No. 20 Florida’s chances at No. 11 Tennessee hinge on which Gators defense shows up: the one that played well early against Utah and for four quarters against Kentucky or the one that USF gashed last week. Josh Heupel’s lightning-quick offense will gas defenses, so it’s critical that Florida finds some depth and communicates well to avoid falling into a big deficit at Neyland Stadium.
Lamest time window: None. It’s a deep, intriguing slate across the day.
Noon: No. 5 Clemson should be on upset watch at No. 21 Wake Forest (ABC), though it shouldn’t qualify as much of an upset. Keep an eye, too, on USF at a vulnerable Louisville team (ESPN3).
3:30: No. 20 Florida at No. 11 Tennessee is the easy pick, but it’ll be nice to see how 3-0 Minnesota looks in its first test, at Michigan State (Big Ten Network).
4: We’ll see whether undefeated Washington State is legitimate with a visit from No. 15 Oregon (Fox).
7: Jimbo Fisher’s No. 23 Aggies will try to build on their win over Miami by topping No. 10 Arkansas (ESPN).
7:30: Wisconsin’s top-10 scoring defense faces No. 2 Ohio State’s top-10 scoring offense (ABC).
8: Kansas State goes for its third win in the last four meetings against No. 6 Oklahoma (Fox).
9:30: If you can find the Pac-12 Network, No. 7 USC at unbeaten Oregon State is a fine late-night selection.
Stuck behind Middle
If No. 25 Miami cruises past Middle Tennessee State as expected, it will end the Hurricanes’ drought against the mighty Blue Raiders. Miami is 0-2 in the series. Minor detail: The teams last played in 1932, a 7-0 home loss by the ‘Canes.
The word on Ward
Florida State running back Treshaun Ward has fueled the Seminoles’ 3-0 start. The Tampa Bay Tech alumnus’ 100.7 rushing yards per game are tied for most in the ACC, and he has two of the league’s top six rushing performances this season (127 vs. Duquesne and 126 at Louisville). He should have another big game against a Boston College defense that gave up 5 yards per carry in its season-opening loss to Rutgers.
USF, on the road again
The Bulls can prove they turned a corner last week at Florida with a good showing at Louisville. The Cardinals could be shaky after the close loss to Florida State. If USF plays the way it did in Gainesville, the Bulls have a serious shot at their first road win since 2019 (over East Carolina) and first non-conference road win since Oct. 6, 2018 at UMass.
Local of the week
UCF receiver Xavier Townsend (Berkeley Prep)
The true freshman is already the Knights’ third-leading receiver (nine catches) and ranks third in the AAC with 10.5 yards per punt return. Don’t be surprised if he breaks off a big play or two against a reeling Georgia Tech team that’s 116th in special teams, according to ESPN’s SP+ advanced metrics.
By the numbers: Week 4
9.96 — Yards per carry by USF’s Brian Battie (fourth nationally)
3 — Teams without a touchdown pass: Florida, USF and Hawaii
8 — Tackles for loss allowed by USF and Florida, who are tied with Purdue for sixth nationally
101 — Snaps played by Duke defensive end Anthony Nelson (Jesuit High) during the Blue Devils’ 3-0 start
1 — Undefeated team left in the state: the Seminoles. It’s the 10th time since 1993 FSU has been the last one standing
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