2013 NCAAF Week 5 Weekend Preview

September 27, 2013

Who else is glad we’re past Week 4 of the season?

With just one matchup between two ranked opponents, last week’s slate of games lived up to its status as one of the more uninteresting weekends of the entire college football season. The big boys beat up on the little guys (Ohio State, Louisville and Miami?) while Stanford was in control against Arizona State for the majority of the game, making for a fairly uneventful Saturday.

This weekend is almost sure to produce more watchable action. Big time matchups in several conferences means that the title picture could look a bit different by the time Sunday morning rolls around.

As far as the head-to-head prediction game is concerned, I continue to enjoy a large lead against the guests. Last week I cleaned up, winning all five games while Ben finished 4-1. The overall records now stand:

K. Becks: 16-4

Guests: 12-8

At this point I’m just trying to keep my foot on the gas pedal because I know how quickly the tables can be turned, especially as the matchups get more difficult to predict later in the season. This week my buddy Coleman Mahler will assume the guest prognosticator responsibilities. Coleman likes to make fun of me for what he calls “wishful thinking predictions” (which is essentially picking a bunch of upsets that could happen if things go right), but in order to make up some ground for the guests, he might have to bust out some wishful thinking of his own.

Here is a list of my top five games to watch this weekend, as well as five more to keep an eye on.

5 Games to Pay Attention to This Weekend

#6 LSU at #9 Georgia (Saturday, 3:30 PM ET)

This is without a doubt the biggest game of the weekend, as two top 10 SEC opponents square off between the hedges in Athens, Georgia. The Bulldogs have a chance to cement themselves as the best one loss team in the nation at this point, while LSU is looking to prove to the country that there are two teams in the SEC West with a very realistic chance at running the table.

At first glance, this looks like a typical powerful offense vs. juggernaut defense battle. Georgia is assumed to have the better offense in this one thanks to Aaron Murray and Todd Gurley at running back. But if you look at the stats, you’ll find that LSU is actually averaging more points (43.3 per game) than the Bulldogs. Georgia racks up more yards, but it’ll be tough to do that against the Tigers’ third-ranked SEC defense, which gives up just 310 yards per game. Plus, LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger may be one of the most improved players in the SEC looking at it from a basis of consistency.

Georgia proved that it will be a tough team to beat at home even with a solid defense when the Bulldogs beat South Carolina in a barnburner in Week 2. I’ve been impressed with the LSU offense, though, and think that this game could end up being very similar. The only difference is that the Tigers won’t give up four passing touchdowns. I’m taking LSU in a close one that will live up to the hype it’s been receiving.

My Pick: 35-33 LSU

Coleman’s Take: LSU has very few notable alumni, but UGA has not only bands R.E.M. and the B-52’s, but Alton Brown, The original TV food chemist. Tough to beat that prowess. UGA over LSU 31-27.

#14 Oklahoma at #22 Notre Dame (Saturday, 3:30 PM ET)

The Sooners and Fighting Irish will meet in South Bend on Saturday afternoon for a rematch of the 2012 game that most people thought Notre Dame would have a lot of trouble winning (they didn’t, though). The Sooners are in desperate need of a victory that earns them some recognition amongst the national media, while Notre Dame is attempting to hang onto a Top 25 spot that allows the team to maintain relevance this season.

The Sooners have appeared to settle on Blake Bell as quarterback, which is surprising considering the faith that Bob Stoops put in redshirt freshman Trevor Knight when he was named the starter for the season opener. However, no one is really quite sure how good Oklahoma’s offense really is as a result of the quarterback competition spilling into the regular season. Notre Dame’s defense may not be as strong as it was last season, but appears to hold up pretty well as long as the opponent doesn’t possess as much speed as a team like Michigan.

I haven’t seen quite enough out of Oklahoma to confidently say that the Sooners can go into an opposing team’s stadium and put on a display of offensive magic. Notre Dame will neutralize Oklahoma’s offense enough to allow for the Fighting Irish to score at its own pace and come away with a well-earned victory.

My Pick: 31-24 Notre Dame

Coleman’s Take: If you thought LSU had few notable alumni, OU has zero. I would give it to ND because of the massive alumni list, but NOT SO FAST MY FRIEND. They have Nicholas Sparks. I can’t pick the English program that allowed Nicholas Sparks to graduate. OU over ND 35-21.

#21 Ole Miss at #1 Alabama (Saturday, 6:30 PM ET)

Ole Miss has been receiving some attention thanks to a strong freshman class that is already contributing to the Rebels’ up-tempo offensive style. Hugh Freeze’s team is second in the SEC in rushing yards per game thanks in large part to quarterback Bo Wallace’s dual threat ability, but will face a stiff test against Alabama’s run defense on Saturday afternoon.

If the Rebels want to pull off the biggest upset of the season so far, they are going to have to hit Alabama in the same place as Texas A&M did two weekends ago: the passing game. Alabama’s pass defense is the one area where I see the Crimson Tide to have a glaring weakness, and the team that takes down Nick Saban’s squad (if anyone does) will have exploited it. The problem with Ole Miss being the team to take down the Crimson Tide is that the defense isn’t nearly strong enough to withstand the offensive attack Alabama will counter with. A complete team is necessary to beat the defending champions, and Ole Miss doesn’t quite fit the mold.

The Rebels have a chance to make this one exciting for awhile, but I expect the defense to let them down in the second half. I’d be extremely surprised if Bo Wallace & Co. can simply outscore the Crimson Tide en route to an improbable victory.

My Pick: 38-21 Alabama

Coleman’s Take: John Grisham v. Harper Lee. Come on, guys. This isn’t even close. Bama over Ole Miss 40-20.

#23 Wisconsin at #4 Ohio State (Saturday, 8 PM ET)

After Ohio State’s 76-0 thrashing of powerhouse Florida A&M, can the Buckeyes be stopped by anyone? Just kidding. The Buckeyes’ beatdown of the Rattlers means nothing other than a difficult decision for Urban Meyer to start Braxton Miller over Kenny Guiton, who broke Ohio State’s single-game record for touchdown passes…in the first half. The real test is on Saturday night, when the Badgers come to Columbus for the first time since this happened.

Ohio State has become a team under Urban Meyer that will simply try to outscore its opponent, clock management and stout defense be damned. The Buckeyes have the ability on offense to go blow-for-blow with just about any team in the nation, but will give up a few touchdowns while doing so. Unfortunately for Wisconsin, the Badgers had a much better chance beating the Jim Tressel coached Buckeyes. The Badgers are capable of scoring points against Ohio State, but I’m not sure if they’re capable of scoring as quickly and as frequently as they will need to in order to pull off the upset.

I expect the Badgers to expose some of the weaknesses of Ohio State’s linebackers, but most people will gloss over those details if the Buckeyes win. They should do that, and I think it will be by a couple of touchdowns.

My Pick: 38-24 Ohio State

Coleman’s Take: Ohio State has James Thurber, which is pretty strong. But Wisconsin has JOHN MUIR. The choice is clear, I’m going with the upset. Wisconsin over tOSU. 29-28.

Southern California at Arizona State (Saturday, 10:30 PM ET)

The nightcap game on Saturday between the Trojans and Sun Devils should be an interesting experience. Will it be a low scoring game thanks to two strong defenses, or will the score be low as a result of two sputtering offenses? Perhaps we’ll be surprised and both teams will come out of the gate slinging the ball around and we’ll get a typical Pac-12 shootout. It should be noted that while both teams are a bit of a mystery at this point, Arizona State has been far more consistent in 2013.

The Sun Devils are a botched call away from potentially being 1-2, so Arizona State fans have that to be thankful for. But fans in Tempe can also be pleased that the offense has consistently shown the ability to move the ball, which isn’t something that Southern Cal fans can say about their team. The Trojans had trouble against Utah State last weekend, and I’m not surprised in the least. Southern Cal is dead last in the Pac-12 in total offensive yards per game, which reflects badly on head coach Lane Kiffin. A similar offensive showing is definitely possible against Arizona State this weekend, especially with the way the Sun Devils defense plays at home.

Kiffin will continue to feel the heat from USC faithful, and as long as the offense continues to perform poorly, it’s warranted. Utah State isn’t a bad team, but Arizona State is better. The Sun Devils will be able to do what the Aggies did on defense and also do more on offense.

My Pick: 34-20 Arizona State

Coleman’s Take: Uhhhhhhhh….. George Lucas and Steven Spielberg. USC over ASU 16-13.

5 More to Flip To

#12 South Carolina at Central Florida (Saturday, 12 PM ET)

The Knights were able to beat Penn State in Happy Valley, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Gamecocks have some trouble in this one.

#11 Oklahoma State at West Virginia (Saturday, 12 PM ET)

Depending on how similar you believe Oklahoma State to be to Oklahoma, West Virginia could present some matchup problems for the Cowboys.

Iowa at Minnesota (Saturday, 3:30 PM ET)

The winner of this game will sit alone atop the Big Ten Legends Division. Really.

#10 Texas A&M at Arkansas (Saturday, 7 PM ET)

The Razorbacks will have a hard time slowing down Johnny Manziel, but if they can control the game clock with the running game this one could get interesting.

Arizona at #16 Washington (Saturday, 7 PM ET)

Two of the better running backs in the nation in Arizona’s KaDeem Carey and Washington’s Bishop Sankey will try to keep their team undefeated.

If you would like to become a guest prognosticator like Coleman did this week, please let me know in one of the following ways: email me at kbecks@aroundthecorn.com, send me a message on Around The Corn’s Facebook page, post a comment under this article or send me a tweet @KBecks_ATC. Opportunities to become a guest prognosticator will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Thanks everyone.

– K. Becks

One Response to 2013 NCAAF Week 5 Weekend Preview

  1. 2014 NCAAF Week 4 Weekend Preview | aroundthecorn.com on September 17, 2014 at 11:42 pm

    […] read Coleman’s stuff on here in the past and been amused by his picking games based on famous alumni or classic literature. Based on what he wrote this time, he’s either tired of trying hard to […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *