It’s Week 5 of college football season, and this weekend brings a number of matchups that could make or break certain teams’ championship hopes. One conference has too many great games to count, one team is staring its championship dreams dead in the face, and another is simply looking to maintain momentum.
There’s no time to waste, so let’s dive right in. These teams are on Code Red Upset Alert for Week 5.
No. 5: Wisconsin
After dropping their season opener to Alabama, the Badgers have rebounded to look like one of the strongest offensive teams in the nation under coach Paul Chryst. Wisconsin has outscored its opponents 114-3 over its last three games, and now faces a tough matchup when the 4-0 Iowa Hawkeyes pay a visit to Madison on Saturday.
The long and short of it is that both teams are so incredibly similar in that they play the same tough and grinding blue-collar game, and the fact that this is the first Big Ten game of the season for both teams only adds to the drama. Iowa are seven-point underdogs and playing away from home, but quarterback C.J. Beathard and running back Jordan Canzeri are enough of a tandem to give the Badgers a hard time and if they’re running on all cylinders, they could easily pull off the upset.
No. 4: Texas A&M
The Aggies pulled off an ugly overtime victory against Arkansas in Dallas last weekend, and now face another trap game when they return to Kyle Field to take on the red hot Mississippi State Bulldogs. Here is a team that defeated tailspinning Auburn at Jordan-Hare last weekend and easily has the momentum going into this matchup despite being given 6.5 points.
I’m not going to sugarcoat it. Texas A&M’s defense was just plain ugly last weekend, especially in its inability to stop the run. Were it not for quarterback Kyle Allen making some borderline miraculous completions to Christian Kirk and Josh Reynolds, the Aggies definitely would have lost.
Given how Mississippi State is a team that can score in a variety of ways, be it from quarterback Dak Prescott making clutch throws or even running the ball himself, not to mention the fact that the Bulldogs are fresh off a big in-conference road win, the Aggies’ defense had better have its eyes forward lest it want to be made to look foolish and sloppy for the second week in a row.
No. 3: Georgia
Undefeated Georgia has its biggest game of the season this weekend against the always dangerous Alabama Crimson Tide and though Alabama are 2.5-point underdogs, this game might as well be a pick ’em. Despite that, the Bulldogs are on full upset alert, and here’s why.
After a heartbreaking loss to Ole Miss in Tuscaloosa two weeks ago, the Tide plummeted down the rankings. Even in defeating UL-Monroe 34-0 last weekend, the team dropped one spot to No. 13. This means that this weekend, fans will get to see Angry Alabama play in Athens.
It should also be noted that though Georgia’s passing game has greatly improved with Virginia transfer Greyson Lambert under center this year, the star of the offense is running back Nick Chubb, who has been practically unstoppable this season. Chubb needs to get past a tough Alabama D if Georgia is destined to win, and it just so happens that the Tide rank sixth in FBS in run defense. Unless Chubb attacks Alabama’s front seven early and often, establishing himself as the dominant force he has been all season, this game is Georgia’s to lose and if the Bulldogs can’t pull off the win, their championship homes could very well be dead in the water.
No. 2: Ole Miss
Coming in at No. 2 this week is another SEC powerhouse, this time the Ole Miss Rebels. This team became the one to beat in its conference after beating Alabama at Bryant-Denny two weeks ago, but was proven human last week against Vanderbilt. The Rebels won 27-16, but star quarterback Chad Kelly threw two picks against a pesky Commodores defense.
And No. 3 Ole Miss will have to wade its way through the swamp if it wants to go 5-0. Coach Hugh Freeze and his boys have a date in Gainesville with the Florida Gators, who have also gone 4-0 to start 2015 in coach Jim McElwain’s first season. Florida are 7.5 point underdogs despite being the home team, but have the wind at their backs after pulling off a miraculous come-from-behind win against Tennessee last weekend.
Moreover, the Gators are running on all cylinders with an offense that features Will Grier at quarterback and Kelvin Taylor starring in the running game. The team is in a position to be 5-0 for the first time since 2012. The defense has also held firm, ranking 36th in the nation. Unless Kelly can find away around a tough Florida secondary led by Vernon Hargreaves III, the Rebels could end up limping back to Oxford with multiple Gator bites.
No. 1: Ohio State
The Buckeyes open their Big Ten schedule this weekend, and with a formidable opponent in the Indiana Hoosiers. Now that some of you have probably done a double take, allow me to explain.
Indiana is 4-0 this season, its last two wins being clutch victories against Western Kentucky and Wake Forest, and is off to its best start since 2010. The game is in Bloomington as opposed to Ohio State’s home turf of Columbus. Star running back Jordan Howard is leading the nation with 675 rush yards.
On top of that, until Buckeyes quarterback Cardale Jones turns in back-to-back effective games, there are going to be questions about what to expect from him each contest. Though Ohio State’s defense is strong and the team are 21-point favorites, there is no doubt that pulling off a win of this magnitude in enemy territory is going to be tough.
That said, while Ohio State likely wins this game, don’t expect it to be pretty as Hoosiers coach Kevin Wilson will throw everything plus the kitchen sink at the Buckeyes, who could very well have to weather a nasty storm from the opening kickoff.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports