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NCAA Football Week 5: Florida Travels to Alabama

Mark Ingram, Trent Richardson look to come out on top against Florida. (Photo By Press-Register/Bill Starling)

As Week 5 approaches let’s take a look at three of the big games on the slate for Saturday.

1. No. 7 Florida at No. 1 Alabama

Is there a better way to start an action-packed month of October games? Didn’t think so.

Florida QB John Brantley gets his first big road test of his career, when he travels to Tuscaloosa for a showdown against the reigning national champions. Although the Florida offense has sputtered out of the gate, the unit has still had success.

Brantley and co. are averaging 37.8 points-per-game, which is 19th in the nation. Led by the speedster Jeffery Demps, Florida will look to continue their offensive output against the nation’s No. 1 defense in points-per-game, with 9.8.

For Alabama, the Crimson Tide put together a nice second half performance last week to overcome a 20-7 deficit against Arkansas. Since coming back from his injury, Mark Ingram has been spectacular. Ingram has rushed for 308 yards and four touchdowns in two games, averaging 9.3 yards-per-carry. With Ingram and Trent Richardson in the backfield, Florida will have a hard time containing arguably the best RB duo in the nation.

The key for Florida to come away with the win is to pressure Greg McElroy, early and often. McElroy, who is suddenly the media darling, threw for under 200 yards and hurled two interceptions against an average Arkansas defense.

The environment should be wild. With many questions hovering around the 2010 Florida team, a win against top ranked Alabama would put Florida as front-runners for a BCS title.

2. No. 9 Stanford at No. 4 Oregon

In a huge Pac-10 showdown, Stanford will travel to Eugene, Ore., to take on one of the most explosive offenses in the country. For the Ducks, their offense is led by LaMichael James, who is averaging 7.8 yards-per-carry this season. With the departure of Jeremiah Masoli last off-season, Chip Kelly handed the reigns to red-shirt sophomore Darron Thomas.

In four games, Thomas has been effective. The Houston, Texas 4-star prospect has thrown for 822 yards and 10 touchdowns.

This game marks Oregon’s first true test of the season, although Arizona State was thought to give them a solid effort. With a win against ninth ranked Stanford, the Ducks could find themselves sitting pretty at the No 3. spot in the nation.

Meanwhile, Stanford too brings in a potent offensive attack. There may not be a more efficient quarterback in the nation over Andrew Luck. The junior played poorly in Week 2 against UCLA, but overall, Luck has been stellar. The way Luck distributes his passes could give an Oregon secondary, which gave up 387 passing yards to Arizona State, some trouble.

Over the last couple of seasons, Jim Harbaugh has put Stanford on the map with significant wins, however no more were significant than the two-game stretch in 2009, when Harbaugh’s Cardinals defeated No. 8 Oregon and then traveled to Southern California to throttle No. 9 USC, 55-21.

The Cardinals enter the same stretch this season.

If the results are similar to that of 2009, then the Cardinals will be flying high into a BCS bowl game.

3. No. 8 Oklahoma at No. 21 Texas

Many thought this weekend would feature three games with six teams in the top 10 facing each other.

Enter UCLA.

Texas played as poor as football as you can play en route to a 34-12 loss to the Bruins. Quarterback Garrett Gilbert passed for a career high 264 yards, but the Longhorns failed to register a touchdown. Defensively, Texas had a tough time stopping UCLA’s running attack.

As a unit UCLA rushed for 264 yards and three touchdowns, with Johnathan Franklin and Derrick Coleman accounting for the bulk of the total, with 212 yards. Texas will need a better performance from their front seven this weekend, if they plan to keep Oklahoma RB DeMarco Murray in-check.

Murray struggled last week as he only averaged 2.4 yards-per-carry against Cincinnati. Still, the Las Vegas, Nev. native is a threat on the ground.

The Red River Rivalry as been played between the two schools since 1990. Texas leads the series 59-40-5. Last season, Texas won in a low scoring affair, 16-13, after Oklahoma QB Sam Bradford left with a shoulder injury. The rivalry runs deep through the two states as both teams aren’t shy about their hatred toward one another. Over the years Oklahoma has stolen many recruits from Texas — most notably Adrian Peterson.

The players are known, the coaches respected, and Saturday this historic rivalry will be renewed once again.

**UPSET ALERT**

  • No. 11 Wisconsin at No. 24 Michigan State
  • Tennessee at No. 12 LSU
  • Washington at No. 18 USC

About Matthew Marcantonio - @M_Marcantonio

Matthew Marcantonio is the Patriots and college football editor at Sports of Boston. Marcantonio has contributed for two newspapers; the Sentinel & Enterprise (Leominster, Mass) and The Advocate (Baton Rouge, La) and held internships with The Bleacher Report and Sports Illustrated.

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