College football fans should strap on their seat belts and prepare for a wild Week 5. The matchups have the potential to produce some upsets, which will result in chaos for the Associated Press Top 25 poll.
Two hard-nosed SEC programs will square off with identical 3-1 records. The loser would likely blow their chance at a spot in the College Football Playoff picture, barring some help and an extended win streak to finish the season.
Two fresh faces at quarterback should put on a show in an ACC showdown, but it's the supporting offensive cast that's primed to tip the scale in an intriguing matchup.
Will quarterback Sam Darnold and the USC Trojans fall after a bumpy start to the season?
Check out the latest AP poll rankings and early predictions for Week 5 matchups.
Associated Press Top 25
4. Penn State
11. Ohio State
12. Virginia Tech
15. Oklahoma State
16. Washington State
18. South Florida
19. San Diego State
22. Notre Dame
23. West Virginia
24. Mississippi State
No. 24 Mississippi State at No. 13 Auburn
In Week 3, Mississippi State embarrassed LSU and then lost by 28 in a touchdown-less effort on Saturday. The Bulldogs will take the field against another SEC foe in Auburn, who's coming off a blowout victory over Missouri.
The two schools come into this contest with losses to reputable opponents within the top 10. This contest won't feature frequent trips to the end zone, but the group that plays closer to their physical nature on defense should pull out the victory.
Georgia stifled Mississippi State quarterback Nick Fitzgerald in his previous outing. Auburn's aggressive defense should find some success in forcing a few bad throws as well.
After watching the Bulldogs surrender 203 rushing yards in a 31-3 loss on the road, expect the Tigers to emulate the formula with running backs Kerryon Johnson, Kam Martin and Kamryn Pettway if he's able to shake off his foot injury.
Prediction: Auburn 27, Mississippi State 21
No. 2 Clemson at No. 12 Virginia Tech
Aside from a close matchup with Auburn in Week 2, Clemson has cruised through the competition with a strong front seven and junior quarterback Kelly Bryant making something out of nothing on the run:
Barstool Clemson @BarstoolClemson
Kelly Bryant is a freak https://t.co/gmy6uQkjvR2017-9-23 20:14:34
Bryant's passing numbers won't impress you, and he's already taken eight sacks, but opposing defenses have yet to confine him to the pocket. Virginia Tech will need athletic defenders in pursuit to wear down and contain the Tigers quarterback.
Offensively, the Hokies also feature a signal-caller who can escape trouble and extend plays with his legs. Freshman quarterback Josh Jackson has looked impressive against lesser competition over the past few weeks, but he also took part in a quality win over West Virginia in the opening game.
How will Clemson stop senior wide receiver Cam Phillips who's racked up 100-plus receiving yards in three out of four games and five touchdowns? Jackson and his top-flight wideout upset No. 2 Clemson.
Prediction: Virginia Tech 24, Clemson 23
No. 5 USC at No. 16 Washington State
Darnold has experienced some rough patches early in the season. Before Saturday's game against California, the junior passer threw two interceptions in each game. He only turned the ball over once against the Bears but didn't look impressive.
Thus far, the Trojans ground attack featuring Ronald Jones and Stephen Carr has picked up the slack. The former didn't suit up against the Bears due to a leg injury, per ESPN.com reporter Joel Anderson.
USC will need a healthy backfield to contend with Washington State head coach Mike Leach's offense. The Cougars have scored 45 or more points in their last three outings against FBS competition. Quarterback Luke Falk looks like he's en route to another season with eye-popping numbers as a pocket passer:
Pac-12 Network @Pac12Network
Luke Falk has 4 TD in the first half. Oh, and he just passed Matt Leinart for 3rd most in Pac-12 history! #NEVvsWSU https://t.co/YPiyPwv7b72017-9-23 23:29:26
It's a tough task for USC to keep pace with Washington State without turning the ball over and providing more scoring opportunities for the opposition. The Cougars take down the Trojans in a high-scoring contest.
Prediction: Washington State 35, USC 31