Fear the Elephant, Fear the Badger: Week 5 College Football Previews

Alex FergusonSenior Analyst IISeptember 28, 2011

TUSCALOOSA, AL - SEPTEMBER 24:  Head coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide leads his team on the field to face the Arkansas Razorbacks at Bryant-Denny Stadium on September 24, 2011 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Last week we hammered ESPN's decision making over having College GameDay at West Virginia for the visit of LSU, but the fact that the stadium was off the hook, the surroundings were stunning (frankly folks, check out the Gauley River too for more 'rapid fun) and the fans stayed in the fourth quarter shut us up.

This week, it's Madtown for the Wisconsin-Nebraska Big Ten bomber. The atmosphere at Camp Randall is going to be rocking. We know that. It's going to be a lot of fun. Of course, SEC-ites will be bitching that Kirk, Lee and Chris should be in The Swamp for Alabama's visit of Florida, but let's be honest—it can't be the SEC every week, can it? 

What we can give the SEC is our calls for the week—so here we go. 



South Florida at Pittsburgh

Pitt played remarkably well to stop Notre Dame, just coughing up a 15-12 defeat on Saturday. Pitt running back Ben Graham's the real deal, but then again, so's South Florida.

PREDICTION: South Florida by 10. 



Utah State at BYU 

GAINESVILLE, FL - APRIL 9:  Florida Gators cheerleaders perform during the Orange and Blue spring football game April 9, 2011 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

The flying Mormons seem to have a knack for not playing on Saturdays, but we don't think that Jake Heaps & Co. care too much as long as they are winning. This week it's another in-state battle, with Utah State coming to the quite lovely Provo for a game. Utah State can entertain—we saw that against Auburn. But can they defend? 

PREDICTION: No. BYU wins by 7 in a thriller. 




Alabama at Florida

The big one in The Swamp, as No.3 Alabama rolls into No.12 Florida for one of the games of the year. It was a "Game Of The Year" last year too—until Alabama rolled UF 31-6 in a blowout, but this one will be different.

Gators fans have some heart now that Charlie Weis is the offensive co-ordinator, which seems to have made the holes fly open, letting Chis Rainey and Jeff Demps fly through them. But Fat Charlie hasn't faced a defense like Alabama's, which is packed with NFL first round picks. The atmosphere in the The Swamp is going to be just like Steve Spurrier would have liked it: Hot, angry and off-the-hook, full off annoying jorted Gator fans doing an alligator impression trying to haul in the elephant. Will it work?

CLEMSON, SC - SEPTEMBER 24:  Sammy Watkins #2 of the Clemson Tiger celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Florida State Seminoles during their game at Memorial Stadium on September 24, 2011 in Clemson, South Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/G
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

PREDICTION: No. Alabama wins in a close one, by 3. 


Nebraska at Wisconsin

The season opened up at Camp Randall and we can't tell you how much we wanted to jump on a plane and attend a game there. With the weather forecast glorious, College GameDay in the house, and the Badgers ranked No. 7 and entertaining No.8 Nebraska, it's going to be extra jumping. You won't need to tell the Badger family to "wear red" for this one, because they all do anyway.

The only thing bad about it all is that we're going to miss "Jump Around" because of the ad breaks. Oh, and the game? Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez and running back Rex Burkhead will provide a test to Wisconsin's defense, but then again, Russell Wilson—who's the second coming of God in Mad-town right now—and running back James White are pretty tidy themselves. 

PREDICTION: Wisconsin by 10 in a game more high scoring than you might think.



Clemson at Virginia Tech

ATHENS, GA - SEPTEMBER 10:  The drum major of the Georgia Bulldogs marching band performs during the game against the South Carolina Gamecocks at Sanford Stadium on September 10, 2011 in Athens, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Another College GameDay candidate sees flying Clemson, coming off wins over Auburn and Florida State come into Lane Stadium to play a Virginia Tech who is unbeaten thanks to a crappy schedule. Everyone's talking about Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins, who's the real deal, but he'll be truly tested against Frank Beamer's defense. Lane's going to be off the hook for this one, which could well be a coming-out party for quarterback Logan Thomas.

PREDICTION: Tech wins by 3.


Texas at Iowa State

For some reason everyone's saying that this could be a rough road test for the Longhorns, but we're afraid we don't see it. True, Iowa State is great at coming from behind and there's a lot of belief in Ames that this team might be very good this year. But a confident, eager-for-revenge Texas is a whole other beast for the Cyclones—especially with Case McCoy and Jackson Shipley making believers out of the burnt orange faithful.

PREDICTION: Longhorns by 10.


Michigan State at Ohio State 

The atmosphere at The Horseshoe is going to be deafening for the visit of the Spartans, who lost its biggest game of the year against Notre Dame a couple of weeks ago. Braxton Miller seems to have got Ohio State fans a little more excited than they were after the Miami debacle (helps when you throw a couple of touchdowns and your team wins by 20), but can they stop quarterback Kirk Cousins and his two talented running backs Le'Veon Bell and Edwin Baker?

AUSTIN, TX - NOVEMBER 8:  Quarterback Robert Griffin #10 of the Baylor Bears runs the ball during the game against the Texas Longhorns on November 8, 2008 at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium in Austin, Texas.  Texas won 45-21. (Photo by Brian Bahr/G
Brian Bahr/Getty Images

PREDICTION: Yes. Ohio State wins by 6. 



Penn State at Indiana 

Yes, we still love Penn State here at the VFA—and don't you forget it. Sure, it's not going to be the biggest of games ever seen by Penn State fans, but it might just be one of the most important this year.

Let's be honest: Indiana's not a great side. Neither is Penn State. The Nittany Lions' last road effort against Temple was poor to say the least, and there's not a lot of confidence in QBs Mark McGloin or Rob Bolden, who are both distinctly ordinary. That's why everyone's going to be relying on running back Silas Redd, who so far has been great when he's got the room. This could be ugly.

PREDICTION: Penn State by 14.


Mississippi State at Georgia

The noise has been dialled down for Mark Richt now he's won a couple of games. And although last week's game at The Grove probably wasn't the most comfortable, the 27-14 victory put a smile on the boys in red. This week, a troubled Mississippi State program comes to Sanford in what we're assured will be pot-boiling midday temperatures in Athens. Look out for Bulldogs running back Isaiah Crowell, who could be the next Knowshon Moreno.

TUCSON, AZ - SEPTEMBER 17:  The Stanford Cardinal huddle up during the college football game against the Arizona Wildcats at Arizona Stadium on September 17, 2011 in Tucson, Arizona. The Cardinal defeated the Wildcats 37-10.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

PREDICTION: Georgia by 14.


Auburn at South Carolina 

This game's going to be high scoring for two reasons. One, both teams can score points and two, both teams can't defend to save their lives. Jadeveon Clowney is going to beat the heck out of Auburn QB Barrett Trotter and Marcus Lattimore's going to run the ball down Auburn's throat, but Stephen Garcia may also present a touchdown or three to the Tigers' defence. And will South Carolina really be able to stop Auburn running back Michael Dyer? Think "over" for the over/under of 58.

PREDICTION: South Carolina by 4. 



Baylor at Kansas State 

Robert Griffin III is a bona fide Heisman Candidate. He's thrown for more touchdowns than incompletions. He worries defenses with both his arm and his legs. He's crazy talented, and crazy humble. Everybody loves him, us included. This will suit the Wildcats, whom everyone's sleeping on. Let's not forget who's been going through a quiet revolution with Bill Snyder (back) at the helm, eh

PREDICTION: This is going to go to the wire. Baylor by a field goal.


NC State at Georgia Tech 

Georgia Tech can run. NC State can't stop the run. This could get ugly. 

PREDICTION: Georgia Tech by 21. 


Notre Dame at Purdue 

First of all, we'd like to show you the best sign ever. If you're still with us, you'll appreciate that Brian Kelly's got the Irish turned around (they've won two straight), but this will be a heck of a road test for the Irish. Things weren't pretty for Notre Dame at Pittsburgh either, but they eked out a victory. As for Purdue, they've lost to Rice this season and aren't very good. But they should come alive for the visit of Notre Dame. This one's going to be noisy, folks! 

PREDICTION: Notre Dame by 14.


UCLA at Stanford

Everyone likes Stanford, but no one's really paying attention to them. Sure, you get the odd highlight reel for some guy called Andrew Luck, but no one's really taking them seriously as a possible challenger for the national title. Will they if they stuff UCLA at home, we wonder?

PREDICTION: Probably not, but do Luck & Co. care? Stanford by 21.







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