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2011 NCAA Football – Week 5 Best Games

Full tilt conference play baby! It’s a great week to be a college football fan because not only do we get into conference play full time, we also have quite a few games with national implications. There are 22 teams remaining of the 120 FBS schools that are undefeated. That number will at least go down by 4 because of games between undefeated teams. The top-3 games this week are incredible! Let’s get going!

I just want to make a quick note and say that these are the most interesting games to me this week in descending order of importance. Obviously I think the most interesting and most important game of the week is the Sooners/Seminoles matchup. This should give you an idea of why the games are in the order they are.

This might actually be a preview of the first ever Big 10 championship game in Indianapolis later this season, but I don’t think this ends good for Nebraska. Brett Bielema is smart enough to know that the Badgers just have to load up the defense to stop Taylor Martinez and make him throw. The question is whether Wisconsin’s defense will be good enough, but I think what we do know is Nebraska doesn’t have a real shot at stopping Wisconsin’s offense with Monte Ball, James White & Russell Wilson. It’s amazing that the Badgers are double digit favorites if Nebraska really is a national championship contender. I think the Cornhuskers get exposed here. Current Line: Wisconsin (-10)!
This is an interesting line because it opened at Bama (-6), but I suppose that was too much towards the Tide and people thought the Gators would stay a lot closer thus the line’s movement. All respect to Arkansas, but this might be the best team Alabama’s faced & it doesn’t help it’s in the Swamp. I have a hard time believing Florida can stick with the Tide, but the Gators have an athletic defense & I think Charlie Weis will have a few tricks up his sleeve. I’d expect the Tide to Roll, but it might be close. Alabama with a big would could make a serious national statement. Current Line: Alabama (-4).
I can’t believe Clemson is a 7-point dog after beating Auburn & Florida St. in back to back weeks! Like the Big 10, this could be another championship game preview. I don’t really know what to think about the Hokies. They are 4-0 & ranked 11th in the nation, but they’ve been very quiet due to having a light schedule. It’ll be really interesting to see how Virginia Tech plays. Logan Thomas hasn’t been fantastic and the defense really hasn’t been tested. Clemson hasn’t been away from home & you wonder how much mental toughness they’ll bring out of their last 2 wins. This is a team that struggled with Wofford in Week 2. Tajh Boyd is a beast & Clemson is scoring 38ppg. Clemson has to take advantage of their fortune. It might be awhile before they beat FSU again. Current Line: Virginia Tech (-7).
If you are one of those people that think Alabama & Oklahoma St. are top-5 teams (and why wouldn’t you?) then you could easily argue that the Aggies & Razorbacks are top-10 caliber teams. The game loses a little meaning with both teams coming off losses, but this game is important for a couple of reasons. The first is that a second loss by either squad disqualifies them from BCS bowl contention. Both schools are likely to lose two games anyway meaning the loser her picks up a 3rd. The game is also important for A&M in that they join the SEC next season so getting blown out here would look terrible. You always want to make a good 1st impression & I assume the Aggies aren’t joining the SEC to be a bottom feeder to Bama, LSU, Arkansas & Auburn. Let’s see how they do. Current Line: Texas A&M (-2.5).
This game is another great Big 10 game if you are a Big 10 homer like me. It’s the teams’ first conference game, but I think both have quite a bit to prove. Ohio St. lost to Miami-FL who then lost to Kansas St. Michigan St. lost to Notre Dame which is a pretty good loss, but the Irish are 2-2 at the moment. It almost has a weird feel to it. The Spartans can really make hay here if they come out of Columbus with a win which is entirely possible with Kirk Cousins. Sometimes though talent wins out and the Buckeyes still have a truckload of it. Vegas sees this as very very close. Current Line: Ohio St. (-3).
Massive conference game for both teams. I can’t believe Mississippi St. has started off this bad. I guess I get losing to LSU, but the Auburn lose was horrible. Now however, a loss here could mean MSU finishes 6-6 if the wheels completely fall off which would be a monumental disappointment. I don’t think Georgia finishes 6-6, but I think in a year that some thought the Dawgs could win the East, they could easily finish 3rd behind SC & Florida. A loss here drops Georgia to 2-3 which means UGA is at best 7-5. Richt’s seat has to be getting warm. A loss here gets it warmer, but it’s a game both teams need to win. That Vegas line is too high. Current Line: Georgia (-7).
Who could anyone not want to tune into a game that features Michael Dyer & Marcus Lattimore!? Jadeveon Clowney is just a little icing on the cake! I can’t believe Vegas has SC as 10 point favorites! Not that Auburn is any great shakes, but the Tigers have come up big in some games and SC looks like they are just about ready to implode. Stephen Garcia has been downright horrible so the time is ripe for an epic SC game where they lose to a team they have no business losing to. I hope Spurrier & the Gamecocks pull it out because I truly believe it’s now or never. Still, SC needs a statement game and could get it here. Current Line: South Carolina (-10).
This came actually opened up as PITT (-3), but has since swung to USF (-3). That sort of makes sense when you consider that South Florida went to South Bend and beat Notre Dame while the Irish traveled to Pittsburgh and defeated the Panthers. I almost feel as if South Florida is a getting a little disrespected. BJ Daniels & Darrell Scott are having great years. The offense is scoring & the defense is playing well. USF needs a year where they finally bust through to top-10 status. I’m not saying they’ll pull it off, but remember that USF gets West Virginia at home. A win over Pittsburgh sets them up to make a run at 12-0. That would be the huge leap Skip Holtz could pull off that Jim Leavitt never quite accomplished. Current Line: South Florida (-3).
I forgot that since I’m a Notre Dame homer I should include the Irish in any BEST GAMES of the week! I don’t think this should be any real test for the Irish although this is a road game & Notre Dame has been turnover prone all season long. Plus, Purdue has a way of playing Notre Dame tough so I don’t want to take them lightly. Something to watch for though is ND’s TO ratio. It stands at -10 & at some point there should be some regression to the mean. If ND switches that up, you could see some tremendous blowouts! I also would like to see Dayne Crist get another shot. Tommy Rees has been a turnover machine in his 3 starts while Crist got a pretty quick hook against USF. I hope the senior gets another shot. Current Line: Notre Dame (-12).
When you think of the Big XII you aren’t thinking about the Bears & Wildcats, but think about how the two teams got here. Baylor got an improbably opening week win over TCU while K-State upset Miami-FL last week. Both teams are 3-0 with a shot at 4-0! Not only that but you have to tune it to watch Robert Griffin! The Baylor QB is on pace to throw for 4,169 yards with 56TD and nary an interception while completing 83+% of his passes! Can a QB from Baylor win the Heisman! He’s also on pace to rush for 700+ yards. I’m pulling for Baylor because Griffin has the ability to beat some of the other teams in the Big XII. Maybe not Oklahoma or Oklahoma St., but if Baylor went 9-3 they’d have a shot at 10-3. A huge season for Art Briles! Current Line: Baylor (-3.5).
I hate seeing the Ponies as 13 point underdogs because you get the feeling Vegas doesn’t have much confidence in them against the Frogs. They might be right, but it’s interesting to know that SMU used to be a huge power in college football and June Jones is slowly making them relevant again. TCU has won 3 straight after their opening loss to Baylor & getting back to playing more like the TCU teams we’ve known in the past. SMU has responded too with 3 wins after an opening week loss. These Texas matchups are intriguing in my opinion and gives you a glimpse of what a Southwest conference could be like if the teams in this region banded together for a 16-team super conference. Current Line: TCU (-13).
Along with Ohio, these are 2 of the 3 best teams in the MAC. For whatever reason I’ve taken an interest in the MAC this season. I think Toledo is getting a bit screwed here being 7.5 dogs. The Rockets should have beaten Ohio St. & Syracuse making them 3-1. They win those 2 games and you can believe they’d be favored. Temple too has a loss they should have won in their road game against Penn St.! The Owls followed that up with a 38-7 BEATING of Maryland! Should be a great MAC game with MAC championship implications. An underrated game that should be a very good one. Current Line: Temple (-7.5).
As an Indiana homer I’ve been forgetting to put every IU game on the BEST GAMES of the week! Indiana is a wonderful case study in ineptitude for a BCS conference program. For the most part the Hoosiers should get absolutely smacked around especially considering Indiana lost to North Texas last week, but it’ll be interesting to see how Indiana bounces back coming home even against a tougher opponent. It’s interesting too that you can basically say that Cam Cameron, Gerry DiNardo & Bill Lynch were terrible hires. You can’t do much about Terry Hoeppner, but so far the early returns on Kevin Wilson haven’t been fantastic with losses to Ball St. & North Texas! How does Indiana keep hiring the wrong guy after the wrong guy after the wrong guy?. Current Line: Penn St. (-15.5).

September 29, 2011 - Posted by | Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Clemson, Florida, Georgia, Michigan St., Mississippi St., Nebraska, Notre Dame, Ohio St, Pittsburgh, South Carolina, South Florida, Texas AM, Virginia Tech, Wisconsin

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