Wednesday, August 27

College Football Preview: Week 5

Week 5: And Hey, September's Almost Over... Weekend

Week 5 arrives. You've made it through two weekends of horrible football followed by two weekends where you didn't sleep because you were watching two games at a time while TiVo'ing another that you watched at 1am. Get ready for something that's completely the average of the two.

Wisconsin @ Michigan
It's an interesting game, because Wisconsin has no QB and it's on the road.
Upset alert right here. If there's one thing Michigan's defense still can do, it's stop a bland power-running team. Surely RichRod will have figured out some kind of offensive scheme to make this unit semi-potent, which is more than they'll need to outscore the one-dimensional Badgers at home.
Pick: Michigan

Virginia Tech @ Nebraska
When Nebraska has the ball, it'll be good offense vs good defense. When VT has the ball, I'm changing the channel. On the one hand, it's got to be tempting to just not risk throwing the interception and punt on first down. On the other hand, Nebraska's Black Shirt Red Carpet defense generally tacks on an extra 50% to your QB's completion percentage, so you've got to figure Glennon can complete one in every three.
This has a lot of upset potential particularly since it's played in Nebraska. VT lost Eddie Royal, Josh Hyman, Josh Morgan, and Branden Ore on offense which leaves them with exactly nothing. Nebraska counters with losing Bo Ruud, Corey McKeon, Steve Octavien, and Cortney Grixby on defense. Did I mention I'm changing the channel when VT has the ball? You really do have to realize that VT is going to field one of the worst offenses of anyone with a winning record in 2008 (along with half the rest of the ACC). Nebraska does return four offensive linemen, Marlon Lucky, and Joe Ganz on offense, so they should at least be able to get something going by late September. I still think VT holds them largely in check, but Glennon will turn the ball over just enough for the Huskers to pull it off.
Pick: Nebraska

Tennessee @ Auburn
We'll see how both teams follow up a huge divisional rivalry. I'm expecting Auburn to be coming off a close, draining win and Tennessee to be fired up to redeem themselves after a 30+ point loss.
Does it matter, though? Auburn's the better team and it's a home game for them. It'll be close and for sure there's upset potential if Auburn's offense exceeds our preseason expectations the way it has the last three seasons... I just don't see it happening. Fortunately, we'll know a lot more about both of these teams - especially their offenses - after the first four weeks, so this will be more worth talking about then.
Pick: Auburn

Fresno State @ UCLA
It's yet another road game against a Big 6 school for the Bulldogs. Clearly Pat Hill has no intention of playing in the BCS bowls; otherwise he would have scheduled Northern Colorado and Charlteson-Southern. At least they're playing in their home state, and UCLA still has no QB. They should really address that issue.
Pick: Fresno State

Purdue @ Notre Dame
If Notre Dame is 0-3 going in, they're going to be 0-4 coming out. Not, not "coming out" in that sense - we've known about Jimmy for some time now. Curtis Painter is an elite Big Ten QB (*snicker*)... oh god, I can't even finish typing that... but hey, compared to Jimmy Claussen? Yeah, that's what I thought.
Pick: Purdue

Illinois @ Penn State
Last season, this was a surprise upset and a statement game for Illinois. Everybody expects them to be just good enough again to get massacred in the BCS for their third time overall, so they're not sneaking up on anybody this season. Should be a good game.
Pick: Penn State

If the whole month plays out like this, here's what things would look like going into October:
* The bloggers at leftfieldbluffs made a shitload of money placing bets on college football games.
* The nation is rabidly salivating over Ohio State, once again! They can't lose three in a row! Only Jim Kelly could pull off something greater than that!
* Notre Dame has another winless September. (assuming the only game we miss is SDSU/ND)
* Everyone has forgotten that we expect Oklahoma to play well in September but not in January.
* In a 2004 redux, Auburn will have had an amazing first third of the season but still find themselves ranked behind teams who started off higher and don't face the same top caliber of opposition.
* It's just about time for Clemson to forget that they have two amazing runningbacks. They have almost two weeks to figure out if it's possible for them to lose to Wake Forest.
* Michael Crabteee has already caught more TDs than any QB not named Graham Harrell is going to throw for in 2008.
* Utah is revealed as the lone legitimate contender for "BCS Buster."

Projected ESPN/USA Top Ten
1. Ohio State (god help us all)
2. Georgia
3. Oklahoma
4. Florida
5. Missouri
6. USC
7. Auburn (+2)
8. Clemson (-1)
9. West Virginia (-1)
10. Kansas

So that closes the first half of this little experiment - and yes, I put almost zero effort into the week 5 posting. Expect each week to be updated as a new post following the previous week's games, and maybe expect me to do this for October following week 5.