Good morning, I’m Kevin Sweeney, filling in for Dan Gartland. Don’t miss this weekend’s college football slate.
In today’s SI:AM:
Saturday’s CFB lineup is loaded
The Week 4 college football slate might be the best of the season. We’ve got high-profile, early-conference showdowns in essentially every conference, as well as a massive nonconference clash between Notre Dame and Ohio State in South Bend. These are the types of days to park yourself on the couch and spend 12 hours watching games. Here’s what you look forward to Saturday.
Coach Prime’s biggest test yet
Colorado’s 3–0 start under Deion Sanders is the story of the season so far. But if the Buffaloes can somehow upset Oregon on Saturday afternoon, the hype train for this team will take off to new heights.
The quarterback battle will be phenomenal. Shedeur Sanders has thrust himself into the thick of the Heisman conversation by completing more than 78% of his passes and throwing for 10 touchdowns in three weeks. Meanwhile, Oregon’s Bo Nix will provide a much bigger test than anything Colorado’s defense has faced. He’s one of the best dual-threat quarterbacks in the country and a Heisman hopeful.
Oregon is a huge favorite: Most sportsbooks have the Ducks by three touchdowns. But we’ve already learned this season how foolish it would be to count out Coach Prime. This is a must-watch.
Playoff implications in South Bend
Two of the sport’s biggest brands face off when Ohio State and Notre Dame match up Saturday night. It’s a game that could chart the course not just for this season for these two powers, but also the tenures to come for their high-profile coaches.
Marcus Freeman has Notre Dame rolling early in his second season, particularly offensively. But being the coach at Notre Dame requires winning the big ones, and this game certainly qualifies. The Irish can clearly assert themselves as a national title contender with a big performance in this one, especially if the offense looks as sharp under QB Sam Hartman as it has against weaker competition.
Ryan Day at Ohio State could also use a big win. His record with the Buckeyes is remarkable, but two straight losses to Michigan have a way of warming your seat with a fickle Ohio State fan base. A loss here would be another setback for Day as he looks to break through with a national title in year five.
Florida State seeks full control of ACC
Week 1 results (Florida State’s dominant win over LSU; Clemson’s loss to Duke) made the Seminoles the favorites in the ACC. Win at Clemson on Saturday, and FSU can further stake that claim. But winning in Death Valley is never easy: Since 2014, Clemson is a ridiculous 61–2 at home. Plus, the Tigers’ offense has taken off the last two weeks after its disastrous performance against Duke.
Florida State has set itself clearly on the College Football Playoff trajectory with its marquee nonconference win. But after playing poorly on the road at Boston College last weekend, the Seminoles need a much cleaner performance to earn another headlining victory.
Other games to watch
- No. 15 Ole Miss at No. 13 Alabama: Alabama has looked pedestrian the last two weeks. Is this Lane Kiffin’s chance to beat his old boss?
- No. 22 UCLA at No. 11 Utah: The Utes are two-time defending Pac-12 champs. A Bruin breakthrough under Chip Kelly relies on winning games like this.
- No. 14 Oregon State at No. 21 Washington State: The “Pac-2” bowl is a big one for these two hungry ranked foes.
- No. 24 Iowa at No. 7 Penn State: This is the first real test of whether Iowa’s offense is improved enough to contend in the Big Ten.
The best of Sports Illustrated
- Why Brock Purdy doesn’t have to be perfect for the 49ers to be great, plus more thoughts from an impressive San Francisco win Thursday night.
- Richard Johnson explores what happens next at Colorado when the Buffaloes finally do take a loss.
- Kyle Wood and Gilberto Manzano make their picks for the biggest games of Week 3 in the NFL.
- An inside look at the stakes for Saturday’s Ohio State–Notre Dame clash from Pat Forde.
- The latest QB ranking are out, with Justin Fields continuing his fall after a rough Week 2.
The top five…
Things I saw yesterday…
On this day in 1966, the Yankees drew their lowest attendance in franchise history. How many fans showed up to watch the game that afternoon against the White Sox
Yesterday’s SIQ: On Sept. 21, 1980, which quarterback became the first player to complete 40 passes in a single game?
- Dan Fouts
- Jim Zorn
- Terry Bradshaw
- Richard Todd
Answer: Richard Todd. He completed 42 of 60 passes for 447 yards in the Jets’ loss to the 49ers. The previous record for completions in a game was 37 by George Blanda in 1964.
The game was a rare bright spot for Todd in what was a pretty terrible season. He started every game as the Jets went 4–12 and led the league with 30 interceptions. The game was not, however, a bright spot for the Jets. The reason that Todd had to throw so many passes was that San Francisco jumped out to a 24–0 lead, and New York was forced to abandon the run game.