Week Five Predictions
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Twelve top 25 teams are involved in our 15 games of the Pick'em Contest this week. Here are my predictions for week five's games:
Mississippi State (2-2, 0-2) at Georgia (2-2, 1-1) - 12:00 - ESPN3.com - The battle of the Bulldogs features two teams that aren't bad, but aren't upper-echelon SEC right now, either. UGA bounced back from two early defeats to win at Ole Miss a week ago. They look to start a new winning streak. MSU, who has already lost to two West Division foes, looks to get their first SEC win of the season. I think this will be a close, low-scoring affair, with the visitors leaving 0-3 in conference play. Georgia, 20-16.
Kentucky (2-2, 0-1) at #1 LSU (4-0, 1-0) - 12:21 - ESPN3.com - While this game - on paper - is a sure blowout, LSU needs to be careful. The Wildcats are just good enough to ruin a season. And while an upset is a possibility, I would be an outright fool to bet against LSU at home. The daytime kickoff is all that brings doubt into my mind. Still, I think the Tigers are just way too good for UK. LSU, 35-20.
Air Force (2-1, 0-1) at Navy (2-1) - 12:00 - CBS - I am shamed to admit, but I know very little about these two teams. These miltary games always throw me for a loop. Air Force has been decent for a good while, and after watching Navy against South Carolina, I know they can play, too. The pageantry surrounding these matchups is great to see. I think this will be a close, exciting game, and I will go with the Falcons of Air Force. Air Force, 24-21.
Minnesota (1-3, 0-0) at #19 Michigan (4-0, 1-0) - 12:00 - Big 10 Network - The Wolverines look to flirt with the top 15 with a win here. If they can win this should-win game, a big jump is possible with so many top 15 teams in action against good teams. Minesota has been bad for so long now. If they were to win in Ann Arbor against a solid Wolverine squad tomorrow, that would be the definition of an upset. I see Denard Robinson having a huge day to boost his Heisman campaign. Michigan, 38-17.
#21 Georgia Tech (4-0, 1-0) at NC State (2-2, 0-1) - 3:30 - ABC/ESPN regional - I am calling fr an upset special here. GT is on a roll, we all know that offense is best in not only the ACC, but nationwide at 53+ points per game. But NC State is in dire need of a win and will have a rowdy crowd to help inspire them. Yes, I know GT is playing better ball, and the Pack lost to Wake and Cincy, but that is why this is an upset pick. In a thriller....NC State, 34-32.
Arizona (1-3, 0-2) at USC (3-1, 1-1) - 3:30 - I see the Trojans winning big here. Not only do they have home-field advantage, but they are looking to bounce back, and also have a better team than UA. Matt Barkley will light up the Wildcat defense, and USC will go above .500 - and back into the top 25 - with this win. USC, 36-17.
Auburn (3-1, 0-0) at #10 South Carolina (4-0, 2-0) - 3:30 - CBS - Despite lackluster efforts against some lower quality foes (exclude the UGA game here) so far in 2011, USC is still 4-0, and that is all that matters. Enter Auburn. Even a watered down War Eagle team, with so many young guys, is still Auburn - a program that prides on winning. The key in games like this is turnovers. QB Stephen Garcia must protect the ball for USC. Auburn doesn't have the firepower of last year, but are still dangerous. If Michael Dyer and company get a short field, look out. The Gamecocks must play a very strong game or Auburn will knock them from this early top ten ranking. South Carolina, 27-21.
Michigan State (3-1, 0-0) at Ohio State (3-1, 0-0) - 3:30 - ABC/ESPN regional - A classic Big Ten battle of two teams trying to get back into the top 25. The Buckeyes aren't quite as strong as in years past, but they are no slouch. MSU is also solid, though not as good as a year ago. As is common place with me, I tend to go with home-field advantage in these games that are too tough to call. With this being a conference game, expect a war! Ohio State, 26-21.
#13 Clemson (4-0, 1-0) at #11 Virginia Tech (4-0, 0-0) - 6:00 - ESPN2 - The Tigers of Clemson are cruising, but if there is one thing that can slow them down, it is a speed bump known as Lane Stadium. Though Tech crams just under 70,000 fans in there, this place - at night - is as tough of a place to win as anywhere. VT is a bit untested as they have yet to play a power conference squad, but we know the talent and coaching is there. Clemson, meanwhile is tested - to a point. The Tigers have yet to hit the highway, though...I would love to choose my Tigers in this one, and I will be rooting for them from the depths of my soul. But with respect to my opposition - and to recent history - I am choosing VT. Prove me wrong, Dabo, prove me wrong!! Virginia Tech, 30-27.
North Carolina (3-1, 0-1) at East Carolina (1-2, 1-0) - 8:00 - If UNC football ever wants to start being the real-deal, they have to win these kinds of games. You simply cannot lose to ECU (despite the fact they are "ok") and expect your fan base to take you seriously. Remember, these folks expect national crowns in the other major sport. North Carolina has the team, they just have to go do it. That said, expect a stress-fest if you are a Heels fan. UNC, 30-24.
Notre Dame (2-2) at Purdue (2-1, 0-0) - 8:00 - ESPN - Annually, this is one of the tougher games to pick. ND's games are tough to pick anyway, then throw in a Purdue team that is always up and down. So in the battle for the best of the state of Indiana (sorry, Hoosier fans), I think I will go with the home team. The Irish are 86th in the nation in points scored, while 38th in points allowed. Purdue is doing better in both categories at 33rd and 19th, respectively. I will go with those stats, as well as home-field advantage. ND fans, it could be a while til glory returns...Purdue, 33-24.
#8 Nebraska (4-0, 0-0) at #7 Wisconsin (4-0, 0-0) - 8:00 - ABC - Thanks to the heavy presence of Husker fans on this site, I will be pulling for the visitors here. And NU has a good team led by a solid quarterback. But, I am not sure if they can slow down the Badger attack enough to leave with more points on the scoreboard. QB Russell Wilson has been on fire in this UW offense, but he will face one of the better defenses in his career here in the Blackshirts. Taylor Martinez will lead the Huskers to some points, but I think they fall just short. Wisconsin, 36-30.
#3 Alabama (4-0, 1-0) at #12 Florida (4-0, 2-0) - 8:00 - CBS - The Swamp will be an electric place Saturday night. Though there is a ton of football left (including games at LSU, South Carolina and Auburn), Florida must feel that a win here would put them back among the SEC's elite. Easier said than done. Coach Nick Saban will bring his wrecking crew into town with one thing on their mind: an SEC win. This will be a very fun game to watch. In a classic, I will pick Saban to get it done once again. Alabama, 34-24.
UCLA (2-2, 1-0) at #6 Stanford (3-0, 1-0) - 10:30 - This could get ugly. UCLA - somehow - is unbeaten in league play, but that won't last long. The Cardinal and crew will blast the Bruins back to LA with a huge offensive explosion. Andrew Luck will pad his stats in this game, and Stanford will be one game closer to the big showdown with Oregon later this fall. I want UCLA to lose so that Rick Neuheisel's seat gets even warmer. Dude is terrible after I thought a few years back he was the perfect fit. Stanford, 49-17.
Oregon State (0-3, 0-1) at #25 Arizona State (3-1, 1-0) - 10:30 - The Sun Devils welcome in one of the worst performing teams in the land right now. If I am an Orego State fan, I am hoping for a loss to keep the losing streak going. I'm kidding, of course, but this coach needs to go, and an 0-fer would get that done. For ASU, the key will be to throw it around, as the Devils have the 23rd best passing attack in the country. Arizona State, 34-10.
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