This Weekend in College Football: Week 5

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.

Noon:

  • Baylor @ West Virginia (FX): Baylor’s off to a 3-0 start but I think they’re going to be in for a rude awakening WVU’s first Big 12 game.
  • Pennsylvania State @ Illinois (ESPN): Both these teams are 2-2, but one of them just got blown out by Louisiana Tech. I’ll take the Nittany Lions.
  • Minnesota @ Iowa (ESPN2): Minnesota’s 4-0 record won’t last forever, but at least they managed to beat the directional Michigan team they played, unlike Iowa.
  • North Carolina State @ Miami (ESPNU): Miami: has better athletes than you and occasionally applies them in a constructive way. Which I think has a good chance of happening to NC State.
  • Missouri @ Central Florida (FSN): Side note: I keep forgetting Mizzou is in the SEC now. When I’m looking up team records on the ESPN standings page I always look for them under the Big 12. I don’t have this problem for TAMU, Colorado, or Nebraska though. Anyway, despite being in Orlando for some reason they’ll probably win.
  • Indiana @ Northwestern (BTN): Northwestern is 4-0 and has played 3 teams from BCS conferences so far this year. Okay, those teams were Syracuse, Vanderbilt, and Boston College, but still. Indiana meanwhile was part of the MAC-reckoning last weekend and lost to Ball State. I like the Wildcats’s chances of getting to 5-0.
  • Middle Tennessee State @ Georgia Tech (ACC/FSN): What do you say about a loss like the one last week? The game looked like a blowout after the first quarter, and then we shut them out and surpass them in the middle two quarters. Then everything goes wrong in the fourth quarter and we lose in overtime again.
    What’s the story going to be for Tech this year? It’s hard to say now, as the ACC title is out-of-reach with two conference losses in September (side note: can we just get a ban on conference games in September?). Pretty much all that is left for Tech at this point is to try to ruin our rivals’ seasons. But that’s really the story for the vast majority of college football teams, as the twelve-game season is such a fickle mistress.
    As for this game, this is (somewhat surprisingly) MTSU’s first game against a major conference opponent. They lost to a FCS team in their opener but have recovered to win two straight, albeit against FAU and Memphis.
  • Arkansas @ Texas Agricultural and Mechanical (SEC): Arkansas is a train wreck at this point, with John L. Smith again giving you the reason why you can’t look away. I highly suspect TAMU will get their first SEC win here.

12:30: Duke @ Wake Forest (ACC): Both Duke and Wake are 3-1. Of course, those losses were blowouts against obviously superior competition (Stanford and Florida State). That said, the Blue Devils can really throw the ball and Wake can’t really do much in the way of defending, so I like their chances.

3:15: Marshall @ Purdue (BTN): Purdue is in the ever-narrowing category of Big Ten teams that have yet to embarrass themselves this season. They shouldn’t have much an issue with this edition of the Thundering Herd.

3:30:

  • Tennessee @ Georgia (CBS): It was tempting to say the sky was falling for the Volunteers when they lost to Florida. It will be tempting to say again after this game.
  • Ohio State @ Michigan State (ABC): Ohio State almost fell victims themselves to the Big Ten’s general malaise last weekend but woke up just in time to beat UAB by multiple scores. I actually think they’ll be just fine against the Spartans.
  • Clemson @ Boston College (ESPN2): Boston College appears to still be awful, so… yeah.
  • Virginia Tech vs. Cincinnati (@Landover, MD; ESPNU): Okay Cincy has only played two games this season so I kind of think they’re good but I’m not really sure. Meanwhile, VPI has just been all over the map. I’ll err on the side of them not losing to the Big East twice this season, though.
  • Houston vs. Rice (@Houston, TX; FSN): Boy howdy Rice is really bad this year. But wait, so is Houston! Well, at least the Owls managed to get more than one score against UCLA, so I’ll take them.
  • San Jose State @ Navy (CBSS): It is a theoretically possibility that you may watch this game. I’m not sure why, but you could. Actually it turns out SJSU isn’t awful and Navy has no wins this year against FBS competition, so I actually like them here.
  • Idaho @ North Carolina (ACC/FSN): Poor Idaho 🙁

4:00: Arizona State @ California (FX): Cal is also winless so far this year against FBS competition. Obviously that won’t go on forever but I have to say I do not like their chances against the Sun Devils.

6:00: Florida State @ South Florida (ESPN): USF lost last weekend to Ball State. I deem their odds of victory are slim.

7:00:

  • South Carolina @ Kentucky (ESPN2): The Gamecocks are 4-0 pretty much in spite of themselves, I’m convinced. And with Kentucky back to being Kentucky this year their chances of getting to 5-0 are looking pretty good.
  • Towson @ Louisiana State (ESPNU): I wouldn’t have listed this except it’s on an ESPN network.
  • Texas Christian @ Southern Methodist (FSN): If it weren’t so late I’d look up the rivalry trophy for this game. Instead you’ll just have to settle for me telling you that TCU’s probably going to win.
  • Texas Tech @ Iowa State (FCS): We will know slightly more about these teams after this game, because for now this may be the shakiest pair of undefeated teams in the country. I’ll take Texas Tech almost entirely because they’re not Iowa State.

7:30: Texas @ Oklahoma State (FOX): The Cowboys have only played one other team with a pulse this year: Arizona, by whom they ended up getting pummeled. Texas hasn’t really played anyone with a pulse (Ole Miss doesn’t count) but so we’ll just have to go with “well they’ve looked pretty solid so far”.

8:00:

  • Wisconsin @ Nebraska (ABC): Wisconsin might be the worst 3-1 team in the country. For starters, they lost 10-7 to Oregon State. Their combined margin of victory in their three wins is 18 points. These games were against Northern Iowa, Utah State, and UTEP. Not exactly murderer’s row there. Nebraska is 3-1 as well, but their loss was to UCLA, and they solidly beat the cupcake portion of their schedule, so I’ll go with the home team.
  • Louisville @ Southern Mississippi (CBSS): Southern Miss is probably one of the disappointments of the year so far, as they were generally though to be a pretty strong C-USA team. It hasn’t panned out, and will likely continue to not pan out against Louisville.

9:15: Mississippi @ Alabama (ESPN): Good thing this one is late, as what’s going to happen to Ole Miss probably isn’t safe for the kids to see. Reminder: in four games this season, the Alabama defense has allowed 21 points. Alabama’s slimmest margin of victory this year is 27 points, from their win over Michigan. Yeah.

10:30: Oregon vs. Washington State (@Seattle, WA; ESPN2): Well, one Pac-12 power has been upset at CenturyLink field this week, why not another? Oh, right, Wazzou is awful. I think we’re all getting a pretty good idea of how slim the pickings were out in Pullman for Mike Leach. It may take awhile for him to restock the cupboard with any sort of talent.

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