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Fearless Rick's 2011-12 College Football Week 5 - Early Games

Rick Gagliano | September 29 - October 1

All times Eastern - Click here for late games.

Thursday, September 29

8:00 pm South Florida (-3, 52) at Pittsburgh - A battle for supremacy in the Big East gets Week 5 of college football in a big way. The Panthers lost a close one to Notre Dame at home last week, 15-12, as they were unable to generate sufficient offense in the red zone in a defensive struggle.

The Bulls knocked off the Fighting Irish in Week 1, at Notre Dame, 23-20, and are 4-0 after smashing up UTEP last Saturday, 52-24.

Both teams offer stingy defense, but South Florida's offense is miles ahead, with QB B.J. Daniels hitting 66% of his passes for 1071 yards, 8 TDs and just one pick.

Prediction: Bulls 26 Panthers 17


8:00 pm Houston (-17, 64 1/2) at UTEP - The Miners were gob-smacked at South Florida last weekend, but return home to host Case Keenum and the high-flying Cougars, who are 4-0 and putting up points at a 44.3 per game clip.

These two Conference-USA squads meet every season, with Houston winning four of the last six contests, including a 54-24 beating last season.

At home, however, it's a different story for UTEP in this rivalry. They've won two of three on their home field and their only loss to Houston was a 34-31 score back in 2007.

Look for the Miners to try to throw off Keenum's rhythm with disguised defenses and occasional blitzes and try to get freshman Nathan Jeffery more touches, as he's averaging 7.9 yards per carry.

Prediction: Cougars 41 Miners 32


Friday, September 30

8:00 pm Utah State at BYU (-8, 63) - Don't look for much in the way of defense here, as the Aggies allow 31.3 ppg and the Cougars, 25.3.

1-2 Utah State could easily be 3-0, though they fell short last week, losing, 35-34, to Colorado State after beating Weber State, 54-17 the prior week and losing at Auburn, 42-38, in their season opener.

BYU had fits and starts against UCF last week, eventually coming out on top, 24-17, but their 2-2 record has that ugly, 54-10, loss to Utah on it besides a one point win at Mississippi and a 1-point loss at Texas. The Cougars have work to do on both sides of the ball. An upset looms.

Prediction: Aggies 38 Cougars 35


Saturday, October 1


--- Story continues below ---


12:00 pm Air Force at Navy (-3, 53 1/2) - Averaging 358 yards on the ground per game, Navy has a formidable offense operating the triple option, which normally gives teams fits and the Falcons are no exception, yielding 192 yards rushing on average over their first three games.

This one may just come down to which way the money takes it, as Air Force is 0-3 ATS, while the Middies are 3-0, and in head-to-head action, Navy is 8-1-1 ATS and 7-3 SU, dating back to 2001.

The Falcons will need to contain the triple option offense in order to achieve victory, but that' seems to be a task to tough, especially playing the Midshipmen on their home field at Annapolis.

Prediction: Midshipmen 31 Falcons 23

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12:00 pm Northwestern at Illinois (-8, 50) - Surprising Illinois is 4-0, though three of those wins were against Arkansas State, South Dakota, and last week, a 23-20 triumph over Western Michigan. Still, the Illini are talented, especially on defense, and proved as much beating Arizona State, 17-14, on 9/17.

2-2 Northwestern arrives well-prepared as their two losses - at Army and at Texas Tech - were both by seven points, and they've won four of the last five when playing at Illinois. The Wildcats may just have their number.

Prediction: Wildcats 24 Fighting Illini 21


12:00 pm Texas A&M (-3, 62 1/2) at Arkansas - An old SWC rivalry renewed as the Aggies and Razorbacks each try to bounce back from losses to conference powerhouses. The Aggies blew a first half lead, falling at home to Oklahoma State, 30-29, while the Razorbacks were pummeled at Alabama, 38-14.

Both teams can light it up, with the Aggies clicking for 37.3 ppg and Arkansas scoring 38.8 on average and usually play good defense, but Oklahoma State exploited holes in the A&M pass defense, and throwing the pigskin is exactly what Arkansas does best.

The Razorbacks are 9th nationally in passing yards, with over 316 yards per outing. Tyler Wilson, the Arkansas QB, is connecting on two out of every three passes he throws and has seven TDs and just three picks.

Prediction: Razorbacks 34 Aggies 30

All times Eastern - Click here for late games

Copyright 2011, 2012, 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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