After an underwhelming slate of games last week, college football fans have a lot to enjoy in week five. There are several matchups between two ranked teams, and the SEC picture will take a lot more shape after this weekend. The schedule is headlined by a game in Athens between two top 10 teams, LSU and Georgia.
23. Wisconsin at 4. Ohio State (7:00 – ABC) We have yet to see Ohio State face a true test this season. Wisconsin provide a formidable challenge. The Badgers were tested when they went on the road at Arizona State, a game in which they were the victims of a chaotic ending that resulted in a loss. Both of these teams have put up very comparable numbers on both sides of the ball. I tend to take Urban Meyer in the coaching battle, and since the game is going to take place in Columbus, I’m going with the Buckeyes. But it will be close.
Prediction: Ohio State 34 Wisconsin 28
14. Oklahoma at 22. Notre Dame (2:30 – NBC) Last year when Notre Dame traveled to Oklahoma, the game had BCS-like buildup and feeling surrounding the game. It is a different story entirely this year. Until I looked at the schedule, I forgot they were even playing this week. While they have yet to play any major games, Oklahoma has a decided advantage on offense and defense. The Sooners’ are only allowing nine points per game and are holding opponents under 300 yards per game. I don’t think the Irish are near what they were last year, so I’ll take ‘Big Game Bob’ in a big game.
Prediction: Oklahoma 27 Notre Dame 13
21. Ole Miss at 1. Alabama (5:30 – ESPN) Alabama has received a lot of criticism for the way the team performed Saturday night against Colorado State, and deservedly so. This is a chance at redemption, particularly for the Tide defense. Even in the victory at Texas A&M, the Alabama defensive backs struggled. I think Alabama will effectively frustrate Ole Miss quarterback Bo Wallace early. A key for the Rebels will be getting running back Jeff Scott in space to make plays. At the end of the day, Alabama has too much at home.
Prediction: Alabama 35 Ole Miss 21
6. LSU at 9. Georgia (2:30 – CBS) This is truly a collision game between two teams who have had good starts. LSU has impressed many with their offensive ability, which is an area in which the Tigers have struggled in recent years. Georgia has scored a lot of points in the first few weeks as well. The came up just short against Clemson and outscored South Carolina. So the big question for this game is about which defense will step up and play better. LSU’s defense is not as dominant as it has been in the past after four games, but the youthful unit is gaining experience with every outing. Todd Grantham’s crew, on the other hand, has been abysmal. I am very unimpressed with the Georgia defense, giving up 29.7 points per game and almost 400 yards per game. I think Les Miles will out-coach and out-game-plan Mark Richt, and the Tigers will go into Georgia and get a big win.
Prediction: LSU 28 Georgia 17
Teams on upset alert:
5. Stanford (at Washington) Washington State has done some impressive things so far this season, especially considering the terrible season it had last year. The Cougars went into Los Angeles and beat USC right after a near miss at Auburn. This will be a very close game, and Stanford will be fortunate to escape unscathed.
8. Florida State (at Boston College) Boston College is on the mend after several poor seasons. While Wake Forest is not a formidable challenge this year, the Eagles’ 24-10 win was impressive to me. After an off week, Boston College will be looking for blood. This 2:30 game will fly under the radar as the attention of the nation will be on other games, but Florida State’s had better be firmly planted on playing in Boston.
12. South Carolina (at Central Florida) South Carolina suffered a disappointing loss last time they were on the road, three weeks ago at Georgia. I don’t think the Gamecocks are in serious trouble in Orlando, but I’m not sold that the psyche of this team is where it needs to be. If they do go down at the hands of UCF, regardless of the fact that the Golden Knights are a good football team, it will be embarrassing for Steve Spurrier and his team.
20. Florida (at Kentucky) Of all of the teams with chances to be upset this weekend, this is perhaps the most probable. Florida was able to recover nicely after the loss of Jeff Driskel in the game against Tennessee, but I think after a week of preparation, Kentucky will have an effective plan to attack and frustrate Gator quarterback Tyler Murphy. A win at home over Florida would be a major step forward for first-year Kentucky coach Mark Stoops.