Top 25 NCAA Football Picks For Week Five: Evaluation

Andrew LaBarberaContributor IOctober 5, 2009

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL - OCTOBER 03: Wide receiver Travis Benjamin #3 of the Miami Hurricanes celebrates his touchdown with teammates Joel Figueroa #61 and Orlando Franklin #74 against the Oklahoma Sooners at Land Shark Stadium on October 3, 2009 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Miami defeated Oklahoma 21-20. (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)

Another week of college football down, another week of upsets. This week wasn't nearly as shocking as the last few, but there were still some shockers and some great finishes. Time to check out how my predictions worked out.

Here's a look at my predictions article if you'd like to check that out as well:


Friday, October 2

Utah St. (1-2) @ No. 20 BYU (3-1)—Line: BYU -24

The Pick: Utah St. +24 Cougars 42 Aggies 24

The Result: Win. Cougars 35 Aggies 17

Ok, so my score wasn't perfect but for the second straight week I start off the week with a remarkably close prediction. The Aggies score a last second touchdown to help my cover. Max Hall again wasn't great, but he didn't need to be and they earned an easy victory.


Saturday, October 3

No. 22 Michigan (4-0) @ Michigan St. (1-3)—Line: Michigan St. -2.5

The Pick: Michigan +2.5 Wolverines 34 Spartans 30

The Result: Loss. Spartans 26 Wolverines 20

I said this one looked like a sucker bet and it certainly was. I picked the sucker team and I paid the price. The Wolverines held in admirably after falling down early, but they used up all of their energy by the time OT started and they weren't able to do anything right after regulation.

The Wolverines had a hard time doing anything on offense but Tate Forcier's guts and a few key turnovers allowed them to stay in the game.

This is a huge win for the Spartans, buying Mike Dantonio a few more weeks as head coach.


Arkansas St. (1-2) @ No. 13 Iowa (4-0)—Line: Iowa -21

The Pick: Arkansas St. +21 Iowa 24 Arkansas St. 10

The Result: Win. Hawkeyes 24 Red Wolves 21

Week after week the Hawkeyes play close, low-scoring games, and week after week they win. It isn't always pretty, but it's effective. After all, a win is a win.

They're starting to remind me of a Big Ten team from 2002, the eventual National Champion Ohio State Buckeyes. That year, they seemed to be the underdog several times but continued to win en route to beating Miami, which no one gave them a chance against, in the BCS championship game.

I am not willing to put Iowa on that level yet by any means, but I am starting to see a resemblance.

You never know.


No. 6 Virginia Tech (3-1) @ Duke (2-2)—Line: Virginia Tech -16.5

The Pick: VaTech -16.5 Hokies 38 Blue Devils 14

The Result: Loss. Hokies 34 Blue Devils 26

This is the result that surprised me the most this week. I figured VaTech would run all over the Devils and dominate them in every aspect of the game.

The Duke passing game shredded the Virginia Tech defense which leads me to believe that if the weather were better in Blacksburg a few weeks ago, then the Canes might have had a shot. They certainly would have at least kept it respectable.

Kirk Herbstreit said the Hokies should be on upset alert, and I guess he was right, because this game was fairly close throughout.


No. 3 Alabama (4-0) @ Kentucky (2-2)—Line: 'Bama -16 ** Lock Of The Week**

The Pick: Kentucky +16 Crimson Tide 27 Wildcats 24

The Result: Loss. Crimson Tide 38 Wildcats 20

Well, here's another game I was completely wrong about.

I wasn't on the Tide's bandwagon before the game, but I'm on it now. Nick Saban just continues to prove why he's one of the best college football coaches over the last few decades.

He may not be the most like-able or personable guy, but he knows football. He's an excellent recruiter and he's equally skilled at getting the absolute most out of every one of his players.


No. 10 Cincinnati (4-0) @ Miami (OH) (0-4)—Line: Cincy -28.5

The Pick: Cincy -28.5 Bearcats 49 Red Hawks 7

The Result: Loss. Bearcats 37 Red Hawks13

After the early games on Saturday I couldn't help but think that it was going to be an awful day for me. Cincinnati played well at times, but just not well enough to cover a huge 28.5 point spread. An easy win, which helps them in the polls, but it doesn't help my standings or my wallet.


No. 15 Penn St. (3-1) @ Illinois (1-2)—Line: Penn St. -7

The Pick: Penn St. -7 Nittany Lions 31 Illini 21

The Result: Win. Nittany Lions 35 Illini 17

The early afternoon games are now over and it's time to get back on track. An easy win for the Lions, sending Juice Williams to the bench for the upcoming weeks. He has been awful thus far this year, and it continued on Saturday.

It has been a rough senior season for him after a poor junior season as well. The Penn State ground game showed up a week after getting dominated on the line by the Hawkeyes. They needed this win to solidify their spot as a Big Ten contender.


No. 4 LSU (4-0) @ No. 19 Georgia (3-1)—Line: Georgia -3

The Pick: Georgia -3 Bulldogs 24 Tigers 13

The Result: Loss. Tigers 20 Bulldogs 13

This game showed just how much losing your top two offensive players from the year before can hurt your team. Especially when they're both first round NFL talent.

Moreno and Stafford both put up big days on Sunday, but the Bulldogs offense put up a stinker on Saturday. They totaled zero points through the first three quarters and only had 45 total rushing yards on the day.

I figured the home field advantage would help, and it definitely did, inspiring the defense to play tremendously until the last LSU drive.

The Tigers were just slightly better offensively than the Dawgs were.


No 21 Mississippi (3-1) @ Vanderbilt (2-2)—Line: Miss -8.5

The Pick Ole Miss -8.5 Rebels 42 Commodores 20

The Result: Win. Rebels 23 Commodores 7

Jevan Snead had a big first half and then the defense took over in the second half. The Rebels are still turning the ball over too much, but the Commodores just didn't have any offense to counter that.

Sixty-nine total yards passing just isn't going to get it done, unless you're a Paul Johnson coached team.


No. 9 Ohio St. (3-1) @ Indiana (3-1)—Line: Ohio St. -17

The Pick: Ohio St. -17 Buckeyes 37 Hoosiers 10

The Result: Win. Buckeyes 33 Hoosiers 14

Finally a prediction that I was near dead on about. The Buckeyes defense looked dominant at times. Aside from a garbage time touchdown drive the Hoosiers were held to seven points.

In total they had 228 yards of total offense including a meager 18 on the ground. Terelle Pryor looks like he's coming into form. This could be dangerous for the rest of the Big Ten.


No. 25 Georgia Tech (3-1) @ Mississippi St. (2-2)—Line: GTech -5.5

The Pick: GTech -5.5 Yellow Jackets 34 Bulldogs 17

The Result: Win. Yellow Jackets 42 Bulldogs 31

Paul Johnson's teams are usually known for their option-style offense running the ball 50 times a game. Well this game he saw a weakness in the Mississippi State pass defense and he exploited it. Josh Nesbit threw for 266 yards and a TD.

I'm not saying they didn't run because they still did that over 75 percent of the time, rushing for over 200 yards on 54 carries.

Their offense controlled the game, and it wasn't nearly as close as the score would indicate. The Bulldogs just put the ball on the turf too much, and that hurt all game.


UC Davis (1-2) @ No. 5 Boise St. (4-0)—Line: No Line

The Pick: Broncos 52 Aggies 3

The Result: No Line. Broncos 34 Aggies 16

I'm just going to say that the Broncos didn't help their national title hopes with this one. A close game against a sub-par opponent with an easy  WAC conference schedule remaining isn't what they need. They'll need to blow out every team from here on out to even have a chance.


SMU (2-1) @ No. 11 TCU (3-0)—Line: TCU -28

The Pick: SMU +28 Horned Frogs 31 Mustangs 10

The Result: Win. Horned Frogs 39 Mustangs 14

A couple of late TCU touchdowns almost led them to a cover but the Mustangs held on tight to that 28 point spread.

The Frogs defense was excellent again forcing three turnovers and holding the SMU running game to negative-18 yards on the ground. Wow.

Somehow SMU was able to muster up 14 points to barely cover.


No. 8 Oklahoma (3-1) @ No. 17 Miami (3-1)—Line: Oklahoma -7

The Pick: Miami +7 'Canes 38 Sooners 33

The Result: Win. Hurricanes 21 Sooners 20

I thought Sam Bradford would play, but they announced late in the week that he wouldn't. I'm not going to say that hurt the Sooners, but it didn't help them.

Landry Jones played decently, but it was obvious that the 'Canes weren't scared of him throwing the ball down field, even after he had several solid games leading up to this one.

Baby J, Jerome James was the game breaker in this one. He garnered 150 yards on only 15 carries, and although he didn't score he helped milk the clock late to preserve the win.


No. 7 USC (3-1) @ No. 24 California (3-1)—Line: USC -5

The Pick: USC -5 Trojans 42 Golden Bears 24

The Result: Win. Trojans 30 Golden Bears 3

Another big week for Cal. Another stinker. The offense didn't show up, and Jahvid Best looks like he beats up on sub par teams while not showing up in the big game. His last two performances certainly aren't helping his NFL status.

The Trojans D played very well and Joe McKnight stepped in admirably for Stefon Johnson, getting more than half of the Trojans total carries for a team that usually likes to spread it around.


No. 12 Houston (3-0) @ UTEP (1-3)—Line: Houston -16

The Pick: UTEP +16 Cougars 35 Miners 24

The Result: Win. Miners 58 Cougars 41

Case Keenum played the game of his life. Attempting 75 passes while throwing for five touchdowns and 500-plus yards. It's too bad the defense didn't show up at all.

They allowed over 300 yards on the ground and nearly 600 yards overall to a Miners team that was held to nine yards rushing and 53 yards of total offense a week ago against the Longhorns.

I think this proves just how good the Horns are, and just how unpredictable college football can be.


Washington St. (1-3) @ No. 16 Oregon (3-1)—Line: Oregon -32

The Pick: Oregon -32 Ducks 48 Cougars 13

The Result: Win. Ducks A lot Cougars A little

When it's a blowout this big the scoreboard doesn't even matter. Who cares how many they won by, they covered a 32-point spread easily. By halftime the spread wasn't even in doubt.

That Boise State game must have been a real wake-up call for Jeremiah Masoli and the rest of the Ducks team. Six different Ducks accounted for seven total touchdowns. You think this team has some depth? I think they do, especially after losing a NFL prospect like Legarette Blount, who according to reports could be back on the field sooner than expected.

So, that wraps up the picks for this week. Did you see a pattern at the end of those? To me it looked like the last eight picks had some eerily similar traits. Oh yea, I won all of them.

It was a rough 3-5 start but with an 8-0 finish I end up at 11-5 for the week. It's a shame the lock of the week didn't come through, but I'll take a week like that any time. Check back later for my week six picks.


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