college football week 5 preview: bring on the interesting games…please!

Thankfully, Week 5 of the college football season means the conference schedules begin. Week 4 was one of the least interesting college football Saturdays since…well, Week 3. Just how bad was it? Four Top 25 teams—Ohio State, Louisville, Miami and Baylor—lit up the scoreboard for 70 points or more vs. Cream Puff U. and its sister colleges.

How bad was it? It was so out of hand, Louisville and Miami played the final quarters of their games with a running clock. This is just the tip of the iceberg. With the exception of three or four games involving ranked teams, it was business-as-usual blowouts. Which is why I say pre-season rankings are worthless. We learn nothing when a bully beats up on a weakling.

True, in-conference games don’t automatically mean less blowouts, but the competition seems to be more serious when pride, rivalry and conference championships are on the line. Either way, I’d rather watch Alabama vs. Tennessee than Alabama vs. Colorado State.

And so would you.

That Being Said…
In a weekend with almost no drama, it’s nice to know the Michigan Wolverines decided to once again try and lose to a team well below their talent level. They went on the road to UConn and snuck away with a 24-21 victory. Michigan seems hellbent on becoming a head on a pike for someone. For the second straight week, Big Blue needed fourth quarter heroics to stave off a shocking upset against a team with significantly less talent, but a whole lot of heart.

Full disclosure: I’m a Michigan fan first and foremost, but I’m not so blind to the reality that Michigan is not going to run the table unless they fix their offensive line woes.

My Top 25: Not Much Movement (Yet)
1. Alabama (3 – 0)

2. Oregon (4 – 0)

3. Stanford (3 – 0)

4. Ohio State (4 – 0)

5. Clemson (3 – 0)

6. LSU (3 – 0)

7. Louisville (3 – 0)

8. Florida State (3 – 0)

9. Oklahoma State (3 – 0)

10. Georgia (2 – 1)

11. Texas A&M (3 – 1)

12. Oklahoma (3 – 0)

13. UCLA (3 – 0)

14. Northwestern (4 – 0)

15. Miami (FL) (3 – 0)

16. Michigan (4 – 0)

17. South Carolina (2 – 1)

18. Notre Dame (4 – 1)

19. Washington (3 – 0)

20. Florida (2 – 1)

21. Ole Miss (3 – 0
)
22. Texas Tech (4 – 0)
23. Baylor (3 – 0)
24. Nebraska (3 – 1)
25. Wisconsin (3 – 1)

Dropped Out
Arizona State (2 – 1)

On Deck
Minnesota (4 – 0)
Maryland (4 – 0)
Fresno State (3 – 0)
Michigan State (3 – 1)

These rankings are largely meaningless because we’re not yet into the real meat of the conference schedules. Yeah, I know. I’m an old, broken record on this conference schedule stuff, but I fervently believe the next three weeks will be more telling about which teams are true contenders and which ones are pretenders.

The Team That Can’t Wait To Lose
Georgia and Notre Dame already beat everyone to the punch by dropping early-season games, and it wasn’t surprising. I’ve been saying since last season Georgia is overrated. The Irish are missing too many components from their undefeated season. It’s more impressive that they’ve only lost one game, so far, really.

What other Top 25 teams are spoiling for a loss? Several…

Michigan
If the Akron Zips and UConn Huskies can come within one or two plays of beating Michigan, then things look bleak for the maize-and-blue. I smell trouble when Michigan goes on the road to Penn State and Michigan State in a few weeks.

Clemson
I’m not in agreement with the national polls ranking Clemson No. 3. They are not the third best team in the nation. I’ve got a feeling Jameis Winston and Florida State will hand the Tigers their first loss. Tajh Boyd is still pretty good, though.

Baylor
Yeah, they light up a scoreboard like a New Year’s Eve fireworks show, but who have they played? Wofford (FCS), Buffalo and Louisiana-Monroe. In other words: WHO?!?! Don’t be surprised if West Virginia shuts them down in a couple weeks. You heard me.

Alabama
I don’t know who, I don’t know when, but I just don’t see the Crimson Tide rolling undefeated this season. It’s just a hunch.

Bigtime Saturday Players
Kevin Guiton, QB, Ohio State. It was a meaningless tune-up game, but the Buckeyes backup quarterback threw for six touchdowns on 24/34 for 215 yards. I don’t care what team you’re facing, that’s impressive.

Jeremy Hill, RB, LSU. In a game I pegged one of the more meaningful on an otherwise meaningless Saturday, the sophomore back torched the other SEC Tigers for 183 yards on 25 carries, including three touchdowns. Heisman Watch? Easy, big fella.

Tyler Gaffney, RB, Stanford The senior ran for 87 yards (averaged 4.8 yards per carry) and scored two touchdowns in The Cardinal’s 42-28 win over Arizona State.

Heisman Watch
Will return later this season. I found this weekend far too boring to even care.

Must-See Saturday Football
Lots of conference games on the docket. Yay!! These four are my favorites.

No. 21 Ole Miss (3 – 0) at No. 1 Alabama (3 – 0)
If the Rebels want to shock the world, they’ll need more than QB Bo Wallace and RB Jeff Scott leading the way. They’ll need a defense to slow down the Tide’s high-powered assault. There will be no shocks in Tuscaloosa.
Prediction: Alabama

No. 12 Oklahoma at No. 18 Notre Dame
It’s always special when you have a big showdown between ranked teams in South Bend. Notre Dame’s grown accustomed to winning ugly, but they’ll need to be flawless to keep up with the Sooners. Tommy Rees will not win this shootout.
Prediction: Oklahoma

Arizona at No. 19 Washington
The Huskies are quietly feasting on their early schedule, thanks to QB Keith Price already having a pair of 300-yard passing games. For the Wildcats, a win earns them a spot in the Top 25. Arizona’s offense relies on the running game, which gets stifled by Washington at home.
Prediction: Washington

No. 25 Wisconsin at No. 4 Ohio State
The Badgers probably should be undefeated, but for a wonky few seconds at the end of the Arizona State game. Wisky likes to air it out with QB Joel Stave. He’ll never keep up with Ohio State, no matter who’s under center. Wisconsin’s best hope is to slow down the Buckeye offense. Good luck with that.
Prediction: Ohio State

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