College Football Week 5 Games to Watch: Wahoos travel to South Bend

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We learned a lot in Week 4.

Michigan is nowhere close to who we thought they were, and Wisconsin might be the true challenger to Ohio State in the Big-10.

In the SEC, Georgia and Auburn showed that they are ready to go in the arms race against Alabama.

As most teams are now exiting their non-conference schedule, everything is still to play.

Here are the must-watch games of Week 5 of the 2019 college football season. 

No.12 Penn State at Maryland

Friday, 9/27 — 8:00 p.m. ET

Penn State (3-0) head coach James Franklin is on a mission to prove his worth this season. The Nittany Lions are undefeated to start the season but face a tough road ahead in Big-10 conference play. After securing the conference championship in 2016, fans in Happy Valley are getting anxious about the ability to replicate that success almost three years later. 

While worry set in following a 17-10 victory over Pittsburgh in Week 3, that tight win looked more impressive following the Panthers' win over UCF this past weekend. Penn State enters this Friday matchup off a bye week, giving them extra time to prep for the onslaught of conference games ahead. 

The Terrapins (2-1) also enter this matchup off a bye following a 20-17 defeat to Temple on 9/14. After blowing out a ranked Syracuse in Week 2 and then dropping a gimme to Temple, there's no telling what Maryland team will show up to face Penn State. 

Regardless, this should be the Nittany Lions' biggest test of the early season and give us a better read about where this team is headed. 

Arizona State at No.15 California

Friday, 9/27 — 10:30 p.m. ET

For the first time since Aaron Rodgers exited the campus almost 15 years ago, the California Golden Bears (4-0) are back in the national spotlight. 

The Golden Bears are doing it all with defense, allowing no more than 20 points in their first four games and stifling opposing offenses while their own still finds its footing. In their third year under head coach Justin Wilcox, Cal looks like a team that's game to grind out wins when everything isn't going to plan. 

While the offensive outpour hasn't arrived yet, the Golden Bears are averaging 158.5 rushing yards per game, spearheaded by the performance of Christopher Brown Jr. and Marcel Dancy. 

But Cal's road only gets tougher this week as they welcome Herm Edwards and Arizona State (3-1) to Berkeley. The Sun Devils were riding high after an upset victory over Michigan State two weeks ago, but fell to Colorado on Saturday, 34-31, for their first loss of the season. 

After squeaking out a win against Ole Miss last week, Wilcox and company will be looking to make a statement at home against one of the biggest coaching names in all of college football. 

No.18 Virginia at No.10 Notre Dame

Saturday, 9/28 — 3:30 p.m. ET

Bronco Mendenhall has changed the culture in Charlottesville, turning Virginia into a program demanding national attention. While their victory over Florida State two weeks ago marked a monumental shift for the program, a meeting in South Bend with the Fighting Irish is the biggest game of Mendenhall's tenure. 

The Wahoos are coming off a scare against Old Dominion where they trailed 17-0 before rattling off 28 unanswered points. Even in victory, the win brings up questions about the Cavaliers legitimacy as a ranked team. But we'll get those answers when they face Notre Dame. 

The Fighting Irish are looking to rebound after a 23-17 defeat to No. 3 Georgia on Saturday night. While many in the media, and Vegas, had the Bulldogs winning the game easily, Notre Dame impressed and showed that they're still one of the top teams in the country even in defeat. 

This game will come down to the performance of Irish quarterback Ian Book. After 47 passing attempts against Georgia, head coach Brian Kelly has made it obvious that his team's success will ride solely on the ability of his quarterback. 

No.21 USC at No.17 Washington 

Saturday, 9/28 — 3:30 p.m. ET

The Trojans have had one of the strangest and most interesting starts to the season of any program. After starting quarterback J.T. Daniels went down for the season in Week 1, questions surfaced about how USC would perform with backup Kedon Slovis manning the offense. While Slovis has performed well, the Trojans have still been up and down. 

After an overtime loss to BYU two weeks ago, it seemed as though the sky was falling in Southern California and that head coach Clay Helton's tenure was coming to an end. But six days later, the Trojans went on to beat then-No.10 Utah to earn a spot back in the Top 25. 

What's next on the docket for the always-enticing Trojans? A trip to Seattle to face off against Chris Petersen and the Washington Huskies. 

Washington has rebounded impressively from their Week 2 defeat to California, scoring 97 points combined over their last two games. Quarterback Jacob Eason is throwing the ball with confidence, while the three-headed rushing attack of Salvon Ahmed, Richard Newton and Sean McGrew is averaging 173 yards per game between the three. 

This game should have HEAVY implications for the Pac-12 title race. 

Washington State @ No.19 Utah

Saturday, 9/28 — 10:00 p.m. ET

Washington State head coach Mike Leach entered rare territory last week, becoming one of the handful of coaches whose team has scored nine touchdowns in a game and still lost. The Cougars 67-63 loss to UCLA on Saturday may be the most exciting game of the college football season, but it was also a red flag for Leach and his program. The Pac-12 isn't known for its defensive fortitude collectively, but any team allowing 67 points in a game has reason for concern. 

Washington State will try to reel in their defense as they face a Utah program that will be looking for redemption after a 30-23 loss to USC. 

Utah will need to be stronger defensively if they hope to avoid a second consecutive loss. Their secondary looked shaky against the Trojans, a bad look as they line up with a team that just put up 63 on the scoreboard seven days earlier. 

Expect points and for one team to make a statement following a disappointing loss. 

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