Some Heavyweight Battles In Week 5; Georgia/Alabama and Clemson/Notre Dame

There are some monster games in week five of the college football season, with four games I will be watching closely led by Notre Dame at Clemson and Alabama at Georgia. Here's what to watch for.

West Virginia Mountaineers at Oklahoma Sooners, noon

This is an interesting matchup and the first true test for West Virginia and the second big game for the Sooners. Oklahoma earned a huge road win in Knoxville, rallying to beat the Tennessee in overtime in week two. This time they are at home against a very underrated and underappreciated Mountaineer team, especially on defense. Granted they have only played three games but West Virginia has only given up a grand total of 23 points.

But they are in Norman against OU, a team with some new energy on offense led by their quarterback Baker Mayfield. This signal caller plays with his hat on fire and shows a lot of moxie and grit. He can make plays with his arm and his legs. And this Oklahoma team can be a formidable run team with their deep set of talented running backs.

Something has to give here between these two units. It should be a fun game to watch.

 

Alabama Crimson Tide at Georgia Bulldogs, 3:30

Georgia has not beaten a top 15 ranked Alabama squad in 40 years. The last time these two hooked up in Athens was back in 2008 and Alabama started fast with a 31-0 halftime lead, stunning then top ranked UGA. This time around there is no margin for error for the Crimson Tide. They are coming in with one loss against Ole Miss (43-37). They committed five turnovers against the Rebels.

Of course turnovers always are key. The one thing I will be watching closely is what team plays with better balance?

Both teams have tremendous running backs in Georgia’s Nick Cubb and Alabama’s Derek Henry. Chubb has rushed for at least 100 yards in 12 straight games while Henry has at least one rushing touchdown over his last dozen games. These guys are going to get their yards and find pay dirt, though it will be a little tougher than usual.

I want to see if one or both offenses can find plays in the passing game. You know at some point both Greyson Lambert for the Dawgs and Jake Coker (or Cooper Bateman) for the Tide are going to throws down fieldin the passing game. Lambert has been on an absolute tear over his last two games. Incredibly, he has only thrown two incompletions in 35 attempts over that stretch. Meanwhile, Coker has not had nearly the same success. He will need to play big in the big moments for Alabama.

Weather could play a huge role in this game, as it looks like there will be heavy rains throughout the game.

 

Mississippi Rebels at Florida Gators, 7:00

This is a tricky game for the Rebels. Certainly, they are the far superior offensive team when comparing rosters but they are headed to the Swamp to take on the Gators at night. That’s no small task against a program that’s gaining more confidence each week, especially coming off last week’s come from behind win over the Vols. Then again, Ole Miss beat Alabama in Tuscaloosa. That’s got to give this team a ton of confidence headed to the Sunshine State. But will they be too confident?

Florida’s strength is their defense. Ole Miss is no slouch on that side of the ball either, especially their front and secondary. I want to see if the Florida o-line can handle the Rebels stout defensive line, led by the former No. 1 ranked prospect (2013) in the country, Robert Nkemdiche. And like I said in this column last week, I want to watch the Gators offensively and see if they can keep pace with Chad Kelly and the high flying Rebel offense.

Remember, this Florida team had a fight in Lexington and walked away with a tough five-point win against the Wildcats. Then last week they rallied in an emotional win against Tennessee. Can they make it three big wins in a row?

 

Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Clemson Tigers, 8:00

I have been banging the Notre Dame playoff drum for a while now. Winning at Clemson would give Brian Kelly and his program a ton of poll momentum as we enter the month of October. Seriously, when that place gets cranking at night it’s awfully difficult to come out with a win. And quarterback DeShaun Watson and his teammates had last week off to prepare for this monster game.

Meanwhile, the Fighting Irish keep plugging along, despite the injuries. How does quarterback DeShone Kizer handle this stage away from South Bend against a very good defense? He did it in a relief role on the road in Charlottesville against Virginia but the Tigers are an entirely different animal. Can the Notre Dame defense handle the athletic Clemson offense under the lights at Death Valley?

Weather could play a huge role in this game, as it looks like there will be heavy rains throughout the game.


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