College football has started. It is now time for loads of football every Saturday. Here are five things to watch for in college football week 5.
1. Can Notre Dame Recover?
In one of two ranked matchups of the weekend, Notre Dame will host Virginia. The Fighting Irish had to travel to Georgia in week 4 and came away with a loss in a close game. After getting hyped up for Georgia and coming just short, can the Fighting Irish recover to take care of business against Virginia?
Notre Dame has the better team and should win this game, but there are reasons to be concerned. First, as mentioned, it will be hard to bring the energy for a second game in a row. Virginia is also a quality opponent who comes into the game undefeated. Bryce Perkins will provide a unique issue for the Notre Dame defense as he is one of the best dual-threat quarterbacks in the country. If they can contain him, they will likely win the game.
2. USC’s Quarterback Play
USC lost starting quarterback JT Daniels in week 1 to an injury. The week before, their presumed backup Jack Sears, entered the transfer portal. Kedon Slovis then filled in and played well, but he had to leave the game against Utah with a concussion. Matt Fink stepped in and led the Trojans to an upset over the Utes with his dazzling play. Can USC keep winning with the quarterback issues?
There is still a possibility Slovis can play this weekend, but if he can’t Fink will step in. That does leave USC with little depth at the position, but both quarterbacks are more than capable. They’ll have a stiff test this weekend though, as the Trojans take on Washington in a ranked game. The Huskies have allowed just 18.3 points per game, so the USC quarterbacks will have to play well to give the Trojans their fourth win of the season.
3. Can Cal Stay Undefeated?
One of the most surprising undefeated teams in the country is Cal. The Golden Bears are 4-0 and are currently ranked 15th in the country. With wins over Washington, North Texas and Ole Miss, Cal has more quality wins than a lot of teams, but still have more left to prove. They will play a tough game against Arizona State on Friday as they try to remain unbeaten.
The game will be tough for Cal because they just got back from playing Ole Miss on the road and are playing the Sun Devils on Friday. With limited rest and travel, Cal could be susceptible. Their defense could prevent an upset though, as they have only allowed 17.3 points per game. It will likely be a low scoring game, as Arizona State only allows 13.8 points per game. Cal will need to be at their best to get the win, but they have already proven doubters wrong this season.
4. Will Washington State or Utah Bounce Back?
Washington State and Utah were both undefeated heading into last weekend. Utah lost their game to USC and Washington State allowed UCLA to pull off one of the most improbable comebacks in college football history. These teams could’ve had a big matchup this week that had College Football Playoff Implications, but now it is just a matchup of two of the Pac-12’s top teams.
The Cougars will face a tough time coming back from their loss to UCLA. Not only was it a big comeback that they allowed, but it also came at the hands of a team that had not won a game this season. Utah gets an extra day to prepare for this game because they played on Friday last week. They also get this game at home, meaning they should be favored to win, but Washington State has a way to make things interesting.
5. How Will Justin Fields Do?
Justin Fields has played well in his first four games for Ohio State. He has thrown for 880 yards and has also displayed some running ability. His play has helped the Buckeyes blowout every team they have played so far this season. Now they will travel to Lincoln to take on the Nebraska Cornhuskers.
Although he does have one road game against Indiana under his belt, Nebraska will provide a crazier environment. The Cornhuskers had a lot of hype coming into the season, but a loss to Colorado has tempered expectations. Nebraska is still 3-1 and has some good players on defense in the secondary. The stadium will be rocking, so it will be interesting to see how Ohio State and Justin Fields handle their first big road game.
Make sure to check out our college football page for more updates and rankings.