Games to Watch: Week 5

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No. 8 Nebraska at No. 7 Wisconsin

This is the first year the Big 10 has split into two divisions, the Legends and the Leaders. This matchup between Nebraska and Wisconsin could very well be an early season preview of the Big 10 championship game, as Wisconsin and Nebraska are the clear favorites in those two divisions. Both teams come into Week 5 undefeated and have had impressive early season starts, especially the Badgers, who have won all four of their games by at least 34 points. Wisconsin was good last year, but the team has taken a real step forward with North Carolina State transfer Russell Wilson under center, Wilson has given the Badgers something they have lacked throughout the years — a gunslinger at quarterback to compliment an excellent running game. He is throwing an impressive 75.8 completion percentage. Nebraska has also gotten off to a running start in its first year in the Big 10, literally. As they are eighth overall in the nation in rushing yards at 272.5 yards a game. They will look to continue this pattern against the Badgers in primetime on Saturday night. Expect a classic Big 10 game of smash mouth football.

No. 3 Alabama at No. 12 Florida

The SEC seems to have a great game every week with its seemingly unlimited depth of football powerhouse programs. This week that game includes 2 teams that are responsible for three of the last five national titles, Florida and Alabama. Alabama has title hopes again this season thanks to a suffocating defense that is only allowing eight points a game. The defense has more NFL prospects on it than some of the smaller conferences have in total. That defense presents a monumental task for the resurgent Gators, who are 4-0 under new coach Will Muschamp — who Texas fans might remember as their former head coach-in-waiting. Florida is riding high on the strength of their dynamic running game that includes one of the best 1-2 running punches in college football with seniors Chris Rainey and Jeff Demps leading the charge. Raieny leads the Gators in rushing yards with 411, while also leading the team in receiving yards with 214. The Gators will lean heavily on Rainey to attack a stout Alabama defense, so be sure to watch out for Rainey in multiple formations as the Gators attempt to get him the ball.

No. 13 Clemson at No. 11 Virginia Tech

Clemson is rolling along after beating two straight top-25 team — the defending national champions, Auburn, and the trendy national title pick, Florida State — in back to back weeks. But now the Tigers finally hit the road after four straight home games to start off the season, and the schedule doesn’t get any easier. They will visit Blacksburg, Va., to play the Hokies, which is one of the toughest environments to play in in all of college football. However this is an untested Virginia Tech team that they will face, as the Hokies have yet to even play a BCS conference school this season. However this is an experienced and battle tested Tech team from their experiences the last few years. They have won three of the last four ACC championships, and would love to do nothing more than add to that resume starting with Clemson. But there is a bit of a revenge factor involved for the Tigers who lost the 2010 ACC championship game to the Hokies.

No. 14 Texas A&M vs. No. 18 Arkansas

Two years ago the Aggies and the Razorbacks resumed a rivalry that had has spanned a century, playing for the first time since 1991. The game has the biggest stage possible in America, taking place in Cowboys stadium in front of 100 thousand fans. Arkansas has taken the first two games in the Southwest Classic, but this year the Aggies come in with an explosive offense and a top-15 ranking for the Razorbacks to contend with. However both of these teams are coming off of demoralizing loses to top 10 teams; A&M losing late to a high flying Oklahoma State team, and the Razorbacks being demolished by Alabama. Expect both teams to come in motivated to get off the snide, The game should be a shootout as both offenses feature a top-20 passing attack and defenses that are suspect to giving up the big play. Expect to see the scoreboard to light up frequently and the huge screen in Cowboys stadium to get a workout replaying all the highlights from this game.  

Printed on September 30, 2011 as: Games to Watch