Utah has quietly emerged as a top-10 team with convalescing quarterback Cam Rising yet to play a down and a defense that so far has put up better numbers than the 2019 unit that is regarded as the Utes' best ever.
To be determined is whether the Utes can keep doing what they've been doing as they move along in a stretch in which five of seven opponents are ranked.
The offense has been limited without Rising, who hasn't played since he tore his ACL in the Rose Bowl. The defense has allowed one touchdown to each of its first four opponents, but such dominance is unlikely to continue with Southern California, Oregon and Washington — all national top-three offenses — on the horizon.
The immediate concern is Saturday's game at No. 19 Oregon State, which is coming off a loss at Washington State and needs a win to avoid dropping off in the Pac-12 race.
There are three other games matching Top 25 teams: No. 24 Kansas at No. 3 Texas, No. 13 LSU at No. 20 Mississippi and No. 11 Notre Dame at No. 17 Duke.
Kansas has played the 84th-toughest schedule so far and lost 18 in a row against top-10 opponents. The Jayhawks haven't beaten a top-10 team in a true road game since 1995. Texas' most recent 5-0 start was in 2009.
LSU needs to be careful. All four of its losses to Ole Miss since 2009 have come in Oxford.
Another game sure to draw huge viewership is No. 8 Southern California at Colorado, where Deion Sanders and his Buffaloes try to rebound from their humbling 42-6 loss at Oregon.
No. 11 Notre Dame (4-1) at No. 17 Duke (4-0), Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET (ABC)
The Fighting Irish are in bounce-back mode after their devastating, last-second home loss to Ohio State. Sam Hartman should be motivated to get another crack at Duke. As Wake Forest’s quarterback last year, he threw for 347 yards and three touchdowns but was intercepted on his last pass in a 34-31 loss to the Blue Devils.
Duke has won four straight by 20-plus points to open a season for the first time in program history. The last three of those have come against undistinguished opponents, and that Labor Day win over then-No. 9 Clemson has lost some of its luster with the Tigers struggling.
LSU QB Jayden Daniels overcame a slow start to throw for four touchowns against Arkansas last week. He also became the sixth FBS player in history to throw for 10,000 yards and rush for 2,000 in a career. Now come back-to-back road games against ranked opponents — this week at No. 20 Mississippi and next week at No. 23 Missouri.
NUMBERS TO KNOW
3 — Consecutive Tulsa opponents that have the Owls nickname — Temple, Florida Atlantic and Rice.
8 — FBS teams that have not thrown an interception.
34 — Points against Oklahoma, the fewest through four games against the Sooners since 1992.
48 — Arizona receiver Jacob Cowing's nation-leading streak of games with a catch.
275 — Boise State’s Ashton Jeanty is the only player in the country with 275-plus rushing yards and 275-plus receiving yards.
UNDER THE RADAR
West Virginia (3-1, 1-0 Big 12) at TCU (3-1, 1-0), Saturday, 8 p.m. ET (ESPN2)
Each team has won three straight since season-opening losses. Neal Brown and the Mountaineers would love to steal a road win here and move on against a schedule devoid of heavyweights except for Oklahoma. Chandler Morris and Emani Bailey are on nice rolls for the Horned Frogs, who have won eight of nine home games under Sonny Dykes.
Rice's Mike Bloomgren has a winnable home game against an East Carolina team that's lost each of its three games against FBS opponents by at least 15 points. The Owls (2-2, 0-1) are in their first season in the American Athletic Conference after moving from Conference USA, but Blomgren's 18-41 record over six seasons doesn't give him much grace.
AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-football-poll