College Football Picks: Week 5 Predictions for Every Game

Jonathan McDanal@@jdmcdanalContributor IIISeptember 26, 2013

College Football Picks: Week 5 Predictions for Every Game

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    No. 6 LSU at No. 9 Georgia is the site of ESPN's GameDay for Week 5.
    No. 6 LSU at No. 9 Georgia is the site of ESPN's GameDay for Week 5.Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    After college football's dull Week 4, Week 5's lineup looks exceptionally good. 19 teams from the AP Top 25 play ball this weekend, and there are four matchups between ranked teams to boot.

    Here are the predictions for all 49 FBS football games being played in Week 5.

    All times are in Eastern Standard Time

No. 11 Oklahoma State at West Virginia

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    Bob Levey/Getty Images


    Final Score: West Virginia 30, Oklahoma State 21


    When: Saturday, Sept. 28, at noon

    Oklahoma State travels to West Virginia to face the Mountaineers in Morgantown. Before the Mountaineers' Week 4 showing against Maryland, this game would have projected as far more interesting.

    West Virginia received a wake-up call from the Terrapins, but one week of serious preparation will not be enough to get past Oklahoma State. The Cowboys are 19th in passing offense, 10th in scoring offense, and they are going to destroy West Virginia's 110th-ranked scoring offense.


    Prediction: Oklahoma State 52, West Virginia 17

No. 12 South Carolina at UCF

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    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images


    Final Score: South Carolina 28, UCF 25


    When: Saturday, Sept. 28, at noon

    South Carolina has a surprisingly tough road game against the UCF Knights lined up for Week 5. The Knights started the season 3-0 after edging the Penn State Nittany Lions by three points on Sept. 14.

    The Knights have definitely beaten lesser competition soundly, but the only tough game they've won so far is that 34-31 Penn State contest—against a rookie quarterback. South Carolina has an incredibly balanced attack that puts up 479.7 total yards per game, led by senior signal-caller Connor Shaw.

    This will be the most successful team that the Knights have played this season, and home-field advantage will not be enough to stop South Carolina from using their depth to outlast UCF in the second half.



    Prediction: South Carolina 45, UCF 24

No. 15 Miami (FL) at South Florida

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    Joel Auerbach/Getty Images


    Final Score: Miami 49, South Florida 21


    When: Saturday, Sept. 28, at noon

    The Miami Hurricanes will be playing their second-straight game against inferior competition. This time, it's the South Florida Bulls. The Bulls may or may not do any better than Savannah State did last week, but Miami will definitely exit the weekend 4-0.


    Prediction: Miami 59, South Florida 10

Miami (OH) at Illinois

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images


    Final Score: Illinois 50, Miami 14


    When: Saturday, Sept. 28, at noon

    The Miami Redhawks enter their game against Illinois at a disappointing 0-3. Unfortunately, all three of the teams they lost to were not as good as the Illini.

    Miami will not finish the season winless, but the Redhawks will have to wait until Week 6 to try to get their first victory, as they face an Illini team with a 2-1 record against quality competition.


    Prediction: Illinois 48, Miami 17

Northern Illinois at Purdue

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    Matthew Holst/Getty Images


    Final Score: Northern Illinois 55, Purdue 24


    When: Saturday, Sept. 28, at noon

    Purdue has had some serious problems so far this season, and it's led to a 1-3 record as of Sept. 21. On the other side of the field, every one of Northern Illinois' games this season has been a nail-biter , but the Huskies have won all of them.

    Quarterback Jordan Lynch and the rest of the Huskies will have yet another close game with the Boilermakers, but that previous experience will help them win again.


    Prediction: Northern Illinois 45, Purdue 41


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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images


    Final Score: TCU 48, SMU 17


    When: Saturday, Sept. 28, at noon

    SMU and TCU both enter their matchup with 1-2 records, and they both posted losses to the Texas Tech Red Raiders and ranked SEC teams. This puts both of their strengths of schedule in roughly the same area, but that doesn't tell the whole story.

    For instance, TCU faced a much better defense against LSU than SMU had to go against in Texas A&M. The opposite is true for the offenses they met.

    TCU ranks 85th and 62nd in scoring offense and scoring defense, and SMU ranks 94th and 115th. This points to a clear TCU win, but the Horned Frogs could always fail to deliver.


    Prediction: TCU 38, SMU 13

South Alabama at Tennessee

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    Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images


    Final Score: Tennessee 31, South Alabama 24


    When: Saturday, Sept. 28, at 12:21 p.m.

    South Alabama has had a good start to 2013, with two big wins over Tulane and Western Kentucky. However, this particular game is not one that the Jaguars' should be expected compete in at the moment.

    The Volunteers will step out onto the field and look to take out their frustrations from their loss to Florida against the Jaguars. It won't be pretty, and the common opponent tells us that much.

    Tennessee beat Western Kentucky 52-20 in Week 2, and South Alabama beat the Hilltoppers 31-24 in Week 3. While the transitive property doesn't exactly work in college football, a 30-point discrepancy in margin of victory just one week apart definitely tells Tennessee fans to expect a dominant win.


    Prediction: Tennessee 49, South Alabama 18

East Carolina at UNC

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    Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports


    Final Score: East Carolina 55, UNC 31


    When: Saturday, Sept. 28, at 12:30 p.m.

    East Carolina is sitting at 2-1, and North Carolina is at 1-2 for now, but Week 5's matchup will make things worse...for one of them. ECU's passing attack is the 40th-best in the country, and UNC's is 42nd.

    Both teams have passable rushing attacks, but the Tar Heels' has been more effective so far (111.3 yards per game vs. ECU's 63.3). The difference in this game will be on the defensive side of the ball.

    The Pirates rank 43rd in total defense, and the Tar Heels rank 77th. That does not bode well for the 'Heels.


    Prediction: East Carolina 41, UNC 35

Virginia at Pittsburgh

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    Paul Frederiksen-USA TODAY Sport


    Final Score: Pittsburgh 14, Virginia 3


    When: Saturday, Sept. 28, at 12:30 p.m.

    Virginia's only loss is to Oregon, and Pitt's only loss is to Florida State. Those losses tell us something we already knew: Neither of these teams is going to end up in the Top 10 this season.

    The Cavaliers were able to put away a well-above-average BYU program on opening weekend, winning a defensive battle. The Panthers haven't had trouble on offense the past couple of games, and showed it against the Duke Blue Devils in a shootout in which both teams combined to score over 100 points.

    This game is one of the most unpredictable games of the weekend. It could be a blowout or a nail-biter in either direction, but the edge goes to UVA who have shown more on the defensive side of the ball. 


    Prediction: Virginia 38, Pittsburgh 35

Navy at Western Kentucky

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    Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports


    Final Score: Western Kentucky 19, Navy 7


    When: Saturday, Sept. 28, at 2 p.m.

    Navy and Western Kentucky are going play each other Saturday, and this game is going to be over quickly. The Midshipmen have the nation's best rushing attack, averaging nearly 400 yards per game.

    While the Hilltoppers have more games under their belt than Navy does, none of their wins were against teams nearly as good as the Midshipmen. They will have difficulty trying to stop Navy's vaunted rushing attack.


    Prediction: Navy 45, Western Kentucky 16

Akron at Bowling Green

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    Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports


    Final Score: Bowling Green 31, Akron 14


    When: Saturday, Sept. 28, at 2:30 p.m.

    This is a season-defining game for both Akron and Bowling Green. If the Zips are as good as they have looked over the past two weeks against Michigan and Louisiana-Lafayette, this will be a tight contest.

    If the Indiana loss was a fluke bad performance for Bowling Green, this will be an outright win for the Falcons. Akron may be improved, but they're still one season away from taking down a squad as good as BGU.

    The Zips' biggest problem is that they are one-dimensional. Their passing game is 46th in the country, while their rushing attack is 105th. Not only are the Falcons more balanced than that at 26th in passing and 38th in rushing, but each of those ranks is higher than Akron's in the same category.


    Prediction: Bowling Green 45, Akron 34

Troy at Duke

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    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images


    Final Score: Duke 38, Troy 31


    When: Saturday, Sept. 28, at 3 p.m.

    Troy took one on the chin from Mississippi State in Week 4, and the Trojans are up against Duke in Week 5. The Blue Devils found their offense in a losing battle with the Pittsburgh Panthers, and that will be the difference in this game.

    However, Duke also displayed very little defense in either one of their last two games, so don't expect a shutout on Saturday.


    Prediction: Duke 63, Troy 24

Colorado at Oregon State

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    Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODA


    Final Score: Oregon State 44, Colorado 17


    When: Saturday, Sept. 28, at 3 p.m.

    Oregon State and Colorado have two of the 10 best passing offenses in the country, and this is going to be a straight shootout for the first three quarters. The Beavers are far more battle-tested than the Buffaloes, considering Colorado has played just two games this season.

    Both those games were against non-AQ competition, as well. Had the Fresno State game been held two weeks ago, the Buffs would have been far better prepared for what's coming at Oregon State.


    Prediction: Oregon State 59, Colorado 38

Toledo at Ball State

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    Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports


    Final Score: Ball State 31, Toledo 24


    When: Saturday, Sept. 28, at 3 p.m.

    Toledo is 2-2 to start the year after opening the season with two losses to SEC schools. Neither was a blowout, and showed that Toledo is capable of hanging with the big boys.

    Ball State has played admirably so far, and its lone loss is to a surprisingly good North Texas program. So far, the Cardinals have displayed an extremely efficient offense that will score them this win.The Cardinals have scored 21 touchdowns through just four games, leaving little room for Toledo to squeeze in a win here.


    Prediction: Ball State 39, Toledo 18

Wake Forest at No. 3 Clemson

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    Liz Condo-USA TODAY Sports


    Final Score: Clemson 56, Wake Forest 7


    When: Saturday, Sept. 28, at 3:30 p.m.

    This game is a perfect example of how big the gap between a top team and bottom team can be in any given conference, AQ or non-AQ alike. Clemson is a top-tier team with legitimate title hopes, both conference and national.

    Wake Forest is simply trying to figure out where its other four wins are going to come from to get it into the postseason. There's only one thing we know for sure at this point: One of the four wins is not coming against the Tigers.


    Prediction: Clemson 56, Wake Forest 10

No. 6 LSU at No. 9 Georgia

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    Final Score: Georgia 44, LSU 41


    When: Saturday, Sept. 28, at 3:30 p.m.

    LSU and Georgia face off in the game of the week, and it's on Georgia's turf. The Tigers come in undefeated, and the Bulldogs hope to beat a Top 10 team for the second time this season.

    The offenses are basically equal, with both scoring over 40 points per game.

    The defenses are also equal, with Georgia allowing 10 more points per game to better offenses (i.e. Clemson) than the Tigers faced. 

    There is one basic observation that predicts this outcome: LSU's offense is far better than it was in 2011, and Georgia's defense is worse than in that same year. LSU beat Georgia badly in Atlanta that season, the last time these two teams met.

    The jury is still out on LSU's defense, but it's been good enough for four straight wins so far.


    Prediction: LSU 38, Georgia 28

No. 8 Florida State at Boston College

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    Stacy Revere/Getty Images


    Final Score: Florida State 48, Boston College 34


    When: Saturday, Sept. 28, at 3:30 p.m.

    Florida State faces a Boston College Eagles team that is not the same class as the Seminoles.

    The Seminoles have plenty of possible losses on their schedule, but Boston College is not one of them after they learned their lesson from last year. It's a road trip for the Seminoles, but they will be acutely aware that this is a similar situation as the 2012 NC State game—which they lost.

    They won't make the same mistake two years in a row.


    Prediction: Florida State 52, Boston College 16

No. 14 Oklahoma at No. 22 Notre Dame

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    Final Score: Oklahoma 35, Notre Dame 21


    When: Saturday, Sept. 28, at 3:30 p.m.

    This is the other heavyweight battle between two ranked teams that kicks off at 3:30. Oklahoma travels to Notre Dame to settle the score from last season.

    Sadly, statistics don't really work for this battle, as the Sooners have played Louisiana-Monroe, West Virginia and Tulsa where the Irish have faced Temple, Michigan, Purdue and Michigan State. The Irish have allowed more points and scored fewer than the Sooners, but they've played better competition.

    This comes down to a balanced offense. Oklahoma averages over 200 yards on the ground and through the air, while Notre Dame averages 280 passing and 113 rushing. The Irish aren't completely one-dimensional by any means, but they can be forced into an aerial-only attack fairly easily by Oklahoma.


    Prediction: Oklahoma 35, Notre Dame 27

UTEP at Colorado State

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images


    Final Score: Colorado State 59, UTEP 42


    When: Saturday, Sept. 28, at 3:30 p.m.

    UTEP and Colorado State each have just one win, but only UTEP's is over an FBS opponent: New Mexico State. The Miners have a more balanced offense, and they are allowing a mere two points per game more on defense than Colorado State.

    The Rams have some wins coming this season, but it doesn't look good for Week 5.


    Prediction: UTEP 31, Colorado State 24

Iowa at Minnesota

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    Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports


    Final Score: Iowa 23, Minnesota 7


    When: Saturday, Sept. 28, at 3:30 p.m.

    Iowa lost to Northern Illinois but quickly rebounded and went on a 3-0 tear after that. Minnesota hasn't lost a game yet, but the Golden Gophers haven't really played anyone, either.

    The good news for Gopher fans is that their games haven't been close. Minnesota is beating up on lesser competition the way a solid FBS team should, which is more than Iowa can say. This game won't be that close at the final whistle, but it won't be a blowout, either.


    Prediction: Minnesota 38, Iowa 23


    Final Score:

Central Michigan at NC State

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    Liz Condo-USA TODAY Sports


    Final Score: NC State 48, Central Michigan 14


    When: Saturday, Sept. 28, at 3:30 p.m.

    NC State is coming off close games with Richmond and Clemson, and the Wolfpack are looking for a convincing win to get the train back on the rails. Luckily, Central Michigan is roughly the same quality of team as NC State's Week 1 foe, Louisiana Tech.

    The Wolfpack will not have any trouble getting rid of the Chippewas.


    Prediction: NC State 42, Central Michigan 14

Connecticut at Buffalo

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    David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports


    Final Score: Buffalo 41, Connecticut 12


    When: Saturday, Sept. 28, at 3:30 p.m.

    Connecticut and Buffalo are meeting in Buffalo for the Week 5 battle that will basically determine the Huskies' fate for 2013. UConn has managed to find a way to lose to every opponent by fewer and fewer points each week, and it's due for a win.

    Buffalo took five overtimes to get rid of a pesky and successful Stony Brook squad from the FCS in Week 4, and the Bulls are still looking for their first FBS win of the season as well. In terms of yardage and points scored, these two teams are eerily similar.

    The Buffs have averaged almost 330 yards and nearly 20 points per game, and the Huskies are sitting at 290 yards and exactly 20 points per game. This game should be as close as any this weekend.

    Statistically, Buffalo's defense is far inferior to Connecticut's (124th vs. 85th), but those two games against top-five offensive teams really hurt Buffalo's stat line. Don't put too much stock in those defensive numbers.


    Prediction: Connecticut 24, Buffalo 21

Army vs. Louisiana Tech

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    John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports


    Final Score: Army 35, Louisiana Tech 16


    When: Saturday, Sept. 28, at 4 p.m.

    Army and Louisiana Tech are two of the worst FBS performers so far this year, and they will settle the debate as to which team is better on Sept. 28. Army played Stanford tough in Week 3, but the Black Knights have looked like anything but a contender in every other game they've played.

    Louisiana Tech, on the other hand, has lost close contests with its last two opponents and enters this game with a little momentum. Granted, it's not the winning momentum that the Bulldogs became accustomed to last season, but it's still momentum.

    This game will be decided in the fourth quarter by the better offense. The more balanced attack will emerge victorious, and that's Louisiana Tech.

    The Bulldogs have per-game averages of 199.5 yards through the air and 173.5 on the ground this season, and that's almost perfect blance. Army, on the other hand, is a run-first team that averages just 78 yards through the air.

    Both these teams are terrible at finding the end zone, though, and neither has crossed the 20-point barrier as far as average points are concerned. It's going to be ugly, but someone has to win.


    Prediction: Louisiana Tech 31, Army 28

Houston at UTSA

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    Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports


    Final Score: Houston 59, UTSA 28


    When: Saturday, Sept. 28, at 4 p.m.

    Houston is struggling to find its identity on offense, but the defense has done well picking up the slack. So far, the Cougars are undefeated.

    UTSA is exponentially better than it was last season, but the Roadrunners are going to have to look to their own conference for wins. Even a member of the American Athletic Conference is going to be too tough an opponent for them.


    Prediction: Houston 34, UTSA 17

Temple at Idaho

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    Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports


    Final Score: Idaho 26, Temple 24


    When: Saturday, Sept. 28, at 5 p.m.

    This week's "somebody has to lose" match is between the 0-3 Temple Owls and the 0-4 Idaho Vandals. Unfortunately for Idaho, it's going to lose.

    The Vandals had one good showing against the Wyoming Cowboys in which they scored 35 points. Temple, unbelievably, hasn't allowed that many points to a single team this season.

    The Owls will win this one by default.


    Prediction: Temple 38, Idaho 27

Albany at Old Dominion

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    Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports


    Final Score: Old Dominion 66, Albany 10


    When: Saturday, Sept. 28, at 6 p.m.

    Old Dominion is already halfway through its first segment of FCS schools in the transitional phase of its FBS migration, and Albany is the next victim on the list.

    The Monarchs have a potent offense that's been largely stifled by their FBS opponents, and they'll vent their frustrations on the Albany Great Danes. At least the Monarchs won't finish the season without a few wins.

    According to Jeff Sagarin's power rankings, Albany is the 208th-best team in the complete college football world. While Old Dominion isn't exactly knocking on the door of a national championship, the Monarchs do come in at a relatively solid (compared to the Great Danes) 145th.


    Prediction: Old Dominion 63, Albany 6

No. 21 Ole Miss at No. 1 Alabama

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    Final Score: Alabama 25, Ole Miss 0


    When: Saturday, Sept. 28, at 6:30 p.m.

    This might not be the marquee game of the week, thanks to Georgia and LSU, but this is one of the biggest upset alerts of the season. Ole Miss is on the rise in the SEC, and I'll reiterate what I've already said this year: Ole Miss is going to ruin someone's season.

    This will be a much bigger battle than Alabama may realize, as the Rebels have potent offensive weapons all over the field. They don't just have a Mike Evans, they have four. They also have a Ben Malena equivalent in Jeff Scott.

    In fact, the only thing Ole Miss is missing is Johnny Manziel, but Bo Wallace is capable at his best of playing one game as well as Johnny Football. The big issue for the Rebels is that they gave Alabama a blueprint for success in their game against Vanderbilt in the season opener.

    The Tide have game tape to show them how to get a lead, and Alabama is good enough to keep the Rebels from mounting a comeback. The Tide learned about comebacks against Texas A&M. That's not going to happen again this soon afterward.


    Prediction: Alabama 45, Ole Miss 24

No. 10 Texas A&M at Arkansas

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    Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports


    Final Score: Texas A&M 45, Arkansas 33


    When: Saturday, Sept. 28, at 7 p.m.

    Arkansas just got a new head coach this season, and Bret Bielema has got a lot of work to do to get the Razorbacks competitive again in the SEC. Arkansas will have a much stronger year than in 2012, but to think that the Hogs are ready to take on Texas A&M already is too much.

    The Aggies will blow through the Razorbacks by halftime, and Johnny Manziel will hang 50 on that defense. After all, they gave up 28 points to a Rutgers squad that is far less talented offensively than A&M.


    Prediction: Texas A&M 56, Arkansas 28

Arizona at No. 16 Washington

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images


    Final Score: Washington 31, Arizona 13


    When: Saturday, Sept. 28, at 7 p.m.

    Washington's biggest game so far this season was their 34-24 win over Illinois. That's not a bad win, especially if you take a look at how well the Illini are playing. Arizona's biggest win is their defeat of the UTSA Roadrunners 38-13.

    That's an okay win, but it's nothing to write home about. Both these teams are going to start playing "real" football on Sept. 28, and the winner will almost certainly be in the Top 25 on Sunday afternoon.

    Both teams are allowing 10 or fewer points per game against the lesser competition, and both teams are also scoring over 40. If any game of the week deserves to be a coin-toss pick, it's this one.

    However, coin tosses are for the movies, and there is a clear advantage here. Washington has a balanced offense, and the Arizona Wildcats basically have a Georgia Tech-style rushing attack working for them.

    Arizona quarterback B.J. Denker is a measly 31-of-55 for 326 yards and two touchdowns this season. To put that in perspective, Washington's Keith Price did better than that against Illinois alone.


    Prediction: Washington 42, Arizona 24

No. 20 Florida at Kentucky

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    Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images


    Final Score: Florida 24, Kentucky 7


    When: Saturday, Sept. 28, at 7 p.m.

    Florida has yet another game against a 2012 SEC bottom-feeder in Week 5, but this matchup is against Kentucky, not Tennessee. The Gators will likely be exposed as overrated at some point this season, but the nation's 56th-ranked defense isn't going to do it.

    The Gators will have Tyler Murphy under center at the start of this game, and he will do something that Jeff Driskel had yet to be able to do: generate a passing attack.

    The Gators aren't going to ride Murphy to an SEC title, but they will ride him to a victory against the Wildcats.


    Prediction: Florida 38, Kentucky 21

Florida Atlantic at Rice

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    Scott Halleran/Getty Images


    Final Score: Rice 18, Florida Atlantic 14


    When: Saturday, Sept. 28, at 7 p.m.

    Florida Atlantic is in dire straits this season, and wins have been difficult to come by. Rice has also had a terrible time finding wins this year. Both teams enter this bout with just one win each, and it's going to be a close one.

    Neither team has a clear advantage on defense, so the scoring should be high. Rice has a 50-yard higher average in both the passing and rushing games, so that's the deciding factor here.


    Prediction: Rice 52, Florida Atlantic 38

Wyoming at Texas State

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    USA TODAY Sports


    Final Score: Texas State 42, Wyoming 21


    When: Saturday, Sept. 28, at 7 p.m.

    Texas State faces Wyoming on Saturday, and that's going to be a big problem for the Bobcats. The Cowboys are ranked inside the top 35 in passing yards, rushing yards, scoring offense and scoring defense.

    Texas State's best rank in any one of those categories is 26th (scoring defense). The biggest difference is that Wyoming nearly beat its AQ opponent, where the Bobcats lost to theirs by 26 points.

    Texas State still has a few wins left on the schedule, but Wyoming is not going to be one of them.


    Prediction: Wyoming 49, Texas State 12

Tulane at Louisiana-Monroe

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    Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports


    Final Score: Tulane 31, Louisiana-Monroe 14


    When: Saturday, Sept. 28, at 7 p.m.

    For a 2-2 team four weeks into the season, there are a lot of unknowns surrounding the Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks. Louisiana-Monroe's only losses were to Oklahoma and Baylor, two Big 12 title hopefuls.

    Tulane lost to the South Alabama Jaguars by two points, but the Jaguars look like a completely different team from their 2012 unit. The statistical discrepancy between these two teams favors the Green Wave, which makes total sense after ULM played two undefeated AQ teams.

    However, the Green Wave posted a blowout loss to Syracuse, and they barely beat a Louisiana Tech squad that's a shell of its former self.

    Overall, Kolton Browning will be the difference in this game, and he'll bring home the win for the Warhawks.


    Prediction: Louisiana-Monroe 39, Tulane 24

Kent State at Western Michigan

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    Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports


    Final Score: Kent State 32, Western Michigan 14


    When: Saturday, Sept. 28, at 7 p.m.

    Kent State has gone from Mid-American Conference contender to "maybe the Golden Flashes can beat Western Michigan" in one short offseason. As it turns out, the tandem of Dri Archer and Trayion Durham is severely hampered when one of them is sidelined.

    Without Archer, this Kent State team has limped to a 1-3 record as of Week 4. The great news for Golden Flashes fans is that Archer is expected to play against Western Michigan.

    It's not a lock, but if Archer is on the field, it's almost impossible to see a way Western Michigan can win.The Broncos are at 0-4 with a four-point loss to Nicholls State. Kent State is much better than Nicholls State.


    Prediction: Kent State 33, Western Michigan 27

Arkansas State at Missouri

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    Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports


    Final Score: Missouri 41, Arkansas State 19


    When: Saturday, Sept. 28, at 7:30 p.m.

    Arkansas State is one of the biggest letdown teams of the year. After two 10-win seasons in a row, the Red Wolves are nearly guaranteed not to do it again in 2013.

    To be clear, it's not that there aren't eight more wins left on the schedule, it's that a 24-point loss to Memphis makes those wins improbable. It seems like a lifetime ago that the Red Wolves would have had a decent chance of taking down the Missouri Tigers.

    At this particular juncture, this is just a mismatch that won't entertain anyone except Missouri fans who love to see their team continue as the only undefeated team in the SEC East.


    Prediction: Missouri 52, Arkansas State 10

UAB at Vanderbilt

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    Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports


    Final Score: Vanderbilt 52, UAB 24


    When: Saturday, Sept. 28, at 7:30 p.m.

    Vanderbilt hosts UAB in a game that will put the Commodores halfway to the postseason after Week 5. The Blazers have the 118th-ranked scoring defense after playing just Troy, LSU and FCS Northwestern State—which lost to Cincinnati 66-9.

    This is not the type of defense that can stop a Vanderbilt program that nearly topped Ole Miss and South Carolina. 


    Prediction: Vanderbilt 37, UAB 28

No. 23 Wisconsin at No. 4 Ohio State

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    Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports


    Final Score: Ohio State 31, Wisconsin 24


    When: Saturday, Sept. 28, at 8 p.m.

    Ohio State has the country's No. 5 scoring defense and No. 4 scoring offense. Wisconsin ranks 10th and 25th in those categories, respectively. However, the difference in competition level makes Wisconsin's numbers look even better.

    Both teams average over 300 rushing yards per game, and they're both circling around the 200-yard mark in the air. With the prevalence of the run, you'd think that rushing defense would be the difference-maker here.

    However, Ohio State allows 79.75 yards per game, and Wisconsin allows 76.25. These teams could not be more evenly matched.

    So, what's the most important factor in this game, if it isn't the players? Quite honestly, it's one of the best home-field advantages in college football: The Horseshoe.


    Prediction: Ohio State 38, Wisconsin 35

San Diego State at New Mexico State

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    Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODA


    Final Score: San Diego State 26, New Mexico State 16


    When: Saturday, Sept. 28, at 8 p.m.

    San Diego State cannot afford to overlook this game, but the Aztecs should win if they simply show up and play like they mean it. New Mexico State is a dead-last 126th in scoring defense, allowing more than 50 points per game.

    Yes, the Aggies faced Texas, Minnesota and UCLA, which skewed the stats. However, they also allowed UTEP to score 42. That erased all hope that it might have just been the level of competition.

    San Diego State is the default pick here, but do not mistake this vote of confidence for actual confidence. The direct comparison of statistical rankings (after facing similar-quality foes) shows how little difference there is between the Aztecs and Aggies.

    CategorySan Diego StateNew Mexico State

    Passing Offense

    Rushing Offense113th94th
    Scoring Offense107th116th
    Scoring Defense116th126th

    The Aztecs clearly aren't good enough to warrant a blowout prediction, but you've got to recognize the absolute worst scoring defense in the FBS as the difference in this game. Unfortunately for the Aggies, they are it.


    Prediction: San Diego State 30, New Mexico State 27

UNLV at New Mexico

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    Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sport


    Final Score: UNLV 56, New Mexico 42


    When: Saturday, Sept. 28, at 8 p.m.

    UNLV have gotten off to a better start this season than in the recent past. The Rebels are 2-2 with losses to Minnesota and Arizona.

    New Mexico, on the other hand, is 1-2 with its lone win over UTEP in overtime. At first glance, this makes it look like the Lobos are going to lose this game quickly and decisively.

    However, UNLV has one of the worst rushing defenses in the MWC, and New Mexico is currently ranked 18th nationally in rushing yards per game. In a game where anything could make the difference, that is a major advantage that the Lobos bring to the table.


    Prediction: New Mexico 41, UNLV 32

Air Force at Nevada

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    Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports


    Final Score: Nevada 45, Air Force 42


    When: Saturday, Sept. 28, at 8 p.m.

    Nevada brings an underwhelming 2-2 record into this game and an even worse 89th-ranked scoring offense. However, there are at least two dozen teams across America who would have the same stats after facing both UCLA and Florida State in a four-game stretch.

    Air Force has looked worse than Nevada this season, and the Falcons have played Colgate, Utah State, Boise State and Wyoming. The academy has the 15th-ranked rushing attack in the country, yet has managed just the 83rd-best scoring offense.

    Air Force simply cannot find a way to win games, and Nevada is going to make the Falcons pay. If Cody Fajardo is indeed back for this game, it's going to get ugly fast.


    Prediction: Nevada 56, Air Force 6

No. 5 Stanford at Washington State

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    Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports


    Final Score: Stanford 55, Washington State 17


    When: Saturday, Sept. 28, at 10 p.m.

    Stanford proved against Arizona State that their biggest threat to a Rose Bowl berth (or better) is themselves. The Cardinal led the Sun Devils 39-7 at the beginning of the fourth quarter, but they were outscored 21-3 in the final 15 minutes.

    Stanford nearly blew a 32-point lead, and that can't happen against better competition later in the season. However, Washington State is on the menu for Week 5. The Cardinal should win this game.

    Washington State is a dangerous team, and the Cougars proved that against Auburn and USC.

    If Stanford is overlooking the Cougars and focusing on the Washington game in Week 6, the biggest upset of the season might belong to Washington State before sunrise on Sunday.


    Prediction: Stanford 41, Washington State 13

Southern Miss at Boise State

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    Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports


    Final Score: Boise State 60, Southern Miss 7


    When: Saturday, Sept. 28, at 10:15 p.m.

    Statistically, Southern Miss is ranked outside of the top 100 in three major categories. In scoring offense, the Golden Eagles are the fourth-worst team in the FBS. Even though Boise State is having a bit of a disappointing season, there's no way the Broncos lose to Southern Miss in Week 5.

    With the 123rd-ranked scoring offense across the line of scrimmage, Boise's defense could fall asleep, and still stop the Golden Eagles.


    Prediction: Boise State 59, Southern Miss 3

California at No. 2 Oregon

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    Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports


    Final Score: Oregon 55, California 16


    When: Saturday, Sept. 28, at 10:30 p.m.

    Oregon and California are grossly mismatched in almost every major statistical category.

    Passing OffenseNo. 2No. 18
    Rushing OffenseNo. 97No. 2
    Scoring OffenseNo. 54No. 2
    Scoring DefenseNo. 121No. 5

    Oregon is not invincible, as it has not gone undefeated in the regular season since the title-game run of 2010. However, Cal had already shown that it lacks one major facet to its game: defense.

    Without defense, you can't win games. There is a real probability that Cal slips lower than sixth-worst in scoring defense after the Ducks are through with the Golden Bears.


    Prediction: Oregon 63, California 17

USC at Arizona State

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    Stephen Lam/Getty Images


    Final Score: Arizona State 62, USC 41


    When: Saturday, Sept. 28, at 10:30 p.m.

    USC at Arizona State is a quality match for Week 5, but it's a little under-the-radar. Arizona State brings the nation's eighth-best passing offense against the 11th-best scoring defense.

    If USC's defense is actually that improved over 2012, then it will get its respect right here. If not, then the Sun Devils will have this game practically locked down at halftime.

    Regardless of how well the Trojans' defense plays, one thing is certain: If USC can't find an offensive rhythm soon, there will be no Pac-12 wins for the Trojans aside from possibly Colorado. (Even that game isn't a guarantee anymore.)


    Prediction: Arizona State 30, USC 17

No. 25 Fresno State at Hawaii

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    Otto Kitsinger III/Getty Images

    When: Sunday, Sept. 29, at midnight

    Fresno State gets to spend a weekend in Hawaii, and that's about as interesting as this matchup gets. The Hawaii Warriors could still be better than last season, but even if that were true, there is a long road between "better than last year" and "better than Fresno State."

    Derek Carr is currently 113-of-164 for 1,121 yards, 12 touchdowns and one interception. he has also been sacked just two times. The Bulldogs are the most likely BCS buster in the nation, assuming there will even be one this season.

    There are about 70 teams that would lose to Fresno State by two or more possessions. Hawaii is one of them.


    Prediction: Fresno State 59, Hawaii 21

Utah State at San Jose State

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    Harry How/Getty Images


    Final Score: Utah State 40, San Jose State 12


    When: Friday, Sept. 27, at 9 p.m.

    Utah State and San Jose State face off in a conference battle, but it looks like this matchup will fail to live up to preseason expectations as SJSU has struggled to replicate their form from last season.

    Spartan quarterback David Fales (67-of-110 for 880 yards, six touchdowns and three interceptions) is not playing as well as he did a year ago, while the Aggies have been competitive in two games against Pac-12 opponents this season.

    Utah State's defense will pull this one out in the second half.


    Prediction: Utah State 35, San Jose State 21

Middle Tennessee at BYU

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    George Frey/Getty Images


    Final Score: BYU 37, Middle Tennessee 10


    When: Friday, Sept. 27, at 9 p.m.

    Middle Tennessee just beat Florida Atlantic 42-35 in overtime on Sept. 21, and that put the Blue Raiders at 3-1 for the season. Now, they face the nation's seventh-best rushing attack in BYU, and things are not going to go well.

    Middle Tennessee owns the country's No. 60 rushing and No. 81 scoring defenses, and that will not be nearly enough to stop the Cougars.


    Prediction: BYU 42, Middle Tennessee 20

Virginia Tech at Georgia Tech

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    Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images


    Final Score: Virginia Tech 17, Georgia Tech 10


    When: Thursday, Sept. 26, at 7:30 p.m.

    Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech have the honor of kicking off Week 5's slate on Thursday, Sept. 26. This game is one of the best matchups of the week that does not feature ranked programs.

    The Yellow Jackets' strength is their rushing attack, which is ranked No. 1 in the ACC at over 300 yards per game. Virginia Tech's rushing defense is also No. 1 in the conference entering the week, with the Hokies allowing fewer than 100 yards per game on the ground.

    This is going to be a low-scoring affair decided by one possession.


    Prediction: Georgia Tech 24, Virginia Tech 17

Iowa State at Tulsa

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    David Purdy/Getty Images


    Final Score: Iowa State 38, Tulsa 21


    When: Thursday, Sept. 26, at 7:30 p.m.

    Iowa State is 0-2 so far this year, and Tulsa is 1-2. The Golden Hurricane's only win is over the Colorado State Rams, and both of their losses were blowouts.

    Tulsa has a chance in this one, but after close game with the improved Iowa Hawkeyes, Iowa State looks good enough to topple the Golden Hurricane. 


    Prediction: Iowa State 27, Tulsa 21