The Cold Hard Truth: On Sports

Looking Ahead to College Football: Big Games in Week Four

Looking Ahead to College Football: Big Games in Week Four

BY Kevin Krest

@KevinKrest

The conference schedules, at least for the ones that play nine league games, kick off in earnest in week 4. The Big Ten, Big 12 and Pac 12 hit the ground running with some matchups that will definitely affect the final standings and determine which teams advance to the championship games.

Penn State @ Iowa: Penn State is not only a favorite to win their division, but after the finish last year, they are a legitimate national championship caliber team. But their path is tough and assuming they take care of Pittsburgh at home, this is a key game. Iowa is good defensively and will force the Nittany Lions to be patient. I don’t think many Big Ten teams would like to travel to Iowa City in their conference opener, but if Penn State performs well, it will position them nicely going forward.

Oklahoma @ Baylor: It will be interesting to see how Baylor rebounds from a disappointing finish to their season and what a new coach will bring to the table. If the Sooners are going to contend for a national championship, they’ll need to get out of Waco with a win, especially if they sustain a loss in their visit to Ohio State. I like Oklahoma to run the table until they face Oklahoma State, but the Big 12 is a mystery, especially with the wide-open style of play throughout the conference.

TCU @ Oklahoma State: If TCU gets past Arkansas and Oklahoma State defeats Pittsburgh, both on the road, this game will take on some national significance. The Cowboys are already picked by many to win the Big 12, but to do so, they’ll have to win in Fort Worth. If one of these teams emerges from this game undefeated, they’ll definitely be in playoff consideration, even at an early stage in the season.

Notre Dame @ Michigan State: Both of these teams are coming off sub-par seasons. Some would say that Irish coach Brian Kelly is on the hot seat. I disagree, but there is no doubting the importance of this game. The only thing for certain is that there will be a lot of green in the stands.

Oregon @ Arizona State: I’m fascinated by how Oregon is going to come back from a down season that saw their coach get fired. The Pac-12 juggernaut that found its way to a national championship game can’t be that far away, can it? Can Willie Taggert, an east coast guy, bring back glory to Phil Knight’s pride and joy? We’ll have to wait and see, but an early season loss to the Sun Devils would cast a pall in Eugene.

Washington @ Colorado: What a way to start the Pac-12 slate but with a rematch of last season’s conference championship game where Washington totally outclassed the Buffaloes in a 41 – 10 romp. The bad news for Colorado is that they return just two starters from a defensive unit that was the key to their division title a year ago. Washington is hoping to build on the momentum of a playoff run from last season.

Arkansas vs. Texas A&M (Arlington, Texas): Arkansas has yet to defeat A&M since the Aggies became members of the SEC. This is a big game for a number of reasons, not the least of which is recruiting. The Razorbacks can benefit from an increased presence in the Lone Star state and this will be their second consecutive game against a team from the state of Texas. For both of these teams, given the rigorous schedule in the SEC West, a win in this game is almost a necessity for a successful season.

 

[Photo: AP Photo / Marcio Jose Sanchez]

 

 

For more follow Kevin Krest on Twitter @KevinKrest and don’t forget to check out my new book, “Offsetting Penalties – A PK Frazier Novel” and my first two, “Illegal Procedure – A PK Frazier Novel” and “Roughing the Passer – A PK Frazier Novel”, available in print and e-formats at Amazon.com, iBooks and Smashwords.  Tune into www.WPFLRADIO.com at 8:40 am EST every Friday for my Beyond the Commentary segment on “Lou in the Morning” with Lou Vickery and Jonathan McMath.

Looking Ahead to College Football: Big Games in Week Four
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Looking Ahead to College Football: Big Games in Week Four

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