Week 5 Viewing Guide: Five Top-25 Showdowns, the Resurgence of Kansas, and the Golden Gophers' Quest for the Big Ten West

By George Eisner on October 1, 2022 at 8:35 am
Cornerback Nate Wiggins of the Clemson Tigers

With Ohio State kicking off in the afternoon, let's take a look at a host of other college football matchups from around the country we’ll have our eyes on this Saturday.


Running Back Mohamed Ibrahim of the Minnesota Golden Gophers

Photo: Matt Krohn | USA TODAY Sports

High Five at High Noon

Week 5 features the by far the best suite of games to start the day so far this season. A top-15 showdown, plus a pair apiece of Big 12 and Big Ten bangers give college football fans plenty of options to tune into for Saturday's opening kickoffs.

  • #7 Kentucky vs. #14 Ole Miss, 12 p.m. on ESPN
    It's a bizarre state of affairs when the SEC East boasts Kentucky and Tennessee as the biggest threats to Georgia's divisional aspirations, but that's exactly where the conference finds itself at the end of September. The Wildcats played a tighter game than they would have liked against Northern Illinois last week in a one-score win, but UK still offers the 26th best passing offense at the FBS level through a third of the season. Much of that production stems from the team's three leading wideouts in Tayvion Robinson, Dane Key, and Barion Brown — each already posting at least 200 receiving yards and two touchdowns through four games. Meanwhile, Lane Kiffin and Ole Miss started the season ranked 21st overall in the AP Poll and have quietly inched their way up into the top 15, but the Rebels have yet to face any credible threats. Much like Kentucky, Ole Miss last week escaped an embarrassing defeat by a lone score at the hands of Tulsa, so each team will be eager to rebound from a disappointing outing in their previous performance. This is not the usual high-octane aerial attack onlookers have come to expect from Kiffin, as the Rebels are one of only four teams averaging more than 280 rushing yards per game at the moment.
  • #18 Oklahoma vs. TCU, 12 p.m. on ABC
    Imagine telling Buckeye fans in 2019 that Adrian Martinez would eventually get the better of a Brent Venables defense. The former Clemson defensive coordinator lost his first Big 12 game as head coach of the Sooners last week, and Oklahoma has now stunningly dropped five of their last 11 meetings with Kansas State going back to 2012. As two top-20 opponents, the Red River Showdown, and four road trips loom on the final eight games of their schedule, the Sooners will need to stay sharp through the end of November if they want to retain their form from the Lincoln Riley era.

    An immediate bounceback could prove difficult against a TCU squad that enters this game undefeated and ranks among the top-30 FBS teams in both offensive rushing and passing yards, as well as passing yards conceded. The Horned Frogs roll out eight different receivers that have caught at least five balls each through only three games, so Venables will have his work cut out for him if he wants to avoid losing to a fleet of purple uniforms for the second week in a row.
  • Purdue vs. #21 Minnesota, 12 p.m. on ESPN2
    Only one Power 5 school through the initial third of the college football season averages more yards on the ground than Mississippi. Mohamed Ibrahim and the Golden Gophers are steamrolling every defense in front of them so far this year, and Minnesota's star running back posted his 13th-consecutive 100-yard effort in last week's emphatic win over Michigan State.

    Purdue's three games against FBS teams this season have been decided by a combined total of nine points. The Boilermakers barely survived a close meeting at home with Florida Atlantic last week, though the team did have to operate without Aidan O'Connell in wake of a game-time decision from Jeff Brohm to sit the key senior leader at quarterback. Even in O'Connell's absence, Purdue still managed to retain its status as one of the top-20 passing teams in college football at an average of 311 yards per game.
  • Texas Tech vs. #25 Kansas State, 12 p.m. on ESPN+
    While KSU enjoyed playing spoiler to the Sooners last week, Texas Tech also managed to pull an upset by knocking its Longhorn counterparts out of the rankings before they could get Quinn Ewers back. The Red Raiders currently average the second-most passing yards per game across all D-I teams, while also holding distinction as one of only 28 allowing less than 100 yards on the ground per contest.

    As for Kansas State, the aforementioned Martinez enters this weekend following arguably the biggest win of his career that included 148 rushing yards, five total touchdowns and a clutch scamper that likely had Scott Frost collapsing out of his living room furniture. Nebraska's former quarterback has helped the Wildcats to the seventh-most productive rushing offense at the FBS level so far, which means Texas Tech should be a solid test for them as each side searches for its fourth win of the season.
  • #4 Michigan vs. Iowa, 12 p.m. on FOX
    ☣ H A Z A R D  ☣  W A R N I N G ☣
    The Wolverines nearly got pants’d at home by Maryland in their first matchup with a legitimate opponent in 2022. Now, Michigan will play its road opener against an Iowa team that last week scored the majority of its points against Rutgers off defensive touchdowns while also failing to eclipse single-digit tallies in half of its games so far.

    Kirk and Brian Ferentz's Hawkeyes are an absolutely disgusting football team. They could conceivably drag Michigan down into the muck with them for 60 minutes, or easily avoid the endzone entirely as they did versus the Wolverines in the Big Ten Championship last December. Given the other four games detailed above, why would someone subject themselves to watching this mess?


Quarterback Jalon Daniels of the Kansas Jayhawks

Photo: Denny Medley | USA TODAY Sports

Another Quintet in the Afternoon

If five games in the morning were not enough, five more later on can at least offer Buckeye fans a channel-flipping alternative if the Scarlet Knights fail to keep matters interesting in Ohio State's matchup with Rutgers. Fortunately, two of these viewing options start at least an hour before kickoff in Columbus.

  • Oregon State vs. #12 Utah, 2 p.m. on PAC12 Network
    The Beavers stunningly took a lead over USC into the fourth quarter of their game last week that ended in a narrow 17-14 victory for the Trojans. Still eager to prove they are worthy of a spot in the AP Poll, the Beavers will play a ranked team for the second straight week when they travel to face a Utah team that has rebounded nicely from its season-opening loss to Florida.

    All Cameron Rising has done since then is throw for over 750 yards and nine touchdowns while complemented by a rushing attack currently placing among the top-25 nationally for yards on the ground per game. Oregon State ranks inside the bottom half of all FBS teams to this point in stopping rushing yard production. The Beavers will either need to step up their play in that area or shut down Rising through the air completely if they want to send a firm message to the rest of the Pac-12.
  • #2 Alabama vs. #20 Arkansas, 2:30 p.m. on CBS
    The Crimson Tide were poising for a matchup with their first top-10 team of the season last week before Arkansas lost that distinction at the hands of Texas A&M. KJ Jefferson rushed for over 100 yards and threw two touchdown passes, but also committed the turnover that set up one of the candidates for play of the year in college football and fumbled the difference in scoring away to the Aggies. While the Razorbacks have a bounceback in mind playing at home, Arkansas has not beaten Alabama in their annual divisional meeting in its last 14 tries. A Crimson Tide defense with top-10 rankings in both passing and rushing yards given up per game won't make life any easier for Jefferson and the Razorbacks as they seek to avoid falling out of the AP Poll completely.
  • Iowa State vs. Kansas, 3:30 p.m. on ESPN2
    W I L D C A R D of the W E E K
    Kansas is one of the season's darlings so far, as head coach Lance Leipold has the Jayhawks undefeated while already doubling the win total from his first season a year ago. Jalon Daniels leads the Kansas offense in both passing and rushing yards heading into October, helping the Jayhawks achieve the eighth-most yards on the ground through a third of the season. The Cyclones are eager to prove themselves after narrowly missing out on a win over a ranked opponent last week in Baylor. Even after the defeat, Iowa State still allows the seventh-least rushing yards per game at the moment, so they should be an interesting test for the dynamic Daniels and the crafty offensive scheme in Lawrence.
  • #9 Oklahoma State vs. #16 Baylor, 3:30 p.m. on FOX
    For folks more interested in games featuring teams with numbers next to their names, the Big 12 also has a rematch of last season's conference championship slated in the afternoon. The Cowboys have not quite played up to the defensive standards set by Jim Knowles in their first season without their former coordinator since 2017. However, Oklahoma State has done well enough through the air again to make up for it, averaging the ninth-most passing yards per game in college football.

    Baylor, after losing to BYU a few weeks ago and barely scraping by Iowa State in a 31-24 victory last week, needs a signature win if it wants to show it is worthy of retaining its conference crown. The Bears have more than twice as many touchdowns rushing compared to passing so far, and it will be interesting to see if the Cowboys' success throwing the ball prompts Baylor to follow suit.
  • #22 Wake Forest vs. #23 Florida State, 3:30 p.m. on ABC
    Not many quarterbacks throw six touchdown passes in a losing effort, but that's exactly what happened last weekend for Sam Hartman and Wake Forest on their way to falling short in double overtime against Clemson. The Seminoles' coverage unit concedes the 17th-fewest passing yards per game through the month of September, so Florida State should provide a bit more resistance than what Hartman had to face at home the previous week.

    FSU has had a surprisingly successful start to the college football season, handing Brian Kelly his first defeat as head coach of LSU as well as limiting Louisville quarterback Malik Cunningham to one of the worst games he has played in his five-year career. The Seminoles have a highly competitive October that will next feature back-to-back matchups against the two ranked ACC teams on tonight's main event in college football, which makes their first week as a top-25 team this year immediate proving time.


NC State Wolfpack take the field at home against the UConn Huskies

Photo: Rob Kinnan | USA TODAY Sports

#10 N.C. State vs. #5 Clemson, 7:30 p.m. on ABC

Last year's edition of the Textile Bowl ended in a thrilling overtime victory for North Carolina State – the Wolfpack's first win over Clemson in roughly a decade. Now, a week after the Tigers won their first true road game of the season in Wake Forest, Clemson seeks revenge on its regional rival and to cement itself among the top-5 teams in the country.

Despite an early scare against the AAC's East Carolina in their opener, N.C. State has played some solid football on its way into the AP Top 10. The Wolfpack's defense ranks top-25 in both rushing and passing yards conceded per game. They beat a Texas Tech team 27-14 that has already beaten two ranked opponents and currently averages the second-most yards through the air in FBS.

Conversely, Clemson's defense has had some early season struggles in defending the pass, but the Tigers were also missing three key members of their secondary against Sam Hartman and the Demon Deacons. Even so, the Tigers' pass coverage relative to yards allowed per game fell from 86th to 104th heading into this week's meeting with Devin Leary, the same quarterback that beat them last year.

Each team's offensive production has been somewhat on par thus far against national standards both on the ground and through the air. The key difference in a game featuring two strong rushing defenses could be which team has the most productive running back. Sophomore Will Shipley has had a terrific start to Clemson's season, averaging nearly seven yards per carry while also scoring seven touchdowns.

Assuming the field conditions are in a reasonable state in wake of yesterday's weather in the Carolinas, this top-10 showdown should play out to the lofty expectations of each team in the primetime window’s most optimal game to round out today's football.

On the Radar for Next Week

  • Noon: Texas vs. #18 Oklahoma, 12 p.m. on ABC
  • Buckeyes: #3 Ohio State vs. Michigan State, 4 p.m. on ABC
  • Primetime: #19 BYU vs. Notre Dame, 7:30 p.m. on NBC
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