Week 4 of the 2022 college football season has arrived and so has our weekly look at Anxiety Games across the country. For those new here, we’re keeping tabs on games where the fans and/or coaching staffs of specific programs may feel a bit uneasy about the possibility of things going downhill with a bad outing.
And friends, there’s plenty of those games on the slate this week. Let’s dive in.
West Virginia at Virginia Tech, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN (Thursday)
Your marquee Thursday night matchup for the week will be over the Black Diamond Trophy with West Virginia heading down to Lane Stadium in Blacksburg to face Virginia Tech.
The anxiety is mostly on the visitor side of the field as Mountaineers fans are starting to question where exactly the Neal Brown era is headed. So far this season, they’ve lost the Backyard Brawl in Pittsburgh and got pantsed by Kansas at home. At least they handled their business against FCS Towson in a 65-7 victory last week! Drop another game against a long lost regional rival here and everyone will be looking hard at Brown’s hefty buyout.
Oh, and Virginia Tech. You’ve recovered nicely from that Week 1 loss to Old Dominion. Don’t fall flat at home.
Missouri at Auburn, 12 p.m. ET, ESPN
It’s not a matter of if, but when Auburn boosters finally decide to drop the hammer on Bryan Harsin. The writing on the wall was crystal clear after the Tigers were dominated at home Penn State last Saturday and it was kind of surprise they didn’t make a move the following day on Sunday. Harsin certainly knows the walls are closing in, as evidenced by him getting defensive about the quarterback situation in his press conference on Monday.
This doomed marriage will most likely officially end with a loss to Mizzou on Saturday. At this point, there’s some people on the Plains who fear that he’ll actually save himself by rallying the troops and ripping off a win streak. That would be a perfect Chaos Auburn thing to happen.
USF at Louisville, 12 p.m. ET, ACC Regional Sports Networks
Louisville has become a regular in this series with the rollercoaster nature of Scott Satterfield’s tenure and a weird scheduling quirk has them playing a team from the state of Florida for a third straight week. The Cardinals fell to Florida State at home last Friday, a game where the Seminoles won despite having starting quarterback Jordan Travis knocked out early in the contest. If UL falls to a recently treacherous USF program, the calls for Satt’s job will only grow louder.
On the other side, USF ... may have figured some things out? The Bulls shockingly went into Ben Hill Griffin Stadium and nearly knocked off a Top 25 Florida team last Saturday. They were in a position to potentially tie or pull ahead in the final minute before two bad snaps doomed their upset bid. It was their best played game of the Jeff Scott era and the first time in years that they showed a pulse against a team with a talent advantage. The anxiety for Scott and staff here is that they need to continue playing competitive football after last week and backsliding against Louisville will kill the sudden momentum they have.
UCLA at Colorado, 2 p.m. ET, Pac-12 Network
Things are bad at Colorado. Like, potentially worst team in the Power Five bad. The Buffaloes are 0-3 with blowout losses at the hands of TCU, Air Force, and Minnesota. The Karl Dorrell tenure is going down in flames and athletic director Rick George is already releasing statements trying to calm people down. Dorrell’s buyout is $8.7 million and the cash strapped Buffs are in a position where they may have to sit tight and endure until the end of the season.
Also, UCLA. Just because you were playing on the frustratingly unaccessible Pac-12 Network last week doesn’t mean we didn’t notice you nearly losing to South Alabama. Chip! Figure it out buddy. You can’t lose to Colorado.
North Texas at Memphis, 3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+
After a 1-6 start last season, North Texas head coach Seth Littrell managed to save his job by winning the last five games of the regular season to get the Mean Green to bowl eligibility. It appeared that UNT was on the verge of a renaissance under their veteran head coach. Four games into the 2022 season and that’s not the case.
After a season-opening victory over UTEP, North Texas was annihilated for a fourth straight year by DFW area rival SMU. And after handling business against Texas Southern, they were flat out embarrassed in a 58-27 road loss at rebuilding UNLV. The Mean Green diehards in Denton, TX, have seen enough and a blowout loss at future AAC conference mate Memphis will probably be what does him in.
Georgia Tech at UCF, 4 p.m. ET, ESPNU
Similar to the situation down I-85 at Auburn, it’s not a matter of if, but when Georgia Tech shows head coach Geoff Collins the door. In just over three seasons, the Yellow Jackets have not gotten out of the “get vaporized by superior teams” portion of the rebuild and that was once again apparent last Saturday when they got blanked 42-0 at home by Ole Miss. There’s a strong possibility that they get torched by UCF on the road, creating a potential tarmac situation in Atlanta.
For UCF, they did a good job swarming their old enemy Willie Taggart and FAU last week. Don’t drop the ball against a floundering Tech program Gus.