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Wayne Staats | | September 28, 2019

College football Week 5 preview: Top games, what to watch, rankings

5 college football games to watch in Week 5

It's the final weekend of September games as we hit Week 5 of the 2019 college football season. Check out our preview below, which includes top games, what to watch and the Top 25 rankings.

There's important positioning to be won in the conference races, division standings and in the national rankings. Let's go.

College football Week 5 preview: Top games

All times ET and on Saturday.


No. 7 Auburn vs. Mississippi State | 7 p.m. | ESPN

Bo Nix's consistency continues to be a concern, but Auburn now has a pair of top 25 wins against Oregon and Texas A&M — and neither was at home. While Nix's 100 yards on 12-for-20 passing doesn't seem like much, Auburn didn't commit a turnover against the Aggies. Mississippi State might make things difficult.

UNDEFEATED TRACKER: All the remaining unbeaten teams this season

No. 24 Kansas State at Oklahoma State | 7 p.m. | ESPN+

K-State coach Chris Klieman is off to a great start, leading the Wildcats to a big win at Mississippi State and a spot in the polls. But K-State is now heading into conference play, where every game figures to be tough — even Kansas looks much improved. If the Wildcats leave Stillwater 4-0, look out.

RANKINGS: The AP Poll Top 25 | Coaches Poll

No. 5 Ohio State at Nebraska | 7:30 p.m. | ABC

ESPN's "College GameDay" is heading to Lincoln, but the first four weeks of the season haven't shown many reasons to think the Huskers can make the huge upset. Nebraska barely beat Illinois last week and now has to face Justin Fields and an OSU team that is crushing foes week after week.

COLLEGE GAMEDAY: All-time appearances, locations

FCS No. 6 Weber State vs. FCS No. 7 Northern Iowa | 8 p.m.

This is the marquee FCS game of the week, as two top-10 teams play in Utah. Weber State is 1-2, but the Wildcats lost to FBS teams San Diego State and Nevada by six. Northern Iowa almost shocked a then-ranked Iowa State team in Week 1. Weber State is also celebrating the 100th anniversary of football at the school.

No. 19 Utah vs. Washington State | 10 p.m. | FS1

This one looked like a Game of the Week candidate before shocking results last week made this a little less appetizing. But both teams still have designs on winning the division and making the Pac-12 Conference title game. Of the two, Utah might have more pressing concerns, as both QB Tyler Huntley and RB Zach Moss are battling injuries.

College football Week 5 preview: What to watch out for, big questions

What does the Group of 5 race look like with UCF's loss?

UCF started to earn headlines again debating its College Football Playoff merits, but the Knights then went out and lost to Pitt. That means, for now, Boise State is in the lead position. Though we're still about a month away from the first CFP rankings, the Broncos are No. 15 and No. 16 in the Coaches and AP Poll. UCF is still ranked at No. 22 (AP) and No. 23 (Coaches). But it's not limited to those two. SMU and Memphis are knocking on the door to be ranked. Should Cincinnati, UCF, SMU, Memphis and Navy all go out to have good-to-great seasons, a one-loss AAC team would get a very strong look. It might take an undefeated Boise State season to overcome that kind of resume.

If you're looking for a true darkhorse, look to the Sun Belt: Appalachian State just won at UNC. Though the Mountaineers have a November game at South Carolina, Appalachian State could make a run for a New Year's Six Game should others fall.

Who's winning the Heisman race?

Going into the season, Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence and Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa were seen as 1A and 1B.

It's changed a bit. Though the Tigers have won in routs every week, headlines about Lawrence's interceptions seem to be popping up more and more. Tua has been taking on more of a load as Alabama's rushing attack has looked atypically pedestrian.

Oklahoma QB Jalen Hurts and LSU QB Joe Burrow have looked even better than they could have realistically hoped for. Right now, they're among the favorites. Yes, we're still in September. But as we go deep into conference play, Hurts and Burrow have to think a trip to New York City could be in the future.

For non-quarterbacks, Wisconsin RB Jonathan Taylor is the top candidate. He might stand out from a field of quarterback after quarterback, plus he's the reigning Doak Walker Award winner. He did that last year even with the Badgers going a disappointing 8-5. If he rushes for 2,000 yards again and Wisconsin continues to look like a top-10 team, he'll get a ton of support.

College football rankings: Week 5

Clemson (55)

Clemson (62)
Alabama (6)

Alabama (2)
Georgia (1)

Georgia (1)

Ohio State


Ohio State



Notre Dame

Notre Dame

Penn State
Penn State




Boise State
Boise State





Southern California

Texas A&M

Kansas State
Texas A&M

Kansas State

Wake Forest
Michigan State

Southern California

Week 5 college football schedule

All times Eastern. All schedules and networks subject to change.

Saturday, Sept. 28

No. 6 Oklahoma 55, Texas Tech 16
Vanderbilt 24, Northern Illinois 18
No. 23 Texas A&M 31, Arkansas 27
Toledo 28, BYU 21
No. 8 Wisconsin 24, Northwestern 15
No. 14 Iowa 48, Middle Tennessee 3
Syracuse 41, Holy Cross 3
Western Michigan 31, Central Michigan 15
TCU 51, Kansas 14
No. 20 Michigan 52, Rutgers 0
Miami (OH) 34, Buffalo 20
Pitt 17, Delaware 14
No. 1 Clemson 21, North Carolina 20
No. 17 Washington 28, No. 21 Southern California 14
Coastal Carolina at Appalachian State | 3:30 p.m. | ESPN+
Temple 24, Georgia Tech 2
Wake Forest 27, Boston College 24
Baylor 23, Iowa State 21
No. 10 Notre Dame 35, No. 18 Virginia 20 | 3:30 p.m. | NBC
No. 2 Alabama 59, Ole Miss 31 | 3:30 p.m. | CBS
No. 25 Michigan State 40, Indiana 31
Florida Atlantic 45, Charlotte 27
Minnesota 38, Purdue 31
UMass 37, Akron 29
No. 9 Florida 38, Towson 0
SMU 48, South Florida 21
Cincinnati at Marshall | 5 p.m. | CBSSN on Facebook
East Carolina at Old Dominion | 6 p.m. | ESPN+
New Mexico at Liberty | 6 p.m. | ESPN+
Arkansas State at Troy | 6 p.m. | ESPN+
Louisiana at Georgia Southern | 6 p.m. | ESPN+
Mississippi State at No. 7 Auburn | 7 p.m. | ESPN
Stanford at Oregon State | 7 p.m. | Pac-12 Networks
UConn at No. 22 UCF | 7 p.m. | ESPN2
South Alabama at UL Monroe | 7 p.m. | ESPN+
UTEP at Southern Miss | 7 p.m. | ESPN+
UAB at Western Kentucky | 7 p.m. | ESPN+
Louisiana Tech at Rice | 7 p.m. | ESPN3
Nicholls at Texas State | 7 p.m. | ESPN3
No. 24 Kansas State at Oklahoma State | 7 p.m. | Big 12 Now on ESPN+
N.C. State at Florida State | 7:30 p.m. | ACC Network
No. 5 Ohio State at Nebraska | 7:30 p.m. | ABC
Colorado State at Utah State | 7:30 p.m. | CBSSN
Kentucky at South Carolina | 7:30 p.m. | SEC Network
UNLV at Wyoming | 8 p.m. | ESPNU
Houston at North Texas | 8 p.m. | CBSSN on Facebook
Fresno State at New Mexico State | 8 p.m. | FloSports
Washington State at No. 19 Utah | 10 p.m. | FS1
UCLA at Arizona | 10:30 p.m. | ESPN
Hawai'i at Nevada | 10:30 p.m. | ESPN2

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