NCAA National Game Preview - Week 5

Rob Carr - Getty Images

As most teams begin conference play this week, we take a look at some of the more intriguing games on tap for this week. Several rivalries will be renewed this weekend, as the air turns crisper and we head into fall. Fortunately, for college football fans everywhere, most conferences employ professional referees. Buckle your chinstrap and get ready for some great games.

#25 Baylor at #9 West Virginia, Saturday at Noon (FX): The Mountaineers kick off their first Big 12 schedule by hosting the Bears of Baylor. Both teams enter this contest with explosive passing attacks; West Virginia is ranked 3rd in the nation in Passing Offense and 10th in total scoring, with QB Geno Smith leading the way with 1,072 yards passing and 12 TDs...in 3 games. Meanwhile, Baylor is 5th in the nation in passing and 5th in the nation in total points. QB Nick Florence leads the Bears passing attack with 1,004 passing yards and 11 TDs. This should be a high-scoring affair, as both teams have prolific offenses and mediocre defenses. West Virginia enters Saturday's contest ranked 53rd in the nation in scoring defense, while Baylor is ranked 90th. While both teams have played mediocre opponents thus far, it should be noted that Baylor struggled to beat Louisiana-Monroe. The sense here is that WVU beats Baylor handily in their Big 12 debut.

#17 Clemson at Boston College, Saturday at 3:30 P.M. (ESPN2): On the heels of a disappointing loss to Florida State, Clemson heads to Boston to take on the Eagles of Boston College. Clemson, led by QB Tajh Boyd (984 yards passing, 9 TDs), scores a ton of points, averaging 39.0 ppg. However, the Tiger defense also gives up quite a few points also, averaging 25.5 points allowed per game. Meanwhile, Boston College has gotten off to a rough start, having lost to Miami at home and on the road at Northwestern. Nevertheless, the Eagles are ranked 16th in the country in passing offense, led by QB Chase Rettig's 951 yards and 9 TDs. BC's achilles heel seems to be their anemic run game, which is ranked 118th in the country, averaging only 95.7 yards per game. This seems like a game that Clemson should dominate, but would not be surprised if BC makes a game of it.

#8 Stanford at Washington, Thursday at 9:00 P.M. (ESPN): Coming off of an impressive win against Southern Cal on September 15th, the Cardinal will attempt to avoid the let down as they travel to Seattle to play the Huskies of the University of Washington. In somewhat of a departure from last season's offense, Stanford is led by Heisman candidate Stepfan Taylor, who rushed for 153 yards and caught 5 passes of 60 yards against USC. More impressive is the Cardinal defense, which held USCs offense to 280 total yards, while picking off Matt Barkley twice and sacking him four times. Meanwhile, Washington begins a rough three-game gauntlet against Stanford, at Oregon and home against USC. Washington will attempt to avenge last year's humiliating 65-21 defeat at the hands of the Cardinal. Look for Stanford to continue dominating the Huskies.

Tennessee at #5 Georgia, Saturday at 3:30 P.M. (CBS): The Volunteers bring their high-powered passing attack to Sanford Stadium to take on the Georgia Bulldogs in this tough SEC matchup. Tennessee, behind QB Tyler Bray (1301 yards, 12 TDs) leads the #8 ranked passing offense. However, Tennessee will need to balance their offensive approach against a Georgia Defense that is allowing only 16.5 points per game. While Bray and the Tennessee air-attack is impressive, the Bulldogs under QB Aaron Murray are no slouches either (1092 yards, 10 TDs). Moreover, under the Freshman RB duo of Keith Marshall and Todd Gurley, the Bulldogs are averaging an impressive 242.5 YPG on the ground. Overall, this should be a very good, competitive SEC game with lots of scoring. However, Georgia's balanced offensive attack, stingy defense and home field advantage should prove too tough for Tennessee to overcome.

#12 Texas at Oklahoma State, Saturday at 7:50 P.M. (FOX): Texas seeks revenge for last season's home loss to Oklahoma State as they travel to Boone Pickens Stadium to take on the Cowboys. Texas features a relatively balanced offensive approach, with 255.7 Yards Passing per Game and 258.7 Yards Rushing per Game. They will have to be on top of their game, as Oklahoma State sports the nation's top-ranked scoring offense, averaging 62.3 points per game. However, it should be noted that in two of their three games, the Cowboys have scored 84 against Savannah State and 65 against Louisiana-Lafayette. The definitive factor in this game is the defense. Quite simply, Texas' defense is pretty stout, giving up only 16 points per game, while OSU's defense allows almost 28 points per game. Thus, for the Cowboys to have any chance, RB Joseph Randle will have to find a cure for his recent fumbleitis and establish a running game, to prevent Texas' offense, under QB David Ash, from brutilizing the Cowboy "D." Still, given the discrepancy between the two teams' defenses, Texas should win this game handily.


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