Week 5 of the 2013 College Football season brings, finally, quite a long list of big games between ranked teams: Ole Miss coming to Alabama, Wisconsin paying a visit to Ohio State, LSU playing Georgia and Notre Dame hosting Oklahoma.
Other national championship hopefuls – Clemson, Oregon, Stanford and Florida State are facing much easier rivals this week, although an upset, in the case of Stanford’s visit to WSU, isn’t out of the question.
#21 Ole Miss (3-0) at #1 Alabama Crimson Tide (3-0)
Last season, Ole Miss were a lot closer to Alabama than the 17-point difference suggests. This year, with their uptempo offense working so well for them, with Bo Wallace doing an excellent job, it’s a great opportunity to test the Alabama secondary which is having quite a lot of problems. On the other hand, even if the Alabama offense has been stuttering against weaker opposition, it seems that A.J. McCarron improves as the stakes get bigger.
California (1-2) at #2 Oregon Ducks (3-0)
There’s only one team in the nation that puts the ball in the air more than California, but it hasn’t been productive in terms of winning games. Against Oregon, who average 672 yards and 61.3 points per game through the Marcus Mariota and De’Anthony Thomas show, that aerial attack isn’t going to be enough.
Wake Forest (2-2) at #3 Clemson (3-0)
The interesting thing about Clemson, as we’ve seen this season in a couple of tough wins, isn’t that inferior to their excellent offense. They’re averaging 464.7 yards per game, and Tajh Boyd still hasn’t thrown a single interception, and is doing all the right things for the Tigers on their way to a BCS game at least. Wake Forest average only 21.3 points per game, with quarterback Tanner Price struggling to get completion streaks going.
#23 Wisconsin (3-1) at #4 Ohio State (4-0)
For the first time since the quarterback “controversy” began, Ohio State are facing an opponent that can seriously hurt them. Wisconsin might be changing names at running back, but their running for just under 350 yards per game so far, slightly more than Ohio State, as both teams rank in the top 5 of the ground game in the nation. Braxton Miller will return to the quarterback position, which means we’ll see more running from Ohio State, which should have enough defense to beat what might be their toughest game of the regular season.
#5 Stanford (3-0) at Washington State (3-1)
Washington State are incredibly surprising with a defense that has allowed only 12 points per game, but Stanford are a different deal. That power running game has been very hard to stop, and their defense should make a meal out of Connor Halliday, who has already throwing 8 interceptions this season.
#6 LSU (4-0) at #9 Georgia (2-1)
A big test for LSU, playing their first road game of the season at one of the toughest places available. Their defense, a rebuilding one, has done quite well against weaker opposition, but facing the number 6 offense in the nation, with Aaron Murray and Todd Gurley playing some excellent football, is going to be far from easy, and probably mean their undefeated record is going to end.
#8 Florida State (3-0) at Boston College (2-1)
The Seminoles begin their ACC schedule with a visit to Boston College, who are doing better than last season, already matching their wins from last season. Their running game with Andre Williams (356 yards, 2 touchdowns), should cause some problems, but the Seminoles have an elite defense in ACC terms, and shouldn’t be troubled too much by what BC throws at them.
#10 Texas A&M (3-1) at Arkansas (3-1)
It’s going to be very interesting to see Arkansas, averaging 246 rushing yards per game and doing a lot better than their catastrophic 2012 season, challenging the Aggies defense, which finally has (almost) everyone healthy and off suspension, leading to an easy 29 point win over SMU last week. However, the Johnny Manziel factor, even if the running game by the Razorbacks is going to be hard to stop, should keep the top 10 team moving forward.
#11 Oklahoma State (3-0) at West Virginia (2-2)
The Mountaineers are changing the man under center, which spells trouble for them in a season that’s going wrong right from the start and not from the middle like last one. It’s hard seeing them posing any threat to an offense averaging 45.3 points, with J.W. Walsh completing over 70% of his passes and the defense allowing less than 14 points per game.
#12 South Carolina (2-1) at UCF (3-0)
The Knights are 3-0 for the first time since 1988 and fourth time in school history, and they’ve scored at least 30 points in the first three games of a season for the first time. However, South Carolina are showing more offense than ever before with some strong performances from Connor Shaw, and the somewhat Cinderella run the Knights are having should end at home against the Gamecocks.
#14 Oklahoma (3-0) at #22 Notre Dame (3-1)
Last season Notre Dame came into Norman and put on a defensive performance that helped catapult them into the national championship game. This season, their defense isn’t as good as it was last year, but Oklahoma have Blake Bell under center and not Landry Jones, which means that this game is going to get ugly like most Fighting Irish games, which works in their favor.
#15 Miami (3-0) at South Florida (0-3)
South Florida are looking awful, completing less than 37% of their passes so far this season. Miami have given up only three touchdowns this season, and even an injured Stephen Morris isn’t going to stop them from gathering another easy win.
Arizona (3-0) at #16 Washington (3-0)
Both teams have been posting similar numbers, but Arizona completely rely on the ability of Ka’Deem Carey and Daniel Jenkins, with the Wildcats averaging 322.3 rushing yards per game. Washington on the other hand have Keith Price to accompany their excellent running game, which should be enough for them to remain undefeated.
#20 Florida (2-1) at Kentucky (1-2)
From now on, it’s all about defense for the Gators, losing Jeff Driskel for the year. The Wildcats aren’t suppose to pose too much of a hassle, especially if Maxwell Smith isn’t completely healthy. Tyler Murphy, stepping in for Driskel, just might be the better quarterback.