Week 5 preview: Will chaos come to Southeastern Conference?

The first month of the college football season has produced plenty of surprises and teams with high expectations falling from the rankings.

Not so much in the Southeastern Conference.

If you’re looking for SEC chaos, maybe this weekend will bring it.

No. 1 Alabama hosts No. 12 Mississippi and resurgent No. 8 Arkansas visits No. 2 Georgia, two of the four games matching ranked teams on the schedule this week.

In the Big 12, No. 21 Baylor and No. 19 Oklahoma State both moved into the rankings last week and match their perfect records against each other in Stillwater.

No. 7 Cincinnati also faces what is likely its toughest test of the season at No. 9 Notre Dame.

BEST GAME

Lane Kiffin returns to Tuscaloosa as Ole Miss head coach for the time. Kiffin spent three seasons as Nick Saban’s offensive coordinator, winning a national title with the Crimson Tide in 2015.

Saban has never lost to one of his former assistants in 24 tries. Kiffin comes in with one of the hottest quarterbacks in the country in Matt Corral, who has thrown nine touchdown passes and run for five scores.

Last season, Kiffin’s offense rolled through the Tide, but the Ole Miss defense had no shot in a 63-48 Alabama victory.

Alabama’s offense has turned over its biggest stars from last year’s national championship team, but if quarterback Bryce Young can have a big day against an improved Rebels’ D, the sophomore could emerge as the Heisman Trophy front-runner.

HEISMAN WATCH

The Corral-Young matchup could produce two of the top Heisman contenders as October starts.

This weekend could also be Desmond Ridder’s time to shine. The Cincinnati quarterback goes to Notre Dame for a top-10 matchup that could ramp up the Heisman hype.

Beating the Fighting Irish in the shadow of Touchdown Jesus is a nice line on a Heisman resume.

Ridder has been solid so far, passing for 748 yards and seven touchdowns to go with two TD runs, but this is a the chance for a star turn against an Irish defense that has played better each game this season.

NUMBERS TO KNOW

1.01 — Yards per carry allowed by Wisconsin, tops in the country, which plays No. 15 Michigan. The Wolverines are fifth in the nation in rushing at 290.75 yards per game.

8-1 —- Georgia’s record in the last nine meetings against Arkansas, but this is the first top-10 matchup between the schools since the first time they played in 1969 when the No. 9 Razorbacks beat the fourth-ranked Bulldogs, 16-2.

10 — Consecutive victories for No. 25 Clemson against Boston College. The Tigers will try to spark an offense that has been among the worst in the country Saturday night at Death Valley.

1999 —- Last time No. 22 Auburn beat LSU at Tiger Stadium.

2013 — The last time either Arizona State or No. 20 UCLA won the Pac-12 South. The Sun Devils and Bruins face each other at the Rose Bowl on Saturday, looking like the top contenders to represent the division in the conference title game.

UNDER THE RADAR

Washington at Oregon State.

The Beavers are coming off the program’s first victory at USC since 1960 and now look to snap another drought.

The Huskies have won nine straight in the rivalry and seem to be getting back on track after an 0-2 start. The winner of this matchup could emerge as top challenger to No. 3 Oregon in the Pac-12.

HOT SEAT

Mike Norvell, Florida State

The Seminoles are off to an 0-4 start for the first time since before Bobby Bowden took over as coach in the mid-1970s.

Florida State probably can’t afford to fire another coach in less than two seasons, but the opportunities for victories are shrinking. Syracuse would usually be one of them, but the Orange are off to a 3-1 start and coming off a victory against Liberty.

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Follow Ralph D. Russo at https://twitter.com/ralphDrussoAP and listen at https://APpodcast.com

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