Week 5 College Football Predictions

Bo Pelini and the Cornhuskers head to Madison, Wisconsin for their first Big Ten Showdown

Some big undefeated matchups loom this weekend, and the BCS National Championship picture will start to stake shape now with fewer teams in the hunt. There still remains a group of teams that hasn’t done a lot to prove much of anything yet on the playing field. First, South Carolina has looked remarkably mediocre in securing 4 straight wins to start the year. The Gamecocks are led by the troubled and often horrible Stephen Garcia, who doubles for a turnover machine. The saving grace is Marcus Lattimore at this point, who has not been stopped on the ground. If somebody can learn to stop the run against South Carolina, then the pressure would be put on the shoulders of Garcia to make throws. The defense for South Carolina finally showed up last week, but was it Vanderbilt who is that bad, or can the Gamecock defense play that well against a high flying offense. This weekend South Carolina plays host to Auburn who has been anything but impressive so far, despite starting 3-1. The Auburn defense will probably not stop South Carolina, unless Stephen Garcia has something to stay about it, and its hard to imagine the Tigers can have a ton of success offensively to keep up with that.

Another proving ground game will be Florida-Alabama in Gainesville. The Tide have played a couple tough games so far and came out victorious easily, but this will be their toughest test so far. Meanwhile the Gators have coasted to a 4-0 start with their  toughest opponent being Tennessee at home. The Gators have proved they are very stout defensively, but they will need to stop the run in order to beat Alabama Saturday. Offensively the Gators have showed life but it hasn’t come as easily as they want. Red Zone struggles are a problem, and against arguably the nations best defense, its hard to imagine they’ll look better this weekend.

In Blacksburg the surprising Clemson Tigers will look to continue their magic against a 4-0 Virginia Tech squad. The Hokies have yet to really be tested, but from what we can see their defense is extremely good, while offensively they have relied on a heavy dose of David Wilson running the ball. Look for the Hokies to try and prove they are a top ten team by blitzing the Tigers, and forcing Clemson to throw the ball under duress. The Tigers have struggled at times running up the middle and its hard to imagine they will start being successful there this weekend. Virginia Tech will likely run the ball at Clemson and make them prove they can stop it, but if successful expect play action shots down the field by strong armed Logan Thomas. The atmosphere should be electric in Lane Stadium, and it’ll be tough for the Tigers to leave Blacksburg with a win, as only 4 times in the last 6 seasons has someone done that.

Finally this weeks premiere game is Wisconsin-Nebraska, in the Cornhuskers first go around in the Big Ten. So far this season both teams have handled expectations a bit differently. Wisconsin, led by Russell Wilson has shown he’s a dynamic offensive weapon, as the Badgers are finally led by a passing threat in Wilson. The always strong defense and offensive line make Wisconsin very dangerous and they’ve looked very impressive so far. Meanwhile the Cornhuskers have struggled at times. Playing mediocre Fresno State and Washington, the Huskers had problems making stops defensively, while struggling to throw the ball effectively. With the game in Madison, and based on results so far its hard to imagine the Cornhuskers are really as closely ranked to the Badgers as they are. At the same time this is the first real big game for both and how they respond will say a lot about where each team goes from here.

South Florida 24, Pittsburgh 21

Arkansas 31, Texas A&M 28

Mississippi State 31, Georgia 28

Wake Forest 24, Boston College 21

USC 27, Arizona 21

Georgia Tech 38, NC State 24

Michigan State 17, Ohio State 14

South Carolina 41, Auburn 24

Baylor 28, Kansas State 24

Virginia Tech 31, Clemson 21

Utah 24, Washington 17

Texas 27, Iowa State 17

UNC 28, ECU 21

Wisconsin 31, Nebraska 20

Notre Dame 28, Purdue 17

Alabama 20, Florida 13

Arizona State 38, Oregon State 17

Stanford 35, UCLA 17

(68-18 through first 4 weeks)

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