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National Games to Watch: Week 5

The Utes couldn’t get the job done against USC last Friday, meaning they’ll need a fair amount of help from some old foes and higher ranked opponents from this point forward if they hope to force their way back into the playoff conversation

BYU vs Toledo Saturday 10:00 AM MT – ESPN+

​With wins against the SEC and PAC-12, the 2-2 Cougars have a chance to improve upon last season’s 6-6 regular season record, and that starts with this week’s trip to Toledo. A BYU team with a better than .500 record will certainly help Utah’s resume as the season wears on, regardless of how hard it may be for some fans to cheer on the “team down south”.

Northern Illinois vs Vanderbilt 10:00 AM MT – SEC Network

​At 1-2, the 2019 Huskies don’t appear to have the competitive edge they did last season, however a win over an SEC foe to bring them back to a .500 record would certainly help Utah’s win over the Huskies look ever-so-slightly better, and after last week’s heart-breaking loss to the Trojans, the Utes need all the resume building help they can get. The Huskies are only a touchdown underdog against Vanderbilt, but ESPN’s Matchup Predictor gives the 0-3 Commodores at 76% chance of clinching the victory, which would be an impressive upset if the Huskies are able to get the job done.

#18 Virginia vs #10 Notre Dame 1:30 PM MT - NBC

​The game that will likely help Utah climb the rankings the most comes from Bronco Mendenhall and the not-really-in-the-ACC Fighting Irish. The 23-17 loss to Georgia last week took some wind out of Notre Dame’s sails, and with a surging Virginia team looking to prove themselves against what may be the only ranked opponent they face in the regular season, an upset victory would be the final nail in the coffin for ND’s playoff hopes and likely drop the Irish below the Utes in the rankings, while a Virginia loss would easily make room for Utah to slide up to the #18 spot, if not higher.