Some teams are hitting the “prove it” section of the schedule this week. This should help determine what teams are bowl eligible at the end of the year or have conversations about playoff eligibility. Here are the best games of Week 5 and a whole new list of names to watch for this weekend.
Game Of The Week
Notre Dame are coming off a huge loss during the final seconds of last week’s game against Ohio State. The Buckeyes ran the ball on the final play for the score after Notre Dame came onto the field from a timeout with only ten men. To make it worse, the direction the play went was exactly where the missing defender for Notre Dame would have been. This week, that same Fighting Irish defense will be coming out angry wanting to right their wrongs.
They are facing Duke this week that knocked off Clemson in Week 1 and are riding high in the Costal division of the ACC. Duke is unbeaten, has won against a top-25 team and is out scoring their opponents by 110 points, most in the FBS. They aren’t an explosive team and average 6.8 yards per play on offense. But they are effective with their short-yardage plays and are completing them at a high rate. The rushing attack for Duke is where it’s at though. Running backs Jordan Waters, Jaquez Moore and Jaylen Coleman, along with quarterback Riley Leonard are averaging over 200 yards rushing per game. If Notre Dame want to come away with a win, they will need to stop the run.
Texas A&M Aggies
Saturday, 12 p.m. ET
LB Edgerrin Jones
The SEC West has never been more open that it is right now. At the moment there are five teams all boasting a 3-1 record, but all those teams are facing SEC opponents this weekend. This will really organize the division and separate the teams trying to make a case for the SEC Championship game later this year. What makes the Arkansas versus Texas A&M game so interesting is the fact the Razorbacks are on a two-loss streak. But the Aggies have lost their starting quarterback, Connor Weigman. That means the Aggies will be starting Max Johnson, the LSU transfer who threw two touchdowns last week, one to his brother Jake Johnson who plays tight end. KJ Jefferson can take control of this game, and if given chance to scramble will find the creases to run downfield. Stopping Jefferson though is linebacker Edgerrin Jones. He’s ranked 13th nationally with seven tackles for loss, and leads the team with 24 tackles.
Georgia Bulldogs (1)
Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET
TE Brock Bowers
Here is another one of those important SEC matchups. Georgia has been ranked first in The Associated Press poll since the 16th October, 2022. They are looking to stay unbeaten and keep the trail to the College Football Playoffs going. For Auburn, they need to win to stay in the race for the SEC West. Auburn are coming off a huge loss to Texas A&M last week and struggled to defend the Aggies tight ends. This week they face Brock Bowers, who leads the team in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns. Bowers is trying keep his name as a first-round prospect in this years draft and this week against Auburn, he’s hoping to highlight himself even more.
LSU Tigers (12)
Ole Miss Rebels (20)
Saturday, 6 p.m. ET
WR Brian Thomas
Another key game for the SEC West race. Both teams struggle with scrambling quarterbacks, both teams have scrambling quarterbacks. Last week the Ole Miss offense and quarterback Jaxson Dart only scored 10 points, this week they will look to try and bounce back. But the Tigers have won six of the last seven meetings and this season they have an electric receiving unit. WR Malik Nabers ranks third nationally in receiving yards and is getting all attention, that means defense’s are forgetting about his receiving teammate, Brian Thomas. Last week, Thomas had five catches for 133 yards and two touchdowns against Arkansas.
There are only three teams in the Big 12 that remain unbeaten, two of them face each other this week at DKR Stadium. Kansas will be hyped as they have started 4-0 in consecutive seasons for the first time in 108 years. But Texas will also be wanting to keep up their own momentum after starting 4-0 for the first time since 2012. Last week, Texas fumbled the ball three times and turned it over twice. Kansas scored two defensive touchdowns against Baylor last week, one off a fumble. Jayhawks running back Devin Neal averages 99 yards per game, with an impressive 6.9 yards per carry. If he can keep up that pace, Kansas could get another shock win like they did in 2021.
USC Trojans (8)
Saturday, 12 p.m. ET
QB Caleb Williams
This is a true “David versus Goliath” game. Caleb Williams has thrown 15 touchdowns this year with zero interceptions and is looking to win consecutive Heisman awards. For Colorado, they are trying to get a win against USC, who they lost to for the first time in 1927, and have never won against them since. Colorado’s defense is far from capable of slowing this USC high-powered offense down, so the hope will be the offense can keep up. The issue there is Shedeur Sanders has been sacked 22 times so far this season, and this week his offensive line will feel the pressure having to go pass heavy against an able USC pass rush.
Florida Gators (22)
Saturday, 12 p.m. ET
DB Maxwell Hairston
Both teams need a win to stay in the run in the SEC East, but both teams strengths equal each other out. The Wildcats are an effective team on offense and are scoring along with it. They are averaging 38 points per game and nearly 400 yards of offense. They’re also very good at converting on third-down which has translated into points. But Florida boasts the best defense in the SEC that’s allowing only 244 yards. Florida will be trying to get its own passing game established to score points. But Florida’s receivers have to face defensive back Maxwell Hairston who scored two pick-sixes last week.
With the way the season has started for Clemson, it’s looking certain they aren’t getting to the playoffs this year. They come into Week 5 as an unranked team with two conference losses already. Now they face an unbeaten Syracuse team looking to cash in while they have the chance. Looking to keep Clemson’s seasons alive is running back Will Shipley. He has 292 rush yards this season and is averaging 5.6 yards-per-carry. He’s an all purpose back and playmaker for Clemson, and last week he had 151 yards rushing and receiving against a solid Florida State defense.
South Carolina Gamecocks
Tennessee Volunteers (21)
Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET
RB Dylan Sampson
Whichever team loses this one is out of the SEC title race. Last year, South Carolina beat Tennessee 63-38 in a huge loss that also saw Tennessee lose their starting quarterback, Hendon Hooker, for the season with a torn ACL. The game saw Hooker lose his hopes of a Heisman trophy, but also cost the Volunteers a chance for the playoffs. This year Tennessee will want vengeance and to keep climbing the SEC ladder. One guy who is ready to breakout and do that for Tennessee is their sophomore running back, Dylan Sampson. This season, Sampson has only 27 carries, but he’s averaging 7.4 yards-per-carry and scoring a touchdown every five attempts. This weekend at Neyland stadium, Tennessee will be in what they call “Dark Mode”, as they sport their black uniforms with jet black helmets and orange numbers.
Michigan play their first road of the season this week and are looking to stay perfect to keep up with the competition for a playoff spot. Looking to drive the Wolverines offense to victory is running back Blake Corum. He is leading the nation in rushing touchdowns with eight, and is averaging 87 yards per game at 6.2 yards-per-carry. But here’s where the fun part comes in. The Cornhuskers are second in the nation in rushing defense, allowing just 46 rush yards per game. They have now held four straight opponents to under 60 yards on the ground. A stark change to the 190 rush yards they were allowing per game last year before Matt Rhule took over.