By Stewart Mandel
October 02, 2009
College Football Week 5
Saturday, October 3
8 p.m. ET (ABC) No. 8 Oklahoma (2-1) at No. 17 Miami (2-1)
Sam Bradford isn't back yet, but this is a chance to find out whether "The U" is back. Virginia Tech humbled the 'Canes last week, but this one's a home game. Back in its heyday, Miami would not lose a big home game like this one. Something tells me Jacory Harris will feed off the crowd.
8 p.m. ET (ABC) No. 7 USC (3-1) at No. 24 Cal (3-1)
I'll be honest: I don't have the foggiest idea how this one's going to turn out. Recent history certainly rests with the Trojans, but USC has yet to display its usual swagger. On the other hand, Cal RB Jahvid Best has not fared well against USC's defense (30 yards on 13 carries last year). I'm putting my faith in the home team.
3:30 p.m. ET (CBS) No. 4 LSU (4-0) at No. 18 Georgia (3-1)
As Tony Barnhart pointed out this week, it's something of a miracle that Georgia is 3-1 considering its high turnover margin (minus-nine) and number of penalties (41). It's also fairly remarkable that LSU is 4-0 considering it fields one of the nation's least productive offenses (310 yards per game). Both teams' bubbles are bound to burst -- but the Tigers' can wait another week.
7:45 p.m. ET (ESPN) Auburn (4-0) at Tennessee (2-2)
The undefeated Tigers have yet to win over many skeptics -- not because of Gus Malzahn's third-ranked offense, but because the defense has been shaky even against inferior foes. Tennessee's eighth-ranked defense will slow down Auburn's attack enough for Tennessee's offense to sneak one out.
Noon ET (ESPN) Wisconsin (4-0) at Minnesota (3-1)
Wisconsin QB Scott Tolzien has quietly surprised a lot of folks in his first year as a starter. Still, it's been hard to get a read on the Badgers, which rank 78th nationally in total defense. The Gophers' D hasn't fared much better (No. 69), but you can count on another big game from star WR Eric Decker, and TCF Bank Stadium will be rocking.
3:30 p.m. ET (ABC) Florida State (2-2) at Boston College (3-1)
Since the start of last season, a strange trend has developed. Excluding FCS opponents, FSU is just 2-5 at home but 4-1 on the road. The 'Noles have also won their past two games in Chestnut Hill, including a 2007 upset of a Matt Ryan-led squad ranked second in the nation. Expect this bizarre trend to continue.
3:30 p.m. ET (ABC) UCLA (3-0) at Stanford (2-1)
With QB Kevin Prince still suffering from a broken jaw sustained against Tennessee, the Bruins will turn again to former starter Kevin Craft. He and the Bruins looked decent against Kansas State -- but K-State is bad. UCLA's stout defense won't be enough to pull off the road win against a much-improved Cardinal team.
3:30 p.m. ET (CBS College Sports) Air Force (3-1) at Navy (2-2)
The Midshipmen have won six straight against the Falcons, but Troy Calhoun's team keeps getting better. If this year's game was in Colorado Springs, I'd predict Air Force would end the drought. But Navy has won five of its last six in Annapolis, and QB Ricky Dobbs is due for another big game.
7:30 p.m. ET (ESPN2) Texas A&M (3-0) vs. Arkansas (1-2)
With a pair of offenses that average more than 1,000 combined yards, and a pair of defenses unlikely to slow down those aforementioned offenses, this should be a shootout of the highest order. While A&M quarterback Jerrod Johnson is poised for his national breakout, the Razorbacks get the slight edge because they've played in some big games already.
Noon ET (Big Ten Network) No. 23 Michigan (4-0) at Michigan State (1-3)
Upset Special: The remarkable resurrection of the Wolverines' offense, led by freshman QB Tate Forcier, has overshadowed the fact that Michigan's defense leaves a lot to be desired, as last week's near-miss against Indiana showed. QB Kirk Cousins and the Spartans are desperate for a victory and more than capable of racking up yards.
Record Last Week: 4-6               Overall: 20-20

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