A word of caution to those convinced that Arkansas' prolific rushing attack will keep the Razorbacks in contention to beat Texas A&M on Saturday: a consistent running game only keeps things close if it's coupled with solid defense.
And Arkansas can't hold up the second part of that bargain.
The Razorbacks' visit to AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas (3:30 p.m. ET, CBS) will be a highly intriguing clash of vastly different offenses: Texas A&M, the high-flying, new-age passing attack, and Arkansas, the old-school, power-running game that could be dropped seamlessly into the 1950s and broadcast on black-and-white television. But the contrast will only be fun to watch for as long as the Razorbacks' defense can get an occasional stop. And that might not happen much.
This Arkansas defense surrendered 45 points to Auburn a few weeks ago, and the Tigers didn't even have quarterback Nick Marshall for the full game (he was suspended in the first half). The Aggies are scoring 55 points per game, and quarterback Kenny "Trill" Hill should have a field day in his first SEC home start. As such, look for this one to play out much the way Texas A&M's opener at South Carolina did: an offensive fireworks display that the opponent can't quite match.
Here are eight more things you need to know about Week 5 action in college football:
- Jameis Winston is irreplaceable, and he's about to remind fans why. Florida State's defending Heisman Trophy winner will pop the balloon that is North Carolina State's 4-0 record in a big way Saturday. The Wolfpack hasn't played a tough opponent yet and isn't likely to hold up well against a Seminoles team that blasted it, 49-17, last season. Don't let a couple of big second-half throws that helped save the day against Clemson fool you when it comes to FSU backup Sean Maguire. This team couldn't sustain a zero in the loss column without Winston. Love him or hate him -- and outside of Tallahassee, people are hopping that fence in droves -- Winston is primed for a huge game Saturday.
- Give him the rock. Washington linebacker Shaq Thompson is giving Pac-12 fans another two-way player, along with UCLA's Myles Jack, with his increasing role in the Huskies' offensive backfield.
- This isn't your father's SEC. That the Tennessee-Georgia game is kicking off at 12 p.m. ET rather than the CBS midday time slot, or in prime time, is evidence of just how far Tennessee football has fallen. Once a must-see border war, this year's game finds itself on the SEC undercard despite a relatively weak weekend for conference games. No matter -- The Todd Gurley Show will draw strong ratings, anyway.
- Is there ever a shortage of angst in the Big Ten? A 2-2 start at any major program is an automatic impetus for some sort of fan discontent. At Michigan, it's a quarterback controversy as Wolverines coach Brady Hoke is wrestling with whether Devin Gardner is the man for the job. Shane Morris, who entered for an ineffective Gardner last week in a loss to Utah, is the other option keeping Hoke awake at night.
- Steve Sarkisian's first season at USC hits something of a crossroads Saturday. Oregon State star quarterback Sean Mannion comes to town with more than enough talent around him to hand USC its second September loss. All the running backs behind Mannion average more than 5 yards per carry. Sarkisian's team still has the likes of Arizona State, UCLA and Notre Dame ahead on the schedule, and a loss to Oregon State could signal big trouble.
- Remember Mekale McKay? The former Arkansas wide receiver couldn't see eye to eye with coach Bret Bielema, but transferred to Cincinnati and has found himself what appears to be just the right home. He leads the Bearcats in receiving with 12 catches for 215 yards and three touchdowns (17.9 per catch) as the top target of talented young quarterback Gunner Kiel. McKay, who is 6-foot-6, will match up with Ohio State's Doran Grant, a legitimate NFL prospect at cornerback who is playing more press coverage this year. Just what 6-foot-6 receivers like to see.
- Don't look now, but Nebraska is 4-0. Coach Bo Pelini's uncanny run of six straight four-loss seasons will be well on its way to a breakthrough if the Cornhuskers take care of business against Illinois and its gunslinging transfer quarterback, Wes Lunt. Expect it to happen. The Illini's rush defense ranks a woeful 81st in the nation despite a weak schedule thus far, creating a prime opportunity for Ameer Abdullah, Nebraska's Heisman candidate in the backfield.
- Size vs. speed takes the stage in South Carolina Saturday. Missouri's pair of quick defensive ends, Markus Golden and Shane Ray, face off against a pair of South Carolina offensive tackles in Corey Robinson and Brandon Shell who weigh about 680 pounds combined. All four, to varying degrees, are legitimate NFL prospects. The Gamecocks are allowing just 1.25 sacks per game, while Mizzou's defense averages 3.5.