Top Five College Football Matchups: Week 5

Last week’s games lived up to the hype as we were treated to several ranked matchups that went down to the wire, highlighted by Ohio State’s shocking game-winning drive against Notre Dame. This week won’t carry the same hype, but there are still plenty of good games, including a ranked showdown on Friday night. Here are the top five college football matchups for week 5.

5. No. 24 Kansas (4-0) at No. 3 Texas (4-0)

When: Saturday, 3:30 pm ET

Where: Texas Memorial Stadium, Austin, TX

Where to watch: ABC

Spread: Texas (-16.5)

This game makes an unexpected appearance in the top five thanks to Kansas’ fantastic start to the season. Most of the nation hasn’t seen them play yet, but all eyes will be on the Jayhawks as they travel to Austin to face the Longhorns this weekend. Kansas is led by junior running back Devin Neal, who already has 539 all-purpose yards and six touchdowns in his first four games. As a whole, the Jayhawks rank in the top 25 both offensively and defensively. But they’ve yet to face a team like Texas, who are one of the most complete teams in the nation right now. Their quarterback play has improved so much thanks to Quin Ewers entering his sophomore season. They’ll need their best play from him as they enter the toughest two-week stretch of the season against Kansas and Oklahoma.

4. No. 22 Florida (3-1) at Kentucky (4-0)

When: Saturday, 12:00 pm ET

Where: Kroger Field, Lexington, KY

Where to watch: ESPN

Spread: Kentucky (-1.5)

One of the top SEC matchups this weekend is a rivalry that has really heated up over the past five years, thanks to the emergence of the Wildcats under coach Mark Stoops. With former quarterback Will Levis now in the NFL, Kentucky hasn’t taken a huge step back offensively. But their defense is the real strength as always, ranking 20th in yards allowed per game. The Wildcats have won three out of the last five games in this rivalry, including a win in the Swamp last season during coach Billy Napier’s first season with the Gators. Napier surprisingly lost to every one of Florida’s rivals last year, but his redemption tour has gotten off to a good start with a big win over Tennessee. For it to continue, he’ll need his defense to be the difference-maker. Devin Leary already has five interceptions and will be facing the best defense in the SEC right now, so the Gators’ front seven needs to pressure him and force a turnover. Additionally, Florida quarterback Graham Mertz has played mistake-free football all season. If that continues, that combination should be enough to take down a quality Kentucky team on the road.

3. No. 11 Notre Dame (4-1) at No. 17 Duke (4-0)

When: Saturday, 7:30 pm ET

Where: Wallace Wade Stadium, Durham, NC

Where to watch: ABC

Spread: Notre Dame (-5.5)

Out of all the matchups I watched last weekend, Notre Dame disappointed me the most with their performance against the Buckeyes. In last week’s article, I went as far as to say they should be favored to win at home. That opinion was looking good until the Irish blew a last-minute lead and let Ohio State march down the field for the win. Notre Dame still has a chance to redeem themselves by winning out the rest of their games. They have some quality opponents left and will continue to be no stranger in my top-five matchups. It starts with a road game against possibly the best Duke football team in school history. This game will likely be a low-scoring defensive battle, but I expect Notre Dame to get back on track by winning in the trenches.

2. No. 10 Utah (4-0) at No. 19 Oregon State (3-1)

When: Friday, 9:00 pm ET

Where: Reserr Stadium, Corvallis, OR

Where to watch: FS1

Spread: Oregon State (-3.5)

Will Cam Rising make his long-awaited return on Friday? In my opinion, the result of this game hinges on just that. The Utes have really struggled offensively without him, and are about to face one of the best defenses in their conference. Yes, the Beavers did get lit up by Washington State last week, but that was thanks to dynamic quarterback Cam Ward giving them problems all game. Utah needs that same weapon in order to overcome its obvious flaws in the passing game.

1. No. 13 LSU (3-1) at No. 20 Ole Miss (3-1)

When: Saturday, 6:00 pm ET

Where: Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, Oxford, MS

Where to watch: ESPN

Spread:  LSU (-2.5)

The game of the week goes to a couple of 3-1 rivals that are fighting for control of the SEC West. LSU hasn’t let that loss to FSU derail their season, as they’ve won three straight and hung on to beat Arkansas by a field goal last weekend. Ole Miss took their first loss to Alabama last week, their offense got shut down and was held to a single touchdown. But you should expect a high-scoring matchup in this one since both offenses rank near the top in points per game. Because of that, this game is a real toss-up for me, which is the feeling I want to have for my number one matchup.

Honorable Mentions:

No. 8 USC (4-0) at Colorado (3-1)

Clemson (2-2) at Syracuse (4-0)

No. 1 Georgia (4-0) at Auburn (3-1)

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