Clemson coach Dabo Swinney downplayed the impact of FSU quarterback Jameis Winston's then-half-game suspension on the College Football 24/7 Podcast this week, but nobody -- Seminoles fans least of all -- will downplay the defending Heisman Trophy winner's absence Saturday if Clemson manages to upset host Florida State.
Make no mistake: the Tigers will be no pushover for FSU, and backup quarterback Sean Maguire might not be ready for a game he's been thrust into. Nevertheless, the defending national champions will turn to Maguire for Saturday's game. Look for FSU's play calling to be conservative in hopes that its outstanding offensive line can generate enough of a rushing attack to keep Maguire in manageable situations.
Here are 10 more things you need to know about Week 4 action in college football on Saturday:
- Your undisputed head-to-head matchup de jour for Saturday, at least when it comes to seeing future pros square off, is Alabama wide receiver Amari Cooper's date with Florida cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III. Reportedly, opposing quarterbacks have thrown to Hargreaves' man just nine times this season, resulting in more pass breakups (five) than receptions (two, for 16 yards). Cooper, meanwhile, leads the entire NCAA in catches (33). Something has to give (3:30 p.m. ET, CBS).
- BYU has quietly put together a 3-0 record with a prolific quarterback in Taysom Hill, who is averaging 230 passing yards and 118 rushing yards per game. He might want to go to the air a little more on Saturday, though. He'll face a Virginia defense that ranks third in the ACC against the run (84 yards per game), and dead last in pass defense (269 yards per game). The Cavaliers have given it up through the air, but they can still get after the quarterback.
- A week after slaying Virginia Tech, AAC upstart East Carolina will try to go 2-0 for the year against the ACC in hosting North Carolina. But the Tar Heels won't be caught looking past ECU, not after the Pirates drummed UNC 55-31 last season. But who needs a stealth advantage when you're playing at home and with the confidence ECU is showing?
- Upset alert: Keep a watchful eye on Bowling Green's visit to Camp Randall, where the Wisconsin offense is still searching for its rhythm, and the Falcons, who average 50-plus points per game, have offensive rhythm in spades. The last thing the Big Ten needs is another black eye, but this one could be tight.
- Upset alert II: Mississippi State travels to LSU with a quarterback advantage in Dak Prescott, and a defensive line that has been dominant. Those two factors alone, working in concert, are at the root of many an upset. Prescott's place in the SEC quarterback pecking order will move up or down a few spots with this performance.
- Get the oxygen ready for the defenses in Oklahoma's road game at West Virginia. The Mountaineers are averaging 91 plays per game and amassed 108 against Maryland last week with a fast-paced offense. OU likes to play hurry-up offense, too, but has averaged just 70 plays per game. That average is almost sure to go up on Saturday.
- Three matchups that should be a lot of fun to watch: 1) Miami star linebacker Denzel Perryman tracking Nebraska running back Ameer Abdullah; 2) FSU left tackle Cameron Erving protecting an inexperienced Seminoles quarterback from the clutches of Clemson pass rusher Vic Beasley; 3) The left side of the LSU offensive line, tackle La'el Collins and guard Vadal Alexander, paving the way for the LSU rushing attack against Mississippi State linemen Preston Smith and Chris Jones, and linebacker Benardrick McKinney.
- Your Pac-12 points bonanza of the week: Oregon at Washington State. Cougars quarterback Connor Halliday has been right around 60 pass attempts per game this season, and Oregon's Marcus Mariota should light up this WSU defense with ease.
- Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett is quickly becoming one of the most prolific freshman pass rushers the SEC has ever seen. He'll try to add to a sack total that ranks fourth in the NCAA against an SMU offensive line that has waved through 13 sacks in just two games. If there isn't any ice for the Gatorade at halftime, see if SMU quarterback Neal Burcham has it bagged up for his bumps and bruises.