By Stewart Mandel
September 28, 2007
Week 5 Pickoff
The Bulls used their defensive speed to hold Pat White and Steve Slaton to a combined 60 rushing yards in last year's 24-19 upset. Since then, however, White has developed his passing (No. 9 nationally in pass efficiency) and WVU has discovered a defense (No. 15 in total D).
West Virginia 26, USF 20
No. 6 Cal (4-0) at No. 11 Oregon (4-0)
In hindsight, I wish I'd flipped these two on my AP ballot. Both teams have explosive offenses, but Oregon's playing at another other level (536.8 yards per game, compared with 432.5 for Cal). Neither team's defense inspires confidence -- but neither does Cal's 20-year drought in Eugene.
Oregon 45, Cal 34
OK, Badgers: Show us what you've got. Mark Dantonio's Spartans may be 4-0, but they can't be that good -- they barely beat Pitt (17-13). Don't you get seven points automatically just for facing Dave Wannstedt? If you're truly a top-10 team, Wisconsin, you'll finally win one handily.
Wisconsin 31, Michigan St. 14
Alabama (3-1) at Florida State (2-1)
Bobby Bowden first tried to schedule Alabama during a round of golf with Bear Bryant in the late 1970s. Bryant declined. Thirty years later, Bowden finally gets his shot at the Tide, and he's got to be thinking, Doggone it. Why couldn't we have done this when I had Charlie Ward or Chris Weinke?
Alabama 23, Florida State 19
No. 1 USC (3-0) at Washington (2-2)
In last year's game at the Coliseum, the Huskies had the ball at the Trojans' 15-yard line with a chance to win when the clock ran out on them. Both teams are better now than they were then, and this time UW has home-field advantage. But 'SC won't allow that kind of suspense again.
USC 34, Washington 20
Kansas State (2-1) at No. 7 Texas (4-0)
This should be a good test for Colt McCoy and the Longhorns heading into the Red River Shootout. K-State's front four can really get after you (13 sacks in three games) and QB Josh Freeman can cause problems. If Texas can't handle one or the other -- cringe for next week.
Texas 31, Kansas State 21
Oh, no. Don't do this to me. Clemson is the better team, no question. But it would be so characteristic of a Tommy Bowden-led team to lose this game. And it would be such a Chan Gailey-coached team to win this one a week after losing to inferior Virginia. Any chance they can tie?
Clemson 26, Georgia Tech 17
No. 21 Penn State (3-1) at Illinois (3-1)
Ron Zook is not known as the world's savviest coach, but even he can watch a tape (Michigan's win over Penn State last week) and follow a blueprint. Hand off over and over to Rashard Mendenahll (134 yards per game), play your base defense and wait for Penn State to screw up.
Upset Special:
Illinois 16, Penn State 13
Last week's record: 5-3. Season record: 22-10.

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