By Todd McShay, Scouts Inc.
(All times ET)
West Virginia at South Florida (ESPN2)
" from Eugene (ESPN)
LSU at Tulane (ESPN2)
Notre Dame at Purdue (ESPN)
Cal at Oregon (ABC)
Kansas State at Texas (ABC)
Michigan State at Wisconsin (ABC)
USC at Washington (ABC)
Auburn at Florida (ESPN)
Ohio State at Minnesota (ESPN2)
• TV sked
| Coverage map
| ESPN GamePlan
Three Point Stance
By Ivan Maisel, ESPN.com
No. 18 South Florida has a lot going for it Friday night: an excited home crowd, a lot of confidence and playmakers on both sides of the ball. But the key will be how the Bulls defense performs in the second half. No. 5 West Virginia averages 234 rushing yards after halftime. It could be coach Rich Rodriguez's adjustments. My guess is that it has more to do with West Virginia's speed and depth.
Auburn will get junior tailback Tristan Davis
back for the Florida game, and an experienced pair of hands will help a young Tiger offense that leads the SEC with 13 turnovers. But the game comes a week too early. Auburn tailback Brad Lester
, who returns next week for Vanderbilt, rushed for 94 yards last season when the Tigers handed the national champion Gators their only loss, 27-17.
Give Oregon coach Mike Bellotti credit. After he first ripped senior quarterback Dennis Dixon
for playing minor-league baseball this summer, Bellotti told ESPN Radio's Colin Cowherd that the experience matured Dixon. Coaches as a rule think skipping "voluntary" summer workouts is a) lazy or b) un-American. Maybe the next Duck will get to broaden his summer horizons without getting ripped.
Breaking Down Alabama-Florida State
By Bill Curry, ESPN.com
Alabama is a very interesting team. It has the potential to be one of the better teams in the SEC by the last four games of the season -- if not a great team. For Bama to improve, John Parker Wilson has to grow up. He had a number of chances against Georgia but wasn't able to finish the job. On the other hand, he's a really gritty competitor who is willing to put his team on his back.
One thing that has mystified me this season is how dominating the Tide's defense looks at times -- sometimes over long stretches -- but at the moment the Tide can least afford it, the D gives up the big play. That's certainly one area concern for Nick Saban's staff.
Florida State, on the other hand, certainly is a work in progress. The Noles are breaking in a new staff on offense and they're implementing gradual changes. It might be a full year before we see what the real Florida State looks like.
Alabama has the upper hand in this matchup, especially because of how tournament-tested this team already is. The Tide has had tough, close, physical games against Arkansas and Georgia, which should benefit them later in the season. We're all creatures of habit: If you've been cruising, it's hard to put it in overdrive. If you've been fighting, however, it's second nature. Those are the teams that are the toughest to beat.
Looking Forward, Looking Back
By Bob Davie, ESPN.com
What we learned in Week 4:
1. Kentucky is really well coached.
Especially Andre' Woodson. An example: In the win at Arkansas, Woodson got the Razorbacks to jump offsides two plays in a row -- and he kept the play going, taking a shot down the field that put the Cats in position to score. I don't know if Kentucky has enough to win the SEC, but the Cats will be a factor in the race. If you put them in the Big Ten, they might be battling Ohio State for the top spot. In the ACC, they'd win it.
2. Utah is unpredictable.
How do you beat UCLA 44-6 and then get shut out by UNLV? Is it something in the water? Every week, it's a different story with the Utes, and it's been that way since Urban Meyer left.
3. Michigan has turned an emotional corner.
In the last play of the Wolverines' win over Penn State, you could see the the difference in the body language and emotion of Michigan's players. Has there ever been such a completely opposite scene in two weeks? Jimmy Johnson once said the thing he missed most about coaching was the feeling of winning after a few losses -- digging out of a hole is really exciting. But Michigan has to be careful to not expend too much energy. When I coached at Notre Dame, we went 0-3 and won the next three, only to lose the next two games at the very end because we ran out of gas.
What to look for in Week 5:
Most competitive game:
West Virginia at South Florida. Both teams boast similar offenses. West Virginia hired two of South Florida's assistants. And the Bulls might be the only team left in the Big East that can match the team speed of the Mountaineers.
Most entertaining game:
Cal at Oregon. If you like scoring, this is the one to watch -- it could look like an NBA game.
Penn State at Illinois. The Nittany Lions enter '07 with buzz after beating Tennessee in the Outback Bowl, but how good was that Vols team? Penn State has great skill players at wide receiver, but the offensive line is not as strong as those we've become accustomed to seeing. Illinois is athletic, young and talented. This could be one to watch.
James on Mike Gundy
Tim Tebow's New Technique
What to Watch
By Jim Donnan, ESPN.com
Here's what I'll be watching in Week 5:
1. Good coaches you've never heard of.
There are a lot of great coaches at the Division I-AA, II and III levels who we never hear about. Oregon coach Mike Bellotti spotted a good one in Chip Kelly, the former New Hampshire coach and new Ducks O-coordinator. The improvement in Oregon's offense -- especially Dixon's passing -- is a sign of good teaching. There are many more coaches like Kelly out there -- they just need the opportunity.
2. And good coaches you have.
Dennis Erickson has Arizona State in the top 25. The Sun Devils are the fourth team he's gotten into the polls. That's not luck. Former ASU coach Dirk Koetter did a lot of good things and brought in a lot of talented people. Veteran coaches like Erickson know how to tweak things the right way and put teams in a position to win.
3. Big names on special teams.
Rule changes have only made special teams more important -- and you'll have an opportunity to see some of the nation's most exciting players returning kicks in Week 5: Cal's DeSean Jackson, Florida's Brandon James and Oregon's Jonathan Stewart.
4. How will emerging players react to big games?
Oregon's Dennis Dixon and Cal's Nate Longshore both have experienced the highs and lows of major college football. They'll have a national stage -- how will they react? This is big.
5. Coaches switching sides at West Virginia at South Florida.
When West Virginia lost two of its coaches after the season, Rich Rodriquez replaced them -- with coaches from South Florida. Greg Frey, the Mountaineers' offensive line coach, and Rod Smith, WVU's quarterbacks coach, will face their former team Friday night. In a game that will feature two similar systems, two mobile quarterbacks and athletic offensive linemen, this is a story line worth watching.
Todd McShay's Midweek Exam
West Virginia-South Florida preview
By the Numbers
By ESPN Research
14: Kentucky's No. 14 ranking is its highest since finishing the 1977 season 10-1 and ranked No. 6. But even that season didn't generate as much excitement, considering UK was on probation and couldn't play in a bowl game. On Saturday, the Wildcats face Florida Atlantic, which is coached by former UK All-American Howard Schnellenberger, who was recruited to Lexington in the 1950s by then-Kentucky coach Bear Bryant.
11: The Big East's dean of coaches is Jim Leavitt, who's been the coach at South Florida since the program's inception 11 years ago. Having laid the foundation for the program, guided it from I-AA to I-A, then from Conference USA to the Big East, he now has made another huge step this season by leading USF to the top 25 for the first time ever.
109: There are 109 players in Division I-A who currently average more yards per game of total offense than Notre Dame (137 ypg).