College Football Predictions Week 5: Forecasting Weekend's Biggest Winners

Patrick Clarke@@_Pat_ClarkeCorrespondent ISeptember 24, 2013

BATON ROUGE, LA - SEPTEMBER 14:  Les Miles, head coach of the LSU Tigers, takes the field with his team prior to a game against the Kent State Golden Flashes at Tiger Stadium on September 14, 2013 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Following a brutal weekend of blowouts, college football will return with a handful of thrilling Top-25 matchups in Week 5.

Nine teams inside the Top 10 will be in action, including heavyweights Alabama, Ohio State and LSU, who will each be battling ranked teams this weekend.

Below, I'll predict Saturday night's biggest winners. 


No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide

TUSCALOOSA, AL - SEPTEMBER 21:  DeAndrew White #2 of the Alabama Crimson Tide celebrates his touchdown reception from AJ McCarron #10 against the Colorado State Rams at Bryant-Denny Stadium on September 21, 2013 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C.
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Let's face it: Alabama will be on cruise control until its Nov. 9 meeting with LSU.

And while No. 21 Ole Miss is one of the nation's top teams, winning in Tuscaloosa is an entirely different challenge than beating Vanderbilt in Nashville or Texas in Austin. Alabama is 4-0 inside Bryant-Denny Stadium since losing to Johnny Football last November, allowing just four points per game at home over that stretch.

In 2012, the Crimson Tide beat the Rebels soundly in Tuscaloosa, rolling to a 33-14 win behind 180 yards and two touchdowns from quarterback A.J. McCarron.

Expect more of the same on Saturday. After all, if you exclude Week 3's shootout with Texas A&M in College Station, Alabama's defense is allowing just 245 yards and eight points per game.


No. 4 Ohio State Buckeyes

COLUMBUS, OH - SEPTEMBER 7:  Head Coach Urban Meyer of the Ohio State Buckeyes and his daughter Nicole Meyer, left, and wife Shelley Meyer sing Carmen Ohio with the Buckeye football team after the Buckeyes' 42-7 victory over the San Diego State Aztecs at
Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

The Ohio State Buckeyes will take its first test of the 2013 season on Saturday night in Columbus when it hosts the 23rd-ranked Wisconsin Badgers to begin Big Ten play. And with No. 17 Northwestern and No. 18 Michigan being the only ranked opponents remaining on Ohio State's schedule after Week 5, a win over Wisconsin would be enormous. 

Expect the Buckeyes to come out on top, regardless of who gets the start at quarterback. Braxton Miller is 2-0 against the Badgers for his career while Kenny Guiton has done nothing but break records during his brief time spent as the starter.

On top of that, Ohio State's defense is much improved in its second year under head coach Urban Meyer. The Buckeyes rank 13th in the nation in total defense and are allowing just over 15 points per game in 2013.

Though they needed a last-second Hail Mary to defeat Wisconsin under the lights at Ohio Stadium two years ago, look for the Buckeyes to win comfortably this time around, moving one win closer to a second consecutive perfect season. 


No. 6 LSU Tigers

Look for Les Miles' sixth-ranked Tigers to pick up a massive W in Athens on Saturday afternoon when they top the ninth-ranked Georgia Bulldogs in the weekend's only Top-10 collision. 

While Mark Richt's squad handed No. 12 South Carolina its first loss inside Sanford Stadium back in Week 2, LSU is a more complete team on both sides of the ball and will pound Georgia all afternoon long with a steady dose of Jeremy Hill.

The sophomore from Baton Rouge is averaging over eight yards per carry this year and has six rushing touchdowns in three games. That's bad news for the Bulldogs, who rank 50th in the nation against the run, allowing over 143 rushing yards per game in 2013 and slightly more than four yards per carry. 

On the other side, watch for Aaron Murray to struggle against LSU's secondary. The Tigers aren't giving up much at all through the air this season and rank 26th in the country in pass defense, surrendering just one touchdown and picking off three passes through four games. 


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