NCAA Week 4 Early Lookahead: Cardinal, Ducks in Key Pac-12 Showdown

Matthew Jordan

Thursday, September 13, 2018 7:41 PM UTC

Thursday, Sep. 13, 2018 7:41 PM UTC

Here’s a quick look at some interesting Week 4 college football matchups, all of which SBR will have covered in one way or another. Some rankings may change in new polls. 

Florida Atlantic at No. 18 Central Florida

5Dimes summer line: NA

This is one of three Friday night games and ESPN has this 7 p.m. ET kickoff. It’s one of the best matchups of non-Power 5 schools of the season. FAU finished 11-3 last year and was the Conference USA champion, while UCF of course was the country’s only unbeaten in 2017 and the American Athletic Conference champion.

FAU was trashed Week 1 at Oklahoma this year but has since beaten visiting Air Force and FCS school Bethune-Cookman. Coach Lane Kiffin has a very exciting freshman quarterback in Chris Robison. He threw for a school-record 471 yards vs. Air Force. The Knights have one of the best quarterbacks in the nation in Heisman candidate McKenzie Milton. They bring a national-best 15-game winning streak into this one as Saturday’s matchup at North Carolina was postponed/canceled due to Hurricane Florence.

Even though these programs are only about 190 miles apart (UCF in Orlando and FAU in Boca Raton), they’ve met just once. UCF won 33-29 at home on Sept. 13, 2003. They’ll play again next year in Boca.

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It is unlikely the Knights will be able to replace the UNC contest with another game as the Knights don’t have a true open date.

Oct. 13 at Memphis
Oct. 20 at ECU
Nov. 1 vs. Temple (Thursday)

📰 https://t.co/WHndUfzKIM

— UCF Football (@UCF_Football) September 11, 2018
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Texas A&M at No. 1 Alabama

5Dimes summer line: Tide -21

Good luck finding a school with a tougher schedule than A&M. The Aggies played No. 2 Clemson essentially evenly in Week 2 but lost 28-26 in College Station and now have to visit the No. 1 Tide.

Texas A&M easily could have and perhaps should have beaten the Tigers. Kellen Mond’s 430 yards passing were the most by an Aggie against a top-5 team since Johnny Manziel had 464 in a 49-42 loss to top-ranked Alabama in 2013. You may remember that Johnny Football led a 29-24 upset of Bama in Tuscaloosa in 2012 that essentially won him the Heisman. A&M has lost every game to the Tide since by at least a touchdown. That’s why Kevin Sumlin is gone and Jimbo Fisher was given $75 million.

Alabama comes off a win at Ole Miss and has now spent 106 weeks atop the AP poll in school history, passing Ohio State for most of any school. Nick Saban’s team has been No. 1 for at least part of every season since 2008, and 75 times overall. Fisher was a former assistant to Saban.

No. 6 Wisconsin at Iowa

5Dimes summer line: Badgers -5

Big one in the Big Ten West, a division everyone presumes Wisconsin will win again. It’s the Badgers’ first road game of the season and they also have to visit Michigan and Penn State later in the year. The Hawkeyes haven’t left home yet in beating Northern Illinois, Iowa State and Northern Iowa.

Last year, Iowa lost 38-14 in Madison despite two touchdowns from cornerback Josh Jackson (now in the NFL). Nate Stanley, still Iowa’s starting QB, was a horrific 8-for-24 for 41 yards and a pick. Alex Hornibrook threw for two scores but was picked off three times for the Badgers. Jonathan Taylor (the Heisman candidate is off to another great start this year) rushed for 157 yards.

Iowa last beat Wisconsin in 2015, and that was in Madison. The Hawkeyes haven’t won at home in the series since 2008.

No. 9 Stanford at No. 20 Oregon

5Dimes summer line: Ducks -3

The winner should be Washington’s primary challenger in the Pac-12 North. Stanford already has gotten one big conference victory, beating Southern Cal 17-3 in Week 2. That was the Trojans’ fewest points scored since 1997. The Cardinal held a ranked opponent to three points or fewer for the first time since beating No. 21 Penn State 24-3 in the 1993 Blockbuster Bowl. Stanford got to play a glorified scrimmage vs. UC Davis this past Saturday and rested a banged-up Bryce Love. The Ducks have played an absurdly easy schedule in beating Bowling Green, Portland State and San Jose State, so who knows if they are any good.

Stanford has won the past two vs. Oregon by a combined 67 points. It was 49-7 on the Farm last year. Love rushed for 147 yards and two scores on 17 carries. Oregon, which was without injured star QB Justin Herbert, had its lowest-scoring game since getting shut out by UCLA on Nov. 24, 2007.

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