College football: Three top-10 battles lead Week 5 games to watch
Four weeks ago, if you looked ahead to the Week 5 schedule you would probably say it has some possibly decent matchups. Now that every team has at least three games under its belt, it is clear that this should be one of the best weekends of the 2016 season.
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What makes the games especially interesting is how they should stand as a true measuring stick for some of the more surprising teams.
RELATED: Week 5 TV schedule
Wisconsin opened the season unranked and is now up to No. 8. Louisville was at No. 19 and is now all the way up to No. 3. Both of these teams will now get a chance to further prove just how wrong those voters were.
Here are some Week 5 games to make sure you are watching.
No. 8 Wisconsin at No. 4 Michigan | GameCenter
Saturday, Oct. 1 at 3:30 p.m. ET on ABC
No team has been a bigger surprise than Wisconsin, which began the season outside the top 25 and has stormed its way to a top-10 ranking with thunderous wins over LSU and Michigan State.
Neither of those challenges come close to Saturday’s, however, as the Badgers head to the Great Lakes State for the second weekend in a row to take on the Wolverines.
While Michigan has not had the benefit of testing itself against an upper-tier team yet, it has looked scary good in its four wins, with the exception of an uncharacteristic first half against Colorado in Week 3.
Both the offense and defense have clicked in the early weeks for Jim Harbaugh’s Wolverines squad. Wilton Speight has plugged in nicely at quarterback, not throwing an interception since his first play of the season, while Jabrill Peppers has led a stacked defensive unit.
RELATED: Heisman Watch: Jabrill Peppers
This should be a low scoring game, or at least Wisconsin will have to hope it will be in order to have a chance. The Badgers defense can hold its own against anyone, but the difference could be if Wisconsin freshman quarterback Alex Hornibrook can continue to hold his own and scratch out enough points to give the defense a chance to win it.
No. 3 Louisville at No. 5 Clemson | GameCenter
Saturday, Oct. 1 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC
Louisville has been the talk of the college football world, with Heisman contender Lamar Jackson leading an offense that has looked downright unstoppable.
It almost seems unfair for the Cardinals to have this game here, because they just proved they were for real two weeks ago with a blowout win over then-No. 2 Florida State. But the ACC takes no mercy, and Louisville finds itself on the road against the defending national championship runner-ups.
While Louisville would be on the fast track to a College Football Playoff spot with a win, this is a huge game for Clemson, as well. The Tigers have looked far from convincing through four games, with sloppy wins over Auburn and Troy to start the year before looking a little better against South Carolina State and Georgia Tech.
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Beyond each team being in the top five, this game is well worth the watch because of the outstanding quarterback battle. Jackson and Clemson’s Deshaun Watson are two of the best around and can do some amazing things both through the air and on the ground.
Unlike the other two top-10 matchups, there’s a very high probability this one will be a shootout, which no one should have a problem with when it features two elite quarterbacks. Louisville has been the better team this year, but it would be shocking if Clemson didn’t give them the fight of their lives.
No. 10 Washington 44, No. 7 Stanford 6 | GameCenter
Friday, Sept. 30 at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN
Washington stayed quiet. Stanford was just the next opponent, the Huskies said, and there was no extra meaning or motivation.
Then the celebration happened, complete with purple-clad fans rushing the field to celebrate Washington's 44-6 rout Friday night.
After months of hype surrounding a possible breakout performance for Washington (5-0, 2-0 Pac-12), the 10th-ranked Huskies showed they were ready for their return to the national stage.
And they did it emphatically, handing No. 7 Stanford (3-1, 2-1) its worst loss since a 41-3 setback against Arizona State in 2007.
"We have had this game circled since spring time," Washington defensive end Joe Mathis said. "They beat us so bad last year. We wanted them so bad."
Jake Browning threw for 210 yards and three touchdowns, Myles Gaskin added 100 yards rushing and two scores, and Washington claimed its most lopsided victory over an AP top 10 team since beating No. 5 Southern California 31-0 in 1990. That game 26 years ago announced Washington as a national contender and it went on to share the national title a year later with Miami. It was Washington's biggest win over a top 10 team, bettering a 36-point victory over Wisconsin in 1959.
RELATED: Heisman Watch: Jake Browning
No. 14 Miami (Fla.) at Georgia Tech on Saturday, Oct. 1 at noon ET
Georgia Tech got flattened by Clemson at home last week, but don’t rule out the possibility of an upset when the upstart Hurricanes come to town.
North Carolina at No. 12 Florida State on Saturday, Oct. 1 at 3:30 p.m. ET
This game would be so much more intriguing if it was in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, but even so this is a UNC team that probably deserves to be ranked. Mitch Trubisky has been among the best quarterbacks in the country and could challenge Florida State’s secondary.
No. 11 Tennessee at No. 25 Georgia on Saturday, Oct. 1 at 3:30 p.m. ET
Despite having only one loss between them, these teams have each flopped this season. Tennessee finally looked like the dangerous team it was supposed to be in the second half against Florida, but can they carry that over?
Oklahoma at No. 21 TCU on Saturday, Oct. 1 at 5 p.m. ET
Unlike a matchup between Wisconsin-Michigan that didn’t seem to be much worth noticing before the season, this one appeared to be a marquee matchup. Instead, it’s barely on the radar as Oklahoma looks to avoid the third loss of its brutal early-season schedule.
No. 18 Utah at California on Saturday, Oct. 1 at 6 p.m. ET
Cal might not be one of the best teams in the country, but its high-octane offense makes it one of the most entertaining. There should be an awful lot of points scored in this Pac-12 battle.