Welcome back for Week 5 of the 2015 college football season. Through the first four weeks, we've put together a good list of prospects to track, which you can look back on here.
I talked with Jake and Greg, and we're coming up with a new plan for the remaining weeks of college football. Each week, the open thread will also serve as a rankings article. This week we're starting with Jake's thoughts on some of the top quarterbacks. He also includes a prediction for their Week 5 matchup.
We'll continue through each position as the season moves along. We'll have a short rankings list, then a couple top matchups to watch, and then a list of games on TV today. Obviously some of the rankings might include juniors or redshirt sophomores who end up returning to school in 2016.
1. Jared Goff, Cal
The Heisman trophy contender has lead the Golden Bears to its first 4-0 start since 2007, improving his ever-increasing draft resume on the way, and placing Cal no. 24 in the AP poll, the first time they have been ranked since 2010. It just seems that every time you bring his name up, he has broken another record. Goff's impressive accuracy and pro-ready throws has led him to throwing for 1,240 yards and 11 touchdowns to just 3 INT's through 4 games. The Bears knocked off Washington St. last year 60-59, but I don't see Cal letting up 59 points again this year with an improved secondary, led by sophomore cornerback Darius Allensworth.
Cal over the Cougars: 38-17
2. Connor Cook, Michigan State
Cook is also in the conversation for the Heisman and a top-prospect in the 2016 draft (behind Goff if you ask me). A hot-commodity that has elite size, a quick release and good footwork in the pocket. Cook has thrown for 838 yards, 9 TD's to just 1 INT. He is a very tenacious player when it comes to taking hits to fight for those extra yards or the first down, and his just all-around toughness throughout the game, he's a true competitor. Cook does need to improve his consistency if he wants to be on par with Goff, and he still hasn't really shown that through these first 4 games of the season. MSU is playing Purdue this weekend so it really isn't a game to pay attention to, or analyze/judge his performance considering they are playing an abysmal team.
MSU blows out Purdue: 38-10
3. Skyler Howard, West Virginia
This is probably a brand new name to most of you reading this out there, but you will soon start to hear his name more and more. Howard has thrown for 916 yards on just 84 ATT, and adding 9 touchdowns. It's been a long journey for Howard just to live out his dream to play at WVU, what began as walk-on, then continued as junior college athlete, takes countless hours of hard work and perseverance to get where he is. Howard is one of the most exciting dual-threat quarterbacks in the nation right now and his steady play is a big part of the Mountaineers 3-0 start. His best performance this year has been their 41-17 win over Liberty, when he tossed 3 TD's and 263 yards (21 for 26 ATT).
Oklahoma over WVU: 28-23
4. Trevone Boykin, TCU
Injuries are taxing the TCU defense, but their offense is continuing to thrive, led by the senior quarterback, Treveone Boykin. Boykin has thrown for 1,470 yards and 14 scores along with having 12 passes for 30 yards or more, leading the Horned Frogs to a 4-0 start. He has a great group of receivers including Kolby Listenbee and highly-regarded Josh Doctson, opening up the running game with RB Aaron Green. Boykin's legs are taking the air-raid offense to another level, resulting in them being the no. 4 ranked team in the country. The Frogs are taking on Texas this weekend, a dual-threat quarterback showdown in Boykin and Jerrod Heard. This game is shaping up to look like a shootout, while TCU's defense will be absent stricken with injuries and just a flat out bad UT defense.
TCU over Texas: 45-38
5. Paxton Lynch, Memphis
The Tiger's signal caller is the biggest reason that Memphis is off to a 4-0 mark. Quarterback Paxton Lynch who has been one of the most productive quarterbacks in the nation, with wins over Missouri St, Kansas, Bowling Green and an impressive victory toppling Cincinnati. The junior has passed for 1,270 yards and eight scores with a 73.5 completion percentage through the month of September. It looks like they are going to get another win on Saturday when they take on UCF, giving them their 5th win and staying perfect.
Memphis over UCF: 31-13
Notre Dame @ Clemson
The No. 6 Notre Dame football team is looking exceptional this year and certainly considered a team to make the the playoffs, but there is a lot of debate surrounding the team if they can contend for a National Championship. The quarterback situation has sort of been a problem, beginning with the transfer of Everett Golson in the offseason, and then the ankle injury of Malik Zaire, which will put him on the sidelines for the remainder of the season. Deshone Kizer probably wasn't expecting to be a key part of the Notre Dame's championship race, but he is, and he has stepped up to the plate thus far leading the Fighting Irish to 2 straight wins, including a victory over a good Georgia Tech team.
Notre Dames's top-rated LT Ronnie Staley taking on Clemson's Shaq Lawson, is a matchup to watch in Death Valley this Saturday. Lawson who is replacing Vic Beasley, is an animal coming off the end. So it will be fun to watch how the three-year starter in Staley, who could have been a first round draft pick last year, will fare against him.
Sophomore quarterback Deshaun Watson is trying to hand the Fighting Irish their first loss of the season. The Tigers are going to have to open up their pass game despite missing top receiver Mike Williams, so WR's Germone Hopper and Artavis Scott will need step up in a big game against a weaker Notre Dame secondary, to help out their young quarterback, who has already thrown more INT's this year so far (3), than he did all of last year (2).
Notre Dame over Clemson 21-17
Ole Miss @ Florida
Can Florida take down the no. 3 Rebels? The Ole Miss offense is averaging 54.8 points per outing (2nd nationally), and the defense letting up 19.2 ppg. (34th nationally). Ole Miss is coming off of a big win, knocking off the formerly no. 2 ranked Crimson Tide, giving the team an enormous amount of confidence heading into the sunshine state on Saturday. The Rebels are 4-0 thus far for the second straight season, and have no signs of slowing down soon, not to over-look Florida and their strong defense, but it's most unlikely that they can pull an upset (don't think they can't do it), due to their weaker offense.
Jim McElwain has led the Gators to a 4-0 start as well, making them a relevant team again in the SEC. They topped Tennessee last weekend 28-27, earning them a spot in the AP poll at no. 25. DT Robert Nkemdiche has scored 3 offensive touchdowns this season (2 rushing, 1 receiving) so it will be interesting to watch how Ole Miss will utilize the big man and how Florida will game-plan against him.
Ole Miss Rebels
S Trae Elston - leading SEC with 10 turnovers
SS Tony Conner
DT Robert Nkemdiche
WR Laquon Treadwell
WR Quincy Adeboyejo
RB Jaylen Walton
CB Quincy Wilson
CB Vernon Heagraves
QB Treon Harris
CB Jalen Tabor
QB Will Grier
WR Antonio Callaway
WR Brandon Powell
Upset in the Swamp: Florida tops Ole Miss 24-23.