OK, hear me out: I think Week 4 might have the best college football schedule of 2017 so far. Not the biggest, but the most enjoyable.
Weeks 1 and 2 had far bigger games, sure. Week 4 doesn’t have anything close to that, with only two ranked-vs.-ranked games. But it also has some nice balance to it, with a pretty loaded early Saturday slate (by nooner standards) and at least multiple games on each weeknight, both of which are improvements on previous weekends. And it’s not like the primetime spot is bad at all. I can talk you into that part just fine.
Below, the Watch Grid guide to the full weekend, spotlighting the likely best games in each time slot. (No full Grid for Thursday and Friday, since each only has a couple games.)
Thursday, Sept. 21 college football schedule
Maybe watch Temple at No. 21 USF at 7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN/WatchESPN. Temple’s off to a rough start, but this was circled as one of the biggest games on USF’s schedule.
South Carolina State at NC Central at 7:30 p.m. ET on ESPNU/WatchESPN is football.
Friday, Sept. 22 college football schedule
Maybe watch Virginia at Boise State at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN2/WatchESPN.
Maybe watch No. 23 Utah at Arizona at 10:30 p.m. ET on FS1/Fox Sports Go.
Both these games involve one likely solid team and one team that might be a little better than expected. If Virginia and Arizona show up, this could be a fun night.
Saturday, Sept. 23 college football schedule
You could go with any of three games as your leader here, but A&M-Arkansas pairs two teams known for spectacular collapses and two frequently desperate head coaches, all in JerryWorld.
2017 Oklahoma State and 2017 Purdue playing at the same time will have College Football Twitter so conflicted about which game to focus on. At least one of this week’s many road trips by top-five teams will get interesting, too, possibly in this time slot.
Fine, this looks gross, but hang on.
- Penn State at Iowa is a worthy primetimer. PSU’s yet to be challenged, and Iowa’s proved over the years it can put up a fierce home stand against a top team.
- The two late SEC games feature the four non-Bama-Vandy SEC teams yet to really brick things (I know we’re all supposed to be mortified by Florida because its offense is bad, but defense is actually a part of football too.)
- Washington-Colorado is a Pac-12 title rematch with neither team falling off as much as feared.
- A lot of these lesser games could get fun. If Mizzou participates, Auburn’s defense could have an interesting challenge. Hawaii-Wyoming has little chance of remaining sane. Arkansas State-SMU will undoubtedly give us a trick play GIF. Oregon vs. Arizona State has a 100-point vibe, even if one team puts up the bulk of that.
- And in the bigger closeout game, UCLA-Stanford suddenly has some angst to it, with Stanford losing twice in a row and Jim Mora squandering another promising start. Did I just try to convince you a game is good because both of its teams have disappointed? Yes, because I truly understand #Pac12AfterDark.