Week five is upon us and the weekly matchups are only getting better. Four of our top five games feature matchups where both teams are ranked in the AP top 25. A few teams could see their College Football Playoff hopes come to an end this weekend if they were to lose. The best games are spread across all time slots which is better for fans so we can enjoy all of the games rather than having to channel surf between three or four channels. I am unfortunately at a wedding this week (My own sister, can you believe it?) so I hope you all can enjoy these games without me!
5: Oregon State vs #12 Utah (2:00 EST, PAC 12) – Spread Utah -10.5: Oregon State is coming off a heart breaking loss to USC. Jonathan Smith has the Beavers trending in the right direction and a win against Utah would likely find them in the top 25 next week. Chance Nolan threw four interceptions against USC and needs a bounce back week against a tough Utah defense in order to give the Beavers a chance. Tavion Thomas is once again one of the best running backs in the country. He is a downhill runner who is not afraid of contact. He is the lead back among the rotation in the backfield. Thomas is currently averaging 4.6 yards per carry and has four touchdowns on the season. Stopping the run is imperative for Oregon State. If the Beavers are able to hold the Utes to less than 150 yards rushing, I believe they come out of this game victorious.
4: #7 Kentucky vs #14 Ole Miss (12:00 EST, ESPN) – Spread Ole Miss -6.5: Two undefeated SEC teams are squaring off tomorrow in the deep south. Kentucky’s offense has struggled at times this season but mainly with interior opponents. The Wildcats only defeated Northern Illinois by eight and also allowed Miami (OH) to hang around the game much longer than most fans expected. Kentucky did defeat Florida in the Swamp which was an impressive feat. The defense for Kentucky has been the strongest part of the team. Kentucky is only allowing 13 points per game which ranks 11th in the country. One concerning part of the defense is the lack of quarterback pressure. The Wildcats only have six total sacks through four games. Ole Miss defeated Tulsa 35-27 last week but box scores can be deceiving. Ole Miss was up 35-17 at the half and a few garbage time points allowed the game to be closer than it actually was. Ole Miss is doing most of their damage on the ground. Zach Evans and Quinshon Judkins have combined to total 794 rushing yards and nine touchdowns. Both teams are playing excellent defense to the offenses will need to play their best games in order to have a chance.
3: #2 Alabama vs #20 Arkansas (3:30 EST, CBS) – Spread Alabama -17.5: Arkansas suffered a heart breaking loss to Texas A&M which gave them their first loss of the season. The Razorback’s once promising season could take a turn giving them two losses in the first five weeks of the year. Raheim Sanders has been the top playmaker for Arkansas this season. Sanders struggled last week rushing for just 68 yards and failed to score a touchdown. KJ Jefferson has been one of the best quarterbacks in the SEC thus far and will need to play his best game in order to have a chance against Alabama. The Crimson Tide have looked dominant in every game except in their game against Texas. Alabama has only allowed 29 points this season and will be up for the task against Arkansas. Will Anderson finally had his first multiple sack game of the season against Vanderbilt. Anderson is one of the most talented players in the country and can change the game when he is at his best. Arkansas will be excited for this game but ultimately Nick Saban knows how to win these games. Alabama will roll on Saturday.
2: #9 Oklahoma State vs #16 Baylor (3:30 EST, FOX) – Spread Baylor -2.5: Oklahoma State has flown under the radar for most of the season but will have their first major task on Saturday when they travel to Waco. Spencer Sanders has thrown for 10 touchdowns and just one interception through the first three games of their season. Mason Cobb and Tyler Lacy have been forces on the defense side of the ball. Cobb and Lacy have combined for 11.5 tackles for loss and 4.0 sacks on the season. Their ability to put Baylor behind the line of scrimmage will be one of the keys to the game. Baylor wants to run the ball so if Oklahoma State will want to push them into second or third and long. Baylor’s lead running back is Richard Reese. Reese has 315 yards and six touchdowns on the season. The Baylor defense is also excellent at putting teams behind the line of scrimmage. The Bear’s defense has totaled 24 tackles for loss in four games this season. The defense which can get the most pressure will likely be the one to win this game.
1: #10 NC State @ #5 Clemson (7:30 EST, ABC) – Spread Clemson -6.5: The winner of this game will likely be the ACC champion and has a great chance to make the College Football Playoffs. Clemson defeated Wake Forest on the road in a thrilling overtime victory. Now the Tigers have another difficult matchup with NC State coming to town. The Wolfpack defeated the Tigers last season so Clemson will be seeking revenge. D.J. Uiagalelei has been much better this year throwing 10 touchdowns and just one interception. Uiagalelei looks more comfortable in the pocket and is making better decisions when throwing the ball. He is starting to live up to the five star expectations given to him when he came out of high school. Clemson’s defense is once again loaded with talent. They have forced nine turnovers and have a total of 32 tackles for loss. Devin Leary is going to be vital to NC State’s success in this game. Leary struggled against Texas Tech two weeks ago throwing for just 121 yards and zero touchdowns. He has limited his mistakes throwing only two interceptions but being a game manager will not be enough against Clemson. The NC State defense is allowing on 11.8 points per game and will need to play up to the standard in order to have a chance against Clemson. Ultimately Clemson will likely win this game. Dabo Swinney has his team in a good spot and they are starting to play like the teams who make the College Football Playoffs.
Honorable Mentions: #22 Wake Forest vs #23 Florida State, Iowa State vs Kansas, #4 Michigan vs Iowa, Liberty vs Old Dominion, San Jose State vs Wyoming, #15 Washington vs UCLA