With a season-high five ranked vs. ranked matchups – two of which include a pair of Top Ten teams – Week 5 of the college football schedule is what we’ve been waiting for.
Things kickoff with North Carolina at (16) Miami Fla. on Thursday night at 8pm EST on ESPN. Though the Tar Heels are off to a bumpy 1-2 start, the 3-1 Hurricanes haven’t beaten a Power club yet this season.
Friday features two contests, the best of which is UCLA at Colorado at 9pm EST on FS1. Tune in to see if the Bruins can earn their first win of the Chip Kelly era or, instead, if the Buffaloes can stay undefeated.
Saturday is jam-packed with 55 games, only three of which include an FCS program. Though the first of the five ranked vs. ranked contests – (12) West Virginia at (25) Texas Tech – kicks off in the noon EST time slot on ESPN2, don’t forget about 4-0 Syracuse’s visit to 4-0 (3) Clemson at the same time on ABC.
While the mid-afternoon isn’t as sexy as in past weeks, an improved Baylor squad will test (6) Oklahoma at 3:30pm EST on ABC and (18) Texas travels to Kansas State – where the Longhorns have dropped five straight – on FS1.
Primetime is as good as it gets with a trio of blockbusters all slated for 7:30pm EST – (4) Ohio State at (9) Penn State on ABC, (7) Stanford at (8) Notre Dame on NBC and (20) BYU at (11) Washington on FOX. When the dust settles, two programs will fall from the Top Ten.
Don’t forget to check in on Ole Miss at (5) LSU at 9pm EST on ESPN and then (19) Oregon at (24) Cal at 10:30pm EST on FS1.
RANKED vs. RANKED (5)
- (12) West Virginia at (25) Texas Tech – Saturday, Noon EST, ESPN2
- (4) Ohio State at (9) Penn State – Saturday, 7:30pm EST, ABC
- (7) Stanford at (8) Notre Dame – Saturday, 7:30pm EST, NBC
- (20) BYU at (11) Washington – Saturday, 7:30pm EST, FOX
- (19) Oregon at (24) California – Saturday, 10:30pm EST, FS1
OFF THIS WEEK (17)
- American: Houston, Navy, Tulsa, USF
- Big Ten: Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota, (15) Wisconsin
- Independents: New Mexico State
- MAC: Akron
- Mountain West: Colorado State, San Diego State, UNLV, Utah State
- SEC: Missouri
- Sun Belt: Texas State
FIRST-EVER MEETINGS (1)
- Bowling Green at Georgia Tech
REUNITED…And it feels so good.
- Louisiana at (1) Alabama (last played in 1990)
- Rice at Wake Forest (last played in 1990)
7: Boston College has won 7-straight over Temple in Chestnut Hill (last loss there in 1990)
7: Virginia Tech has won 7-straight AT (22) Duke (last loss there in 1981)
8: Oklahoma State has won 8-straight over Kansas (last loss in 2007)
10: Northern Illinois has won 10-straight over Eastern Michigan (last loss in 2007)
11: Memphis has won 11-straight over Tulane (last loss in 2000)
- Arkansas has NEVER beaten Texas A&M in SEC play (0-6)
- Louisiana has NEVER beaten (1) Alabama (0-8)
- Purdue has NEVER won AT Nebraska (0-2)
- UMass has NEVER beaten Ohio (0-3)
Memphis at Tulane (Friday, 8pm EST, ESPN2)
Tune in Friday night to watch the No. 1 rusher in America – Memphis junior running back Darrell Henderson (#8) – do his thing vs. a struggling defense. Though Henderson’s 177.25 yards per game and eight rushing TDs are impressive enough, his 12.22 yards per carry is all-world. Tulane is ranked No. 96 nationally vs. the run allowing an average of 187.5 yards per game. Its worst-outing thus far came in Week 3, when it coughed up 269 ground yards and two scores in a 31-24 loss at UAB.
Utah at Washington State (Saturday, 6pm EST, Pac12 Network)
Week 5’s best strength vs. strength matchup – program your remote to see Washington State’s No. 2 ranked passing attack grapple with Utah’s No. 1 ranked pass defense. And those are national rankings. The Cougars are averaging 401.8 air yards per game and have scored 12 passing TDs. Compare that to the Utes, which have given up a paltry 93-passing yards per game and have allowed a single passing TD thus far. Players to watch include WSU senior quarterback Gardner Minshew II (#16), the No. 2 ranked passer in the FBS with 386.8 yards per game and Utah junior defensive back Julian Blackmon (#23), his five broken-up passes are the third-most in the Pac-12.
Hawaii at San Jose State (Saturday, 7pm EST, Spectrum)
At 4-1, Hawaii is off to its best start since 2007 when it went 12-1 and finished No. 19 in the final AP after losing to (4) Georgia in the Sugar Bowl. A key component to the Warriors’ success is sophomore quarterback Cole McDonald (#13), not only has he averaged 351.8 yards per game (No. 5 nationally), he’s ranked No. 1 in TD passes (20) and total yards (1,759). He’s also thrown only one pick in 183 attempts. Usher in San Jose State’s secondary, ranked No. 130 – or dead last in the FBS – against the pass and you get the picture. It’s the same unit that coughed up 446 passing yards and three scores to FCS UC-Davis in a 44-38 loss in Week 1.
Louisiana Tech at North Texas (Saturday, 7:30pm EST, beIN SPORTS)
Though North Texas’ 4-0 start has been headlined by a passing attack ranked a cool No. 12 nationally, its defense has managed to score ten interceptions thus far, the most in the FBS. Three members of the Mean Green secondary are tied for the second-most picks in the country with three apiece: senior defensive back Kemon Hall (#16), junior safety Khairi Muhammad (#4) and senior defensive back Nate Brooks (#9). It matches up ever so well against Louisiana Tech’s junior quarterback J’Mar Smith (#8) – with four interceptions thrown in three outings, he’s tied for fourth most in the FBS.
(19) Oregon at (24) California (Saturday, 10:30pm EST, FS1)
The second of two-potential pick-fests in Week 5, Cal junior safety Jaylinn Hawkins (#6), like the trio of North Texas defenders, has scored three picks this season, tying him for the second-most nationally. As a unit, the Golden Bears’ secondary has already notched seven interceptions in only three appearances, also tying it for the second-most in the FBS. Throw Oregon junior quarterback Justin Herbert (#10) and his five inteceptions into the equation and things get dicey. Only three QBs have thrown more picks than Herbert has thus far, who doubled-down and threw two apiece in wins over Bowling Green and San Jose State.
HARDWARE UP FOR GRABS
The Legends Trophy – (7) Stanford at (8) Notre Dame – series started in 1925 – Notre Dame leads all-time 18-13, but Stanford has won four of the last five.
The Legends Trophy honors the first-ever game between the Cardinal and Irish – the 1925 Rose Bowl, a game Notre Dame won 27-10, earning it its second national title. Counted among the legendary that day were Knute Rocke, the Four Horsemen, Pop Warner, and Ernie Nevers.
The Magnolia Bowl Trophy – Ole Miss at (5) LSU – series started in 1894 – LSU leads 61-41-4 and has two straight.
The Magnolia Bowl and its trophy didn’t debut until 2008, after both student bodies participated in a “Name that Rivalry” contest via text. The original trophy was replaced in 2014 with a redesigned edition aimed at being a “better representation” of the rivalry. LSU has proved itself bowl-worthy six times vs. Ole Miss’ four.
The Southwest Classic Trophy – Arkansas vs. Texas A&M (at Arlington, Texas) – series started in 1903 – Arkansas leads 41-30-3, but Texas A&M has won the last six.
Though Texas A&M didn’t join former fellow Southwest Conference member Arkansas in the SEC until 2012, the Southwest Classic kicked-off in 2009, when the Aggies were still in the Big 12. Except for a home-and-home in 2012-13 the two have met in Arlington, Texas every year since 2009. The Aggies have won six Classics vs. Arkansas’ three.
Florida’s Dan Mullen returns to Starkville, Mississippi this Saturday night, where he served for nine seasons as the Bulldogs’ head coach, amassing a 69-46 record. He’s one of ten coaches scheduled to play a program they used to lead on the sidelines in 2018 and one of only six who will do so as a visitor.
In Week 2, Kevin Sumlin led his new Arizona squad into Houston, where he coached the Cougars from 2008-11. The Wildcats got drilled 45-18. In Week 4 Butch Davis, in his second season at FIU, traveled to Miami (where he was the head man from 1995-2000) and lost 31-17 to the (16) Hurricanes.
That leaves three future road dates, all slated for Week 10: UCLA’s new head man Chip Kelly takes a trip to (19) Oregon where he had a successful run from 2009-12, (1) Alabama’s Nick Saban, in his 12th season, has a roadie at (5) LSU where he served from 2000-04, and Rocky Long, who’s been at San Diego State since 2011, visits New Mexico where he was the head man from 1998-2008.
Historical data courtesy of Sports Reference-College Football. Statistics courtesy of CFBStats.com
I very much doubt the losers of OSU-PSU and Stanford-ND will fall out of the top 20.