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Weekly college football viewing guide: Week 5 edition

Here’s what you should be watching this weekend.

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Michigan State football
© Nick King/Lansing State Journal / USA TODAY NETWORK

The fifth week of college football action is upon us and here’s what you should be watching all weekend in each time slot.

After one of the best September weekends of college football in years, the slate of college football games this weekend may seem uninspiring on the surface. But, again, this is college football. Right when you think you’ve got a feel for things, it all changes. I think there are a few potential spots for chaos this weekend.

Here’s your viewing guide.

Friday, Sept. 29

  • Louisville at NC State – 7 p.m. ET on ESPN
  • Utah at Oregon State – 8 p.m. ET on FS1

The weekend gets started with a tasty Friday night that starts in Raleigh, N.C. Louisville has flown under the radar this season. At 4-0, the Cardinals (along with Miami), might be the biggest threat to Florida State in the ACC. To get there though, they’re going to have to win a lot of games like this as a short favorite.

In Corvallis, we get a rare Top 25 showdown on Friday night. Utah coming off a stellar defensive effort in their win against UCLA travels north to take on the Beavers. Oregon State was humbled last week after taking it on the chin against Washington State. The nation remains on “Cam Rising watch” to get a better read on this game. If he’s not able to go, this feels like a really tough ask for a Utah offense that desperately misses him.

Saturday, Sept. 30

Noon window

  • USC at Colorado – 12 p.m. ET on FOX
  • Florida at Kentucky – 12 p.m. ET on ESPN
  • Texas A&M at Arkansas – 12 p.m. ET on SEC Network
  • Clemson at Syracuse – 12 p.m. ET on ABC

If you’re growing tired of Colorado, you may be in luck. Assuming USC takes care of them, the Buffs will have two losses and will fade into the less exciting portion of their schedule. Regardless, this should be a fun game on Saturday with a ton of points. This game has the potential to emulate that epic Texas Tech vs. Oklahoma game when Patrick Mahomes and Baker Mayfield combined to break all sorts of offensive records.

In the SEC, we will get our first real look at Kentucky. The Cats are 4-0 but haven’t really played anyone. Florida is in the middle of a resurgence after their opening loss to Utah. Texas A&M and Arkansas will play a rare conference game on a neutral field in Arlington, Texas. The Aggies have been cast aside after their loss to Miami. But in a year with no clear front-runner in the SEC West, don’t forget about Texas A&M.

Clemson finds themselves in a brutal spot after their overtime loss to Florida State. The Tigers will hit the road against a Syracuse team eager to prove their 4-0 record is no fluke. Dino Babers has played Clemson tough in the past. I’m starting to get the feeling though that Syracuse is the dreaded underdog that everyone likes this week. To steal a phrase from Chris “the bear” Fallica, the orange feels like this week’s “dog with fleas”.

3:30 window

  • Georgia at Auburn – 3:30 p.m. ET on CBS
  • Michigan at Nebraska – 3:30 p.m. ET on FOX
  • Kansas at Texas – 3:30 p.m. ET on ABC

This afternoon slate has the potential to be really exciting. It also has the potential to put you to sleep. We’ll get to see Georgia on the road for the first time this season when they travel to Auburn. The Tigers could not have looked worse on offense last week in a loss against Texas A&M. Georgia is not the team you want to see when you’re looking to fix your offense. At home though, I’m certain we’ll get Auburn’s best effort, and they might be able to catch Georgia sleeping to keep this close.

How good is Michigan? I feel like we still aren’t totally sure. We still might not know on Saturday night. But I do know the people in Lincoln have convinced themselves they can win and will bring the energy. The Huskers have been better since changing quarterbacks. But I’m curious to watch Michigan’s game plan. Jim Harbaugh is typically very conservative in these spots. Does that continue? Or does he open up the playbook and finally showcase the passing game?

Believe it or not, we have a Top 25 matchup in Austin between Texas and Kansas. The Jayhawks are big underdogs and face a severe disadvantage in overall talent. But with Jalon Daniels and Lance Leipold, it would be foolish to count them out. For Texas, their biggest game of the season is next week against Oklahoma. Kansas has built up enough respect to not be overlooked, but the Longhorns may play it conservatively and just be happy to get out with a victory.

Primetime

  • LSU at Ole Miss – 6 p.m. ET on ESPN
  • Iowa State at Oklahoma – 7 p.m. ET on FS1
  • Notre Dame at Duke – 7:30 p.m. ET on ABC
  • Michigan State at Iowa – 7:30 p.m. ET on NBC

Who says the College Football Playoff doesn’t start until December? We have what is essentially an elimination game in Oxford on Saturday night. LSU has been a tough team to figure out this year. At times, they’ve looked the part of a playoff team. At others, they look far away. Lane Kiffin has to be kicking himself for surrendering an early lead and losing by two touchdowns against the worst Nick Saban team he’ll ever face. Does that bleed into this week as well?

I mentioned it earlier, but the biggest game in the Big 12 is next week. Unlike Texas, this is a classic look-ahead spot for Oklahoma. After dealing with suspensions and food poisoning early in the year, Iowa State might have found something on offense last week against Oklahoma State. Oklahoma has been a difficult team to figure out as well. They’ve crushed inferior competition but have looked pedestrian against better teams.

Is the best game of the day in Durham? On paper, it might be. But I’m worried Duke is the other “dog with fleas” this weekend. That week one game against Clemson sticks in everyone’s mind. But Clemson’s turnovers made that game feel a lot better for Duke than it was. Notre Dame will be undoubtedly ticked off about the way the Ohio State game ended.

I’m sure the folks at NBC are thrilled to follow up a classic between Ohio State and Notre Dame with a game between Michigan State and Iowa. Despite getting boat raced by Penn State, Iowa is still a factor in the Big Ten West. But they can’t afford to lose at home as a double-digit favorite. For MSU, with everything that has gone on, they are still 2-2. This season can take a turn for the better. But it starts with taking care of the ball at Kinnick Stadium.

Late night

  • Alabama at Mississippi State – 9 p.m. ET on ESPN
  • Washington at Arizona – 10 p.m. ET on Pac-12 Network

The college football weekend winds down with a couple of big road favorites riding high after impressive wins in week four. The game at Mississippi State has the potential to be interesting if Alabama quarterback Jalen Milroe is unable to go. Even if that’s the case, I’m not sure how Mississippi State can score. The Bulldogs had no success against Nick Saban with the air raid. Maybe they’ll have better luck with a new scheme.

Out west, Washington will look to stay hot on the road against Arizona. The Wildcats are 3-1 but lost their only real test of the year against Mississippi State. Quarterback Jayden De Laura injured his ankle against Stanford and may not be able to play. If he’s out, it’s really hard to see Arizona keeping this one close.

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