Texas A&M wide receiver Ainias Smith
Texas A&M wide receiver Ainias Smith (0) jumps over teammate linebacker Edgerrin Cooper (45) during a punt return against New Mexico of an NCAA college football game on Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021, in College Station, Texas. (AP Photo/Sam Craft)


Mike Shara

Week three has given college football fans and bettors some clarity. Some of the elite teams are slowly separating themselves from the rest and rising to the top. A few schools that were trying to convince the world that they were contenders (I’m looking at you UCLA and Virginia Tech) revealed themselves to be pretenders. A few top-ranked powerhouse programs barely survived games that should have been layups (ahem, Clemson and Oklahoma) and once again the SEC proved it is still leaps and bounds above any other college conference where football is concerned. To wit – a close loss to #1 Alabama proved Florida to be one of the better teams in the sport and they still might not even be among the top four in the SEC.

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A few schools are new to this week’s AP Top 25 poll. The biggest jump goes to Michigan State, who are ranked #20 this week after eviscerating an overrated Miami team last week in Miami Gardens. Also new this week is Fresno State at #22, coming off their upset win over UCLA in Pasadena and Kansas State, who earned a Top 25 ranking again for the third consecutive season under Head Coach Chris Klieman.

After being ranked #15 last week, Virginia Tech fell completely out of the rankings after their loss to West Virginia, as did Arizona State (previously #17), and the previously mentioned Miami (previously #24). The biggest tumble of the week belongs to UCLA, who still narrowly managed to stay in the Top 25, sliding all the way from #13 last week to #24 in Week Four.

This week’s slate of games has a few doozies. Two of the four (yes, four) undefeated schools in the SEC West meet in the Southwest Classic at AT&T Stadium in Dallas as #7 Texas A&M meets #16 Arkansas, rekindling an old rivalry that began nearly 120 years ago.  A big tilt starts things off right away at noon on Saturday as #18 Wisconsin host #12 Notre Dame, who are undefeated but still have yet to win impressively this season. #9 Clemson, whose offense has really struggled thus far in 2021, travels to Raleigh to face a very good N.C. State defense. Plus, there are great in-state rivalry games between an upstart 3-0 Villanova team and perennial powerhouse Penn State, Texas Tech faces Texas in Austin, SMU battles TCU in the Battle for the Best Initials in Texas (no, that’s not really a thing) and UCLA meets their familiar Pac 12 rivals, Stanford.

All games listed below feature teams currently in the Top 25 and are all EST. Consult your local listings to see which games are available in your area.


UNLV#22 Fresno State10 pmCBSSN


#2 GeorgiaVanderbilt12 pmSEC
Villanova#6 Penn State12 pmBig 10
#12 Notre Dame#18 Wisconsin12 pmFOX
Massachusetts#17 Coastal Carolina1 pmESPN+
Colorado State#5 Iowa3:30 pmFS1
#7 Texas A&M#16 Arkansas3:30 pmCBS
#9 ClemsonNC State3:30 pmESPN
#14 Iowa StateBaylor3:30 pmFOX
Rutgers#19 Michigan3:30 pmABC
Georgia State#23 Auburn4 pmSEC
#24 UCLAStanford6 pmPAC 12
Tennessee#11 Florida7 pmESPN
Nebraska#20 Michigan State7 pmFS1
#25 Kansas StateOklahoma State7 pmBIG 12 / ESPN+
Southern Miss#1 Alabama7:30 pmSEC
West Virginia#4 Oklahoma7:30 pmABC
Akron#10 Ohio State7:30 pmBIG 10
#21 North CarolinaGeorgia Tech7:30 pmACC
South Florida#15 BYU10:15 pmESPN2
Arizona#3 Oregon10:30 pmESPN

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