Conference play enters full swing, and there’s a spate of great games as we enter Week 5. So many in fact, that this week will highlight four games:
1. #13 Stanford at #4 Oregon– Eugene will be rocking when the Cardinals come into town. Oregon leads the nation in scoring at nearly 58 points per game, but their performance against Arizona State last week raises some significant questions about the defense. The Ducks allowed a staggering 597 yards against the Sun Devils but escaped thanks to seven turnovers. Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck is much better than Steven Threet of ASU, so don’t expect the Cardinal to be quite so giving. Luck threw for 251 and no picks in last year’s contest, won 51-42 by Stanford. On the road, this would be a massive statement win for the Stanford.
2: #7 Florida at #1 Alabama– The Crimson Tide’s march to a second straight BCS title encounters its third ranked opponent in four weeks. After narrowly escaping Arkansas, Alabama welcomes the Gators into town for a rematch of last season’s SEC title game. Florida comes in ranked 7th, but their offense has struggled at times, and their only road game this season was a rather pedestrian 31-17 win over what looks to be a mediocre Tennessee squad. Alabama’s got the edge here, having been tested twice already this year, while the Gators have played mostly mediocre competition.
3. #9 Wisconsin at #21 Michigan State– Mark Dantonio returns to the fray for the Spartans, although he’ll coach from the press box this weekend, just two weeks after suffering a heart attack after a win over Notre Dame. Michigan State had a gimmie win last week, so this is their first test since Dantonio’s health issue. Don’t look now, but both these teams are 4-0, and the winner could emerge as a sleeper in the Big 10 race. Wisconsin put together their first complete performance last week against Austin Peay, scoring a school-record of 70 points.
4. #16 Texas vs. #8 Oklahoma– The Red River rivalry lacks luster this season, as despite gaudy rankings, neither team has looked impressive this season. The Longhorns were humiliated at home last week against UCLA of all teams, and the Sooners managed to win by two points against one of the weakest teams in the NCAA’s worst BCS conference (A 1-3 Cincinnati). That being said, the winner of this game has a good chance to wind up in the Big 12 title game, which means there’s plenty at stake for the longtime rivals.
Other games to watch: Penn State/Iowa, Virginia Tech/North Carolina State