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National Games to Watch: Week 4

NCAA Football: Brigham Young at Wisconsin Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The Utes are off on a much-needed bye week after enduring their first loss of the season at the hands of the Washington Huskies. This gives Utah fans a chance to catch-up on some national teams that they may have otherwise missed out on. Here are three games to keep an eye on while the Utes rest up.

Northern Illinois vs Florida State Saturday 1:30 PM MT – ESPNU

​The Willie Taggart era is off to a rough start down in Tallahassee. With their lone win coming against Samford (in what was a tight game until the closing minutes), the Florida State offense has failed to find any rhythm. The offensive line has struggled to keep their once vaunted quarterback Deondre Francois on his feet, and knowing what NIU’s defense (especiallySutton Smith) is capable of, Florida State’s struggles will likely continue into week four. While a win against FSU is not much of an accomplishment this season, it’s still a chance to beat a Power 5 team on the road, and every win the Huskies can muster only helps Utah in the end.

#22 Texas A&M vs #1 Alabama Saturday 1:30 PM MT – CBS

​Will Nick Saban finally fall to a former assistant when Jimbo Fisher and his Aggies of Texas A&M roll into Tuscaloosa this Saturday? If ESPN’s Matchup Predictor is any indication, the answer is a resounding “no”, with Alabama currently a 90.3% favorite to win. The Aggies are 26 point underdogs, but hung tight with #2 Clemson two weeks ago. If quarterback Kellen Mond can keep the offense rolling against Alabama’s stout defense, the Aggies have a chance to pull a major upset. The problem will be keeping Alabama quarterback and Heisman Hopeful Tua Tagovailoa grounded, as the sophomore phenom has had no problems putting points on the board for the Crimson Tide in his first year as starter. Another dominating win from Saban’s squad would all but confirm Alabama’s spot at #1, but a loss or even a close win would give other SEC teams hope of dethroning the Tide.

#18 Wisconsin vs Iowa Saturday 6:30 PM PT – FOX

​BYU pulled off one of the biggest upsets of 2018 after taking down a former top 10 Wisconsin squad on the road. Is BYU a true threat to topple the Utes in 2018, or is Wisconsin a little overrated? A date with the undefeated Hawkeyes will help answer that question. Wisconsin looked formidable in their first two games, easily beating Western Kentucky and the New Mexico Lobos, but could not stop BYU’s run attack, allowing the Cougars an impressive 6.8 yards per run on 28 carries. Iowa’s top running backs, sophomores Toren Young and Mekhi Sargent, have combined for 81 carries so far this season, with 371 yards between them, a daunting prospect for a Wisconsin defense trying to refocus after their shocking loss. Will the Badgers rebound and validate BYU’s unexpected rise, or will their defense allow another unranked team get the best of them?