Games to Watch: Week Four

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In this Sept. 10, 2016, file photo, Wisconsin quarterback Alex Hornibrook drops back to pass during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Akron in Madison, Wis. One start into his college career and has already proven that he can handle big-game pressure. The stakes are only going to get higher this weekend at No. 4 Michigan.
Photo Credit: AP Photo/ Morry Gash
  • No. 7 Stanford vs. No. 10 Washington
  • Friday – 8 p.m. – ESPN
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  • The first of three top-10 matchups commences Friday night, when Stanford travels to Seattle for their first ranked test this season. Washington is living up to preseason hype and searching for its first 5-0 start since 1992. 

The Huskies have soared in the rankings as a result of tenacious defense, only allowing 14.5 points per game. Stanford, likewise, only yields 12 points per game, suggesting viewers are in for a defensive struggle. 

But the Cardinal are equipped with the always-electrifying Christian McCaffrey at halfback. The junior Heisman candidate has rushed for over 120 yards in all three contests this season, but was held scoreless last week at UCLA. 

Washington’s defensive key to earning a statement win is to counter McCaffrey, responsible for over 50 percent of Stanford’s touches. 

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  • No. 11 Tennessee vs. No. 25 Georgia
  • Saturday – 2:30 p.m. – CBS

Down 21-3 last week, it seemed Tennessee’s 11-game losing streak to Florida would continue for another year. But Tennessee convincingly defeated the Gators 38-28 to jump to a 4-0 record and the SEC East lead. 

The undefeated Volunteers established themselves as a second-half team this season, defeating opponents 87-24 in third and fourth quarters. 

Georgia remains in the polls after a dreadful 45-14 loss to Ole Miss in week four. Defensive inefficiency and a lack of execution through the air embedded the Bulldogs into an inescapable 45-0 hole. 

In order to contend for the SEC East, junior running back Nick Chubb must return to Heisman-esque form, or the Bulldogs could find themselves in another blowout.

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  • No. 8 Wisconsin vs. No. 4 Michigan
  • Saturday – 2:30 p.m. – ABC

After a narrow six-point victory over Georgia State, Wisconsin reversed their image by thrashing a potent Michigan State team 30-6 on the road. 

Freshman quarterback Alex Hornibrook assumed the starting role for the first time to earn Wisconsin’s second top-10 victory of the season. The Badgers can increase that number to three after traveling to the Big House to battle the Wolverines.

Michigan has been dominant this season, hoisting an average point-differential of plus-38.25, but Wisconsin will be the highest-caliber opponent Jim Harbaugh’s squad has faced. Michigan features junior outside linebacker Jabrill Peppers, who may be spotted throughout the day on both sides of the ball and special teams.

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  • No. 3 Louisville vs. No. 5 Clemson
  • Saturday – 7 p.m. – ABC

Louisville began the season ranked but quickly evolved into playoff contenders following a 63-20 demolition of an esteemed Florida State team. 

The Cardinals next test occurs on the road, primetime in Death Valley. Louisville, the number one scoring offense — 63.5 points per game — challenges Florida State, the 2015 ACC champion for conference superiority. 

Louisville boasts Lamar Jackson, while Clemson boasts Deshaun Watson. This dual-threat quarterback matchup serves as one of the greatest of the season, but only one will continue to anchor an undefeated team after Saturday night.