There are several intriguing games on the Week 5 college football slate. Alabama travels to “The Swamp” to take on Florida, Nebraska and Wisconsin face off in a Big Ten clash of the titans and Virginia Tech and Clemson battle for ACC supremacy.
Which teams will prevail in these season-changing games? Here are my predictions.
Alabama Crimson Tide
Alabama has already picked up two marquee wins this season over Penn State and Arkansas and will look to add another one to their BCS résumé against the Gators. The Crimson Tide won last season's meeting 31-6 in Tuscaloosa.
The running back tandem of Trent Richardson and Eddie Lacy has proved too much for opposing defenses with 12 touchdowns in four games. The duo, along with the offensive line, will be tested by a Florida run defense that is allowing fewer than 60 yards per game.
The game will probably come down to Tide quarterback AJ McCarron. If the sophomore can covert on a couple key 3rd-down throws, Alabama should escape Gainesville victorious. If not, the Gators will be joining the Top 10 next week.
Prediction: Alabama 24 Florida 21
When Big Ten rivals Wisconsin and Nebraska go at it on Saturday, it will be the first time either team is getting a legitimate test this season. Since both sides are ranked in the Top 10, the BCS implications surrounding this game are huge.
Russell Wilson leads a Wisconsin offense that leads the Big Ten in both points and yards per game. After spending the last three seasons with North Carolina State, Wilson has made a seamless transition and is completing 76 percent of his passes through four games.
While the Badgers offense will produce, the key to the game will be their defense. Nebraska dual-threat quarterback Taylor Martinez can win a game by himself, so it will be up to linebacker Chris Borland and Co. to contain him if they Badgers are to remain undefeated.
Prediction: Wisconsin 31 Nebraska 23
Virginia Tech Hokies
After getting off to a disappointing 0-2 start last season, Virginia Tech fans have watched their Hokies slowly climb the rankings with a 4-0 start in 2011. The Tigers, who have knocked off ranked foes in back-to-back weeks, will be Virginia Tech's stiffest competition yet.
The Hokies defense allowed just 10 points per game during the opening month, mostly due to the nation's second-best run defense (43 yards per game). They'll have to maintain that terrific form against the formidable trio of Andre Ellington, Mike Bellamy and D.J. Howard.
David Wilson is the engine that propels the Virginia Tech offense. He's averaging over 120 yards per game and has five touchdowns. If quarterback Logan Thomas (four touchdowns, four picks) can avoid the big mistake, the Hokies will prevail.
Prediction: Virginia Tech 28 Clemson 20