College Football Spoiler Alert Week 5
Embarrassing times last week for the CFSA. My upset special (Texas Tech over TCU) was done in by one lateral that couldn't make it to the end zone, but other schools couldn't come through for me either, as I was the victim of several other "upset specials". Let's get back on track this week, as we check out the 10 biggest games (all times EST, all ranking reflect AP polls)
#23 West Virginia (3-0) @ #15 Oklahoma (3-0)
Newcomers to the Top 25, these next four weeks are going to be very telling for the Mountaineers. Many believed that head coach Dana Holgorsen and his staff were on the hot seat, and they responded with three opening wins by a combined margin of 107 points, albeit the only one against FBS competition coming against Maryland last week. The Mountaineers now face a brutal five game stretch that also features visits to Baylor and TCU as well as home games against Oklahoma State and Texas Tech. I'd be more confident if this game was in Morgantown rather than Norman. Oklahoma is riding a wave of momentum, especially after posting 52 points last week, and when it comes down to it, I trust OU's biggest strength, QB Baker Mayfield, more than I do WVU's, their secondary. The Mountaineers will win at least one game in that brutal stretch but it won't be today.
Oklahoma 37, West Virginia 27
Minnesota (3-1) @ #16 Northwestern (4-0)
Here we have two teams that weren't expected to do a whole lot this season, but suddenly this is a game where the winner can have the inside track on winning the Big Ten West. Granted, they're probably just playing for the right to have their butts handed to them by Ohio State/Michigan State in the B1G title game, but it's still cool to put on the resume. Minnesota, while feasting on mid-major opponents, played TCU pretty well on opening night. However, it's obvious that Northwestern has had a more difficult road to go through, emerging undefeated thus far in a quartet of games that features wins over Stanford and Duke. Keep an eye on NW's defense, which has let up a mere 145 passing yards per game, a gut punch to the Gophers' inconsistent passing game.
Northwestern 20, Minnesota 13
Iowa (4-0) @ #19 Wisconsin (3-1)
Combined, these two teams have let up only 26 points per game. Granted, that's mostly due to playing mediocre competition, but it's impressive nonetheless. Another B1G debut of two teams that can win the wild wild West, the Badgers were dealt a big blow last week when RB Chase Clement was announced to be missing 4-to-6 weeks. Redshirt freshman Taiwan Deal had 147 yards last week in a blowout win over Hawaii, but he'll be facing a Hawkeyes rush defense that allows a mere 2 yards per carry and 84 yards per game. It's been dark times for Iowa football, but a huge win on the road can finally make them the most famous Hawkeyes in America again (sorry, Jeremy Renner).
UPSET SPECIAL: Iowa 17, Wisconsin 12
Texas Tech (3-1) @ #5 Baylor (3-0)
Whatever the over is in this game, take it. Two high powered offenses meet up in Waco for what's sure to be a back and forth tilt that features no defense. Texas Tech somewhat reintroduced itself to the college football world by taking TCU to the brink. However, Baylor is just too powerful. Whereas the Horned Frogs have looked shaky in their top five slot this years, Baylor, once again have replaced their departing high octane superstars with new ones. Seth Russell picks up where Robert Griffin III and Bryce Petty left off. Shock Linwood runs in the footsteps of Lache Seastrunk. Corey Coleman draws comparisons to Terrence Williams and Kendall Wright. TTU will give them a fight, but the Bears will roll on.
Baylor 55, Texas Tech 38
#13 Alabama (3-1) @ #8 Georgia (4-0)
We've seen one 2010's college football powerhouse, Oregon, fall into oblivion after two losses. Could the Crimson Tide be next? It's no knock on the Tide, who still boast a powerful lineup that's still capable of domination, but they'll be facing a Georgia team that can beat you through the air (Greyson Lambert has 733 yards and 7 TDs since transferring from Virginia) and the ground (Nick Chubb, with 599 yards on the year, will have a season-long battle with Leonard Fournette for the Heisman). The Crimson Tide are still a dangerous play no matter how you look at it, but the awe and wonder of previous Nick Saban teams just isn't there. The fact this one will be played between the hedges of Athens cements their fate.
Georgia 31, Alabama 20
#3 Ole Miss (4-0) @ #25 Florida (4-0)
Spare me the "Florida football is back!!!" talk. The Gators defeated East Carolina, Kentucky and Tennessee by a combined margin of 13 points, and somehow that earns you a spot in the Top 25? I'm all for calling SEC Bias a myth, but things like that only perpetuate the rumor. They should be put in their place this week by a high flying Rebels team that's still running off the high of defeating Alabama two weeks ago. That Crimson Tide win put the Rebels firmly in the discussion of the College Football Playoff and another win over a fellow SEC Top 25 team will only help. While the Gators are rumored to have 21 players affected by the flu, it will be fun to see Rebels QB Chad Kelly go up against All-American CB Vernon Hargreaves III.
Ole Miss 34, Florida 10
#21 Mississippi State (3-1) @ #14 Texas A&M (4-0)
7:30, SEC Network
MSU is another SEC team whose Top 25 prescience befuddles me. Their biggest win is over an underachieving Auburn team, with the others coming against non-Power 5 competition. You can say the same about the Aggies, whose Top 25 inclusion is based purely on a win against then-#14 Arizona State, who likewise has been disappointing. However, I trust the Aggies a lot more in College Station. If anything, it should be a high scoring affair between two of the SEC's, if not the nation's, top quarterbacks, as Dak Prescott and Kyle Allen will do battle. MSU is smack dab in the middle of a race for first in the SEC West, but A&M can cut them loose entirely with a win tonight.
Texas A&M 40, Mississippi State 31
#6 Notre Dame (4-0) @ #12 Clemson (3-0)
Who does this game mean more to? Clemson has established itself as an ACC favorite, but Notre Dame, despite racking up a perfect quartet to start the season, needs quality wins to pad its CFP resume. Enough can't be said on how DeShone Kizer has filled in magnificently for Malik Zaire at quarterback, and he's already taken down one ACC contender in Georgia Tech. He'll go up against a vaunted Clemson D that allows just 260 total yards of offense per game. Notre Dame has a tough schedule, and I don't see them going undefeated, but tonight I see the Irish coming out on top. Clemson will have it's time to impress, but unlike they Notre Dame, they have the luxury of competing in a conference title game.
Notre Dame 31, Clemson 27
Arizona (3-1) @ #18 Stanford (3-1)
10:30, PAC-12 Networks
This could be a matchup of teams heading in opposite directions. Stanford lost their opening game against Northwestern, but has since regrouped and is back in the PAC-12 title discussion. Arizona had a chance to prove it was for real last week, but were blown out at home by UCLA. The ailments of LB Scooby Wright had something to do with that, but the Cardinal look too powerful. QB Kevin Hogan has transformed into a more complex quarterback, no longer the game manager of Cardinal teams past. This is a desperate game for Zona, but with Oregon faltering, the Cardinal will want to tighten their grip on the PAC-12 North.
Stanford 27, Arizona 17
Last Week: 5-5
Upset Specials: 1-3
Geoff Magliocchetti believes SEC Bias is just a myth. Agree with him or convince him otherwise on Twitter @GeoffMags5490.
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