While they all count, it does seem that Week 5 is a little more important than other weeks. After all there just appears to be a big difference between a 3-2 or 4-1 record. Likewise, if you’ve struggled to date, a win this week can turn a potential disastrous 1-4 start into a much more manageable 2-3 record.
And, of course, starting the right running back will go a long way toward earning another elusive victory.
Last week we were great on the Starts, a little lacking on the Sits. And as always, I’ve scoured through the stats to find a few diamonds in the rough, and a few lumps of coal that you’ll want to avoid.
Grade: A. Graham, Miller and Scott were respectable while James, Dunbar, and Turbin went above and beyond.
Grade: D. Josey did much with just a few carries. Samuel would have been a bust had it not been for his 96-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter and Edwards was unstoppable around the goal line.
Start Em! Running Backs (BCS)
Eric Stephens, Texas Tech vs. Kansas: Kansas has been gashed by the run consistently this season and with no Darrin Moore for Seth Doege to throw to, look for the Red Raiders to lean on their ground game a bit more.
Giovani Bernard, North Carolina vs. East Carolina: Bernard has supplanted Ryan Houston in the Tar Heel backfield, and they are running the offense through him. To date, Bernard has 65 touches in four games despite not getting double digit carries until the second contest. Bernard has also been a stud around the goal line, which means he will get plenty of touches and a couple scores against the Pirates.
John White, Utah vs. Washington: White has been on fire lately, and this looks to be a shootout. White should eclipse 100 yards rushing with at least one score.
Jawon Chisholm, Akron vs. Eastern Michigan: This may be the first and last time I recommend starting an Akron player, but Chisholm has 52 carries in the past two games. He should get just as many against a putrid Eagles defense.
Javonti Greene, Eastern Michigan vs. Akron: I can't very well tell you to play Chisholm without telling you to play Greene against an equally bad Akron defense. Greene is being coached by former Michigan great Mike Hart, and head coach Ron English is riding his back right now. Look for Greene to break into the mid-20s in carries which should lead to over 100 yards and at least one score.
Trey Watts, Tulsa vs. North Texas: Watts is a spotty performer due to the nature of the offense and the emergence of Ja'Terian Douglas, but everyone will get their touches against North Texas. Thus Watts is a nice one-week fix.
Sit Em! Running Backs (BCS)
Chris Rainey, Florida vs. Alabama: Rainey has been on a tear this year, but that will come to a hard stop against the Crimson Tide. Look for John Brantley to get harassed thus making it increasingly more difficult to get the ball into Rainey's hands.
Cyrus Gray, Texas A&M vs. Arkansas: This is going to be a close one, and I just don't see Gray getting many carries as the shootout continues.
Rex Burkhead, Nebraska vs. Wisconsin: Wisconsin has been solid against the run, and with Burkhead sharing rushing duties with Taylor Martinez, I would be thoroughly surprised if he goes over 100 yards at Camp Randall.
Mike Ball, Nevada vs. Boise State: I tell you to sit Ball for two reasons: Boise State is murderous against the run, and with the emergence of Cody Fajardo as a rushing threat, there will be even fewer carries for Ball. Now as I say this I realize that Fajardo's running ability could actually open things up for Ball, but it is best to sit him.