Week 5 of the 2022 college football schedule kicks off with the final two football days in September. When Saturday rolls around, just like that, it’s October.
It’s also a turning point when teams pivot from playing non-conference opponents to beginning in earnest their eight or nine-game journey through a league slate. Of the 64 games on offer in Week 5, only 14, or 21 percent, feature a non-conference fixture. Of these, six are FBS vs. FCS matchups.
Week 5 also offers up a season-high five Ranked vs. Ranked games. That said, only one member of the latest AP Top 5 is favored by a touchdown or less (No. 5 Clemson). The top three ranked squads are favored by 28, 17.5, and 41 points respectively.
According to Vegas, the Top 25 clubs most at risk are (7) Kentucky, (9) Oklahoma State, (17) Texas A&M, and (22) Wake Forest – all underdogs in their Week 5 matchups.
Here’s this week’s mental checklist:
(1). Thursday night, which was originally slated to feature just one game is now (due to Hurricane Ian) home to two contests. The only FBS vs. FBS matchup on offer airs at 8pm ET on ESPN.
(2). Friday night is stacked with five games, all but one with a spread of fewer than seven points. If you want to keep it simple, tune in to ESPN at 7pm ET and again at 10:30pm ET to watch what should be the best two contests of the evening.
(3). Though there is lots to love on Saturday, the strongest time slot is in the mid-afternoon, at 3:30pm ET, when the No. 2 team in the land visits No. 20 on CBS, the No. 9 squad visits No. 16 on FOX and the No. 22 guys call on No. 23 on ABC. The optimal situation would be landing at a place with several screens available.
(4). Though the late night is, once again, all about the Pac-12, the offerings aren’t as strong this week with (6) USC and (13) Oregon both two touchdown-plus favorites in the final two contests of the night.
(5). There’s college football on Sunday this week! Also due to Hurricane Ian, FCS Eastern Washington at Florida (originally slated for Noon ET on Saturday), is scheduled to kickoff at Noon ET this Sunday on ESPN+/SEC Network+ and SMU at UCF (originally slated for 3:30pm ET on Saturday) will be played at 1pm ET on one of the ESPN family of networks.
Also of note, the East Carolina at USF game (originally slated for Saturday at 7pm ET in Tampa) has been relocated to FAU Stadium in Boca Raton, Fla. and will kick Saturday at 2:30pm ET on ESPN+.
Further updates on Hurricane Ian’s impact on Week 5 can be found here.
Thursday, Sept. 29
7pm ET – SEC Network – (FCS) SC State at South Carolina
8pm ET – ESPN – Utah State at (19) BYU
Friday, Sept. 30
7pm ET – ESPN – Tulane at Houston
7:30pm ET – CBSSN – UTSA at Middle Tennessee
8pm ET – FS1 – San Diego State at Boise State
10:30pm ET – ESPN – (15) Washington at UCLA
11pm ET – CBSSN – New Mexico at UNLV
Saturday, Oct. 1
Noon ET – ESPN – (7) Kentucky at (14) Ole Miss
Noon ET – FOX – (4) Michigan at Iowa
Top-ranked Michigan is the owner and operator of the No. 11 ranked rush offense in America anchored by junior RB Blake Corum (#2), No. 7 in yards per game and No. 1 in rushing TDs. Enter stage left Iowa – home to the No. 6 rush defense in the FBS – and it’s a battle for the ages. If the Hawkeyes can manage to shut the Wolverines down, the bigger question is – can they score any points? Iowa’s only visited the end zone seven times this season tying it with Georgia Tech for the fourth-fewest TDs in the FBS. But wait! There’s more! Two of the Hawkeyes’ six-pointers – almost a third of the total – were defensive scores.
Noon ET – ABC – (18) Oklahoma at TCU
Noon ET – ESPN2 – Purdue at (21) Minnesota
This under-the-radar selection offers one of the best on-paper matchups of the weekend. In one corner it’s Purdue’s No. 18 ranked passing attack, headlined by the No. 4 QB in the FBS in senior Aidan O’Connell (#16), while in the other it’s a Minnesota D ranked No. 2 – in the nation – vs. the pass. Where O’Connell and company are averaging 333 air yards per game, the Golden Gophers are allowing 126. Adding to the intrigue is the fact that Minnesota has earned its accolades vs. clubs that have struggled through the air – New Mexico State (No. 126 in the FBS in pass O), Colorado (No. 116), and Michigan State (No. 67).
As of this article’s publication Aidan O’Connell is still listed as questionable for the Minnesota game due to injury. O’Connell did not play in last week’s narrow 28-26 win over Florida Atlantic. In relief, senior QB Austin Burton (#12) (a transfer from UCLA) went 21-of-29 for 166 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception.
Noon ET – ESPN+ – Texas Tech at (25) Kansas State
Noon ET – CBS – Navy at Air Force
Tune in to this one to see the best rushing attack in the FBS – Air Force’s triple-option is currently the No. 1 unit in the land – take on a Navy D ranked No. 5 nationally vs. the run. Where the Falcons are averaging 412 rushing yards per game, the Midshipmen are allowing a mere 69. Air Force averaged 492 ground yards in its three wins (Northern Iowa, Colorado, and Nevada) vs. only 171 in its only loss (Wyoming). At No. 66 nationally in rushing D, the Cowboys just so happen to also be the best defense the Falcons have faced this season. Until now.
Noon ET – Big Ten Network – Illinois at Wisconsin
This is Bret Bielema’s first visit to Madison since he left Wisconsin to take the head job at Arkansas in 2012. Bielema led the Badgers to a 68-24 mark, including three consecutive Big Ten crowns, from 2006-12. He lasted five seasons in Fayetteville, posting a 29-34 mark with only two winning campaigns. He was fired in 2017. After three seasons in the NFL, Bielema took over at Illinois last year, his 3-1 start in 2022 is the best beginning to an Illini season since 2015.
2pm ET – Pac-12 Network – Oregon State at (12) Utah
3:30pm ET – CBS – (2) Alabama at (20) Arkansas
Arkansas’ offensive bread and butter thus far this season has been its ground game, currently ranked No. 9 in the nation and headlined by the No. 4 back in the FBS in sophomore RB Raheim Sanders (#5). It sets up as a solid strength vs. strength matchup vs. an Alabama D ranked an unsurprising No. 4 nationally against the run. What may decide this one is the Tide’s passing attack, though not all-world at No. 33 in the FBS, taking on a struggling Razorback D ranked No. 126 in the nation vs. the pass. If Alabama can expose Arkansas’ weakness and score a dominating win over a Top 20 foe, look for Bryce Young’s Heisman stock to soar even further.
3:30pm ET – FOX – (9) Oklahoma State at (16) Baylor
3:30pm ET – ABC – (22) Wake Forest at (23) Florida State
Florida State has gone from a No. 98 rank in pass D in Mike Norvell’s first season in Tallahassee, to a No. 74 rank last year to a No. 16 rank through four games this season. It’s a success story that will be severely tested vs. a Wake Forest passing attack led by the No. 8 QB in the FBS – junior Sam Hartman (#10). Where the Demon Deacons are averaging 314 air yards per game, the Seminoles are allowing 166. It’s important to note that FSU hasn’t necessarily squared off with the Murder’s Row of passing thus far – LSU (No. 29 in passing yards per game), Louisville (No. 85), and Boston College (No. 87). The ‘Noles secondary may be the key to their first 5-0 start since 2015.
3:30pm ET – Big Ten Network – Rutgers at (3) Ohio State
3:30pm ET – ESPN2 – Iowa State at Kansas
What’s powered Kansas’ stunning 4-0 start offensively is its ground game. The Jayhawks are ranked No. 8 – in the entire nation – in rushing yards per game vs. a No. 84 mark through the air. It sets up for an epic battle of strengths vs. an Iowa State D ranked a lofty No. 7 – in the Americas – vs. the run. State’s low point thus far was allowing 123 rushing yards to (16) Baylor in last week’s narrow loss while Kansas’ high point vs. an FBS opponent was hanging up 280 ground yards in its upset over Houston. This is a great matchup between two unraked squads with one loss – a seven-point defeat to a No. 16 ranked team – between them.
3:30pm ET – FS1 – Michigan State at Maryland
4pm ET – SEC Network – (17) Texas A&M at Mississippi State
This little gem features the No. 2 QB in the land – Mississippi State junior Will Rogers (#2) – taking on a Texas A&M defense ranked No. 10 in the FBS vs. the pass. Where the Aggies have only allowed one opponent more than 200 passing yards this season (217 in the win vs. Miami Fla.), Rogers has only thrown for fewer than 300 yards once (214 in the loss at LSU).
4pm ET – ESPN+ – Georgia Southern at Coastal Carolina
For Coastal Carolina to remain undefeated it must contain Georgia Southern’s passing attack, quietly ranked No. 15 in the FBS thus far. No big deal! Right? Well, did you know that the Chanticleers are ranked a dismal No. 110 in the nation/No. 13 in the Sun Belt vs. the pass? It’s the same unit that coughed up 448 air yards in its near miss vs. FCS Gardner-Webb in Week 2. Keep an eye on Eagles’ senior QB Kyle Vantrease (#6) (a transfer from Buffalo), the No. 7 QB in our great nation. Also of note, GSU’s defense is ranked No. 124 in the nation/dead last in the Sun Belt vs. the run.
5:30pm ET – Pac-12 Network – Cal at Washington State
7pm ET – ESPN – LSU at Auburn
7pm ET – ESPNU – Cincinnati at Tulsa
After handling Indiana’s No. 28 ranked pass attack last Saturday, this week Cincinnati’s young defense (which returned just five starters from last season’s elite unit) draws Tulsa, home to the No. 4 ranked pass offense in the FBS. Check out senior Bearcat LB Ivan Pace Jr. (#0), he’s ranked No. 1 in the nation in tackles for a loss (11) and is tied for No. 5 in sacks (4.5).
7:30pm ET – ABC – (10) NC State at (5) Clemson
7:30pm ET – FS1 – West Virginia at Texas
7:30pm ET – SEC Network – (1) Georgia at Missouri
7:30pm ET – Big Ten Network – Indiana at Nebraska
7:30pm ET – CBSSN – San Jose State at Wyoming
8pm ET – ACC Network – Georgia Tech at (24) Pitt
After rushing for a mere 15 yards on eight carries in the opener vs. West Virginia, junior Pitt RB Israel Abanikanda (#2) has averaged 155 yards in his last three outings, including a 154-yard performance in the near-miss vs. (8) Tennessee. He’s the No. 7 back in college football. This week he’ll face a one-win Georgia Tech team, with an interim head coach, that’s ranked No. 120 in the FBS vs. the run. Though the Yellow Jackets faced two of the elite rushing teams in the FBS in its last two appearances – (14) Ole Miss is No. 4 in rushing yards per game and UCF is No. 5 – they allowed a combined 600 ground yards and seven rushing TDs in the back-to-back losses.
9:30pm ET – Pac-12 Network – Colorado at Arizona
10:30pm ET – ESPN – Arizona State at (6) USC
11pm ET – FS1 – Stanford at (13) Oregon
As 17-point underdogs, one-win Stanford doesn’t look like much of a threat to an Oregon club that’s only misstep thus far was the opening loss vs. (1) Georgia. That said, did you know that the Cardinal are quietly ranked No. 39 in the FBS in pass offense? It’s a unit that returned ten offensive starters, including the QB, the top three receivers and the entire O-line from last year. Cue up Oregon’s defense, which just so happens to be No. 125 in the nation/dead last in the Pac-12 vs. the pass and suddenly this late-night snack looks worth leaving the warmer on for! Keep an eye on Stanford senior WR Michael Wilson (#4), fresh off a 176-yard, two-score performance in last week’s loss at (15) Washington.
Sunday, Oct. 2
Noon ET – SECN+/ESPN+ – (FCS) Eastern Washington at Florida
1pm ET – ESPN network/TBA – SMU at UCF
More than just a battle betwixt two of the better acronyms in college football, this pairing offers two intriguing matchups. First up, tune in to see SMU’s passing attack – ranked No. 5 in the FBS thus far – try to do its thing vs. a UCF defense ranked No. 19 nationally vs. the pass. On the flip side, it’s the Knights’ No. 5 ranked rushing game taking on a Mustang D that’s struggled its way to a No. 107 national rank vs. the run. Keep an eye on SMU’s dynamic duo – senior QB Tanner Mordecai (#8), the No. 3 passer in the FBS and senior WR Rashee Rice (#11), the No. 1 receiver in America.
OFF THIS WEEK (9)
- ACC: Miami Fla.
- C-USA: Louisiana Tech
- Independents: Notre Dame
- MWC: Colorado State, Hawaii, Nevada
- SEC: (8) Tennessee, Vanderbilt
- Sun Belt: Southern Miss
FIRST-EVER MEETINGS (1)
- Texas State at James Madison
7: Iowa State has won 7-straight over Kansas (last loss in 2014)
7: Virginia has won 7-straight over Duke (last loss in 2014)
8: (1) Georgia has won 8-straight over Missouri (only-ever loss in 2013)
8: (18) Oklahoma has won 8-straight over TCU (last loss in 2014)
8: (5) Clemson has won 8-straight home games over (10) NC State (last loss there in 2002)
8: Wisconsin has won 8-straight home games over Illinois (last loss there in 2002)
12: Arkansas State has won 12-straight over ULM (last loss in 2009)
14: (2) Alabama has won 14-straight over (20) Arkansas (last loss in 2006)
- Missouri has NEVER beaten (1) Georgia at home (0-5)
- Rutgers has NEVER beaten (3) Ohio State (0-8)
- South Alabama has NEVER won AT Louisiana (0-5)
- SMU has NEVER won AT UCF (0-5)
- UConn has NEVER beaten a current Mountain West member (0-6)
HARDWARE UP FOR GRABS
THE BRONZE STALK TROPHY – Northern Illinois at Ball State – Saturday, 2pm ET, ESPN+ – series started in 1941 – Northern Illinois leads 25-22-2 but the two have split the last four.
First awarded in 2008, the Bronze Stalk “depicts several cornstalks recognizing the Midwestern landscape surrounding DeKalb and Muncie.” The two campuses are located 285 miles apart in neighboring states. Ball State captured the first Stalk and then promptly dropped ten straight sheafs to NIU before winning two out of the last three meetings.
THE COMMANDER IN CHIEF’S TROPHY – Navy at Air Force – Saturday, Noon ET, CBS – series started in 1960 – Air Force leads 32-22 and has won two-straight.
The first leg of the three-way contest between Army, Navy, and Air Force, the Commander in Chief was established in 1972 to ensure that the newer Air Force Academy (which kicked off football in 1957) would play Navy and Army (both fielding a team since 1891) annually. The Falcons lead the way with 20 trophies, followed by the Midshipmen with 16, and the Black Knights with nine. Air Force hasn’t captured the prize since 2016, the longest current drought among the three academies.
Army and Air Force are scheduled to meet at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas on Saturday, Nov. 5. Army vs. Navy is slated for Saturday, Dec. 10 in Philadelphia.
THE OLD WAGON WHEEL – Utah State at (19) BYU – Thursday, 8pm ET, ESPN – series started in 1922 – BYU leads 50-37-3 and has won two-straight.
Not to be confused with Akron and Kent State’s Wagon Wheel, the Old Wagon Wheel was established in 1948 by fraternities at BYU and Utah State and is “believed to be from Jim Bridger’s chuck wagon, the first vehicle to enter the Utah Valley.” Bridger (also the namesake of the “Bridger Rifle” that Utah State and Wyoming play for) was one of the first Americans to visit the territory that became Yellow Stone National Park and is also credited with discovering the Great Salt Lake. The Cougars have reinvented the Old Wheel 42 times vs. the Aggies’ 25.
THE TEXTILE BOWL TROPHY – (10) NC State at (5) Clemson – Saturday, 7:30pm ET, ABC – series started in 1899 – Clemson leads 59-29-1, NC State’s win last season snapped an eight-game losing skid.
The Textile Bowl Trophy was first introduced in 1981, a “part of a joint marketing effort by the textile commissions of both North Carolina and South Carolina…State and Clemson boast two of the largest, most respected textile schools in the country and have similar academic missions.” The Tigers have captured the weavers’ prize 29 times vs. the Wolfpack’s 11.
While they’ve met five times previously when both were ranked, (10) NC State’s visit to (5) Clemson this Saturday night marks the first-time in the 89-game history of the series when both are Top Ten teams at game time.
2018 (16) NC State at (3) Clemson 41-7 Clemson
2017 (6) Clemson at (20) NC State 38-31 Clemson
1992 (18) Clemson at (23) NC State 20-6 NC State
1991 (12) NC State at (19) Clemson 29-19 Clemson
1986 (16) Clemson at (20) NC State 27-3 NC State
The Wolfpack are 0-2 at Clemson in Ranked vs. Ranked action.