College Football Picks Week 5: Predicting Every Meeting Between Ranked Teams

Maxwell Ogden@MaxwellOgdenCorrespondent IIISeptember 25, 2013

Nov 17, 2012; Madison, WI, USA;  Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback Braxton Miller (5) is tackled by Wisconsin Badgers linebacker Mike Taylor (53) during the game at Camp Randall Stadium.  Ohio State defeated Wisconsin 21-14 in overtime.  Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Week 5 of the 2013 college football season will play host to one of the most important Saturdays of the year. Four games will transpire between ranked teams, as multiple national title contenders face the potential for defeat against teams ranked in the Top 25.

The question is, how will those head-to-head meetings transpire?

Four Top 10 teams and five undefeated squads will be in head-to-head action between ranked teams. Each will be searching for a win that would alter the trajectory of their respective seasons, and every higher-ranked team is in danger of an upset.

One way or another, Week 5 will be remembered for providing the Saturday that changed everything in the national title picture.

 

No. 6 LSU Tigers (4-0, 1-0 SEC) at No. 9 Georgia Bulldogs (2-1, 1-0 SEC)

ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 03:  Head coach Les Miles of the LSU Tigers converses with head coach Mark Richt of the Georgia Bulldogs after their 42-10 win during the 2011 SEC Championship Game at Georgia Dome on December 3, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Date: Saturday, Sept. 28

Time: 3:30 p.m. ET

TV: CBS

Prediction: 27-23, Georgia

The No. 6 LSU Tigers will put their undefeated 4-0 record on the line as they travel to face the No. 9 Georgia Bulldogs at Sanford Stadium in Athens, Georgia. This game will impact both the SEC championship and national title picture, as both teams are legitimate contenders in the respective races.

It all comes down to which quarterback can win the big game.

Georgia field general Aaron Murray has seven touchdowns to just one interception during his past two starts, toppling a vaunted South Carolina defense on Sept. 7. During that game, Murray quieted the critics who claimed he can't step up under the bright lights with four touchdown passes.

LSU is depending on Zach Mettenberger to match Murray's production.

Mettenberger has 10 touchdowns to one interception through four games, completing 64.8 percent of his passes. During his two toughest tests, games against Auburn and TCU, Mettenberger has completed 55.5 percent of his passes for two touchdowns and a pick.

That's where the most significant advantage lies.

Mettenberger has been playing well, but Murray needs to win this game to solidify his legacy as a great Georgia quarterback. With one of the loudest home crowds in college football behind him, expect Murray to do just that as he makes the key plays late with help from running back Todd Gurley.

It won't be easy, but when it's all said and done, Georgia will emerge victorious. 

 

No. 14 Oklahoma Sooners (3-0, 1-0 Big 12) at No. 22 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (3-1)

NORMAN, OK - OCTOBER 27:   Jalen Saunders #18 of the Oklahoma Sooners is tackled after catching a pass against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium on October 27, 2012 in Norman, Oklahoma.  The Fighting Irish defeated
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Date: Saturday, Sept. 28

Time: 3:30 p.m. ET

TV: NBC

Prediction: 20-16, Oklahoma

For the second consecutive year, the No. 14 Oklahoma Sooners will play the No. 22 Notre Dame Fighting Irish. While this isn't a traditional rivalry, the two sides have met multiple times before and there is an undeniable sense of bad blood.

Look for Oklahoma to finally break through against a Notre Dame team that has long had its number.

Blake Bell is the key for the Sooners, as he replaced Trevor Knight at quarterback and went off for 413 passing yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions against Tulsa. By comparison, Knight had 205 passing yards, four touchdowns and three interceptions on 43.8 percent passing through two starts.

Tommy Rees will need to bounce back in a major way if Notre Dame is going to counter Bell.

Rees has played well thus far, but completed 41.2 percent of his passes last week against Michigan State and threw two interceptions against Michigan. For the second consecutive season, the Irish are a grind-it-out football team that has a tendency to take slim leads into late-game situations, which elevates Rees' importance.

When it's all said and done, the Sooners will be the team to make the big plays late in the game.

Oklahoma is holding opponents to 9.0 points per game with a surprisingly weak pass rush. Against Notre Dame, expect the Sooners to finally break through with their front seven and give Rees trouble.

If it does come down to a shootout, look for Bell to shine and lead Oklahoma to a rare win against Notre Dame. One way or another, Bob Stoops will find a way to win.

 

No. 21 Ole Miss Rebels (3-0, 1-0 SEC) at No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide (3-0, 1-0 SEC)

OXFORD, MS - OCTOBER 15:  Quarterback AJ McCarron #10 of the Alabama Crimson Tide drops back to pass against Mississippi in the first quarter on October 15, 2011 at Vaught- Hemingway Stadium in Oxford, Mississippi. (Photo by Butch Dill/Getty Images)
Butch Dill/Getty Images

Date: Saturday, Sept. 28

Time: 6:30 p.m. ET

TV: ESPN

Prediction: 34-20, Alabama

The No. 21 Ole Miss Rebels have been a pleasant surprise in 2013, using a deep class of freshmen stars to begin the season at 3-0. The No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide are picking up where they left off during their 2011 and 2012 national championship seasons, moving to 3-0.

Ole Miss has the upside to be a national title contender in future seasons, but its inexperience will show in this game.

Ole Miss has been strong through three outings, winning a heart-stopping thriller against Vanderbilt and blowing out Southeast Missouri State and the University of Texas. Bo Wallace has thrown for four touchdowns and run for three, and freshman Laquon Treadwell has a team-high 16 receptions.

Mississippi just hasn't faced a team like Alabama.

Despite playing relatively underwhelming defense, the Crimson Tide are 3-0 with signature wins over Texas A&M and Virginia Tech. With its first SEC home-opener looming, expect Amari Cooper to break out of his early-season funk and T.J. Yeldon to continue running over defenses.

Ole Miss has loads of potential, but this game is being played in Tuscaloosa.

Alabama will pace through this game using Yeldon at running back and trust AJ McCarron to continue playing mistake-free football. Wallace will keep things interesting, but the Crimson Tide are just too much to handle at home.

It'll be close, but look for Alabama to pull away late and remain undefeated.

 

No. 23 Wisconsin Badgers (3-1, 1-0 Big Ten) at No. 4 Ohio State Buckeyes (4-0, 0-0 Big Ten)

MADISON, WI - NOVEMBER 17: Carlos Hyde #34 of the Ohio State Buckeyes runs this ball in for a touchdown in extended play during the game against the Wisconsin Badgers at Camp Randall Stadium on November 17, 2012 in Madison, Wisconsin. (Photo by Mike McGin
Mike McGinnis/Getty Images

Date: Saturday, Sept. 28

Time: 8:00 p.m. ET

TV: ABC

Prediction: 37-28, Ohio State

A case could be made that the Wisconsin Badgers deserve to be ranked significantly higher than No. 23 after a strange loss to the Arizona State Sun Devils. The No. 4 Ohio State Buckeyes will put that theory to the test as they host the Badgers in a high-stakes Big Ten matchup.

The question is, who will be Ohio State's quarterback?

Urban Meyer made it work with Chris Leak and Tim Tebow, so why not with Braxton Miller and Kenny Guiton?

In the end, it'll likely be Braxton Miller, a Heisman Trophy candidate, who starts for Ohio State and uses his arm and legs to tear into Wisconsin's defense. With Carlos Hyde finally back and Jordan Hall producing at a Doak Walker Award level, Ohio State's offense will be just fine.

Just don't be surprised to see Wisconsin match them at every run.

Wisconsin ranks third in the nation at 349.8 rushing yards per game, with three separate players topping 330 through four games. Melvin Gordon has 624 rushing yards, James White has 442 and Corey Clement has 334, with the three combining for 14 rushing touchdowns.

Unfortunately, the Badgers can't take over with the throw, and Ohio State have multiple big-play receivers.

Joel Stave has completed 63.2 percent of his passes, but he's averaging 190.3 passing yards per game and has topped 200 just once—against Tennessee Tech. With Devin Smith and Corey Brown making big plays downfield, and Chris Fields managing four touchdowns on seven total receptions, Ohio State has an edge.

It'll be a memorable game, but Ohio State will win a high-scoring affair.