Aggies, Razorbacks meet in SEC tilt at Jerry World; Steelers come calling against Texans at NRG Stadium

The preliminaries are over for college football teams across the country as the major conferences enter league play as they begin playing games that really matter.

Texas A&M and Arkansas meet in a key SEC contest at AT&T Stadium in Arlington on Saturday with Jimbo Fisher’s team hoping to get on a roll in league play. The Aggies finished 2-1 in non-conference play and appear to have found a big-play quarterback in sophomore Conner Weigman. In his first three games of the season, Weigman has passed for 909 yards and eight touchdowns. Weigman should have another good day against a suspect Razorback defense, but it’s the A&M defense that will get tested against an Arkansas offense that can throw it and run it very well.

While the Aggies and Razorbacks go at it in Jerry World, No. 9-ranked Notre Dame hits the road to take on No. 19- ranked Duke in what should be an entertaining game. This game will feature two solid QBs in ND’s Sam Hartman and Duke’s dual threat QB Riley Leonard.

No. 3-ranked Texas hosts the offensive-minded Kansas Jayhawks and you had better believe that head coach Steve Sarkisian will not take the Jayhawks lightly. Two years ago, KU won in Austin, 57-56. The Longhorns know they cannot afford a slip up if they hope to get into the College Football Playoff picture.

The Colorado Buffalos and head coach Deion Sanders have been the surprise team of college football this year. After winning just one game in 2022, Coach Prime Time has led the Buffs to three straight wins to start the season, but things get decidedly more difficult from here on out. Last week CU played at No. 10- ranked Oregon and this Saturday they host No. 5-ranked USC and the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, Caleb Williams. Coach Prime’s team still has to face ranked teams in Oregon State, Washington State and Utah. Let’s see how things go for him and his high-scoring Buffs from here on out. No matter what happens down the road, Colorado has been one of the best stories in college football this year. The Buffs may stumble here and there, but they’ve got enough firepower on offense to make things interesting for the remainder of the season.

In the NFL, the Texans host Pittsburgh on Sunday at noon at NRG Stadium. The last time these two teams met on Christmas Day in 2017, Steeler fans flooded NRG. I know, because I was there. It had to be 70 percent Pittsburgh fans, but then again, the Texans finished 4-12 that season and lost rookie QB Deshaun Watson to a knee injury in November. Let’s hope there’s better representation from the local fans come Sunday.

It could be another long day for the Texans if they don’t shore up the offensive line. Injuries have decimated the line and the Steelers pass rush should be licking its chops heading into this one.

In other interesting games in Week 4, Detroit visits Green Bay on Thursday Night Football in a key NFC North contest, while the Cowboys host a struggling New England team (Bill Belichick’s team lost its first two games), Kansas City visits the Jets on Sunday Night Football and Seattle visits the Giants on Monday Night Football.

The District 14-6A schedule will have longtime rivals Aldine and MacArthur meeting on Thursday night, while Davis High plays at Spring also on Thursday and Nimitz faces off against Eisenhower on Friday night.

Before we take a look at this weekend’s games, let’s review last week’s record. A 7-5 week brought the season record to 14- 12 (54%).

Now, onto this weekend’s games.


Aldine vs. MacArthur: Coach Cirilo Ojeda’s Mustangs take on Wayne Crawford’s Generals on Thursday evening at George Stadium in Spring ISD. The Mustangs will be counting on running back Charles Taylor (249 yards, 3 TDs) to lead the way against the Generals, who went winless in their non-district games, while the Mustangs went 2-1. My pick, Aldine 24, MacArthur 21

Davis at Spring: Kelvin Chatham’s Falcons will take on Spring on Thursday evening at Planet Ford Stadium in Spring ISD. Davis will look to running backs Nicholas Tramble (228 yards, 3 TDs), Treveon Bossier (203 yards, 2 TDs) and Kamryn Jackson (157 yards, 2 TDs) to counter Spring’s Ahran Ogbar (259 yards, 1 TD) and Delonte Henderson (239 yards, 1 TD). The Falcons will also be looking for another big day from wide receiver Marcus Hopes (15 receptions, 282 yards, 4 TDs), who led the district in receiving yards in non-district games. My pick, Davis 31, Spring 30

Nimitz vs. Eisenhower: Cornelius Harmon’s Cougars will take on Odell James’s Eagles on Friday night at George Stadium in Spring ISD. Nimitz won its first three games of the season thanks to a potent offense led by quarterback Albert Brown (664 passing yards, 8 TDS) and running backs Landon Jenkins (147 yards), Miles Brashard (142 yards, 1 TD), Malachi Augustus (278 yards, 1 TD/16 receptions, 278 yards, 4 TDs) and Kaden Phillips (202 yards, 2 TDs/10 receptions, 202 yards, 4 TDs). The Eagles are led on offense by running back Ulysses Thibodeaux (137 yards), quarterback Jared Guter (237 passing yards, 3 TDs) and wide receiver Daylan McHenry (7 receptions, 101 yards). My pick, Nimitz 34, Eisenhower 30


Notre Dame at Duke: Notre Dame travels to Durham, N.C. to take on a feisty Duke team that already owns an upset win over Clemson. The Blue Devils are going hunting for another big win when they take on the No. 9- ranked Fighting Irish on Saturday. The Duke defense will get a real test against an explosive ND offense, led by quarterback Sam Hartman (1,061 yards, 13 TDS/0 interceptions), running back Audric Estime (521 yards, 5 TDs) and wide receivers Chris Tyree (8 receptions, 216 yards, 5 TDs) and Jayden Thomas (12 receptions, 188 yards, 1 TD). Duke has one of the better dual threat QBs in the country in Riley Leonard (530 passing yards, 1 TD/208 rushing yards, 3 TDs). Riley has some weapons of his own in running back Jordan Waters (240 yards, 5 TDs) and wide receiver Jalon Calhoun (14 receptions, 142 yards, 1 TD). This should be a fun game to watch, but look for ND’s overall speed on both sides of the ball to wear down Duke as ND pulls it out late. My pick, Notre Dame 38, Duke 24

Kansas at Texas: No. 3- ranked Texas hosts the explosive Kansas Jayhawks in a key Big 12 game for both teams. Two years ago, Kansas shocked the Longhorns and first-year head coach Steve Sarkisian, 57-56 in Austin. Two years later, Sark has built a CFP contender and he knows his Longhorns cannot afford to look past any team from here on out. Two weeks ago, UT scored 21 fourth-quarter points to pull away from a game Wyoming team on the way to a 31-10 win in Austin. UT has gotten solid play out of QB Quinn Ewers (740 yards, 8 TDs) and running back Jonathon Banks (273 yards, 1 TD). But it’s the receiving corps that has made the Texas offense a beast, led by wide receivers Xavier Worthy (16 receptions, 221 yards, 2 TDs) and Adonai Mitchell (9 receptions, 134 yards, 3 TDs) and tight end Ja’Tavion Sanders (7 receptions, 158 yards, 1 TD). Kansas has some weapons of its own in veteran QB Jalon Daniels (575 yards, 2 TDs), running back Devin Neal (303 yards, 5 TDs) and wide receiver Lawrence Arnold (14 receptions, 212 yards). Look for the Jayhawks to give Texas a game, but the UT defense will be the difference maker in this one as Texas continues to roll. My pick, Texas 36, Kansas 23

Texas A&M vs. Arkansas: The Aggies and Razorbacks meeting at AT&T Stadium in Arlington in a key SEC West game for both teams. Two weeks ago, the Aggies took care of business at Kyle Field with a 44-3 thumping of Louisiana-Monroe, while the Hogs lost at home to BYU. A&M has a strong passing game led by QB Conner Weigman (909 yards, 8 TDS) and big-play wide receivers Evan Stewart (19 receptions, 257 yards, 2 TDs) and Anias Smith (13 receptions, 194 yards). Arkansas is led by QB KJ Jefferson (629 yards, 6 TDs), running back AJ Green (190 yards, 2 TDs) and wide receiver Andrew Armstrong (18 receptions, 197 yards, 3 TDs). A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher knows he needs to be competitive in the SEC West this year or his seat could get warm. Look for the Aggies to pull this one out as they pick up a big league win. My pick, Texas A&M 33, Arkansas 20

USC at Colorado: No. 5- ranked USC travels to Boulder to take on No. 19-ranked Colorado in a key Pac 12 contest for both teams. The Buffs have been the darlings of college football this year led by first-year head coach Deion Sanders. Two weeks ago, Colorado pulled out a 43-35 double overtime win over state rival Colorado State, while USC breezed to their third straight blowout win with a 56-10 thrashing of Stanford. The Trojans are led by 2022 Heisman Trophy winner Caleb Williams (878 passing yards, 12 TDs), running back Marshawn Lloyd (195 yards, 2 TDs) and wide receiver Tahj Washington (9 receptions, 233 yards, 3 TDs). USC is averaging an eye-popping 59 points per game, which means the CU defense will have its hands full come Saturday. The Buffs have a powerful offense led by Deion’s son, Shedeur Sanders (1,251 passing yards, 10 TDs), running back Dylan Edwards (136 rushing yards, 1 TD/14 receptions, 160 yards, 3 TDs) and wide receiver Xavier Weaver (25 receptions, 386 yards, 2 TDs). This will be USC’s first real test and I think CU hangs with them for a while, but look for Williams to be the difference maker in this one as the Trojans pick up a big road win. My pick, USC 42, Colorado 31


Detroit at Green Bay: Week 4 kicks off on Thursday Night Football with a key NFC North contest pitting the Lions against the Packers at Lambeau Field in Green Bay. Two weeks ago, both teams lost their first games of the year as the Lions fell at home in overtime to Seattle, 37-31, while the Packers fell at Atlanta, 25-24. Packer fans were wondering how Jordan Love would handle stepping into for Packer QB great Aaron Rodgers’ shoes and taking over at QB. So far, so good. In his first two games, Love has passed for 394 yards and six TDs. The Lions opened the season by upsetting the Chiefs in KC, but then had their home opener spoiled by the Seahawks. Detroit has a potent offense led by QB Jared Goff (576 yards, 4 TDs) and wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown (13 receptions, 173 yards, 1 TD). Detroit eliminated the Packers from the playoffs by winning at Lambeau in the final game of the season and Rodgers’ final game as a Packer. Green Bay will get pay back come Thursday night. My pick, Green Bay 31, Detroit 24

Pittsburgh at Houston: The Steelers and their loyal fans come calling at NRG Stadium on Sunday and the Texans had better hope their offensive line plays better or it could be a long day for rookie QB C.J. Stroud. In their first two games, the Steeler defense has nine sacks, with six coming in their 26-22 win over Cleveland two weeks ago. The Steeler “D” also forced four turnovers in the win over the Browns. Their offense is so-so, led by second-year QB Kenny Pickett (454 yards, 2 TDs) and wide receiver George Pickens (9 receptions, 163 yards, 1 TD). Stroud (626 yards, 2 TDs) did pass for 384 yards and two TDs in the 31-20 loss at home against the Colts, and while the passing game did well, the running game was once again stymied. Houston must get running back Dameon Pierce untracked to take pressure off of Stroud. It could be another long day for the young QB on Sunday. My pick, Pittsburgh 26, Houston 17

New England at Dallas: Bill Belichick’s Patriots visit AT&T Stadium on Sunday to take on a Dallas defense that has gotten off to an amazing start. In their first two games, the Cowboys defense has allowed just 10 points, recorded 10 sacks and has forced nine turnovers. The Patriots dropped their first two games, but QB Mac Jones (547 yards, 4 TDs) appears to be playing better after a sophomore slump. The Dallas offense is led by QB Dak Prescott (398 yards, 2 TDs), running back Tony Pollard (142 yards, 1 TD) and wide receiver CeeDee Lamb (15 receptions, 220 yards). Look for the Dallas defense to have another big day as the Patriots suffer another early-season loss. My pick, Dallas 33, New England 13

Kansas City at New York Jets: The Chiefs take on the Jets on Sunday Night Football in what many had hoped would be a meeting between two of the best QBs in the league in Patrick Mahomes (531 yards, 4 Yds) and Aaron Rodgers. But Rodgers suffered a season-ending Achilles injury on the fourth play as a Jet in Week 1, to spoil what could have been a very special night. Instead, Mahomes and the Chiefs will now face Zac Wilson, who threw three interceptions two weeks ago in a 30-10 loss at Dallas. While the Jets were losing, the Chiefs picked up their first win with a hard-fought 17-9 win over Jacksonville. Look for Mahomes to roll on national TV as the Chiefs make it a long night for Wilson and the Jets. My pick, Kansas City 34, New York Jets 16

Seattle at New York Giants: Week 4 concludes on Monday Night Football with the Seahawks making the cross country trip to New Jersey to face a Giants team that might have saved its season in Week 2 by overcoming a 21- point deficit at Arizona to win 31- 28. That victory was a costly one as star running back Saquon Barkley (114 yards, 1 TD) sustained a sprained ankle and will be out at least three weeks. That means QB Daniel Jones (321 yards, 2 TDs) will need to step up and take over the offense. Seattle put up 37 points at Detroit behind QB Geno Smith (440 yards, 3 TDs), running back Kenneth Walker III (107 yards, 2 TDs) and wide receivers D.K. Metcalf (9 receptions, 92 yards) and Tyler Lockett (10 receptions, 69 yards, 2 TDs). Look for the Seattle offense to be too much for a porous New York defense as the ‘Hawks pick up a big road win. My pick, Seattle 31, New York Jets 24