Projecting the biggest CFB games of 2023: Week 5

This is Part 5 of a series where I go week by week ranking what I expect to be the biggest games in college football. For a longer description of what this series is, start with part 1 here!

Week 5 has slim pickings for top games at first glance. But I think some gems will emerge after we’ve made it through the beginning of the season. We’re leaning into big brands and big-name players this week, so I imagine these games will be heavily talked about once we get to this point in the season.

3rd – Georgia at Auburn

The Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry. If you’ve read any other installments in this series, you may have realized I give a bump to rivalry games. The fans care more, the environments are more hostile, and any outcome is possible. This is especially true at Jordan-Hare Stadium, where some of the craziest CFB games this century have been played (the kick-six taking the crown). 

Auburn is not expected to do much in 2023, but they could easily be 3-1 or possibly 4-0 going into this one. Georgia on the other hand should be rolling full steam ahead by week 5. I expect many highlights from TE Brock Bowers against one of the weaker defenses in the SEC. If Auburn does keep it close into the 4th quarter, it is likely because Michigan State transfer QB Payton Thorne is having the best game of his career. I think most of the country would be excited to see Georgia get a black eye from some Jordan-Hare magic. Or maybe Georgia just stomps Auburn like the preview magazines say they should. 

2nd – LSU at Ole Miss

Nationally, this isn’t viewed as a rivalry, but don’t tell LSU or Ole Miss that! They have played 109 times since 1894. In 2008 the fans created a trophy for the game and dubbed the matchup: The Magnolia Bowl. Both teams will definitely be good and have aspirations of being great. LSU is a preseason top-10 lock and I expect Ole Miss in the top 20. Quinshon Judkins figures to be the best running back in the SEC. DT Maason Smith and LB Herold Perkins are my picks for best at their position in the country. The strength-on-strength matchup will be an entertaining one. 

Side note – Brian Kelly vs Lane Kiffin has to be one of the most interesting coaching matchups of the season. I hope this game is maintained when the SEC eventually bites the bullet and goes to 9 conference games. 

1st – Michigan at Nebraska

What does a Matt Rhule Nebraska team look like? If it’s a physical team that doesn’t give up on their coach when they’re down (see Scott Frost’s Nebraska), then I fully expect Nebraska to be 4-0 for this one. Undefeated Nebraska hosting undefeated Michigan is probably what the B1G thought they would be getting when Nebraska joined in 2011; it just took a while to get here. 

Michigan has to go to the always sold-out Memorial Stadium for its first road trip of the season. They better hope mistake-prone JJ McCarthy doesn’t flinch in what I’m predicting to be one of the biggest games of the week. And don’t sleep on Jeff Sims for Nebraska. Georgia Tech was bad when he was there, but he was not the problem; it was everyone else around him. 

Honorable Mentions: Baylor at UCF, Cincinnati at BYU, Florida at Kentucky, and USC at Colorado

At face value, all of these could be interesting games. I just expect there to be too many losses among the participants by kickoff for them to have significant intrigue in week 5. 

Want more Walk On Fan? 

Check out part 4 of this series here.

Check out part 3 of this series here.

Check out part 2 of this series here.

This article was written by Cole Tollison and edited by Hayden Breene

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