Week 5 Brings More Intense Schedule
4 battles among top 25 teams take center stage
The college football season begins to heat up this week with 48 games taking place. Using the Congrove Computer Rankings as the guide, there are 4 games among teams ranked in the Top 25.
Oklahoma, ranked 3rd by the computer, heads to South Bend as a miniscule 0.38-point underdog to 21st-ranked Notre Dame. The Irish won last year's game at Norman 30-13 even though the Sooners were an 11-point computer pick and 9-point Vegas favorites. Notre Dame is 9-1 all-time vs. Oklahoma with the loss coming in 1956.
No. 6 visits No. 20 when LSU (4-0, 1-0 SEC West) heads to Georgia (2-1, 1-0 SEC East) to tackle the Bulldogs between the hedges. These teams have met 3 times for the SEC Championship since 2003 with the last such meeting occurring in 2011. This is only LSU's 2nd visit to Athens in 9 years and the home fans will be happy to see the computer gives the 'Dawgs a modest 2.7-point edge.
Alabama, ranked 8th in the computer, faces one of its most stern tests of the season when division rival and 19th-ranked Ole Miss travels to Tuscaloosa. It's the 2nd-straight year the Rebels have had to play this game on the road, and the 3rd time in the last 4 seasons. 'Bama has taken 9 straight from Mississippi and holds a 50-8-2 all-time advantage. The computer projects the Tide will make it 10 straight with a 9.49-point win.
No. 13 Washington hosts 16th-ranked Arizona as a 4.15-point computer favorite. The teams have split their last 8 meetings and the home team has held serve for 5 straight years.
Meanwhile, 2nd-ranked Stanford is a 24.57-point pick versus a much-improved Washington State in a neutral venue game at Seattle, while top-ranked Oregon gets a 38.10-point edge vs. Cal in Eugene.
5th-ranked Ohio State hosts a dangerous No. 30 Wisconsin team in a key Leaders divisions battle. The computer has the Buckeyes winning by 10.5 and Urban Meyer announced that Braxton Miller will start if he has a good week of practice. Miller, of course, was hurt (knee) in the 1st quarter of the San Diego State game on September 7 and hasn't played since. Kenny Guiton has thrown 12 TD passes in Miller's absence, including a single game school record 6 which he managed to throw in the first half vs. Florida A&M.
No. 10 Georgia Tech gets the national spotlight on Thursday's ESPN game as a 9.68-point favorite over visiting 36th ranked Virginia Tech. One or the other has played for the ACC Championship every year since the conference formed two divisions, beginning in 2005. Virginia Tech has won the Coastal 5 times and Georgia Tech 3 times. In head-to-head matchups, the Hokies have won 5 of the last 6 and are 7-3 all-time vs. the Yellow Jackets. VT is 3-2 vs. GT in Atlanta.
No. 23 South Carolina goes on the road meet No. 26 UCF in Orlando. The Gamecocks are only getting 4.07 points worth of love from the computer.
For the first time this season, no FBS school plays an FCS team.
There is a list of 29 schools taking a pass this week, including the computer's 4th-ranked Baylor Bears, No. 9 Louisville, 15th-ranked UCLA, No. 17 Texas Tech, 18th-ranked Northwestern and 22nd-ranked Michigan.
Here are some other games to watch this week, along with the computer's pick:
Arizona State (-6.64) vs. USC
Texas A&M (-13.31) at Arkansas
North Carolina (-6.90) vs. East Carolina
UTSA (-0.49) vs. Houston
Minnesota (-6.51) vs. Iowa
Oklahoma State (-18.78) at West Virginia
TCU (-14.82) vs. SMU
Northern Illinois is 3-0 after opening with wins at Iowa and Idaho, followed by a 43-39 win in its home opener last week against FCS member Eastern Illinois. The Huskies hit the road again this week and next, facing Purdue as a 0.49-point underdog on Saturday. Their first home game against a school from the FBS is October 12th vs. Akron.
FBS vs. FCS:
There aren't any FBS vs. FCS matchups this week for the first time this season. FBS teams were 13-1 vs. FCS schools last weekend and are now 81-14 on the year (.853) and 817-79 (.912) since 2003. FCS teams won just 10 games all season a year ago.
106 FBS schools scheduled a total of 110 games against FCS foes in 2013. Clemson and Georgia Tech each scheduled two such schools. FBS newcomer Georgia State scheduled 3 FCS teams and lost to each of them.
Here are the results of the FBS losses to FCS schools this season:
8/29: Towson 33, Connecticut 18
8/29: Southern Utah 22, South Alabama 21
8/30: Samford 31, Georgia State 21
8/30: North Dakota State 24, Kansas State 21
8/31: Northern Iowa 28, Iowa State 20
8/31: Eastern Washington 49, Oregon State 46
8/31: Eastern Illinois 40, San Diego State 18
8/31: McNeese State 53, USF 21
9/7: UT-Chattanooga 42, Georgia State 14
9/7: Maine 24, Massachusetts 14
9/7: Nicholls State 27, Western Michigan 23.
9/14: Fordham 30, Temple 29
9/14: Bethune-Cookman 34, FIU 13
9/21: Jacksonville State 32, Georgia State 26 (OT)
Eastern Washington, McNeese State and North Dakota State also had wins vs. FBS teams last year.
Ohio State - Won 16 straight overall. Hosts Wisconsin on Saturday.
Northern Illinois - Won 22 straight at home and 18 straight vs. conference foes. at Purdue on Saturday.
LSU - Won 44 straight regular season nonconference games. at Georgia on Saturday.
Michigan - Won 17 straight home games. Idle this week.
Oregon - Won 16 straight road games. Hosts Cal on Saturday.
Southern Miss - Lost 15 straight overall. Visits Boise State on Saturday.
Akron - Lost 28 straight road games, 25 straight FBS games and 16 straight conference games (MAC). Visits Bowling Green on Saturday.
Kansas - Lost 21 straight conference games and 20 straight road games. Ended 22-game losing streak vs. FBS teams with 13-10 win over Louisiana Tech last week. Idle this week.
UNLV - Lost 23 straight road games. Visits New Mexico on Saturday.