Here is a look at the Top Ten games for Week Five of the college football season.
Colorado State (2-1) vs Boston College (3-1)
Boston College looks to improve to 4-1 this season and continue their progression under Steve Addazio. This is their final non-conference tuneup before heading to undefeated NC State in two weeks to continue ACC play. The Eagles are ahead of schedule and will look to give ACC some bragging right overs the Pac-12.
Florida State (3-0) vs NC State (4-0)
NC State is 4-0 but haven’t played anyone notable yet. They get a real test this week with the defending national champions coming to town. Maybe they can catch FSU sleeping and keep it competitive because I don’t think they are as good as their 4-0 record would indicate. Jameis Winston is back this week and the Seminoles will look to get back on track.
Vanderbilt (1-3) vs Kentucky (2-1)
This is a game Kentucky should and needs to win. They are an improving SEC team and are looking for their first conference victory in several years. Vanderbilt has struggled in every aspect of the game thus far and the Wildcats should have no problem getting by the Commodores this week.
Colorado (2-2) vs California (2-1)
This will be interesting to see if Colorado has made strides to compete in the Pac-12. Cal isn’t a top-tier conference team, but they are competitive and it will be a good measuring stick for the Buffs. The Golden Bears are coming off a disappointing last second loss to Arizona and can’t let that game spill over to this one.
North Carolina (2-1) vs Clemson (1-2)
Clemson will turn to a true freshmen at quarterback as they look to rebound from a crushing defeat at Florida State. They had that game wrapped up and gave it away. Head coach Dabo Sweeney will need to do his best to keep his team focused after losing two early season games.
Illinois (3-1) vs Nebraska (4-0)
Nebraska is cruising along at 4-0 and could emerge as a serious contender in the Big Ten. However, they can’t allow themselves to take this Illinois team lightly. If Nebraska is a contender they need to prove it and win big.
Minnesota (3-1) vs Michigan (2-1)
The seat is warm for Brady Hoke and it doesn’t get much easier with a 3-1 Minnesota team coming in. The Wolverines need to turn it around and show some improvement this week or they could be in for a rough campaign.
Top Ten Games of the Weekend
10. Texas Tech (2-1) vs. #24 Oklahoma State (2-1), Thursday, 7:30 pm, ESPN.
Texas Tech had a week to lick their wounds after Arkansas came to town and ran all over them. Was Kliff Kingsbury able to improve this defense during the off week? This will be the first conference game for both teams and each will be looking to prove themselves in the Big 12. Oklahoma State gave Florida State all they could handle in Week One, but the Seminoles haven’t been all that impressive so far this year. The winner of this game will take their first step towards Big 12 contention while the other will be looking to pick up the pieces from two September losses.
9. Duke (4-0) vs. Miami (2-2) Saturday, 7:00 pm, ESPN2.
Duke took the conference by storm a season ago and are out to a 4-0 start this year, but have yet to get much respect due to their weak non-conference schedule. They will step up the competition this week against Miami. The Canes are coming off a loss to Nebraska and do not want to drop their third game this month. The Blue Devils will get Miami’s very best shot and we’ll see if they can overcome the test.
8. Cincinnati (2-0) vs. Ohio State (2-1), Saturday, 6:00 pm, BTN.
This is quietly a big game for the Buckeyes, who have already seen a very sub-par Virginia Tech team come into the Horseshoe and beat them by two touchdowns. Cincinnati may be the best team that Ohio State has faced this season and Tommy Tuberville’s squad will be coming in with a lot to prove. Many of these guys were overlooked in recruiting by Ohio State and will badly want to outplay their counterparts. Ohio State had a week off to get JT Barrett even more comfortable in this offense and Urban Meyer has a great record with two weeks to prepare.
7. Maryland (3-1) vs. Indiana (3-1), Saturday, 1:30 pm, BTN.
Indiana is coming off a huge win for their program and the Big Ten Conference at Missouri and welcome their new conference foe Maryland. The Terps dropped a disappointing home game to West Virginia in Week Two but rebounded with a road win at Syracuse last week. Both teams are looking to get out to a 1-0 start in conference play and try and get themselves some momentum going forward. Will Indiana be able to ride the wave from last week’s huge victory?
6. Tennessee (2-1) vs. Georgia (2-1), Saturday, 12:00 pm, ESPN.
Georgia has already dropped a conference game and will be coming out swinging against an improved Tennessee team. The Bulldogs had an early season victory over Clemson before dropping a disappointing game at South Carolina. They can’t afford a second conference loss this early and will be pulling out all the stops against Tennessee. The Vols have looked much improved this season including a decent performance in Norman against Oklahoma. Many of the Vols will be traveling for only their second road game and what they experienced in Norman against the Sooners should have them prepared for what they will face at Georgia. The rest of the Vols will be looking for revenge from an overtime loss to the Bulldogs last season in Knoxville.
5. Oregon State (3-0) vs. #19 USC (2-1), Saturday, 10:30 pm, ESPN.
USC has had to wait two long weeks to get the nightmare of their trip to Boston College out of their mind. They will welcome Oregon State to the Coliseum. The Beavers are untested but have quarterback Sean Mannion leading their high powered offense. Tyler Murphy and BC provided the blueprint, and it will be interesting to see if Oregon State can exploit it and use their depth to get past USC. The Trojan loss in Chestnut Hill stung, but it didn’t affect their Pac-12 standing and they should come out focused and ready for the Beavers.
4. Stanford (2-1) vs. Washington (4-0), Saturday, 4:00 pm, FOX.
Chris Petersen has his team at 4-0 as they welcome Stanford for his first big game as Washington’s head coach. Stanford and head coach David Shaw are still ticked off from their home loss to USC a few weeks ago and will be looking for blood against the Huskies. Both teams have a shot at Oregon later this season, but if they want to stay in the Pac-12 race, they must win this game. Stanford feels they have a strong enough defense and a very capable quarterback in Kevin Hogan to go to Washington and deal with their high powered offense. The Huskies are looking to show they are ready to contend for the Pac-12 title in Petersen’s first year in Seattle since coming from Boise State.
3. Missouri (3-1) vs. South Carolina (3-1), Saturday, 7:00 pm, ESPN.
South Carolina and Missouri will have a rematch of their thrilling 27-24 overtime game from a season ago this weekend. The Gamecocks provided Mizzou with their only conference loss last season and the Tigers will be looking for revenge. South Carolina has had a very difficult early season schedule; they have already faced Texas A&M, East Carolina, and Georgia and still find themselves in a good position to reach Atlanta. They will be plenty prepared for Missouri. The Tigers on the other hand can’t wait to get on the field and wipe the taste of a home loss to Indiana out of their mouths. Steve Spurrier doesn’t think a whole lot of his team thus far, but we will find out a whole lot more about them and Missouri this weekend.
2. Arkansas (3-1) vs. Texas A&M (4-0), Saturday, 3:30 pm, CBS.
Arkansas surprised the country a few weeks ago when they went into Lubbock and ran all over Texas Tech. The Razorbacks had lost a program-worst ten games before the light came on and things started to click. They will look to ride that momentum when both teams travel to AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX for Saturday’s showdown. The Aggies have looked impressive this season, especially on offense. Kenny Hill led the offense to an opening weekend romp of South Carolina and they are averaging 55 points per game through the first four contests. Arkansas will look to counter that offense by controlling the ball, using their three stud backs to run it down the Aggies’ throats, and exploit a defense that struggled mightily last year but has improved thus far in 2014. The Aggies can improve their case as a top team with an impressive win this weekend.
1. #11 UCLA (3-0) vs. #15 Arizona State (3-0), Thursday, 10:00 pm, FOX SPORTS 1.
The game of the week pits two undefeated Pac-12 teams against each other in a huge South division match-up that could have major implications on who will advance to the conference championship game. Arizona State enjoys a high ranking despite not playing any real competition yet this season (Weber State, New Mexico, and Colorado). Meanwhile, UCLA has Power Five wins over Virginia and Texas already. Head coach Jim Mora has been tight lipped on whether UCLA starting quarterback Brett Hundley will be able to play Thursday night. They were able to squeak out a late victory against Texas two weeks ago, but Arizona State should be a tougher test. The winner of this game will advance their Pac-12 title hopes and strengthen their case for the inaugural College Football Playoff.
It should be a great weekend of football. Which game are you most excited for? Let me know in the comments below!
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