There are some good games scheduled this week. Predictions will get a bit harder as most conference races begin in earnest. There are just not quite as many "payday" games where an Alabama takes on a Kent State or Akron or whatever. Isn't it nice to see when one of the big boys gets bitten by a team that is supposed to just roll over? Remember the ULM/Bama game a while back? That is fun. That being said; onto the predictions for week 5.
1. South Florida vs Pitt: This one may be good. The Big East is terrible, not to mention perhaps on the way to extinction (in football). Which team is the better? Perhaps South Florida. I will go with the Bulls to edge the Panthers here.
2. Houston vs UTEP: Houston is a pretty good team that is flying a bit under the radar. UTEP can be dangerous but probably won't be able to keep up with the prolific Cougar offense. Of course Houston must not let UTEP jump out far ahead. That kind of play almost cost them a victory over LTU a couple weeks back. Go with Houston.
3. Utah St vs BYU: BYU is probably the better team here. Utah State had their chances against both Auburn and Colorado State. If they can get it together they may be a runner up in WAC play. I would go with BYU to take this one. It may be close.
4. Toledo vs Temple: Toledo was robbed by horrible officiating last week and should be at least 2-2. Temple is a legitimate top 20 team. This game may perhaps be a preview of the MAC Championship game and Toledo will lose both. Go with the Owls.
5. Minnesota vs Michigan: MN is not a good team. The Wolverines are probably a good bit above average. Pretty good for a Big Ten squad likely. Go with Michigan to win here with ease.
6. Florida Atlantic vs ULL: The Cajuns are 3-1. Who would have thought? Last week they beat the best Sun Belt squad in a pretty big upset. Florida Atlantic is still trying to get it together but probably will be 0-4 after Saturday. Go with the Cajuns.
7. Kentucky vs LSU: Kentucky does not look very powerful. They are historically a basketball school for the most part. It is just who they are. I don't think they will be able to keep up with LSU on the field. Might be closer than folks think though. The LSU defense is certainly suspect.
8. Nevada vs Boise State: The Broncs will be looking for a bit of revenge here and they will get it. Nevada is not near the team they were last year and the Broncos are likely better than last year. Go with Boise State. It won't be pretty.
9. Auburn vs South Carolina: I think both of these teams are a bit suspect. Both are good but certainly not great teams. Which team is better? Probably Auburn. I think that SC will find a way to come out ahead though. Go with South Carolina in a close one.
10. Idaho vs Virginia: Virginia is not good. Nor is Idaho for that matter. Which is the better team? We will see. I will go with the Cavaliers in this one. To be honest I would like to see the Vandals win here but just don't think it will happen. One thing is certain. Both teams have the best names in football and both are well coached. Both schools are also very hard places to consistently win.
11. SMU vs TCU: This will be a close game. TCU may perhaps be a bit ahead in talent but they certainly are not the team they were last season. SMU has a legitimate shot of being the CUSA champion. I will go out on a limb here and pick SMU to upset the Frogs.
12. Ball State vs Oklahoma: A payday game for Ball State. They are not a bad team though. 3-1 at this point. Oklahoma was exposed a bit last week against a very average Mizzou squad. I will go with Oklahoma to win here without too much trouble.
13. Mississippi vs Fresno State: Pat Hill, as usual, puts a competitive team on the field. His squad certainly is talented enough to best probably the worst team in the SEC. I will go with the Bulldogs to win a close one. Houston Nutt may well find himself on the hot seat very soon.
14. Nebraska vs Wisconsin: The Huskers are a very good team although they have struggled a bit against some "lessor" teams. Wisconsin is good. Not just Big Ten good, but perhaps BCS "National Champion" good. This will be a good game. It is not considered the "Big Game" of the week but perhaps it should be. I will go with the Badgers here.
15. Alabama vs Florida: Here we have the "Big Game." Which team is better? Conventional wisdom says Alabama. In reality this is a pretty even game. I will go with Alabama to perhaps edge the Gators here. One loss in SEC play does not rule out a run for the National Championship. Florida is still a dark horse in that race. Go with the Tide here though. Might be very close and could probably go either way.
16. Memphis vs Middle Tennessee: Who is worse? Memphis, along with New Mexico, probably vie for that honor, but Middle TN is probably pretty close in the running. I have not seen the Blue Raiders this season but have watched the Tigers. They are horrible. As in losing to a decent D2 team bad. MTSU can't be that inept. Can they? We will see. I will go with the Blue Raiders in a close one.
17. Arkansas vs Texas Agriculture: Both teams have historical bad luck it seems and I will go out a bit here and pick the Hogs in a minor upset. Perhaps that is just wishful thinking. Go with Arkansas.
18. Texas vs Iowa State: When was the last time that they were 3-0 at Iowa State? They are it appears at least above average. It is hard to say yet just what Texas has. They are still a bit of a mystery. I will go with the Longhorns here. They may be much better than the prevailing thinking. Or not.
19. Hawaii vs Louisiana Tech: Forget the close loss to Mississippi State last week. Forget letting the Cougars of Houston come roaring back and snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. Forget almost getting beaten by a IAA Southland Conference opponent. This is conference play. Louisiana Tech may perhaps have the talent to be number 2 or 3 in the WAC and actually reach a bowl game.
Hawaii? The jury is still out. Perhaps a bit of a better team than some think. Perhaps not. I will pick Louisiana Tech to finally get it together and win this one. Go with the Bulldogs.
20. UCLA vs Stanford: Stanford is a dark horse in the national race. UCLA will likely not reach .500. Go with Stanford here with relative ease.
These are the games I have chosen to predict for the week. We will see how it plays out. Have a good week.