Four weeks into the season and we're finally hitting a high number of games between ranked teams. Ours, of course, is one of the choice offerings of the week, but there are four other Top 25 match-ups as well. Five in one week is pretty high and will likely not be surpassed the rest of the year. Also, no Thursday or Friday night games make the list this week. It's all about Saturday in Week 4. Since all games are on Saturday, I'm going to forgo listing what day they're on. As always, all times listed are central and rankings are from the USA Today poll until the BCS poll comes out.
North Carolina (25) at Georgia Tech (24) - 11:00 a.m. - ESPN
Admittedly, neither team has done a whole heck of a lot to be ranked (unless you count one obscene thrashing from GT), but you can't totally ignore two undefeated ranked teams, so their inclusion here is easy. North Carolina has beaten James Madison, Rutgers and Virginia under interim head coach Everett Withers. We Crimson Tide fans know first hand just how badly a season can go when your coach is fired just before the season, so all things considered, North Carolina is doing fairly well at the moment. There's a long way to go before we can say they've weathered the storm, but 3-0 is the best case scenario so far, and that's what Withers has delivered. Georgia Tech has also played a whole lot of nobody: Western Carolina, Middle Tennessee State and Kansas. Their dismantling of Kansas was so thorough though that it boggles the mind: the box score was positively cartoonish with Tech racking up over 600 yards rushing...it was like Bo Jackson on Techmo Bowl. Tech QB Tevin Washington even turned in a 348 QB rating for the game. Hope for more crazy fireworks during the breakfast game.
Oklahoma State (6) at Texas A&M (8) - 2:30 p.m. - ABC / ESPN 2 / ESPN3
I just have a hard time looking at these two teams and being solidly convinced that it's a Top 10 showdown. Oklahoma State are the defenseless wonders they always are: they've surrendered an average of 27 points to Louisiana-Lafayette, Arizona and Tulsa. Tulsa admittedly can typically put some points up, but giving up 81 points in three games is a ton given the caliber of opponent the Cowboys have faced. Oh well, if you can average 52.3 points, you're going to win some games. The Aggies have beaten SMU and Idaho so far and have already had a bye week. I imagine A&M will put up a stiffer defensive challenge that what the Cowboys have seen so far. Too bad this one comes on at the same time as our game.
Florida State (14) at Clemson (22) - 2:30 p.m. - ESPN / ESPN3
Another one that conflicts with our game. Too bad we couldn't get some ACC Thursday action with this one. Oh well. The Seminoles are coming off a loss to #1 Oklahoma and will be wanting to make a statement against Clemson who just snapped Auburn's 17 game win streak. Clemson will be trying to gain momentum and FSU is trying to re-establish traction. Florida State was probably given too lofty a ranking too early, but they're far from a bad team and I imagine they'll
sort Clemson out on the road have some difficulty overcoming their missing personnel in getting the road win.
Vanderbilt at South Carolina (10) - 6:00 p.m. - ESPN 2
How in the name of all things good did Vanderbilt ever make this list? Well, they're off to a roaring (for them anyway) 3-0 start with wins over Elon, Connecticut and Ole Miss. Hey, not many teams have two wins over BCS opponents after Week 3 right? You've got to imagine that Marcus Lattimore is going to run over, around, and through the 'Dores though, especially at home. It'll probably get ugly, but I figure since we're playing Vandy in two weeks it's probably time to start seriously tuning in and watching them. In the event they did pull the upset, how crazy would it be if a 4-0 Vandy came to Tuscaloosa to meet a 5-0 Alabama? Not going to happen probably (and I hope we're 5-0 after our next two games), but we can dream that homecoming would appear on CBS right?
LSU (3) at West Virginia (16) - 7:00 p.m. - ABC
LSU has beaten two ranked teams in three weeks and now lines up against a third in Week four. You've got to credit them for not backing down from a challenge. West Virginia's taken an easier path to begin their season: Marshall, Norfolk State and Maryland. I can't fathom that the Mountaineers have what it takes to seriously challenge LSU even at home, not with LSU's ridiculous defense. They better hope Jarrett Lee becomes the interception machine that we know and love if they're going to get much going as a short field would help them immensely.