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College Football 2017 Week 4 Preview
Saturday, 2017 September 23 - 10:38 am
Michigan and N.C. State both open conference play on the road. Michigan is at Purdue; NC State faces a massive test at Florida State.

Michigan at Purdue, 4:00 PM on Fox
Purdue has been surprisingly good. After a close opening loss against a good Louisville team, they bounced back to crush Missouri 35-3 last week. They might be... good? Suddenly they look like Michigan's toughest opponent so far.

And yet, the Louisville game was somewhat fluky, and Missouri might just suck. I'm not convinced that Purdue can hold up against Michigan's front seven, and on defense they don't seem well equipped to put pressure on Wilton Speight.

Purdue plays a complicated misdirection offense. I won't call it gimmicky but there are a lot of what you might call trick plays in their arsenal. I'm encouraged by Michigan's ability to play sound against Air Force; hopefully that carries through to this week.

Prediction: Michigan 27, Purdue 17.

N.C. State at Florida State, noon on ABC/ESPN2
It's hard to know what to expect from Florida State. They lost the game and their quarterback in week 1 to Alabama, and have had their next two games cancelled by weather. Will there be rust? Will true freshman quarterback James Blackman be any good?

FSU's defense will still be good. I think NCSU will have trouble rushing the ball. So it comes to protecting Ryan Finley and finding a way to get Jaylen Samuels open in the passing game.

The game could be close. NCSU can hang with almost anyone on a good day. The Wolfpack has historically been good against FSU. So I'm gonna go out on a limb here.

Prediction: NCSU 19, FSU 13.

Games to Watch on TV
The N.C. State game is at noon on ABC (or ESPN2; regional coverage rules apply). Heck, let's go ahead and call that the Game of the Week, because there really aren't very marquee matchups today.

At 3:30 Alabama plays a surprising 3-0 Vanderbilt team on CBS. #5 USC is at Cal, who is also a somewhat surprising 3-0. That's on ABC. #16 TCU is at #6 Oklahoma State on ESPN, though I find it hard to really care about this game. Rutgers battles Nebraska for the bottom of the Big Ten on BTN.

At 4:00 Michigan's game against Purdue is on Fox. (Yes, Fox. At 4:00. This is weird.)

At 7:00 #17 Mississippi State is at #11 Georgia on ESPN. #4 Penn State could be in for a fight at 7:30 against Iowa on ABC. Notre Dame plays at Michigan State at 8:00 on Fox. The nightcap game could be a good one: UCLA is at Stanford at 10:30 on ESPN.
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