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College football Week 5 viewing guide: Arkansas-Georgia and Cincinnati-Notre Dame

Plus, why a former Bucs assistant is having a breakout 2021 season.
Georgia coach Kirby Smart will face his former assistant, Arkansas' Sam Pittman, in one of Saturday's biggest games.
Georgia coach Kirby Smart will face his former assistant, Arkansas' Sam Pittman, in one of Saturday's biggest games. [ MICHAEL WOODS | AP (2020) ]
Published Oct. 1

Lamest time window: The primetime games are the weakest, but this is an impressive slate. Plan accordingly.

Noon: Who would have thought in August that No. 8 Arkansas at No. 2 Georgia would be one of the SEC’s biggest games of the year?

2:30: If No. 7 Cincinnati beats No. 9 Notre Dame on the road, it’s time to start a serious discussion about the Bearcats crashing the College Football Playoff.

3:30: I’m not bold (or stupid) enough to say No. 12 Mississippi will upset No. 1 Alabama. But I’m saying there’s a chance.

4: How will USF’s Timmy McClain fare now that he’s officially the starter for the Bulls’ AAC opener at SMU?

6: No. 10 Florida expects electric backup quarterback Anthony Richardson to return at undefeated Kentucky.

7: No. 21 Baylor at No. 19 Oklahoma State is a pivotal Big 12 game about two teams I still haven’t figured out.

10:30: Chip Kelly’s No. 20 Bruins host an Arizona State team that hasn’t crumbled, despite an NCAA investigation.

Related: This crazy college football season would be even crazier with a 12-team playoff

Local of the week

Armwood High alumnus Jerome Ford has become a key player for Cincinnati.
Armwood High alumnus Jerome Ford has become a key player for Cincinnati. [ JEFF DEAN | AP ]

Cincinnati running back Jerome Ford (Armwood High)

Only 10 players in the nation have more rushing touchdowns this season than Ford (six). He’s averaging six yards per carry and is facing a mediocre Irish run defense that Florida State gouged for 264 yards in Week 1. Look for Ford to have a big day if Cincinnati is going to earn one of the biggest victories in program history.

GameDay breakdown

There shouldn’t be any secrets between Arkansas and Georgia. Razorbacks coach Sam Pittman spent four years as a Bulldogs assistant under Kirby Smart. This should come down to physical, old-school line play. Will Arkansas be able to crack a loaded defensive front that leads the nation’s top scoring defense? Or will Georgia puncture an Arkansas team that hasn’t allowed a first-quarter score all season?

Ex-Buc at B.C.

Former Bucs assistant Jeff Hafley has Boston College 4-0 to start his second season.
Former Bucs assistant Jeff Hafley has Boston College 4-0 to start his second season. [ MARY SCHWALM | AP ]

If you don’t remember the two years Jeff Hafley spent as an assistant coach in the Bucs’ secondary (2012-13), that’s understandable. But pay attention now. The second-year head coach has Boston College 4-0 for the first time since 2007, and don’t be shocked if his Eagles hang with (or upset) Clemson. The Tigers are shaky, and Boston College led Clemson going into the fourth quarter last year.

Eye on the NFL draft

In a year where some of the top quarterback prospects have struggled, Mississippi’s Matt Corral has played like a Heisman Trophy contender and potential first-round pick. The one-time UF commit has a chance for a statement game against Alabama.

Related: How Florida Gators commitment helped Matt Corral become Ole Miss’ starter

By the numbers: Week 5

Lane Kiffin was an assistant at Alabama under Nick Saban. Now he'll try to earn the first victory against Saban ever by a former Crimson Tide assistant.
Lane Kiffin was an assistant at Alabama under Nick Saban. Now he'll try to earn the first victory against Saban ever by a former Crimson Tide assistant. [ Times (2016) ]

23-0 — Nick Saban’s record against former assistants at Alabama heading into his third game against Lane Kiffin

234 — Combined points Vanderbilt and UConn have been outscored by heading into their matchup Saturday. Sad thing is, this isn’t even the worst game of the year. That happens next week when UConn travels to UMass.

5 — Touchdowns T.J. Finley threw (in 140 passes) last year for LSU

2 —Touchdowns Finley has thrown (in 23 passes) this year for Auburn. He might end up starting against his former LSU teammates Saturday

0 —Times FSU has lost at home to Syracuse

Related: Has FSU football coach Mike Norvell done what he promised on Day 1?

1998 —The last time Arkansas started 5-0, which it can do with a win over Georgia

11-6 — Kirby Smart’s record against top-10 teams

1,290 yards — Rushing yards for UF, the Gators’ most through four games since at least 1965

1 —Team to face three ranked opponents already: USF

723 —All-purpose yards for Michigan running back Blake Corum, who leads the country. Can he add onto that against Wisconsin’s top-ranked rushing defense?

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