College Football, Week 5: Bring Your Defense to This One

FILE - In this Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018, file photo, a Rutgers player, left, prepares to snap the ball during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Maryland in College Park, Md. The best offensive lines are greater than the sum of their parts. Former Notre Dame star offensive lineman Aaron Taylor, now an analyst for CBS Sports, is one of the driving forces behind the Joe Moore Award, which honors the best offensive line in the college football. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

The college football action continues this week with several pretty noteworthy Top 25 match-ups, and there is a lot of great conference action in the mix. We’ll see some real tests for Clemson and Michigan, some of the best ACC action possible, and cooler weather across the country, I’m not entirely sure what could make today better.


No. 10 NC State at No. 5 Clemson

This might just be the game of the week (ESPN seems to think so, given that College GameDay is there today). An ACC match-up against two pre-season favorites. No doubt the Tigers are the favorites to win, but NC State will put on a good show, and who knows? Maybe they’ll surprise us. Clemson had a narrow win against Wake Forest last week, and NC State did win this match-up last year in an overtime thriller that no one saw coming. But Clemson is extremely difficult to beat at home.

No. 7 Kentucky at No. 14 Ole Miss

These two teams are also just outperforming expectations that a lot of people might have had for them at the beginning of the season. Kentucky in particular has reached heights that they haven’t seen in decades. The big question is going to be who has the offensive stamina. Ole Miss hasn’t played a challenging defense yet this year, and the Wildcats are the underdogs but no slouches on the defensive side of the ball.


No. 4 Michigan at Iowa

Michigan has had a pretty easy go of it so far, but October starts the challenging part of their schedule, where they go from zero to 60 in terms of intensity. Last week, Michigan overcame Maryland by a touchdown, while Iowa sealed a fairly decisive win against Rutgers. But both of these teams want and frankly need a great challenge in Week 5, and they’re going to get it. Michigan has put up 17 rushing touchdowns this year so far, but Iowa hasn’t allowed any. If Iowa’s defense stops the Michigan machine, it could very well be worth taking placing a couple of bucks on the Hawkeyes.

LSU at Auburn

Now, this one is going to be interesting. Auburn’s offense has kind of been sputtering along. And while LSU’s struggled a bit on the offensive side, there is every possibility that they will continue growing through this game. However, while everyone has focused on LSU’s offensive and special teams struggles, few are acknowledging that their defense has been stellar. Matched up just right, this is a game that could make people remember who LSU is and why Brian Kelly was a good choice after all.


No. 2 Alabama at No. 20 Arkansas

Please, Arkansas. Do it for America.

But, seriously, this isn’t impossible. Texas has already proven you can pressure Bryce Young and frustrate the Crimson Tide. But the question is whether or not the Razorbacks could seal the deal better than the Longhorns did. Give Bryce Young too much time and he’ll turn lead into a gold trophy.

No. 9 Oklahoma State at No. 16 Baylor

Baylor plays host, but Oklahoma State is the favorite. Part of the problem for Baylor is the passing game. Oklahoma State quarterback Spencer Sanders has thrown for more than 900 yards so far this season and he has plenty of targets. But Baylor’s defense are not slouches. They are holding opponents to 4.59 yards per play and 16.8 points per game.

No. 22 Wake Forest at No. 23 Florida State

The No. 1 pass defense in the ACC hosts Wake Forest, who almost pulled it off against Clemson last week. That makes for quite the interesting match-up in another stellar ACC pairing. Florida State has surprised just about everyone with a solid performance to start the year. Meanwhile, Wake Forest really wants to come back after last week. A win here makes next week’s meeting with NC State a lot more manageable. Wake Forest can put up some offensive yardage, but Florida State has asserted itself as an absolute unit on the other side of the ball.


Bottom Line

I would not dream of telling you who to put money on (if you were into that sort of thing, anyway), but I especially could not this week. The lines seem pretty confident in their favorites, but I just don’t know who is going to be able to shut down who. That’s pretty much why I love the game, though.


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