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Stan Becton | | September 28, 2021

The college football fan's guide to Week 5 games

Arkansas jumps to No. 8, Clemson falls in latest AP college football poll

Fresh off of a week that saw six ranked teams lose, Week 5 of college football is packed with big-time games that could have a big-time ripple effect on the 2021 season.

There are two top-10 matchups this week: No. 2 Georgia against No. 8 Arkansas and No. 7 Cincinnati against No. 9 Notre Dame. But there are some other games you shouldn't miss.

Week 5 preview: Games to watch

No. 2 Georgia vs. No. 8 Arkansas | 12 p.m. | ESPN

This week, the Arkansas Razorbacks entered the AP top 10 for the first time since 2012. Their reward: A visit from the number two team in the country, Georgia. The Razorbacks will try and take down their third-ranked opponent of the year with a powerful rushing attack and dynamic WR Treylon Burks on the outside. QB KJ Jefferson is expected to play despite suffering a bruised knee last week. 

Jefferson will face his biggest test yet as Georgia sports the nation's top defense. However, the Bulldogs can do more than stop opposing offenses; they can also score points of their own. Led by QB JT Daniels, Georgia is averaging almost 53 points per game in its last three contests. Georgia will try and show off its balance in Saturday's top-10 SEC battle.

Players to watch: QB JT Daniels (UGA), RB Zamir White (UGA), NT Jordan Davis (UGA), LB Nakobe Dean (UGA), LB Nolan Smith (UGA), QB KJ Jefferson (ARK), RB Trelon Smith (ARK), WR Treylon Burks (ARK), DL Tre Williams (ARK), DB Monteric Brown (ARK)

SURPRISE: 7 of the biggest September surprises in college football

No. 7 Cincinnati at No. 9 Notre Dame | 2:30 p.m. | NBC

Cincinnati's quest to crash the College Football Playoff continues in South Bend against the Fighting Irish. The Bearcats are coming off a bye week with hopes of getting a non-conference road win to boost their playoff hopes. QB Desmond Ridder will lead Cincinnati against a Notre Dame defense that has struggled at times this season. Joining Ridder is a talented defense that features elite CB Ahmad "Sauce" Gardner.

Notre Dame is coming off a defeat of then-No. 18 Wisconsin in Chicago as QB Jack Coan won his revenge game against his former school despite a quiet outing. To overcome a slow offensive day, the Fighting Irish defense took home two pick-sixes on back-to-back fourth-quarter possessions. Notre Dame will need more of these game-changing plays this week in a top-10 matchup.

Players to watch: QB Desmond Ridder (CIN), RB Jerome Ford (CIN), DE Myjai Sanders (CIN), CB Ahmad Gardner (CIN), CB Coby Bryant (CIN), QB Jack Coan (ND), TE Michael Mayer (ND), DE Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa (ND), LB Prince Kollie (ND), S Kyle Hamilton (ND)

RECAP: How Notre Dame beat Wisconsin

No. 12 Ole Miss at No. 1 Alabama | 3:30 p.m. | CBS

Ole Miss will head to Alabama this week with both teams ranked for the first time since 2016. Ole Miss is led by Heisman-contender QB Matt Corral. Corral has completed 68.8% of his passes for 997 yards and nine touchdowns with zero interceptions. He also has five rushing touchdowns on the season. 

Alabama has a Heisman-contending quarterback of its own in QB Bryce Young. Young has carried the recent tradition of elite Alabama quarterbacks with the help of WR Jameson Williams and WR John Metchie III on the outside. On defense, the Crimson Tide has NFL talent at every position, highlighted by arguably the nation's best linebacker group.

Players to watch: QB Matt Corral (MISS), WR Dontario Drummond (MISS), DL Sam Williams (MISS), LB Chance Campbell (MISS), DB Keidron Smith (MISS), QB Bryce Young (ALA), WR Jameson Williams (ALA), WR John Metchie III (ALA), LB Christian Harris (ALA), LB Will Anderson (ALA)

RANKINGS: All major college football polls

No. 21 Baylor at No. 19 Oklahoma State | 7 p.m. | ESPN2

Two of the AP Poll's new entrants will face off Saturday night as Baylor visits Oklahoma State. In Baylor's last outing, it upset then-No. 14 Iowa State. The Bears scored the traditional way with QB Gerry Bohanon accounting for three touchdowns and also returned a kickoff for a TD. Baylor will once again need a solid performance in all three phases of football against Oklahoma State.

Oklahoma State enters the game after defeating then-No. 25 Kansas State. QB Spencer Sanders threw for 344 yards and completed 64% of his passes en route to the win. Defensively, the Cowboys allowed just 62 yards on the ground. Oklahoma State will try to replicate that success with first place in the Big 12 on the line in Week 5.

Players to watch: QB Gerry Bohanon (BAY), RB Abram Smith (BAY), WR Tyquan Thornton (BAY), LB Dillon Doyle (BAY), S Jalen Pitre (BAY), QB Spencer Sanders (OKST), RB Jaylen Warren (OKST), DB Kolby Harvell-Peel (OKST)

Big Week 5 questions

Just how good are Alabama and Georgia?

The top two teams in the country will be put to the test this week with ranked matchups. With Alabama and Georgia likely entering their games heavily favored to win, this week will show just how good these two programs are.

A blowout win for either school will put some separation between the Crimson Tide and/or Bulldogs and the other national title contenders. However, a close win or loss keeps the rest of the college football world in reach of the nation's top two teams.

MORE: 6 questions we're asking entering college football's scariest month

How do former top-10 teams bounce back after a loss?

No. 15 Texas A&M and No. 25 Clemson are the only ranked teams that lost last week. The two teams were ranked 7 and 9 respectively when they lost. 

In Week 5, Texas A&M plays Mississippi State while Clemson plays Boston College. Each team is in dire need of a bounce-back win to avoid a downward swing to their season. If not, there may be stark changes for programs that had high expectations entering the year.

SCHEDULE: Full FBS TV schedule and times

AP Poll Ranking Coaches Poll
Alabama 1 Alabama
Georgia 2 Georgia
Oregon 3 Oregon
Penn State 4 Oklahoma
Iowa 5 Iowa
Oklahoma 6 Penn State
Cincinnati 7 Notre Dame
Arkansas 8 Cincinnati
Notre Dame 9 Florida
Florida 10 Ohio State
Ohio State 11 Arkansas
Ole Miss 12 Ole Miss
BYU 13 Texas A&M
Michigan 14 Michigan
Texas A&M 15 BYU
Coastal Carolina 16 Michigan State
Michigan State 17 (T-16*) Coastal Carolina*
Fresno State 18 Oklahoma State
Oklahoma State 19 Clemson
Baylor 21 Fresno State
Auburn 22 Auburn
NC State 23 Kentucky
Wake Forest 24 Baylor
Clemson 25 Wake Forest

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