It's put up or shut up week for the FBS teams hailing from Alabama this weekend. Auburn travels to South Carolina to take on the undefeated No. 10 Gamecocks, and No. 3 Alabama visits the Swamp in Gainesville to take on the No. 12 Florida Gators. In Pike County, Troy hosts in-state rival UAB at Larry Blakeney Field at Veterans' Memorial Stadium. The cool temperatures are back. Fire up the grill, toss me the remote.
Here goes Week 5:
All times Central
All Rankings Based on Latest AP Poll
College (11-2 last week; 36-8 this season):
No. 14 Texas A&M (2-1, 0-1) at No. 18 Arkansas (3-1, 0-1)
Saturday, October 1, 2011 at 11 a.m.: ESPN
It was announced earlier this week that Texas A&M will officially join the SEC next season, finally closing the door on a long-drawn out process. The Aggies travel to Dallas Saturday morning to take on 18th-ranked Arkansas in a preview for next season. The Razorbacks look to rebound after being blown out last week at No. 3 Alabama. Meanwhile, the Aggies lost a barn-burner at home to No. 5 Oklahoma State, 30-29.
Aggies or Razorbacks?
After watching the Razorbacks against the Crimson Tide, they're not as good as had been advertised. Or is Alabama just that good?
Texas A&M 31, Arkansas 28.
Mississippi State (2-2, 0-2) at Georgia (2-2, 1-1)
Saturday, Oct. 1, 2011 at 11 a.m. FOX Sports South
Mississippi State travels to Athens for just the third time since 1992 and the 12th time ever to take on the Georgia Bulldogs in the morning game on Fox Sports South. The visiting Bulldogs are 2-9 all-time in the town and only hold a 1-9 record against the 'Dogs in Sanford Stadium.
Georgia has won eight in a row in Athens over State. The home 'Dogs make it nine in a row Saturday morning:
Georgia 31, Mississippi State 24
Kentucky (2-2, 0-1) at No. 1 LSU (4-0, 1-0)
Saturday, Oct. 1, 2011 at 11:21 a.m.: SEC Network
In 2007, Kentucky upset then-No. 1 LSU (which went on to win the national championship). Call it a freak accident or take your hat off to those 'Cats from '07, but another upset isn't likely to happen Saturday in Death Valley. This game is slated for a late morning kickoff on the SEC Network, marking only the third time in Les Miles' seven-year tenure at LSU that the Tigers have played at this time.
It doesn't matter if they're playing at dawn Saturday morning; they'll annihilate the Wildcats no matter the time:
LSU 45, Kentucky 7
Michigan State (3-1, 0-0) at Ohio State (3-1, 0-0)
Saturday, October 1, 2011 at 2:30 p.m.: ABC
Big Ten rivals Michigan State and Ohio State square off in the first conference match for both teams this season. Michigan State is 0-4 all-time in league openers against OSU, including an 0-3 mark at Columbus. The good news here for Sparty is that it boasts the nation's best passing defense (101 yards per game) and total defense (172 yards per game). That's not good news for Ohio State; the Buckeyes' offense is dead last in the Big Ten and 91st in the nation.
Sparty or Buckeyes?
I'd call a blowout, but this one's in the "Horseshoe."
Michigan State 24, Ohio State 20
Auburn (3-1, 1-0) at No. 10 South Carolina (4-0, 2-0)
Saturday, Oct. 1, 2011 at 2:30 p.m.: CBS
Auburn beat the Gamecocks twice last season: 35-27 in Auburn and 56-17 in the SEC Championship in Atlanta. It's easy to assume the Cocks will be fighting for revenge in front of their home crowd at Williams-Brice Stadium Saturday afternoon against a struggling Auburn team.
But there's something about Auburn and big games. Since 2001, the Tigers are 18-11 against teams in the AP top 25, proving there's something in the water on the Plains during big-time game weeks.
Expect Auburn to keep it close, but Gamecock receiver Alshon Jeffery and tailback Marcus Lattimore will likely prove to be too much to handle for the upset-minded Tigers:
South Carolina 33, Auburn 27
No. 13 Clemson (4-0, 1-0) at No. 11 Virginia Tech (4-0, 0-0)
Saturday, Oct. 1, 2011 at 5 p.m.: ESPN2
Could Clemson be this year's 2010 Auburn team and make it all the way to the BCS Championship Game? The Clemson Tigers look eerily similar to last year's Auburn Tigers, and there is definitely a chance to run the table as the Tigers sit at 4-0.
Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd has completed 90 of his 136 passes this season for 1,255 yards and 13 touchdowns. To make those stats look even better, the sophomore has just one interception on his resume.
But, if all goes as planned, Virginia Tech will dash the Tigers' dreams of winning it all this season in front of a raucous crowd in Blacksburg:
Virginia Tech 28, Clemson 23
UAB (0-3, 0-2) at Troy (1-2, 1-0)
Saturday, Oct. 1, 2011 at 6 p.m.
The Blazers look for their first win of the season after dropping a hard-fought 28-23 contest at East Carolina last Saturday. UAB caused the Pirates to give the ball up seven times, but the Blazers only managed to score 14 points off the turnovers. If you're a Troy fan, you remember this one from last year. As time ran out, UAB was given the go-ahead touchdown as Blazer receiver Jackie Williams caught a long pass and fell down at the 1-yard line. After review, the ruling on the field stood, and UAB was granted a 34-33 victory. Multiple photos of the play were published following the game, but the call remained unchanged.
Don't mess with the Trojans.
Troy 38, UAB 21
No. 3 Alabama (4-0, 1-0) at No. 12 Florida (4-0, 2-0)
Who will win the Tucker's Pick 'Em Game of the Week?
Saturday, Oct. 1, 2011 at 7 p.m.: CBS
Alabama and Florida meet in the regular season for the second time in as many seasons, and for the first time in "The Swamp" since 2006. The two squared off in the 2008 and 2009 SEC Championship Games, with Florida winning in '08 en route to a national championship and 'Bama returning the favor in '09 before hoisting the crystal ball a month later.
It's the best two offenses in the SEC against the best two defenses in the SEC. Who ya got?
Alabama 23, Florida 20
Tucker's Pick 'Em Game of the Week
No. 8 Nebraska (4-0, 0-0) at No. 7 Wisconsin (4-0, 0-0) **College Gameday
Saturday, Oct. 1, 2011 at 7 p.m.: ABC
Nebraska will play its first-ever Big Ten conference game this weekend, and boy, do they want to usher their arrival in with a bang. The 'Huskers travel to Madison, Wis. to take on Russell Wilson and the seventh-ranked Badgers in front of more than 80,321 at Camp Randall Stadium. Nebraska has put up 300-plus rushing yards in each of its last two contests, but the better team here is Wisconsin.
The Badgers have rolled up more than 530 yards per game so far, and they're giving up just eight points a game. On, Wisconsin!
Wisconsin 35, Nebraska 24
Notre Dame (2-2) at Purdue (2-1, 0-0)
Saturday, Oct. 1, 2011 at 7 p.m.: ESPN
In a series that dates back to 1896, Notre Dame travels 150 miles south down I-65 to take on Purdue Saturday night. Of all those meetings, the schools have only met under the lights twice before this weekend's game (2005 and 2009). Purdue is coming off its first shutout of an opponent since 2004, but come on, Boilermakers; you were playing Southeast Missouri State.
The Irish leads the all-time series over Purdue 54-26-2, and they've won the last three:
Notre Dame 34, Purdue 17
Tucker Sargent is a senior at Troy University in his home state of Alabama. "Tucker's Pick 'Em" started in 2009 on Facebook, with 10 games of interest being picked each week. Opinions are not meant to offend anyone. Visit Tucker's blog or follow him on Twitter here.