Ryan's College Football Predictions: Part 5

Ryan Senior Writer IAugust 1, 2008

Ah, week four.  We begin conference play.  And what a slate of conference match-ups we have, as well as a dandy non-conference tilt.  Things are starting to heat up in the college football world and we now get to see who are the contenders and who are the pretenders.

#4 Florida Gators @ Tennessee Volunteers
This series always seems to go back and forth, yielding an exciting and close result each time. The Gators will enter this game as the favorite and for good reason. Tennessee, however, isn't exactly the typical underdog here.

This could turn into a battle of the defenses.  Both teams have potentially dominant defenses and the x-factor could be, who else, Heisman winner Tim Tebow.  If he can keep the potent Gator offense on the field and wear down the Vols defense, it would swing the advantage in favor of the Gators.

Look for linebackers Ellix Wilson and Rico McCoy to keep a close eye on Tebow.  The Vols will more than likely leave one of the two as a regular spy. It's really the only way to keep Tebow in check.

On the flip side of things, the Vols will no doubt try to ground and pound against a very athletic Gator defense.  The game could be won in the trenches for the Vols, with Arian Foster being the offensive catalyst.

After getting shellacked in the Swamp last year, the Vols will come out more determined to win and things will likely be close.  But an uber-athletic defense and the Heisman winner should be enough for the Gators to squeak by their rival.

Florida: 20  Tennessee: 17

#8 LSU Tigers @ #11 Auburn Tigers
The battle of the big cats in Jordan-Hare stadium should be an interesting one. Last year, the visitors from Auburn took the eventual National Champions to the limit, losing 30-24 in Death Valley.

This year, with a strong rushing attack and one of the SEC's better defenses, Auburn looks to change things. The platoon of Brad Lester, Ben Tate, Mario Fannin and Tristan Davis should help keep the LSU defense on it's toes all day, setting up Chris Todd to find one of his veteran receivers.

LSU, meanwhile, will also try to emphasize the ground game while getting the new quarterback comfortable, whoever that may be. The front four on defense may be just as good as last year but LSU has issues at linebacker and in the secondary.  They will have to use a heavy pass rush to help out the back line.

This will be a gritty battle to the very end and will  be good old smash mouth, SEC football.  This will come down to the wire and feature our first "upset" of the year, with Auburn pulling out the tight victory in front of the Jordan-Hare faithful.

Auburn:17  LSU: 14

#1 Georgia Bulldogs @ #14 Arizona State Sun Devils
This isn't the SEC/Pac-10 battle most would hope for, but it isn't too shabby.  The Bulldogs are stacked from top to bottom, featuring one of the better defenses in the nation.  They'll be looking to stifle an explosive ASU attack in a hostile environment.

Though ASU's defense is improved, it may be know match for the Bulldog offense.  Knowshawn Moreno and Matt Stafford should keep things moving, mixing run and pass well.  The Bulldog offensive line will be a catalyst, trying to wear down and obliterate the front four of the Sun Devils.

On the other side of things, ASU is going to want to make sure that quarterback Rudy Carpenter stays upright long enough to get his passes off. Though, with his penchant for holding onto the ball too long, that may be a tough task.  Defensively, they'll want to limit the ground game and try to put pressure on Stafford--a taller task than they'd like.

ASU won't be embarrassed but they also won't be able to stop the #1 team in the nation.  Look for Moreno to have a big game and lead his Bulldogs to a big non-conference victory.

Georgia: 30 Arizona State: 21

An updated look at the top 15.

#1 Georgia (4-0)
#2 Oklahoma (3-0)
#3 USC (2-0)
#4 Florida (3-0)
#5 West Virginia (3-0)
#6 Clemson (4-0)
#7 Missouri (3-0) 
#8 Ohio State (3-1)
#9 Auburn (4-0)
#10 Texas Tech (3-0)
#11 Texas (3-0)
#12 LSU (3-1)
#13 BYU (4-0)
#14 Wisconsin (3-0)
#15 Kansas (4-0)


Next up: Part 6