GAINESVILLE, FL - SEPTEMBER 17: Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp watches the action before the game against the Tennessee Volunteers at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on September 17, 2011 in Gainesville, Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Will Muschamp's Florida Gators could insert themselves into the national championship conversation with a win over Alabama. And Nebraska and Wisconsin may be playing a Big Ten title game preview.
The college football rankings could see a couple of big shakeups in Week 5. Alabama travels to Gainesville to take on the Gators in a game between two SEC and national championship contenders. Nebraska gets its first test against fellow top-10 team Wisconsin in boisterous Camp Randall Stadium. And Clemson faces a third straight ranked opponent when it takes the field in Blacksburg against Virginia Tech.
Here's what's at stake in Week 5.
No. 3 Alabama at No. 12 Florida, 8:00 p.m. Saturday
If Alabama wins: The Crimson Tide have their toughest road game done and dusted, and remain on pace to win the SEC West by winning out and taking down LSU in Tuscaloosa in a big November showdown.
If Florida wins: The Gators put themselves at the helm of the SEC East, and might permit themselves to win the division and head to Atlanta even if they lose against LSU in Baton Rouge in Week 6. Florida will still need to keep pace with South Carolina, which ducks both Alabama and LSU in the regular season, but a one-loss Gators squad could earn the head-to-head tiebreaker with a win over the Gamecocks in a November clash in Columbia. And even a one-loss SEC champion will still hang near the top of the BCS rankings.
No. 7 Wisconsin vs. No. 8 Nebraska, 8:00 p.m. Saturday
If Wisconsin wins: The Badgers become the overwhelming favorite to win the Big Ten title. Road trips to Ohio State and Illinois could trip Wisky up, but the Huskers are far and away the best team left on the Wisconsin schedule — and may well end up dancing with the Badgers again in the Big Ten Championship Game. Wisconsin would also become a BCS National Championship Game contender.
If Nebraska wins: It's the Huskers who look like the overwhelming Big Ten favorite. They get Ohio State at home next week and must travel to Michigan, but would have one of the top wins in the country this season and would likely look strong for a BCS National Championship Game berth, too.
No. 11 Virginia Tech vs. No. 13 Clemson, 6:00 p.m. Saturday
If Virginia Tech wins: The Hokies will set up an ACC Championship Game play-in at Georgia Tech in November. No other team remaining on Tech's schedule would seem to have the talent to beat a team that can beat Clemson.
If Clemson wins: Would you believe that the Tigers would be both all but guaranteed a spot in the ACC Championship Game and well-situated to play for a national title? The Tigers would also need to score a win at Georgia Tech, and additionally meet with rival South Carolina in the season's final week, but could be undefeated and have six wins over ranked teams by BCS Selection Sunday. That won't move Clemson past undefeated SEC or Big 12 titans, but it could help the Tigers leap Boise State and become the next in line — an enviable position, considering how upset-friendly every week is in college football.
No. 14 Texas A&M vs. No. 18 Arkansas, 12:00 p.m. Saturday at Cowboys Stadium
If Texas A&M wins: The Aggies earn some early SEC bragging rights and restore their chances of being an at-large BCS selection, but only marginally. A&M would still be behind both Oklahoma and Oklahoma State in the Big 12 pecking order, and could fall behind Texas and Baylor fairly easily.
If Arkansas wins: "ESS-EEE-CEE" chants ring out in Arlington, but the Razorbacks do very little for their profile. A win leaves them no better than fourth in the SEC, and fourth place in the nation's best conference is only good for a ticket to the Capitol One Bowl.