Lamest time window: None. It is, per Fox’s Chris Fallica, the first Saturday with six ranked matchups since 2006. It’s an Uber Eats kind of day.
3:30: Can Deion Sanders’ No. 19 Buffaloes keep rolling at No. 10 Oregon (ABC)? And can Lane Kiffin’s No. 15 Rebels topple the No. 13 Crimson Tide (CBS) in Tuscaloosa?
4: USF has a good shot at its second conference win since 2019 when it hosts Rice (ESPNU)
7: The Pac-2 championship between No. 14 Oregon State and No. 21 Washington State (Fox) deserves your attention ahead of Arkansas at No. 12 LSU (ESPN).
7:30: If No. 9 Notre Dame is ready to break out of the good-not-great tier, it will find a way to earn a home win against No. 6 Ohio State (NBC). But don’t forget about No. 7 Penn State’s White Out against No. 24 Iowa (CBS).
8: UCF will deserve top-25 consideration if it beats Kansas State (FS1) in its first Big 12 conference game.
10:30: Tampa Bay Tech’s Michael Penix and No. 8 Washington are the most entertaining team in the country. They’re worth trying to stay up for against Cal (ESPN).
This week in Coach Prime …
Only 25 teams have fewer sacks so far than Colorado (five). If that doesn’t change, Sanders’ Buffaloes will get picked apart by Oregon quarterback Bo Nix (eight touchdowns, no interceptions). The other hope is a shootout where the nation’s most prolific receiving pair — USF transfers Xavier Weaver and Jimmy Horn — find a way to keep up with the Ducks.
Manny Diaz Bowl
No. 20 Miami’s trip to Temple would be more interesting if Manny Diaz still coached the Hurricanes; he left the Owls after a month to take over Miami. Alas. The ‘Canes have won 13 in a row in the series since it began with a 34-0 Temple win in 1930.
UCF’s Big 12 premiere
A look at how the Knights have fared in their previous conference debuts:
MAC (2002): UCF lost 26-21 at Marshall. The Thundering Herd’s star: Byron Leftwich, the now-former Bucs offensive coordinator. He threw for 340 yards and two touchdowns.
Conference USA (2005): An early Brandon Marshall touchdown catch set the stage for UCF’s 23-13 home win. It’s also memorable because it snapped the longest losing streak in the country (17 games).
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AAC (2013): The Knights scored two touchdowns in the final 2:05 to turn a one-score deficit into a 24-17 triumph over Memphis.
Local of the week
Illinois defensive lineman Jer’Zhan Newton (Clearwater Central Catholic)
The likely first-round pick leads interior linemen with 14 quarterback pressures, according to Pro Football Focus, including seven last week against Penn State. How will Florida Atlantic try to stop him, or at least slow him down?
Notre Dame’s 184 points through four games are the program’s most since 1914 (when Knute Rockne was an assistant). Ohio State’s defense has allowed only 20 points — the program’s lowest total through three games since 1975. Something has to give in these historic starts.
All Dae Dae
USF’s Daquan Evans leads the nation with eight tackles for a loss after recording four against Alabama. He’s part of a much-improved Bulls defense that will be challenged by a Rice team that has scored 102 points over the last two games.
Remember JT Daniels?
The former five-star recruit is on his fourth different school, Rice, and will play at USF Saturday:
USC (2018-19): 12 games, 15 touchdown passes, 11 interceptions
Georgia (2020-21): 10 games, 17 touchdown passes, 5 interceptions
West Virginia (2022): 10 games, 13 touchdown passes, 9 interceptions
Rice (2023): 3 games, 8 touchdown passes, 3 interceptions
Troll of the week
Mississippi coach Lane Kiffin shared a Taylor Swift video on social media. The song? “Castles Crumbling” — a not-so subtle shot at this week’s foe, Alabama. If ‘Bama doesn’t improve its offensive line, the Rebels (at least six tackles for loss in every game so far) will give Kiffin a chance at becoming the fourth former Nick Saban assistant to beat the Tide coach, after Jimbo Fisher, Kirby Smart and Steve Sarkisian.
Battle for the Iron Skillet
Don’t forget about the 102nd meeting of the SMU-TCU rivalry. Both teams are known for offense, but the Mustangs are in the top 25 in sacks (12th), red-zone defense (14th) and scoring defense (23rd). A win would cement SMU as a contender in its final AAC season before joining the ACC.
Mertz so good
Florida quarterback Graham Mertz has completed at least 70% of his passes in all three games. His predecessor, Anthony Richardson, only hit that mark twice in 13 starts. Mertz should have no problem topping that figure again against Charlotte.
“An SEC football game at night is a way better atmosphere than a Super Bowl.” — UAB coach Trent Dilfer ... who won Super Bowl 35 with the Ravens at Raymond James Stadium
By the numbers: Week 4
0 — Washington quarterbacks to pass for at least 400 yards in three consecutive games before Michael Penix did it to start the year
196 — Rushing yards by Charlotte quarterback Jalon Jones, a former Florida signee
2018 — The last time Florida International won four games in a row, which the Panthers can do by beating Liberty
10 — Consecutive games Penn State has scored at least 30 points, the country’s longest active streak
1 — Times Iowa has allowed 30 points in its last 10 games
52 — Passing yards needed by Notre Dame’s Sam Hartman to pass Marshall’s Rakeem Cato for the 10th-most in NCAA history
1901 — First meeting between No. 3 Texas and Baylor, who square off for the final time as Big 12 colleagues
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