The USA TODAY Sports college football staff — Nicole Auerbach, Paul Myerberg, George Schroeder and Dan Wolken — weighs in with some bold predictions for Week 5 of the college football season:
Michigan’s Jabrill Peppers enters the Heisman Trophy conversation. Through the season’s first month, he's been at the periphery of the discussion. But as Jim Harbaugh has found new and different ways to use the nation’s most versatile player, Peppers has become impossible to ignore — anywhere on defense, as a punt returner and even on the offensive side of the ball.
With a spectacular all-around performance on Saturday in the spotlight of a top-10 showdown, Peppers will become a legitimate and unorthodox Heisman contender.
I think Michigan is going to make some noise on Saturday against Wisconsin. The Wolverines have been a little overlooked through four weeks as teams such as Ohio State and Alabama have found success against a tougher schedule.
But the Badgers provide a chance for Jim Harbaugh’s bunch to make a national statement. Namely: That the Wolverines are worthy of being included among the top four teams in the country.
Louisville is college football’s flavor of the month, and with very good reason. Lamar Jackson is electric; the Cardinals’ 63-20 victory against Florida State (and it wasn’t that close) was eye-opening impressive. Meanwhile, Clemson has mostly muddled along en route to 4-0; Deshaun Watson and the Tigers’ offense hasn’t yet caught fire.
That combination is why Louisville is favored at Clemson.
But Clemson’s defense, which was a question entering the season, has been very good. Jackson will present the biggest challenge yet — maybe the biggest all season — but Watson will perform well. In the Game of the Century This Week, Clemson gets the win (and both teams will remain alive in the hunt for both the ACC title and a Playoff berth).
Wake Forest will become the feel-good story of college football after beating N.C. State and moving to 5-0 under Dave Clawson. There have been a lot of lean years since the mid-2000s when Wake Forest was regularly going to bowl games, but Clawson has really gotten things turned around after the program bottomed out.
The schedule has been friendly, but that shouldn't take away from the excitement Demon Deacons fans should have about possibility making the postseason for the first time since 2011. N.C. State has been a pretty big disappointment so far, and this is a great opportunity for Wake Forest to gain some credibility within the ACC and deal a big blow to an in-state rival. I think they'll get it done thanks to a defense that is allowing just 16.5 points per game.
TOP 10 GAMES IN WEEK 5