Ohio State at Notre Dame: Who Got You?
College football is full of great games in Week 4, including Ohio State at Notre Dame. Don Wolken and Paul Myerberg offer their picks for the contest.
We’ve reached the point in the college football season where most teams enter conference play and face familiar opponents. This seems to predict less surprising results. But this is college football. There are always surprises on Saturdays.
The hard part is sorting out when and where they will come from. Week 4 offers plenty of opportunities with seven games against ranked opponents and several intriguing matchups.
The USA TODAY Sports college football staff — Scooby Axon, Jace Evans, Paul Myerberg, Eric Smith, Eddie Dimanus and Dan Wolken — weigh in with their bold predictions for this weekend.
Alabama gets back on track against Mississippi
Look for Alabama to right the ship with its quarterback situation against Ole Miss. Now that Jalen Milro is the QB 1 again, it will give the Tide versatility and Nick Saban won’t be playing musical chairs with his signal. Callers, especially after the debacle in the South Florida game. Saban knows that one more loss eliminates them as a national title contender, so going with Milrow makes more sense at this point. – Scooby Axon
In Colorado, Deion Sanders finally tasted defeat
Deion Sanders has already made me eat a lot of crow. What he did in his first season in Colorado was very impressive and there is no denying that the Buffaloes will be the story of the 2023 season. That being said, they are going to lose this week. Obviously, they were lucky to enter Audzen Stadium down 3-0 — seeing his team build an 11-point lead and then exiting when bold-faced Colorado State head coach Jay Norvell had a chance to win the game with two. Point conversion in first overtime. But take nothing from the buffaloes; They were directed through the door that Norwell had left open. The effort seemed to take a lot out of them, however, as they lost star two-way forward Travis Hunter in the process. Hunter’s presence, especially in the secondary, Bo Knicks and no. 11 Oregon Ducks Sanders and his No. 19 Buffaloes will be missed as they drop their first loss. – Jace Evans
Clemson keeps its playoff hopes alive against Florida State
Bold predictions can be made based on any of the seven games between ranked teams on a loaded Saturday. I’m going with Clemson with a borderline goal against Florida State after seeing the Tigers’ offense take a step up over the last two weeks and the Seminoles struggle to put away Boston College in a very close win. Could it be that FSU isn’t ready to take the next step and become the new ACC powerhouse? We’ll find out on Saturday. But I think Clemson has found a way to control the tempo of the game and get a win that fills the program’s bandwidth. – Paul Myerberg
Notre Dame is coming off a memorable loss to Ohio State
You may not know every word to the “Notre Dame Victory March,” but you should be familiar with one of the most famous phrases—raise the echoes. That’s what will happen Saturday night in South Bend when the Irish square off with No. 4 Ohio State. This is a chance for Notre Dame to announce itself as a national title contender. The Fighting Irish have a significant edge with Sam Hartman under center at quarterback and they can continue to move the ball. On the opposite side, the Buckeyes have an inexperienced signal-caller in Kyle McCord facing one of the toughest environments in college football, one of those special nights that could become the top storyline of Notre Dame weekend after a big win. – Eric Smith
Get ready for a defensive dance in the Penn State-Iowa showdown
I’ll give you two bold predictions involving the Penn State-Iowa showdown on a white-out night in State College. The Nittany Lions would win it, and at least one defense would score in the game. Well, that first one wasn’t so bold. Things often don’t go according to script in this series, but home field advantage will certainly be a defensive struggle for PSU. As for that second one, defenses don’t happen often, but the Hawkeyes got one on special teams last week and famously had two in one game last season — a contest they won without scoring a touchdown. Who can forget the infamous 6-4 tennis match these two teams staged in 2004, in which Iowa gave up a second defense in the final moments to seal the win — and chance of a TD. There will be at least one touchdown this time — we wouldn’t be so bold — but this game is a good candidate for a two-pointer. – Eddie Dimanus
Lane Kiffin leads Mississippi past Alabama
There are plenty of reasons to believe this is the week Alabama gets off the mat and plays like Alabama. Nick Saban has done it multiple times before, and Travaris Robinson is now calling Alabama’s defense to replace coordinator Kevin Steele, saying Lane Kiffin didn’t help him, something Saban denies. Why should Kiffin stir the pot, especially going 3-for-3 against Alabama? Who knows. But sometimes the game is simple, and Ole Miss is going to win because it has a significantly better quarterback and offense. Alabama’s performance at South Florida last week was more than enough in its loss to Texas, and now the Tide returns to Jalen Milrow at quarterback. Milrow, who didn’t play last week, is clearly Alabama’s top option, but still very limited as a passer. If Ole Miss gets an early score and forces Alabama to come from behind, this could be the year Kiffin upsets his old boss. – Don Clouds