Week 4 of the 2023 college football season appears to be one of the best yet as six games on this week's schedule feature top-12 teams against each other.
The Pac-12 has three ranked matchups as No. 19 Colorado heads to Eugene to face No. 10 Oregon, No. 22 UCLA takes on No. 11 Utah and No. 14 Oregon State goes up against No. 21 Washington State. And there's the always exciting Lane Kiffin vs. Nick Saban affair when undefeated No. 15 Ole Miss takes on a reeling No. 13 Alabama with Jalen Milroe back at starting QB. In the prime-time Big Ten game of the week, No. 24 Iowa plays No. 7 Penn State, and perhaps the biggest game of the week, outside of the Deion Sanders show, is No. 6 Ohio State vs. No. 9 Notre Dame, the second game of the year between two teams ranked in the AP top 10.
Our analysts have you covered with everything you need to know to bet on the high-profile games this week.
All odds are courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook
Week 4 gives us a prime-time showdown between No. 6 Ohio State (-3, 55.5) and No. 9 Notre Dame. What are your thoughts on this game?
Jorge Sedano: This game will likely have college football playoff implications. Notre Dame's offense is as explosive as advertised. Sam Hartman is pushing the ball down the field and is doing stuff we haven't seen since Brady Quinn was under center for the Fighting Irish. Hartman already has nearly 1,100 yards with 13 TD's and zero interceptions. The Fighting Irish bring a balanced attack with a strong running game courtesy of Audric Estime. Estime has over 500 yards and has averaged a whopping 8 yards per carry through four weeks this season. Although, when it comes to explosive offenses very few teams boast what the Buckeyes bring to the table. Ohio State may have the best skill position players in the country. The wide receiver group is led by Marvin Harrison Jr and Emeka Egbuka -- who each have a trio of TD catches. Plus, the running backs led by TreVeyon Henderson and Miyan Williams, have averaged over 5 yards per carry and scored six of the seven rushing TDs for the Buckeyes. I expect a high scoring affair that will likely comes down to a one possession game. Ohio State is the favorite on the road, but I've witnessed the "Luck of the Irish" plenty in front of Touchdown Jesus. I wouldn't rule out Notre Dame in what should be a nail-biter.
Matt Miller: This is a game I've had circled on my calendar for a while now, so I can't wait to see this matchup come to life. I think Ohio State wins this one thanks to the Buckeye ground game led by Treveyon Henderson and a big play late from Marvin Harrison Jr. to seal the deal. I'd take Ohio State (-3) but it will be close. And yes, this will have huge playoff implications. An Ohio State loss here could knock them out (Michigan game pending) and the same goes for Notre Dame given the tough schedule both face down the stretch.
Kevin Haswell: I will be keeping my eye on the quarterback battle in this matchup. Notre Dame's Sam Hartman, one of the most experienced quarterbacks we have in college football against Kyle McCord, who is currently in the midst of his first season as the Buckeyes starting QB. In a game that has this much at stake, give me the experienced guy. I like Notre Dame +3 because of Hartman.
Dalen Cuff: Anytime teams this big (with multiple CFP appearances) collide, there are always playoff implications. The loser is not out, the winner is not a lock, but their fortunes can swing heavily on the outcome. As for the game, they've each played one Power 5 opponent. The Buckeyes struggled early in Indiana while Notre Dame (after a long weather delay) dominated a solid NC State team on the road. I think this one could be a slog, where the defenses win out against offenses still trying to figure it out. The trenches and ground game are huge. I love the under 55.5.
What is your biggest takeaway through the first four weeks of the season?
Matt Miller: The Pac-12 is loaded. While most of the attention has been on the Deion Sanders show out west, the entire conference has dominated opponents throughout the first four weeks. With eight undefeated teams in the top 25 -- USC, Washington, Oregon, Utah, Oregon State, Colorado, Washington State and UCLA -- the rest of the nation is looking up at the conference won't even look the same after this season.
Kevin Haswell: How about what Mike Norvell has built at Florida State? The Seminoles made a statement to start the season by taking down then-No. 5 LSU. They rose all the way to No. 3 in the AP poll two weeks ago before a close call at Boston College dropped them to No. 4. They have a big test this weekend as they travel to Death Valley to take on Clemson, but they are getting respect as the first road favorite at Clemson since Lamar Jackson and Louisville in 2016. The Seminoles are currently +115 to make the College Football Playoff, and if they win Saturday in Death Valley, that might be the best price you get all season.
Dalen Cuff: The Pac-12 looks like it's going back to the College Football Playoff in its swan song. Washington was the last team to represent the conference in the CFP after the 2016 season. But this year, the conference is deep, has tons of great quarterbacks and is strong enough that even if the eventual champion suffers a quality loss or two, they still might end up in the top four when it's all said and done.
As in-conference play ramps up, who do you feel is a sleeper candidate to win its conference and potentially make the playoff?
Jorge Sedano: The Washington Huskies. I do think USC is primed to be the team to beat in the final season of the Pac-12 as we know it. But the Huskies are the team most ready to challenge the Trojans. Much like USC, Washington boasts a high-octane offense. QB Michael Penix Jr. has completed 74% of his passes for 1,332 yards, 12 TDs with only one interception through three weeks. That includes his virtuoso performance last week against Michigan State, where he threw for 473 yards and 4 TD's in less than three full quarters. The Huskies push the ball down the field as well as anyone in the country and will test every defense they face. The No. 8 team in the country is absolutely a CFP contender.
Matt Miller: I like the Huskies too. Penix is a legitimate Heisman candidate, and he has two legit NFL receivers in Rome Odunze and Jalen McMillan. Washington still has to travel to USC but gets Utah and Oregon at home. The Huskies' schedule is tough but manageable.
Kevin Haswell: Oklahoma has had quite the start to the season. Sooners quarterback Dillon Gabriel has turned himself into a legitimate Heisman candidate (+1800), leading the FBS in completion percentage (82.5%), while ranking third in Total QBR (93). The Sooners have one ranked team left on their schedule, and it's No. 3 Texas, but ESPN Analytics has the Sooners as the favorite in that game. I would take a look at the Sooners at +200 to win the Big 12.
What is your upset pick for Week 4?
Matt Miller: Oregon State is the home favorite over Washington State but give me the Cougars (+3) in this one. Cameron Ward has been electric all season with nine passing touchdowns and no interceptions and will get it done against a solid Beavers' defense.
Kevin Haswell: I'm also picking Washington State +3 against Oregon State. Cameron Ward has been tremendous under center for the Cougars, putting together 11 total touchdowns (nine pass, two rush) this season. On the other side, DJ Uiagalelei has struggled against AP Top 25 opponents since the start of the 2021 season, putting up a 7-6 TD-INT ratio.