Here are 10 things I'm buzzing about at the outset of Week 5.
1. A large number of draft gurus believe Matthew Stafford has the potential to be the first player selected in the 2009 NFL draft. Well, it's showtime for Georgia's junior signal-caller. With Alabama's imposing front, yards should be tough to come by for Dawgs RB Knowshon Moreno. Will Stafford produce against a game 'Bama secondary on the national stage?
2. It's not shocking to see Penn State's athletic running backs and receivers flourish in the new Spread HD, but Daryll Clark's instant aplomb behind center is a bit of a surprise. Granted, Penn State's nonconference schedule was far from daunting (though a 45-14 win over Oregon State looks pretty impressive these days ...), but the first-year starter has thrown seven TD passes to just one interception. Illinois' secondary can be beat, but Clark would be wise to steer clear of CB Vontae Davis. That dude's equipped for Sundays.
3. The Big 12 is chock-full o' great quarterbacks. (Heck, even Baylor has an electric signal-caller in freshman Robert Griffin.) Therefore, it's easy to understand why Colt McCoy's monster production (11 touchdown passes and 194 rushing yards in three games) has been somewhat overlooked. Expect McCoy to put up another freakish stat line this week against a very suspect Arkansas defense.
4. Wisconsin's annually the least sexy BCS-bowl contender, but if the Badgers run the table over the next three weeks, they'll undoubtedly catch the nation's eye. Don't overlook this week's trip to Ann Arbor; Rich Rodriguez has had two weeks of practice to work out the kinks (or turnovers) in his offense. After Michigan, Wisco returns home to face Ohio State and Penn State. That's a lot of prestige in not a lot of time.
5. Oklahoma has an average margin of victory of 40.7 points. TCU's outscoring its opponents by 35.3. Something's got to give. Oklahoma owns a 33-1 mark in Norman over the last six seasons. The one loss? A 17-10 defeat to TCU in 2005. The Horned Frogs are actually 3-1 alltime at Oklahoma.
6. Who wants to make some money? Purdue's a one-point underdog at Notre Dame. Hate to keep piling on the Irish in this space, but Touchdown Jesus will have to suit up for ND to keep this respectable.
7. Why do I have a strange feeling Tennessee will knock off Auburn? I correctly predicted the Vols' blowout loss to Florida in this file last week, and, outside of Eric Berry, this looks like a pretty sorry UT bunch. But Phil Fulmer's teams always seem to step up when the circumstances are most dire.
8. Three games into the season, West Virginia's ranked 93rd in total offense. Stunning stuff. If the Mountaineers struggle for yards against Marshall (No. 102 in total defense), Bill Stewart's really got a problem on his hands.
9. Who needs rankings to have a good time? Miami-North Carolina is the must-see game in the early batch, regardless of the fact that neither team is currently in the AP Top 25. I, for one, will certainly be tuned into ESPN2 at noon. How will the Heels' offense perform without QB T.J. Yates? And just how far along is this Miami team?
10. Is that Kobe Bryant in the shotgun for Tulsa? Golden Hurricane QB Davis Johnson is currently averaging 32 points per game (thanks in large part to six TD passes in each of his last two contests). Will he reach his average today against 4-0 Central Arkansas. I wouldn't bet against it.