It’s already Week 5 of the 2018 college football season and we’ve orbited past the fall equinox. That means that daylight will run scarce until sometime in 2019, but it also means that the real meat of the college football season lies before us.
Last week was somewhat lackluster in its marquee matchups, but high drama did abound. The Pac-12 especially gave us all what we wanted, especially late on Saturday night. Army took No. 6 Oklahoma all the way to overtime and lost, but not before carrying out a handful of drives in the second half that last in the neighborhood of about 10 game minutes. Turns out it’s difficult to score points when your offense isn’t on the field.
As ever, our watchability ratings are based on interest level of any given matchup, betting line, and standard eyeball test. There’s just one Thursday game this week, and nothing on Friday. We’ll warn you up front, this week’s kinda thin, much like last week, but there are a few games that could spin off the rails.
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 27
UNC at No. 16 Miami
7 p.m. CT on ESPN and streaming online at WatchESPN
This one decidedly won’t be a good game. UNC is 1-2 on the season — the Tarheels’ game with UCF was postponed due to Hurricane Florence — and didn’t even look all that great in a 38-35 win over Pitt last week. Larry Fedora may very well be coaching for his job currently, and he’s gotta play at Miami in a very strange slot in the week. It’ll be surprising if the ‘Canes don’t cover.
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 29 (EARLY GAMES)
No. 12 West Virginia at No. 25 Texas Tech
11 a.m. CT on ESPN2 and streaming online at WatchESPN
A good old shooting match with two teams that lay little weight on the general concept of defense. If we’re lucky, they’ll combine for 1,000 yards and 100 points. The over/under is 77 points, anyway.
Pitt at No. 13 UCF
2:30 p.m. CT on ESPN and streaming online at WatchESPN
Maybe? Pitt did ring up 35 points on UNC a week ago, and they’re also good for at least one random upset. Maybe this will be the week, but probably not.
Florida at No. 23 Mississippi State
5 p.m. CT on ESPN and streaming online at WatchESPN
Dan Mullen’s first trip back to Starkville? Yeah, you’re gonna watch this. Don’t lie.
NIGHT GAMES (DOES NOT INCLUDE THE #PAC12AFTERDARK; THEY ARE A DIFFERENT SUBHEADING)
No. 7 Stanford at No. 8 Notre Dame
6 p.m. CT on NBC and streaming online at NBC Sports Live
Past few seasons, Stanford has needed a few weeks to get the car started. Not so in 2018, though. The Cardinal is currently 4-0 with a 28-21 win over USC in the bucket. Notre Dame is also undefeated, with an impressive season-opener W over Michigan. Somebody will come out the other side of this one with one loss. The other team will be 5-0 with a fairly clear path to the top four. Be there.
No. 20 BYU at No. 11 Washington
7:30 p.m. CT on FOX and streaming online at FOXSportsGO
BYU is 3-1 on the year, with a random three-point loss to Cal in Week 2. The Cougars have knocked off Wisconsin, however, which was ranked No. 5 at the time. The Huskies are also 3-1, having dropped their season-opener to Auburn in Atlanta.
If BYU can play giant-killer again, that’d be hilarious. It’d also effectively remove the Pac-12 from Playoff contention as early as Week 5, and then we get to scream about conference strength and visibility for the next two months — again. LET’S JUST DO IT AND BE LEGENDS, PROVO.
PAC-12 AFTER DARK
No. 19 Oregon at No. 24 Cal
9:30 p.m. CT on FS1 and streaming online at FOXSportsGO
Cal is one of a handful of perennial CHAOS TEAMs. Oregon is ascendantly ... good? ... this year? The Ducks have three wins over trash opponents and a seven-point loss to Stanford in Eugene. Their offensive line is immoveable, but anything can happen when you play Cal — especially in Berkeley. GET WEIRD, Y’ALL.