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NCAA College Football 2010-11 Week 5 Picks

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Fearless Rick's 2010-11 College Football Week 5 Picks - Early Games

Rick Gagliano | September 30 - October 2, 2010

All times Eastern - Click here for late games.

Thursday, Sept. 30

Texas A&M at Oklahoma State (-3, 67), 7:30 pm - Both squads enter this fray with identical 3-0 records and the luxury of an extra week to prepare, so neither can claim any kind of advantage. Some considered the Aggies' 27-20 win over Florida International to display some kind of weakness, but the 0-3 Panthers have proven to be better than the creampuffs many thought they were, having lost to Rutgers 19-14 in their opener and having given Maryland a tussle.

Chalk up the close score as a bit of overconfidence and looking ahead by A&M, who should come out blazing against the Cowboys. These two meet annually, with Oklahoma State winning the last two, though last season's win was more of a last man standing affair, as the Cowboys took a 36-31 decision in a game that turned out to be a push. This could also turn out to be a close call, so take the points and trust in the Aggies' more experienced offense. Neither team excels on defense, so over may be tempting, though that number is very high.

Prediction: Aggies 38 Cowboys 27

Friday, Oct. 1

BYU (-5 1/2, 51 1/2) at Utah State, 8:00 pm - This is a really bad game which, when originally sceduled was never imagined to be a contest between two 1-3 teams, but the Cougars have not shown their usual offensive firepower and the Aggies of Utah State have been their usual unpredictable selves. Granted, BYU played better teams than Utah State - Washington (their only win), Air Force, Florida State and Nevada - but none of their losses have been competitive games.

This being an in-state rivalry, there's sure to be some degree of familiarity, and even though BYU has hammered the Aggies the past three seasons, the 2010 Courgar team is nothing like what was on the field in 2009. Utah State gets the home field and a shot at a big win over a serious rival that doesn't have much of an offense.

Prediction: Aggies 24 Cougars 21

Saturday, Oct. 2

Temple (-5, 42) at Army, 12:00 pm - The Owls lost a tough one at Penn State last week, 22-13, but still appear to be the pride of the Mid Atlantic conference at 3-1. They cannot afford to take this Army unit lightly, however, as the Black Knights have piled up an average of 274.8 yards rushing while putting up a 3-1 record, their only loss being a 3-point decision to Hawaii.

Temple, however, is off to a tremendous start, with their loss last week only their first out of four games. The wins over Villanova, Central Michigan and Connecticut, some pretty good teams for this caliber of play. It will be up to Temple to stop the potent Army rushing attack, ranked 8th in the nation. Considering all of the variables, including Army being at home, it's difficult to see how Temple could be favored here, much less by five points.

Prediction: Black Knights 24 Owls 19

Ohio State (-17 1/2, 50 1/2) at Illinois, 12:00 pm - The Buckeyes must guard against looking past the Fighting Illini and ahead to the headier games down the road, though it doesn't seem that this team is going to miss a beat on its path to a BCS bowl game and possible shot at the national title.

Tyrelle Pryor has delivered on every promise thus far in the season and looks like a legitimate Heisman candidate. After blowing away eastern Michigan last week, 73-20, Ohio State players might be looking for some competition, though they're not likely to get much of a game from Illinois.

The Illini already have lost one - their opener, to Missouri - but beat both Northern and Southern Illinois in subsequent weeks. They've had an extra week to prepare for the Buckeyes, though one questions how much that's going to help. Ohio State is averaging 49.3 points per outing, third best in the country, and has allowed an average of 14.5. They are ranked 5th in total defense and run defense, but the secondary is probably more talented than the Illinois receiving corps, so this one could get ugly early.

Prediction: Buckeyes 48 Fighting Illini 21

Navy at Air Force (-9 1/2, 48), 2:30 pm - This is the first of three 2009 rematches featuring 16-13 final scores, last season's game won by the Midshipmen, in overtime. The Falcons look to get even with their service-mates, and the line indicates that they have a good chance of blowing this one open big time.

Navy comes in with the usual spread offense, ranked #9 in the nation for yards per game on the ground, but here's a surprise: they are the #1 defensive unit against the pass, allowing just 90 yards per game. Some of that is surely because they're 77th against the run, so most teams don't have to throw much to get to them. The only quality team the Middies have faced is Maryland, to whom they lost their opener, 17-14, on the road.

Air Force runs an offense similar to Navy's spread, but they're running it better than the Navy guys, ranked #1 in the nation in rushing, at an astonishing 394 yards per game. Air Force also plays in the rugged Mountain West conference, and have already beaten BYU (35-14) and Wyoming (20-14), their only loss a razor-thin one at Oklahoma (27-24). They're at home and have some big edges here.

Prediction: Falcons 34 Midshipmen 13

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Tennessee at LSU (-16, 42 1/2), 3:30 pm - At first blush, this line looks like a misprint, but apparently, some of the line-makers thought very highly of the Tigers in their 20-14 victory over West Virginia last week. Even though LSU is 4-0, their wins have been over so-so competition, including a North Carolina team that is now 1-2 and played without many of their defensive starters in the season opener, won by the Tigers, 30-24.

The Vols are going through some restructuring and a bit of an identity crisis, not knowing whether or not they can actually play defense in the SEC. Still, Florida only beat them by 14 and they do have two wins - and two losses - but one has to believe that the Tigers will do enough to stop themselves to keep the Volunteers around until the 4th quarter.

Although this will be Tennessee's first road game, they should be up to the task of at least keeping the game from being a blowout, but LSU will probably win it.

Prediction: Tigers 21 Volunteers 17

Wisconsin (-2, 52) at Michigan State, 3:30 pm - A battle of unbeatens in the Big Ten features a home underdog in under-appreciated Michigan State. The Spartan players are going to be all out for their returning coach, Mike Dantonio, who suffered a mild heart attack a few weeks ago and will be coaching from the comfort of the press box in this one.

Averaging 36.8 ppg, the Spartans are nearly the equal of Wisconsin (39.5), the latter's stats somewhat inflated by their 70-3 in over Austin Peay last week. The Badgers nearly lost in their third outing of the season, a non-conference affair with Arizona State, won 20-19 on a missed Sun Devil extra point. Wisconsin had real troubles on special teams and is not that great on defense. Since this is the first conference game for both schools, one would have to give the Spartans some credit for being the home team and also having taken out Notre Dame, 34-31, in overtime. Wisconsin is notorious for losing big games on the road, like last season's defeats at Ohio St., Iowa and Northwestern.

While the Spartans will have their hands full trying to stop John Clay and James White, they can counter with a balanced attack, led by Kirk Cousins and a bevy of receivers, including B.J. Cunningham and the deft Keshawn Martin. Wisconsin won at home, 38-30, last season and Michigan State is arguably better this year.

Prediction: Spartans 27 Badgers 21

Texas at Oklahoma (-3 1/2, 46), 3:30 pm - The second of this week's 16-13 rematches, and wouldn't you know it, the Sooners, who lost last season by the slim 3-point margin are favored by more than that result. After seeing how badly the Longhorns were thumped by UCLA last week, one would have thought the line to be larger - and it may grow as game time approaches - but the Sooners didn't exactly distinguish themselves on defense, almost blowing a huge lead to Cincinnati, though eventually coming out of the game unscathed with a 31-29 win and a 4-0 record.

The Sooners may not be UCLA's match when it comes to defense, but the Texas defenders looked tired and confused against the Bruins and ended up losing by a huge, 34-12 score. These teams renew this rivalry annually, but the Sooners seem the obvious choice here. A win would move them into the national championship argument, as their upcoming schedule doesn't appear too daunting.

Prediction: Sooners 37 Longhorns 26

All times Eastern - Click here for late games

Copyright 2010, 2011, Rick Gagliano, Downtown Magazine. All rights reserved. Downtown Magazine is located in the Uinted States of America and is not affiliated with the National Football League or the NCAA. For more information, contact us here. Use of this site is for entertainment purposes only.


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