Week Four in college football features the start of conference play, and there are great matchup’s to get things going. Will Chad Kelly and the Rebels finally play a complete game against the Kirby Smart led Bulldogs? Will Michigan State or Wisconsin’s run game prevail? Does Tennessee finally prove they belong in the College Football Playoff discussion?
The NFL Mocks staff has gone through this week’s slate of games and have picked who they think will come away with the victory in Week Four.
Sep 17, 2016; Oxford, MS, USA; Mississippi Rebels quarterback Chad Kelly (10) runs the ball during the second quarter of the game against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports
#12 Georgia at #23 Ole Miss
It has been a Jekyll and Hyde season for the Ole Miss Rebels this season. They led both Alabama and Florida State by three touchdowns, and looked nearly unbeatable, but after a pair of second half collapses the Rebels sit 1-2 on the season. At times Chad Kelly looks like one of the top quarterbacks in the country, but for some reason he begins to fade late in games and makes key errors that provide detrimental to the team. If Kelly can play a complete game through all four quarters, there won’t be too many teams able to beat the Rebels.
The Georgia Bulldogs have relied on their defense to a 3-0 record to start the season. However, their matchup against the Rebels will the toughest test they’ve faced this season. The secondary for the Bulldogs has been subpar the past two games and will have to step it up if they hope to contain Chad Kelly and a talented receiving core. On the offensive side of the ball Georgia is still a primarily rushing team. Nick Chubb needs to have a game closer to his 222 yard performance against North Carolina for the offense to be successful this week.
Sep 2, 2016; East Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan State Spartans defensive lineman Malik McDowell (4) stands on the field between plays during the first half against the Furman Paladins at Spartan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports
#11 Wisconsin at #8 Michigan State
When the 11th ranked Wisconsin Badgers take on the 8th ranked Michigan State Spartans it will be the first time the conference rivals have met since 2012.
Wisconsin comes into the game 3-0 after an impressive win over LSU in the opener and two more wins over Akron and Georgia State. The Badgers have questions at the quarterback and running back positions as they enter their contest with the Spartans. Bartan Houston and Alex Hornibrook have both played meaningful minutes this season, and have performed well enough for the Badgers to win. It will be interesting to see who coach Chryst goes with. At the running back position, the Badgers could be without their starter Corey Clement who missed their last contest with an ankle injury.
The Spartans have quietly gone about their business en route to a 3-0 record. As the underdogs against Notre Dame, they relied on a strong running game and a solid performance from quarterback Tyler O’Conner. For a victory against the Badgers, they will have to rely on their talented yet underperforming defensive line. If Malik McDowell has a monster game, the Spartans should have a much easier time in shutting down the Badgers run game on their way to a victory.
Jan 1, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; Tennessee Volunteers running back Jalen Hurd (1) runs the ball in for a touchdown against the Northwestern Wildcats during the second half in the 2016 Outback Bowl at Raymond James Stadium. Tennessee Volunteers defeated the Northwestern Wildcats 45-6. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
#19 Florida at #14 Tennessee
When the Florida Gators travel to Knoxville they will be looking for their 12th straight win over the Tennessee Volunteers. The 3-0 Gators will be without starting quarterback Luke Del Rio and will look to Austin Appleby and the run game to manage the offense against the Volunteers. On the defensive side of the ball they boast one of the top defensive fronts in college football. They have sacked the quarterback 16 times while ranking first in run defense. For the Gators to win they will have to contain quarterback Joshua Dobbs and running back Jalen Hurd.
Tennessee is also 3-0 to start the season, but the jury is still out on whether or not they are contenders or pretenders. They started the season against Appalachian State and it took everything they had and then some to pull off the victory in overtime. The Volunteers followed that up with a solid win over Virginia Tech and a less than perfect win against Ohio. Many expected quarterback Joshua Dobbs to have a breakout season year, but so far has done nothing to meet that expectation. Against a tough Florida defense Dobbs and running back Jalen Hurd will have to control the flow of the game to give the Volunteers a chance at ending an eleven straight losing record to the Gators.
Sep 19, 2015; College Station, TX, USA; Texas A&M Aggies defensive lineman Myles Garrett (15) in action during the game against the Nevada Wolf Pack at Kyle Field. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
#17 Arkansas at #10 Texas A&M
Before the season Texas A&M lost their top two quarterbacks and many wondered if coach Kevin Sumlin would remain with the program. Those major storylines have long since faded thanks to a 3-0 start, and as the saying goes “winning fixes everything”. The arrival of quarterback Trevor Knight has reinvigorated the Aggies by making plays through the air and on the ground.
On the defensive side of the ball , Texas A&M has arguably the best defensive player in the country in Myles Garrett. He is widely considered a top five selection in the upcoming draft and will force a double team for every snap he is on the field.
Arkansas enter the matchup against the Aggies 3-0 for the second time under head coach Bret Bielema and look to continue their strong start to the season. The key to this game will be how well the Razorbacks offensive line can keep quarterback Austin Allen upright and away from Myles Garrett. Arkansas has a massive offensive line led by Dan Skipper and Frank Ragnow and they will be key in keeping the run game going.
Sep 17, 2016; Stillwater, OK, USA; Oklahoma State Cowboys wide receiver James Washington (28) cannot complete a pass as Pittsburgh Panthers defensive back Avonte Maddox (14) defends during the first half at Boone Pickens Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rob Ferguson-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 17, 2016; Berkeley, CA, USA; California Golden Bears quarterback Davis Webb (7) warms up prior to the game against the Texas Longhorns at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports
Shawn: Davis Webb. Webb is coming off a solid performance against Texas and faces a defense that gave up 540 yards through the air to Texas Tech QB Patrick Mahomes two weeks ago. The last time Webb took on the Sun Devils was in the 2013 Holiday Bowl when he led the Red Raiders to an upset win as a freshman.
Eric: Georgia QB Jacob Eason gets a defense in Ole Miss that allows 460 yards per game and allowed 419 passing yards to FSU in Week one
Brady: Tanner Mangum. If BYU starts trailing and offense goes stale, don’t be surprised if Kalani Sitake throws Mangum in the game, especially considering his promising 2015 campaign.