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NCAA, Football, Highlights, BYU, Florida, Mississippi State, Ohio State, Penn State, Cal Berkeley, Washington, UCF, Syracuse, Clemson, UCLA, Notre Dame, Virginia Tech, Stanford, Duke, West Virginia, Texas Tech

With Trevor Lawrence deemed the new starter in Clemson, what can be made of Kelly Bryant’s future as a star in the NCAA?

Week 5 of College Football is here! This week is stacked with several ranked team matchups, as well as games with Heisman and College Football Playoff implications.  Here are some of the key matchups to look out for this week.

#12 West Virginia – #25 Texas Tech

No matter what team you enjoy, which players you root for in this game, BET THE OVER.  West Virginia and Texas Tech come into this game with undefeated conference records and AP rankings and therefore should look to impress given the context.  Additionally, starting QBs Alan Bowman and Will Grier will try to fill the stat sheet to cement their narratives for Heisman candidacy.  Just the thought of these to quarterbacks trying to impress is frightening.  Texas Tech’s Alan Bowman has already passed for 1557 yards, 10 touchdowns, and only 2 interceptions as a freshman coming in relief of injured starter McLane Carter.  West Virginia’s Will Grier, considered by many NFL scouts to be the best college quarterback in next year’s NFL draft, has 1117 yards passing, 14 touchdowns, and 3 interceptions (stats via ESPN.com).  This looks to be a high scoring game of back and forth scoring, where traditional football concepts such as time management, checkdowns, and perhaps even runs, are thrown out the window to allow these deep passing offenses to shine.

Syracuse – #2 Clemson

This game arrives at an interesting fork in the road for Clemson’s offense.  With recently promoted freshman QB Trevor Lawrence leading the offense this week for his first ever start, look for there to be fireworks in Death Valley.  At just 18 years of age, he already looks capable of executing efficiently in the NFL.  Dabo Swinney seems to agree, as he elected to bench Kelly Bryant, who has now decided to now transfer.  While Syracuse did upset the Tigers last year, this year’s offense is constructed differently and will not hesitate early on as the team did last year.  Trevor Lawrence’s performance against Syracuse will be his chance to campaign for Heisman candidacy; look for a young star to shine Saturday in Death Valley.

Pittsburgh – #13 UCF

Pittsburgh football is a bit of an enigma at the moment; their last two games consist of an impressive win over Georgia Tech, followed by an upset loss to the previously winless North Carolina Tarheels.  Meanwhile, UCF continues to campaign for a College Football Playoff spot.  UCF has now won sixteen straight games, and haven’t skipped a beat under new head coach Josh Heupel.  McKenzie Milton has put on a show this season; his versatile combination of rushing prowess and deep ball accuracy make him a dark-horse candidate.  If UCF continues to run the table (for the second straight season), then they will have a legitimate Playoff argument for a bid.  This game should provide insight into this team’s true potential and their ceiling come bowl season.

#20 BYU – #11 Washington

BYU’s win over fifth-ranked Wisconsin provided college football fans with an exciting underdog win, but this win creates a lot of questions.  How good is BYU really? They previously lost a close game to Cal, who is widely considered to be inferior to their current oppenent Washington.  Washington should pull out an important win for the Pac-12, but BYU is as hot as any team in the nation right now.  Additionally, they are clearly capable of beating any team that isn’t executing at their peak performance.  To make matters worse, Washington University started classes this week, and therefore there will be a change in pace for the players regarding their practice schedule and (ideally) their priorities. This is potentially a trap game for Washington, a team that must run the table to even be considered for the College Football Playoff.

#19 Oregon – #24 Cal-Berkeley

While the Heisman favorite may be Alabama’s QB Tua Tagolaivoa, don’t sleep on Oregon Junior Justin Herbert.  At 6’6″ and 233 pounds, he has legitimate NFL size and a cannon of an arm to boot.  He also boasts a 4.72 40 yard dash time, making him the perfect quarterback for the Oregon offense.  Oregon was virtually robbed of a win against Stanford, highlighted by a crucial 14-point play where Oregon muffed a snap within Stanford’s 5-yard-line, then picked up by a Stanford safety and ran back for a touchdown.  The game goes into overtime, where Stanford won the coin toss and immediately scored.  Now, at this point, Justin Herbert has only two incompletions for the whole game.  He throws two more immediately into their offensive drive, however, these plays could have easily been called pass interference by the defense.  Oregon should have won that game, and is therefore misranked in correlation to their requisite talent.  Look for them to prove this against Cal, and make a statement that they should be the Pac-12 team ranked 7th overall.

#7 Stanford – #8 Notre Dame

While Stanford has to consider themselves fortunate for being in the position they are this Saturday, that has not nearly reached their potential.   Bryce Love is one of the top college football players in the country, yet has not performed well this year.  This could be due to opposing coaches consciously stacking the box to prevent a breakout run, thus forcing QB K.J. Costello to make a play.  Notre Dame should take a similar tactic on Saturday, however, they are quietly playing down to their competition and edging out victories over teams they are far better than.  Both teams are lucky to be in the position where this game has serious playoff implications, but nevertheless, they are here and need a win Saturday to make the Playoff. Watch this game to see if K.J. Costello is able to make plays with his arm, as this will be necessary for Stanford to have a chance against Notre Dame.  Luckily for Pac-12 fans every, Stanford seems to have a not-so-secret weapon at WR in former basketball standout J.J. Arcega-Whiteside.  At 6’3, 225 pounds, he has the size to catch deep balls in the end zone, and the experience from basketball to box out his defender perfectly in a 1-on-1 setting.  This has led to him racking up 7 touchdowns and 408 receiving yards on the season with only 17 receptions total.  Stanford seems to have more ways to win this game and needs to if the Pac-12 hope to reach the CFP.

#4 Ohio State – #9 Penn State

There are some games that just sell themselves and with QB’s Dwayne Haskins and Trace McSorley manning the helms of these two powerhouse teams, there is little doubt that this game will only add to the famous rivalry that is Ohio State-Penn State.  Haskins is yet another dark-horse Heisman candidate; he currently has 1194 yards through the air, and a whopping 16-1 TD-INT ratio (via ESPN.com).  Haskins has dealt with multiple controversies since earning the starting position at Ohio State, yet has led them to become the best offensive attack in NCAA so far.  He now faces his biggest challenge so far, and perhaps for the season, going into Happy Valley where Penn State is riding a sixteen game win streak (via BigTenNetwork).  However, Ohio State ranks only behind UCF for the second longest win streak in the NCAA with nine straight wins.  This game will come down to coaching; James Franklin must keep his team composed for this game while Urban Meyer needs to begin to establish a sense of stability and a winning culture for this new, young Ohio State team.

Samuel Ryan

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