In this season of uncertainty, it appears upsets will be an all too familiar feeling this season. In week four, we saw six ranked teams lose to unranked teams, including Oklahoma and Texas. This week we have four ranked versus ranked matchups and several others under the radar games that we’re watching. Where will the big upset come this week? Or could we see a changing of the guard atop the College Football world? We dive into those matchups in our week 5 college football watch guide.
Note: All game times are in central standard time
Week 4 College Football Watch Guide
This wasn’t supposed to happen for these two teams. This Red River matchup is the epitome of 2020. We were primed to see a top 10 matchup, a Heisman matchup, and the winner would take control of the conference and have a leg up in the College Football Playoff race. All of those goals are seemingly history for both schools. Both defenses have been abysmal early on in the season and this has all the makings of a shootout. The loser of this game is effectively out of the conference race before we hit the middle of October, while the winner still has a chance to creep back into the race if they can get on a roll. If history tells us anything about this series, no matter the rankings, or the records we are in for a fantastic football game.
Texas A&M is finding itself in a position of consistency. However, that’s not the consistency they are looking for. The Aggies have come into each season under Jimbo Fisher as a top 10-15 team only to not able to beat the big boys in the SEC. They’ll get another shot here as the Gators come calling to College Station. Kyle Trask has had an extremely hot start to the season and is right in the mix of the Heisman Trophy discussion. He has one of the best Tight Ends in the country in Kyle Pitts to throw to. But, the Gators have been uncharacteristically poor on defense to begin the season. Kellen Mond will have to use that to his advantage to keep up with the high powered Gator offense in this one.
Despite their best efforts in an attempt to lose to Boston College last week, Carolina held on and catapulted into the top 10 in this week’s rankings. The Tar Heels have a dynamic offense, particularly at the skill positions led by Sophomore Sam Howell. If the Tar Heels are able to get through the Hookie, the schedule sets up nicely for an 8-0 start before hosting Notre Dame on November 27th. But, that won’t be easy against a Virginia Tech team that is much improved on offense. The Hokies have survived to a point to just play in this game and stand at 2-0. They have had multiple players and coaches out due to COVID over their first two games and can be a dangerous team once at full strength.
Tennessee has looked the part over the first two games of the season. But, the slate gets tougher as they head into Athens to face the Bulldogs. Jarrett Guarantano has not been spectacular, but he has been efficient and not made many mistakes. The duo of Ty Chandler and Eric Gray is quite possibly the best in the conference. This will be an intriguing battle up front against one of the best defenses in the country. Georgia’s run defense was stifling last week in holding Auburn to less than two yards per carry on the ground. If the Vols can run the ball effectively to the tune of at least 125 yards, this game will be a battle into the fourth quarter. Between Guarantano and Stetson Bennett whoever can avoid the big mistake could make the difference here.
It seems like a lifetime ago that Iowa State lost to Louisiana in the opening game of the season. Well, all is forgiven in Ames after a 2-0 start in the Big 12 knocking off TCU and Oklahoma. Brock Purdy has been solid and Breece Hall is electric from his running back position. The Cyclones will be battling against complacency and the thought of leading the Big 12 conference with a win. For Texas Tech, they stand at 1-2 on the year but could easily be 3-0. They inexplicably lost to Texas after having a 15-point lead with less than four minutes to play and were within an earshot of beating Kansas State last weekend. If the Red Raiders find themselves in a familiar position, can they get over the hump and win a huge game in Ames?
As we move into the evening session of our Week 5 College Football Watch Guide, the backdrop could be bigger and better than the game. The tradition of Florida State and Notre Dame under the lights in South Bend is enough to spark some intrigue. However, on the field, this looks like a mismatch. The Seminoles are struggling on offense and were embarrassed by Miami 52-10 two weeks ago and struggled with FCS Jacksonville State last week. But, Mike Norvell is an excellent offensive coach so could this be the week they figure things out? This looks like a game that Notre Dame could struggle through and play to the level of their competition. The Irish are 21-point favorites in this game. And, while Florida State may not win, something tells me this will be closer than the experts think.
Mississippi State and Kentucky might come into this week as two of the most disappointed teams in the country this week. The Bulldogs looked flat and were mistake-ridden in their home loss to Arkansas. K.J. Costello threw for over 300 yards, but also tossed three interceptions against the Hogs. Meanwhile, Kentucky squandered a 14-point lead in their home loss to Mississippi. What might be more concerning for the Wildcats is their acclaimed secondary has been torched two weeks straight. That does not bode well for Kentucky. Look for a shootout on Saturday night.
Although this is not the best game of the weekend, one could argue it’s the most intriguing. Nick Saban’s assistants are winless against Saban going head to head. And Kiffin has not been shy to share his displeasure with his former boss. Just like the game before, this has a shootout written all over it. Ole Miss has had one of the best offenses in the league over the first two games under Matt Corral averaging 38 points per game. Likewise, the Alabama offense has not missed a beat with now Heisman contender Mac Jones. The Tide has a wealth of options all over the field for him on offense. Make sure to tune in, this one will be entertaining.
The storylines in our national game of the week in our Week 5 College Football Watch Guide are immense. This has the makings of a battle in every sense of the word. ACC, College Football Playoff, Heisman could all be on the line in Death Valley. The challenge in front of Miami will be great. Clemson has not lost a home conference game since 2016 when they lost to Pittsburgh. Even though they struggled somewhat on defense last week against Virginia, most of us know what we have in the Clemson team. However, Miami is still somewhat of an anomaly that we will get to unpack Saturday night. The offense under Rhett Lashlee and D’Eriq King has become better and better each week. This will be a true measuring stick for the state of the Hurricane program.