College football is three weeks into what is shaping up to be a great season. Now that more is known about all teams involved, fans can know what to watch for in the coming weeks. This list will narrow it down to five things to watch for in week 4.
1. Justin Herbert vs. Stanford
The headlining game for the weekend is Oregon vs. Stanford. There is a lot riding on this game for both teams, as they look to compete in the Pac-12 North. While this game will be big for both teams, it will also be big for Justin Herbert. The Oregon quarterback is rising up NFL draft boards and can use this game to show that he is worthy of consideration early in the 2019 NFL Draft.
Herbert has thrown for 840 yards, 12 touchdowns and four interceptions on 56.8% completion this season. His completion percentage needs to be improved, as last season he completed 67.5% of his passes. NFL teams will like his ability to complete passes downfield and his stature. He stands 6-foot-6 and 233 pounds, which is more than ideal for the NFL.
Against Stanford, Herbert will have his work cut out for him. The Cardinal have four interceptions this season and have future pro Alijah Holder at the cornerback position. Herbert has had troubles turning the ball over already this season, so he’ll have to complete a lot of passes and protect the football in order for Oregon to have a chance to win.
2. Jimbo Fisher vs. Nick Saban
Fisher and Saban squared off in week 1 of last season with the Crimson Tide taking the victory. A lot has changed since then. Fisher left Florida State to take the job at Texas A&M and Florida State hasn’t coped with it well, starting off this season with a 1-2 record. The move now means Fisher and Saban will match up with each other yearly.
Texas A&M was thought to be a year or two off from competing in the SEC West, but they did come close to knocking off Clemson in week 2. Fisher has helped instill a championship mindset and gotten the most out of quarterback Kellen Mond. Mond has looked like a much better quarterback than last season and can help the Aggies win a lot of games this season. His play will be the key against Alabama.
Saban has more talent, with a star-studded team. They haven’t been adequately tested yet this season, but have looked fantastic through three weeks. Alabama is still years ahead of Texas A&M, meaning that if the Aggies are able to win, it’s because Fisher outcoached Saban.
This is the first of what figures to be many classic battles of Fisher vs. Saban in the SEC.
3. Benny Snell vs. Mississippi State defensive front
One of college football’s best-kept secrets is Kentucky running back Benny Snell. The power back is a junior that has been tearing it up for over two seasons now. This season, Snell has 375 rushing yards and three touchdowns in three games. He’ll be in the NFL, likely next season, and can gain more fame this weekend if he plays well against Mississippi State.
Snell will not have it easy against the Bulldogs, as they have plenty of talent on the defensive line. At defensive tackle, Jeffery Simmons already has 5.5 tackles for loss this year. Montez Sweat, a defensive end, has 5.5 tackles for loss and three sacks. Both will be playing on Sundays in the future.
It will be a tough and physical, with the winner of this matchup likely deciding who wins the game.
4. Can Texas beat the best team in the state?
Texas is coming off of a win over USC, but since the Longhorns lost to Maryland in week 1, it is hard to get a gauge on how good they can be. The Longhorns are 2-1 on the season and have Tom Herman trying to build a program that can live up to the glory days. This was the season that Texas was supposed to be winning more games and put themselves back on the map. If they wish to truly rebound from their week 1 loss, they’ll have to beat the best team in their state this weekend.
TCU is coming off of a loss against Ohio State, but they played well, as they were leading the game in the second half. The Horned Frogs are still ranked 17th in the country and over the last several years have been the best team in the state. With Gary Patterson leading TCU, they show no signs of giving up claim to being the best team in Texas.
5. Can Wisconsin rebound?
Wisconsin lost a heartbreaking game against BYU this weekend after missing a game-tying field goal. This has severely hurt Wisconsin’s CFP chances and also shown some weaknesses that can be exposed. The Badgers will be tested again this week when they travel to Iowa.
The Hawkeyes are 3-0 with their most impressive win coming over in-state rival Iowa State. They play the same tough style of football as Wisconsin, so expect a low scoring game. If the Hawkeyes can make Wisconsin beat them through the air, they have a chance to win, putting them in the lead for the Big Ten West.
A second loss would be catastrophic for Wisconsin, while Iowa could really gain a lot from a win.
Make sure to check out our college football page for more updates and rankings.