You could say that Act I of the 2022 college football season ended with some of Week 4's strange surprises -- Georgia looking mortal against Kent State, Clemson's DJ Uiagalelei looking like the five-star playmaker he was supposed to be all along against Wake Forest, and so on. Now that almost everyone has been tested at least once, and almost everyone has looked vulnerable at least once, Act II can begin.
In Week 5, we will learn about how seriously we should be taking NC State, Kentucky, Ole Miss, Washington and UCLA. We will find out if this whole "Alabama struggles on the road" thing really has legs. We will witness another of many waves of competitive (and vital) tossup games in the Big 12 and Pac-12. We will ... watch Michigan-Iowa, I guess.
Here's everything you need to follow to get the most out of the weekend:
This is NC State's, and Devin Leary's, moment (or at least, it better be)
No. 10 NC State at No. 5 Clemson (7:30 p.m., ABC/ESPN app)
"Dream game. The biggest game I've ever been in. The biggest game a lot of these players have ever been in." That's how NC State defensive back Devan Boykin described Saturday night's game against Clemson on GoPack.com. This is officially rarefied air for Dave Doeren's Wolfpack; for all the high-level talent NC State has sent to the pros -- nine top-10 draft picks, three All-Pro quarterbacks (Roman Gabriel, Philip Rivers, Russell Wilson) -- the program has never finished a season in the AP top 10. This is somehow the program's first "top 10 vs. top 10" matchup; it's Clemson's eighth in just the last three calendar years.
NC State began this season at No. 13, tied for its best-ever preseason ranking, and after nearly falling victim to a Week 1 upset bid from East Carolina, the Wolfpack have beaten cupcakes Charleston Southern and UConn and taken down a solid Texas Tech team 27-14 in Raleigh. Doeren has been slowly building toward this point for a while, with nine-win seasons in 2017, 2018 and 2021, and while Clemson's offense seems to be rebounding from an awful 2021, the Tigers' defense appears as vulnerable as it's been in years. This is all setting up as Devin Leary's moment. Let's see if he can take advantage.