Week 5 is also a week of discovery, as lots of teams face real competition for the first time, or have a chance to show than an earlier slip-up was just that. Also, this will be the first week with “proper” previews this season, as I’m fully back from my vacation.
As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.
- Tennessee @ Georgia (ESPN): It’s hard to see how the currently formed Volunteers can win this one.
- Wyoming @ Michigan State (ESPN2): Wyoming is 3-1… but… yeah. Sparty all the way here.
- South Florida @ Wisconsin (ESPNU): USF allowed 315 years rushing to NC State. This does not bode well for their defense against the Badgers.
- Tulane @ Rutgers (ESPNEWS): Rutgers should, and I emphasize should, be able to take care of Tulane.
- Texas-El Paso @ Kansas State (FSN): Weird things can always happen against UTEP, but this would be super weird.
- Texas Christian @ Southern Methodist (CBSS): It doesn’t look to be getting any better for SMU’s season of utter disarray.
- Northwestern @ Pennsylvania State (BTN): We’ll find a lot about both these teams so far. For whatever reason, James Franklin seems to have drained whatever talent and wherewithal Vanderbilt had under his tenure and transported it wholesale to State College, though. So I guess I’ll take Penn State.
- Vanderbilt @ Kentucky (SEC): Speaking of Vandy, Kentucky should be able to get some revenge for the last few years here.
- Western Michigan @ Virginia Tech (ACC): VPI gets a good chance to recover here against the Broncos.
- Colorado State @ Boston College (ACC/RSN): I’m not sure how good or bad these teams are, so I guess I’m going with BC by default.
- Arkansas vs. Texas Agricultural and Mechanical (@Arlington, TX; CBS): I saw a tweet earlier this week that Arkansas’s starting offensive line averages 328 pounds per man. Suffice it to say, they’re in the top 10 in rushing offense. However, TAMU is plenty good in rushing and is 4th in passing. What TAMU hasn’t faced so far in their very soft out-of-conference schedule is any sort of legitimate offense, either on the air or the ground, so while I think they’ll still win comfortably it will be their first test.
- Florida State @ North Carolina State (ABC/ESPN2): So it turns out Florida State is a much better team with their best player, huh? The Wolfpack will probably pick up their first loss here.
- Minnesota @ Michigan (ABC/ESPN2): Boy howdy, things sure look bad up in Ann Arbor after last week’s moribund loss to Utah. (“Moribund” may still be putting it generously.) That said, at least on paper, Minnesota still has no business in this game. In their one game against legitimate competition, they lost 30-7 to TCU. This might be a low-scoring, ugly game. I’ll take the Gophers.
- Wake Forest @ Louisville (ESPNU): Louisville.
- Western Kentucky @ Navy (CBSS): Navy should be able to take care of business here, emphasis on the “should”.
- Stanford @ Washington (FOX): Washington is 4-0, but again, hasn’t really played anyone. Again, sort of going with Stanford by default here, but my real hunch is that we’ll find out a bit about both these teams here.
- Texas @ Kansas (FS1): I don’t care how “good” Duke is these days, losing 41-3 is not a sign of a quality football team. Longhorns should roll.
- Temple @ Connecticut (ESPNEWS): UConn is 122nd in the country in scoring. That’s… not good. It always feels odd picking Temple, but here we are.
- Louisiana Tech @ Auburn (SEC): Auburn.
- Colorado @ California (Pac12): Cal, in their quest for their first Pac-12 game in… a while suffered one heck of a punch in the stomach against Arizona last weekend. With 5:21 to go, Cal lead 45-30, and then proceeding to give up 19 points, including a last weekend Hail Mary to seal the loss. Fortunately for them, they have another pretty good chance against a not terribly good Colorado team.
6:00: Cincinnati @ Ohio State (BTN): Cincy took the first two weeks of the season off, meaning that they’re 2-0 and still haven’t played out their OOC schedule. Basically, we know even less about them than all the other teams I’ve been complaining about having a lack of information on. How will they fare against their in-state big brother? I dunno. Probably not?
- Missouri @ South Carolina (ESPN): How do you lose to Indiana? How? South Carolina should probably be able to figure things out here.
- Boise State @ Air Force (CBSS): I was going to give Air Force more of a chance here, but then I saw they allowed 38 points to Georgia State, so…
- Duke @ Miami (ESPN2): This was supposed to be the Duke Johnson show for the Hurricanes. It sort of still is, as he averages over 6 yards a carry, but less than 100 yards a game. Duke, meanwhile, is firing on all cylinders offensively, but… they have played absolutely no one. Given what happened last year, I won’t be shocked if the Blue Devils win, but I’m not banking on it.
- North Carolina @ Clemson (ESPNU): Last week was not a “Clemsonsing”, technically, as they frittered away the win against an otherwise good team, not the Marylands and Wake Forests of the world. They should be able to take care of the Tarheels, who yet again do not appear to be as good as expected.
- New Mexico State @ Louisiana State (SEC): LSU.
- Memphis @ Mississippi (SEC/FSN): I’m not sure I can cope with the idea that Memphis may not be a raging tire fire this year (see: solid win over MTSU, loss by 7 to UCLA), but I don’t think that will quite translate in being able to hang with Ole Miss.
- Notre Dame vs. Syracuse (@East Rutherford, NJ; ABC): I don’t know if Notre Dame is any good or not, but I feel pretty good about saying that Syracuse isn’t.
- Baylor @ Iowa State (FOX): Even if Iowa State’s defense wasn’t awful, well, their offense sure as hell isn’t going to be able to keep up.
- Texas State @ Tulsa (ESPNEWS): Goodness Tulsa has been awful this year. Okay, sure, you expect them to lose to Oklahoma, even if it 52-7. But getting blown out 50-21 by FAU? Oi. I think this might be the first time I’ve picked Texas State to win.
- Washington State @ Utah (Pac12): Well, Utah will face an offense that at least has some semblance of an idea of how the pass the ball, unlike last week. Wazzou doesn’t do anything else well enough, though, but this may well be the best game in prime time, considering the rest of this slate.
9:00: Illinois @ Nebraska (BTN): Nebraska may be the best team in the Big Ten. (That still feels odd to type.) Illinois, not so much.
- Oregon State @ Southern California (ESPN): USC’s loss to Boston College still feels like a practical joke of some sort, but, well, it isn’t. Still, it’s hard to call this one for the Beavers, especially on the road. Could be some solid late-evening viewing, though.
- Nevada @ San Jose State (CBSS): Nevada might be halfway decent, which is always a good recipe for making the Mountain West more fun. I think they’ll be able to take the Spartans.