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4-Down Territory: Three-Screen Alert For A Massive Football Weekend

THREE-SCREEN ALERT brought to you by DEPENDS undergarments/adult diapers: We save the THREE SCREEN ALERTS for big weekends when you'll need three screens (TV/Smartphone and Tablet) to watch 3 games at the same time. Pack sandwiches and beverages in your cooler and head to the couch. But be sure to throw on an adult diaper, because on action-packed Saturdays like this, you won’t have time to get up and use the bathroom. Saturday will be a test to see how committed you are to college football.

First Down: NOON Games Two Screens Should do it: Rutgers (3-0) at #2 Michigan (3-0) Big Ten Network: One of these teams is leading the Big Ten in rushing, has won all three games by 17 or more points and has wins over two Power-5 teams already. If you guessed Michigan you’d be wrong. The question now is if Rutgers can build on that momentum. Michigan has not played up to the hype yet, but with Jim Harbaugh returning to the sidelines Saturday the intensity will ramp up. This matchup was a one-score game in 2021 (20-13 Michigan win) and 2021 (48-42 3 OT Michigan win). Schematically Rutgers is built to play teams like Michigan. Saturday we’ll find out if they have the personnel to compete. Michigan’s QB play gives them a big edge over Rutgers……#4 Florida State (3-0) at Clemson (2-1) ABC: Before Clemson got dumped by Duke in week 1 this looked like a playoff impact game. For Clemson it becomes an elimination game. While Clemson’s offensive underperformance has been a focal point, the upfront pass rush by the Clemson D-line has netted just 2 sacks of the team’s four on the year……#16 Oklahoma (3-0) at Cincinnati (2-1) FOX: Oklahoma wasted little time taking care of business in Tulsa last week while Cincinnati lost to Miami of OHIO. Cincinnati will have to play like they did against Pitt to have a chance. In that game they ran the ball, shut down the run game on defense and forced bad throws.

Second Down: Make Sure Your Tablets and Phones are Charged: As we head into the 3:30 slot there will be three matchups between ranked teams at the same time.…..#15 Ole Miss (3-0) at #13 Alabama (2-1) CBS: Ole Miss has an established QB, confidence and is playing on the road without the weight of expectations. Alabama has plenty of drama after a loss to Texas and a real tussle with USF. Nick Saban has settled the QB issue and Jalen Milroe will start. On defense Saban also discussed making sure the schemes matched their players’ talents so they could play fast. They will need to play at top speed to slow down an Ole Miss offense that is putting up over 520 yards per game…….#22 UCLA (3-0) at #11 Utah (3-0) FOX: With 8 ranked teams and the best collection of QB talent in the country, the PAC 12 has three of the biggest games this weekend. Utah has done wonders without starting QB Cam Rising including a win over Florida in week one. That has been done by relying on their defense. Utah has an underrated difficult environment. But one of the big home crowd neutralizers is a good run game. UCLA has run the ball very well so far and will give the Utah defense it’s toughest test so far……#18 Duke (3-0) at UConn (0-3) CBS Sports Network: Duke has a football team that is worthy of your attention. They’ve got more talent that you’d think and they should roll this week…..#20 Miami (3-0) at Temple (2-1) ESPN2: Miami QB Tyler Van Dyke is off to a fast start and his top three WRs have already snared 48 catches for 725 yards in just three games……..UTSA (1-2) at #23 Tennessee (2-1) 4:00 SEC Network: This should be a bounce back game for the Vols, but stranger things have happened.

Third Down: For some Any Time is Primetime: It is often said on vacation when cracking a cold one “It’s 5 O’clock somewhere.” In 2023 college football any time can be Primetime and this week Primetime starts at 3:30 eastern. #19 Colorado (3-0) at #10 Oregon (3-0) 3:30 ABC: The Buffs lost Travis Hunter to injury, and for the first time this season faced some real adversity. But they rose to the challenge. Oregon is a more experienced team, they have a better defense and a far more balanced offense. They are also a heavy favorite at home in Autzen Stadium. So, they should win, right? Colorado has thrived on getting turnovers, getting teams to play the game with emotions rather than poise. If Oregon can play their game and run the ball effectively, that is the best way to keep the Ducks’ defense fresh and keep the Buffs offense off the field. CU has averaged 77 plays per game and opposing defenses have tired trying to keep up with the Buffs’ speed…….Arkansas (2-1) at #12 LSU (2-1) 7:00 ESPN: LSU QB Jayden Daniels was nearly perfect against Mississippi State last week. Through three games the Arkansas run game has lagged the type of production they expect. Against a stout LSU defense getting the run game started will be a tall order….Charlotte (1-2) at #25 Florida (2-1) 7:00 ESPN+: Florida QB Graham Mertz took care of the ball, made the throws he had to make and allowed a dominant run game and Gator defense do the rest. This should be the formula the rest of the way…..UAB (1-2) at #1 Georgia (3-0) 7:30 ESPN2: The Dawgs trailed at home last week to South Carolina before scoring 21 straight points. Defensively Georgia remains stout, but the run game lacked the big explosive plays last week. Look for that to change Saturday…….#3 Texas (3-0) at Baylor (1-2) 7:30 ABC: Texas had a tussle with Wyoming last week which underscored the need for Texas to find more consistency in the run game. Defensively they have shown an ability to pressure the QB making 8 sacks and forcing 5 INTs in the first three games. One weapon to keep an eye on is Texas TE #0 Ja’Tavion Sanders. He has just 7 catches so far, but he is a serious matchup problem……..#17 UNC (3-0) at Pitt (1-2) 8:00 ACC Network: Pitt QB Phil Jurkovec has not played well for two weeks in losses to Cincinnati and WVU. He will need to play at a much higher level if the Panthers are to keep up with a UNC offense led by Drake Maye…..#5 USC (3-0) at Arizona State (1-2) 9:30 FOX: ASU was shutout by Fresno State 29-0 last weekend. If USC comes ready to play expect the Trojans to roll in this one.

Fourth Down: A Night To Remember: Three ranked matchups lead into a West Coast game to watch one of the best QBs no one has seen play yet…..#14 Oregon State (3-0) at #21 Washington State (3-0) 7:00 FOX: The last two Pac 12 members left standing square off. Oregon State has a more balanced attack and really feeds off their o-line and run game. The Beavers are also stout against the run. Washington State has performed at a higher level with wins over Wisconsin and over Colorado State by 26 points. Both of those teams were shut down in the run game…….#24 Iowa (3-0) at #7 Penn State (3-0) 7:30 CBS: Penn State’s offensive line has allowed a lot of pressures on QB Drew Allar most of which he's deftly avoided to make throws downfield. Neither PSU RB has made the big run play yet. Last week 5 turnovers broke the game open at Illinois. Iowa QB Cade McNamara has forced some throws and taken some bad sacks. Penn State’s defense likes to make both of those things happen. To win this one, Iowa will need to get the run game going, particularly the inside run game to set up play-action passes. That puts a lot of pressure on Penn State’s safeties……Cal (2-1) at #8 Washington (3-0) 10:30 ESPN: The Huskies have appeared on the Pac 12 Network and Peacock this year so anyone on the East Coast can be forgiven for not having seen them play. They’ve won 10 straight games and during that stretch QB Michael Penix is averaging 393 yards per game passing and toped 400 yards 6 times. His top 3 WRs Rome Odunze, Jalen McMillan and Ja’Lynn Polk have combined for 55 catches and 1030 yards averaging almost 18,7 yards per catch in just THREE games. That attack is well worth staying up to see…..#6 Ohio State at #9 Notre Dame 7:30 NBC: A blowout win over Western Kentucky has helped calm the nerves of the OSU faithful who like seeing lots of points on the board. But with a renewed emphasis on the run game and defense the Buckeye staff is looking beyond beating up on non-conference teams. They are focused on the things to help them win the Big Ten and beat Michigan. Notre Dame has an excellent QB in Sam Hartman and the question will be whether or not the ND WRs can win the matchups against a defense that may have to be aggressive in coverage to stop a strong Notre Dame run game. For Notre Dame they’ve been playing defense at a high level but facing the OSU WR corps and running game provides their toughest test so far. But Notre Dame did a great job against the OSU offense last year so the intimidation factor many teams get facing them for the first time won’t be there. This game will tell us a lot about both of these teams. And should this be a close game, it really does not eliminate either team from the playoff picture.


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