Big­gest ques­tions for Week 4 in col­lege football

USA TODAY US Edition - - SPORTS - Paul Myer­berg and Erick Smith

Week 4 of the col­lege football sea­son fea­tures the start of the South­east­ern Con­fer­ence sched­ule. There’s not a mon­u­men­tal show­down but enough com­pet­i­tive games to pro­vide a look at where things stand among con­tenders and the rest of the field.

The Big 12 also be­gins con­fer­ence play. And there’s some sig­nif­i­cant meet­ings in the Group of Five as those schools po­si­tion them­selves for a po­ten­tial New Year’s Six bowl game.

A look at the top ques­tions for Satur­day:

Is a ranked SEC team in dan­ger?

While some slop­pi­ness is to be ex­pected, most ranked SEC teams are not in dan­ger of be­ing up­set in the opener. Alabama’s won’t sleep on Mis­souri. Even with ques­tion marks at quar­ter­back, Ge­or­gia will roll against Arkansas. Texas A&M will han­dle Van­der­bilt. Florida should be fine against Ole Miss, though the Rebels could make things in­ter­est­ing. Two teams need to stay fo­cused: Ten­nessee, which is at South Carolina, and Auburn, which hosts Kentucky.

Ok­la­homa be on up­set alert?

Flash back 11 months to Man­hat­tan, Kansas, where the Soon­ers were stunned by Kansas State in their lone Big 12 hic­cup. Now the Wild­cats come to Nor­man. Con­ven­tional wis­dom sug­gests Ok­la­homa won’t get caught nap­ping two years in a row. How­ever, a loss by Kansas State against Arkansas State in its opener could have the Soon­ers over­con­fi­dent. There’s also the un­cer­tainty of how fresh­man quar­ter­back Spencer Rat­tler re­sponds to his first ma­jor start for Ok­la­homa. He looked great against Mis­souri State, but that was Mis­souri State. His coun­ter­part Skyler Thomp­son was crit­i­cal to the Wild­cats pulling the up­set last year. Can he make those same clutch throws this year?

Can FSU catch Mi­ami nap­ping?

Mi­ami has put to­gether good wins against Alabama Birm­ing­ham and Louisville. Florida State lost to Ge­or­gia Tech and will play Satur­day with­out coach Mike Norvell, quar­an­tined af­ter test­ing pos­i­tive for COVID-19. You’d think Mi­ami sim­ply keeps rolling and inches closer to the top 10. It’s a good test for the pro­gram in coach Manny Diaz’s sec­ond sea­son. To lose to Norvel­l­less FSU in th­ese cir­cum­stances would be a disas­ter.

Does Army con­tinue march­ing on?

The Black Knights have outscored their first two op­po­nents 79-7 and look to be much im­proved af­ter last year’s dis­ap­point­ing cam­paign. There’s an op­por­tu­nity for New Year’s Six con­sid­er­a­tion should they fin­ish un­beaten. The first of two road­blocks is Satur­day at No. 16 Cincin­nati. Should Army win this week and then win a resched­uled game against No. 23 BYU, it could rise near the top 10 of the Col­lege Football Play­off rankings.

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