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Three Games to Watch Week 5

NCAA Football: ACC Championship-Clemson vs Virginia Tech Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

No Utah game, no problem for Utah fans. If the games are anywhere close to that USC-WSU game last night, it will be a great day of football today. This week a great national matchup and a lot of action in the Pac-12. Because of the games we get in the Pac-12 today, this could be a very informative weekend for where many teams are this year. We already saw the top Pac-12 game of the week, but there are games that are likely to excite, they just may not have the national implications of USC-WSU.

Arizon State at Stanford 2:00 p.m. MT Pac-12 Network

ASU started 1-2 in non-conference play, but they stunned Oregon late in the desert last week to start 1-0 in Pac-12 play. Stanford, like ASU, is sitting at 2-2, an unfamiliar position for the Cardinal. Neither team is likely to be a serious contender in their respective divisions, but the loser in this one is likely more or less out of the race, which seems weird to say this early in the year, but it just feels like it is that type of game.

Who to root for and who will win

Stanford is Utah’s next opponent, while ASU is tied with Utah atop the Pac-12 South standings following USC’s loss at WSU. Root for the Cardinal to win and put Utah slone atop the Pac-12 South standings. I picked Stanford to win this one at home. I do not think ASU can win this on the road with that defense.

#2 Clemson at #12 Virginia Tech 6:00 p.m. MT ABC

This game that College GameDay broadcast from this morning. In my opinion, this game will be the toughest challenge for the defending national champions in the regular season. This is a road game against a good Virginia Tech that gave Clemson a game in the ACC Championship game last year.

Who to root for and who will win

This game really has no bearing on Utah. Both teams are undefeated and ranked in the top 12, so regardless of who wins, they are Playoff contenders and the loser likely does not fall below Utah in the rankings. I think Clemson wins this game, and it would probably be better if they did because a one-loss Clemson team is still in the Playoff race, but Virginia Tech likely does not get as much benefit of the doubt if they lose.

Colorado at UCLA 8:30 p.m. MT ESPN2

There are two late Pac-12 games (what else is new?!), and I went with this game because it is between Pac-12 South teams (while the other is Cal-Oregon). Both teams started conference play by losing to a Pac-12 North team, so each is seeking their first win in the conference. UCLA has shown their rushing defense is suspect while Colorado played three Group of Five teams in non-conference play then got smashed at home against Washington, so it is hard to know where Colorado is. UCLA does have a potent passing offense led by quarterback Josh Rosen.

Who to root for and who will win

Since both of these teams are in the Pac-12 South and have each lost in conference already, a case could be made to root for either team. Both teams have comparable schedules down the stretch as well. The loser of this game will be 0-2 in Pac-12 play and will have serious questions to answer, so root for the team you want to be nearly eliminated from Pac-12 South contention. I personally would rather see UCLA lose since that passing offense with Rosen worries me more than anything I have seen from Colorado. I picked Colorado to win because I think they can run the ball all over UCLA and control the clock enough to win.