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What To Watch: Big 12, SEC Battles Highlight Week 5 Slate

By September 30, 2023 (9:00 am)Football

With Ohio State off this week before returning to the field next Saturday against Maryland, this week should provide a chance for fans to get a look at some teams they may not have been able to watch so far this season.

That includes the likes of No. 2 Michigan, No. 3 Texas, No. 6 Penn State, No. 7 Washington, No. 8 USC and No. 9 Oregon as some of the potential national championship contenders that will be in action this week.

Here are some of this week’s top matchups:

No. 24 Kansas at No. 3 Texas (3:30 p.m., ABC): Texas has been up and down since knocking off Alabama in the second week of the season, playing a far-too-close game against Wyoming on Sept. 16 followed by dominant 38-6 win at Baylor last week.

This is a game that the Longhorns – who have fashioned themselves as a title contender – should win, but Kansas has not been an easy win for Texas as of late. The Jayhawks won 57-56 in 2021 and three of the late four games between these teams have been decided by one score, and with Kansas led by quarterback Jalon Daniels, there’s no reason to believe that the Jayhawks can’t continue to push in this rivalry.

That being said, Kansas has not looked particular dominant despite the 4-0 start to the season, with close wins over Illinois, Nevada and BYU sprinkled in along with a 48-17 win over Missouri State to begin the season. The Longhorns have the talent advantage and have been impressive on defense, so this could turn into a lopsided outing.

No. 13 LSU at No. 20 Ole Miss (6 p.m., ESPN): With two of the nation’s highest-scoring offenses taking the field, this should be one of the week’s best offerings.

LSU and Ole Miss each bring in 1,000-yard passers through four games (Jayden Daniels for the Tigers, Jaxson Dart for the Rebels), though LSU has an advantage in a better rushing attack, with 191.8 yards on the ground to just 146.8 yards for Ole Miss.

Ole Miss has fared slightly better on defense this season, allowing 18.5 points and 351.8 total yards of offense to 25.0 points and 360.3 yards for LSU. The Tigers have one of the nation’s best defenders, however, in linebacker Harold Perkins, and with two high-flying offenses, game wreckers like Perkins could be the difference.

No. 11 Notre Dame at No. 17 Duke (7:30 p.m., ABC): This should be a fun one. Duke will have a raucous crowd coming off the program’s first-ever hosting of ESPN’s College GameDay, and the Blue Devils have the talent to back up the hype.

The Fighting Irish will be looking for a big response coming off last week’s (depending on your perspective) heartbreaking loss to Ohio State, but it is not an easy challenge facing Notre Dame. The Blue Devils are off to a 4-0 start this season, including an impressive season-opening 28-7 win over then-ranked Clemson, and have allowed just 35 points through four games.

The passing defense has been particularly stingy for Duke, allowing just 143.3 yards per game, so it should make for an intriguing matchup going up against Notre Dame and quarterback Sam Hartman. The Fighting Irish’s rushing attack offers a bit more intrigue, while Duke is led on the ground by a three-headed monster in Jordan Waters (39 carries, 258 yards, 7 touchdowns), Jaquez Moore (35, 184, 2) and Riley Leonard (29, 238, 4), who has completed 67.7 percent of his passes this season for 778 yards.

Other notable games on the schedule include:

  • No. 22 Florida at Kentucky (12 p.m., ESPN)
  • No. 6 Penn State at Northwestern (12 p.m., BTN)
  • No. 8 USC at Colorado (12 p.m., FOX)
  • No. 1 Georgia at Auburn (3:30 p.m., CBS)
  • No. 2 Michigan at Nebraska (3:30 p.m., FOX)
  • No. 23 Missouri at Vanderbilt (4 p.m., SECN)
  • No. 9 Oregon at Stanford (6:30 p.m., P12N)
  • Michigan State at Iowa (7:30 p.m., NBC)
  • South Carolina at No. 21 Tennessee (7:30 p.m.)
  • No. 12 Alabama at Mississippi State (9 p.m., ESPN)
  • No. 7 Washington at Arizona (10 p.m., P12N)
  • Nevada at No. 25 Fresno State (10:30 p.m., FS1)
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