The Week 5 college football schedule features a battle for the Commander-in-Chief’s trophy, and a rematch from one of last season’s great upsets.
The pole position in the ACC and Heisman races won’t be at stake, like they will when Louisville travels to Clemson. And there’ll be no chance of being stamped the Pac-12 frontrunner by Saturday morning, which will be at stake in Friday’s Stanford-Washington clash. Yet, the following below-the-radar matchups are crammed with compelling storylines and entertaining subplots, and they warrant your attention in Week 5. Do not miss these underhyped games.
By the usual standard in Winston-Salem, Wake Forest is on a wicked tear. And with a road win in Raleigh, the Deacons will pull within a victory of bowl eligibility for the first time in five years.
Dave Clawson has broken through at Wake Forest, just two years after snapping on the tool belt and beginning the rebuilding process. His Deacs are 4-0 for the first time in a decade, and they’ve already won on the road at Duke and Indiana. It certainly hasn’t been flashy, but Wake is finding a way, usually with its stingy defense. With another upset, Clawson is going to enhance his chances for a promotion, while hammering one more nail into Dave Doeren’s coaching coffin.
There have been 85 prior chapters in the rivalry between the Broncos and the Chippewas. This one has the potential to go down in the annals as one of the more entertaining in series history.
Both schools received Top 25 votes at some point in September, Central for upsetting Oklahoma State in a controversial ending in Stillwater, and Western for defeating two Big Ten programs, Northwestern and Illinois. Neither team is having any problem scoring, and Chippewa Cooper Rush vs. Bronco Zach Terrell will be one of the sneaky-good quarterback duels of Week 5. The ingredients are there for this to be one of those last-team-with-the-ball kind of thrillers in Mt. Pleasant.
Just how good might this Rocket team be in 2016? A tough trip to Provo will begin providing some clues.
Western Michigan has made most of the MAC headlines this fall. And well-deserved after beating a pair of Big Ten programs. Toledo, though, might be pretty good as well. The Rockets have rolled through three games behind the passing of Logan Woodside, the running of Kareem Hunt and outstanding line play; Toledo is the nation’s only team yet to allow a sack. Remaining unbeaten will mean handling a crabby BYU team that’s dropped three straight by seven combined points. The Cougars will likely be the most physical opponent the Rockets face in the regular season.
This is a very different Buffs team, Mike MacIntyre’s fourth in Boulder. Let’s see how it handles prosperity and more national notoriety than it’s usually accustomed.
Colorado isn’t just a couple of games above .500. Two weeks ago, it put more of a scare into Michigan than Penn State did in Week 4. And last Saturday, the Buffaloes stunned Oregon … in Eugene … behind the dual-threat heroics of redshirt freshman backup quarterback Steven Montez. Colorado has momentum and a rare bounce in its step. How well the Buffs handle being a 17-point favorite over a Beaver team that’s dropped 11 consecutive Pac-12 games will offer an indication to just how threatening they might be in the Pac-12 South race.
The Midshipmen and Falcons are meeting in the first leg to decide the Commander-in-Chief’s trophy; it’s the first time ever that both enter undefeated.
The pageantry and intensity are baked in whenever service academies get together. This Saturday, there’ll be the added intrigue of both programs trying to maintain a perfect season. This will the toughest game to date for both Air Force and Navy. Since the Falcons and Mids are grinders on offense, run defense will be an obvious key to success. Advantage, Air Force. The Zoomies are allowing just two yards a carry, and Navy has been using backup quarterback Will Worth since Tago Smith was lost for the season to an ACL tear.
The Rebels are out for revenge for last season’s 13-point loss to the Tigers. Though Memphis without Justin Fuente and Paxton Lynch is evidently still a potential trap game for Power Five programs.
Ole Miss flexed its muscles last Saturday against Georgia, sending shockwaves that it plans to be an SEC West spoiler. However, these Rebs better not look ahead to the bye week and Fayetteville trip afterward. Memphis still has something on its fastball. The Tigers are 3-0 in Mike Norvell’s debut, winning their last two over Kansas and Bowling Green by a combined score of 120-10. Quarterback Riley Ferguson, whose career began in Knoxville, has already thrown 11 touchdowns. And he’s itching to outplay Chad Kelly, who’s been real sharp since throwing three picks in the opener with Florida State.