sportswire / Getty Images

Few teams frighten Power 5 opponents as consistently as Appalachian State. The Mountaineers have nearly won at Penn State, Wake Forest, and Tennessee in the last three seasons, losing all three by a combined 15 points. And, of course, there was the upset at Michigan 12 years ago.

So, while they have a new head coach in Eliah Drinkwitz, expect the Mountaineers to be game again against North Carolina. Running back Darrynton Evans is averaging 10 yards per carry (333 on 33 touches, including 234 against Charlotte) in an offense that can put up the points. UNC will be the Mountaineers' first real test, though.

The Tar Heels have played three emotional games, producing comeback wins over South Carolina and Miami and a close loss to Wake Forest. Mack Brown's team still has questions, but one has been answered: Freshman quarterback Sam Howell (701 yards, six TDs) is for real.

Keep an eye on: South Carolina at Missouri (4 p.m., SEC Network alternate)

Defensive tackle Kobie Whiteside and the Missouri defense rank fourth in the country in yards per play allowed. Ed Zurga / Getty Images

With three losses between these two teams, South Carolina-Missouri has flown under the radar. But the battle of the Columbias could be a fun, up-and-down matchup.

Missouri rebounded from its season-opening loss to Wyoming by outscoring West Virginia and Southeast Missouri State by a combined score of 88-7. Kelly Bryant (798 yards, six touchdowns) should find more success against a South Carolina pass defense that allowed 740 yards and seven touchdowns over two games against North Carolina and Alabama.

Gamecocks quarterback Ryan Hilinski has four touchdowns and two interceptions in his first two starts, and he now faces a Tigers defense ranked second in the country in yards per pass attempt allowed for his first road trip. Still, South Carolina should be able to score if it focuses on its run game, as seniors Rico Dowdle and Tavien Feaster are averaging a combined 140 yards per game.


Must-watch: No. 7 Notre Dame at No. 3 Georgia (8 p.m., CBS)

Jake Fromm and Georgia have outscored opponents 148-23 this season. Carmen Mandato / Getty Images

If you have time for one game, this is the one.

Ian Book versus Jake Fromm. Brian Kelly versus Kirby Smart. Two teams that have reached the College Football Playoff in the last two years meet in a game that will shape who returns in 2019.

Georgia edged Notre Dame 20-19 in Fromm's first career start two years ago. Now a junior, Fromm has started every game since and enters Saturday with a 75% completion rate on the season. But Georgia might be able to exploit the ground matchup. Junior D'Andre Swift (290 yards, 9.4 yards per carry) continues to be one of the best running backs in the country, while Notre Dame's run defense looked suspect against Louisville, allowing 249 yards at a clip of 5.3 per touch.

On the other side, it will be up to Book to make plays against an athletic, talented Bulldogs defense. He has 553 yards and six touchdowns through two games and is also tied for the team lead in rushing (127 yards).

Has potential: Oklahoma State at No. 12 Texas (7:30 p.m., ABC)

Oklahoma State's Chuba Hubbard leads the country in rushing through three weeks. Brian Bahr / Getty Images

Oklahoma State has owned Texas in recent years. The Cowboys enter Saturday riding a four-game winning streak in the head-to-head matchup and have won five in a row in Austin. Since 2010, Mike Gundy is 7-2 against Texas. Before this recent run, OSU was 2-22 all-time against the Longhorns.

The Cowboys' last two tilts against Tom Herman and Sam Ehlinger's Texas were tight affairs: A 10-7 overtime game in Austin in 2017 and last year's wildly entertaining 38-35 showdown in Stillwater.

Ehlinger has picked up right where he left off last season, throwing 11 touchdowns without an interception in UT's first three games. The Longhorns should have a sizeable advantage against a Cowboys pass defense that struggled at times against Oregon State and Tulsa.

Oklahoma State enters this year's game with the nation's leading rusher (Chuba Hubbard) and receiver (Tylan Wallace) against a Texas defense that struggled to contain LSU two weeks ago. If redshirt freshman quarterback Spencer Sanders can limit mistakes, Oklahoma State has a real chance for a mild upset.

Upset alert: Nebraska at Illinois (8 p.m., Big Ten Network)

Nebraska has held opponents to 2.2 yards per carry this season. Icon Sportswire / Getty Images

The evening card doesn't appear to have a game with high upset potential. Depending on which Nebraska team shows up, though, Illinois could have a chance to begin Big Ten play with a stunner at home.

The Cornhuskers are 0-6 on the road under Scott Frost, last winning a road game Oct. 28, 2017, at Purdue. Two weeks ago, they coughed up a lead and fell in overtime at Colorado.

Illinois, meanwhile, has not been impressive to start Lovie Smith's fourth season. The Illini were losers at home to Eastern Michigan last week after struggling to put away UConn the week before.

Both teams have defended well against the run so far, so this could come down to quarterback play. Last year, Nebraska's Adrian Martinez threw for three touchdowns and ran for another in a 54-35 win.

Keep an eye on: No. 16 Oregon at Stanford (7 p.m., ESPN)

Oregon outscored Nevada and Montana 112-9 after losing its season opener. Icon Sportswire / Getty Images

Stanford is in legitimate danger of missing a bowl for the first time since 2008, and a loss Saturday would drop the Cardinal to 1-3 for the first time since 2007.

Stanford already allowed freshmen Kedon Slovis (USC) and Dillon Gabriel (UCF) to score a combined 45 points. Now it faces veteran Justin Herbert (11 touchdowns, no interceptions) and an Oregon team looking to avenge last year's 38-31 loss to the Cardinal.

The difference this time could be the Ducks' defense, which has five interceptions while holding opponents to a 51.5% completion rate.

After dark

Must-watch: Colorado at No. 24 Arizona State (10 p.m., Pac-12 Network)

Herm Edwards has ASU ranked for the second consecutive year. Christian Petersen / Getty Images

Colorado and Arizona State have both produced signature early-season wins over Nebraska and Michigan State, respectively. But both are still flawed teams.

The potential for a weird one here is high.

The Buffaloes suffered a letdown last week, losing in overtime to Air Force. The defense is suspect, but senior Steven Montez gives Colorado a huge experience advantage at quarterback.

Arizona State, meanwhile, is 3-0 and ranked after slogging out a 10-7 win against the Spartans. After Michigan State held him to 140 yards passing, freshman Jayden Daniels should have a chance to open it up against a Colorado defense that ranks 104th in yards per pass attempt allowed.

Has potential: Utah State at San Diego State (10:30 p.m., CBS Sports Network)

The Aztecs' 3-0 start includes a win at UCLA. MediaNews Group/Pasadena Star-News via Getty Images / Getty Images

If Colorado-Arizona State can't provide some after-dark fireworks, your best bet is this meeting between two of the Mountain West's better teams.

San Diego State is 3-0 and holding opponents to eight points per game. The defense ranks third in yards per carry allowed and no team has rushed for more than 62 yards against SDSU this season.

Utah State's three-point loss to Wake Forest to open the season seems more impressive now that the Demon Deacons look like the ACC's third-best team. Led by quarterback Jordan Love (710 yards passing in two games), the Aggies will try to win with offense.

Keep an eye on: UCLA at No. 19 Washington State (10:30 p.m., ESPN)

A win would give Washington State a 4-0 start for just the second time in 18 seasons. Bob Levey / Getty Images

It's hard to expect UCLA to keep up with Washington State. The Bruins, now 0-3, have scored 14 points in each of their first three games.

But there's always a chance the Cougars get caught looking ahead to next week's crucial trip to Utah. If not, there are worse fates than staying up late to watch Mike Leach's offense. While Gardner Minshew creates hysteria in the NFL, his replacement, Anthony Gordon, leads the country in passing yards.

Mark Cooper is theScore's NCAA writer. You can find him on Twitter @mark_cooperjr.

Viewer's guide to Week 4: Eyes on Wisconsin, Texas A&M, Georgia, and more
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