IT’S RARE THAT WE GET A CHANCE TO SEE TWO TOP 5 TEAMS MEET IN THE REGULAR SEASON. But that’s exactly what we will see in primetime Saturday night! The ACC which has been dominant versus non-conference will begin what could be a dogfight for both Atlantic and Coastal crowns, with a full slate of games. The Pac-12 will feature several key matchups, as things should start to take shape out west. Friday’s marquee matchup, will see Stanford traveling to Seattle to face the upstart Huskies. The winner of this battle should have the inside track to the Pac-12 championship game.
A LOOK BACK AT WEEK FOUR
I can’t help, but not comment on the firing of Les Miles. For what it’s worth, I think Miles is one of the finest coaches in the country. He is a great recruiter, motivator, and humanitarian!. He is loyal to a fault, and I believe that played a part in his firing. The LSU offense has been stagnant now for two seasons. I blame most of that on former offensive coordinator Cam Cameron. The failure to develop a quarterback since the departure of Zach Mettenberger has proven insurmountable. The administration as we all know, came within a whisker of firing Miles last season. The season opening loss to Wisconsin, immediately put a target on Miles.
I blamed a lackluster performance that day on the distraction of the chaos that was going on in Baton Rouge with the flooding and the shootings. I later found out that the entire football team traveled to Green Bay on Friday, the day before kickoff. I’m not sure who makes that decision, but I do know that seems to me like a recipe for disaster. I know a lot of the Tiger fans that made their way to Lambeau Field, where there a few days before. Interim head coach Ed Orgeron is no stranger to the “Interim” designation. This will be his third rodeo with that tag. Many thought he should have gotten the position at USC. Orgeron immediately fired Cameron and named Steve Ensminger as his offensive coordinator. I think you will see the Tigers rally behind Orgeron and an improved passing game. In the meantime, don’t feel sorry for Miles. He will land a premier job, and do what he does best, WIN. Wouldn’t he look good walking the sidelines at USC? Or perhaps, shock the world and stay in SEC country at Kentucky.
WHAT WATCH IN WEEK FIVE
#7 STANFORD 3-0 AT #10 WASHINGTON 4-0 With Oregon’s struggles, this game suddenly looks like it could decide the PAC-12 North. Both teams struggled on the road last weekend, but pulled out wins late and in overtime. I actually called for the Cardinal to fall last week at UCLA. But a last-minute touchdown pass allowed the Cardinal to defeat the Bruins for the ninth straight time. Stanford has won three straight in this series, but this is by far the best Washington team in that span. Both the Cardinal and Huskies are one of three teams ranked in the top 20 in offense, defense and special teams! The other being Michigan. The Huskies have a balanced offense and should be able to exploit the Stanford D. The Bruins were successful in limiting Christian McCaffrey last weekend and the Huskies should be able to do the same. FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS SHINE BRIGHT ON HUSKY STADIUM, DAWGS 33-24.
OREGON 2-2 AT WASHINGTON STATE 1-2 Two weeks ago, the Ducks traveled to Nebraska where they were dealt a loss by the Cornhuskers. Colorado head coach Mike MacIntyre followed that blueprint to perfection in the Buffs stunning road win in Eugene 41-38. The first time the Ducks have lost back to back since 2007. My Oregon insider tells me there is dissension in the Ducks locker room. Defensive coordinator Brady Hoke is still having trouble implementing his 3-4 scheme. Just two weeks ago, Cougar head coach Mike Leach called his team the equivalent of a “Softball Team”. They followed that tongue lashing, by destroying Idaho 56-6. The Cougars have had a bye week to prepare for this game, and will have confidence after beating the Ducks last year in Eugene. COUGARS BREAK OUT FUNGO BATS, HAND DUCKS THIRD LOSS IN A ROW 49-45.
ARIZONA STATE 4-0 AT USC 1-3 When the season began, I would have thought the records would be reversed when these teams met. Instead, The Sun Devils have raced to a 4-0 start behind dual threat quarterback Manny Wilkins and running backs Demario Richards and Kalen Ballage. The Devils used a 31 point fourth quarter to rally past California last weekend. The Trojans have struggled mightily and have turned to quarterback Sam Darnold. Darnold will get his first start at home, after looking solid in Utah on Saturday. Head coach Clay Helton is now feeling the pressure after starting the season 1-3. Grumblings from former Trojan players have surfaced already, leading many to wonder what new athletic director Lynn Swann might do. I think this is a huge week for the Trojans to put up or shut up. I think Helton still has his team behind him, and they get a big home win. TROJANS UNITE, 31-24.
NAVY 3-0 AT AIR FORCE 4-0 The first leg, in the battle for the Commander-in-Chief Trophy. The last 19 times these teams have met, the winner has gone on to win the trophy. These squads are mirror images of one another, both running the option offense. This is the first time in history, that these teams have met when both are undefeated. Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds has moved on, and he was the difference maker in this series the last four years. The Falcons have the better defense and will be eager for revenge. This will be a great game to watch, as both these teams are better than many think. FLYBOYS SINK THE SHIP, 42-35.
#8 WISCONSIN 4-0 AT #4 MICHIGAN 4-0 The Badgers have already knocked off two top ten teams. Both LSU and Michigan State have fallen victim to the Badgers. The Badgers are doing it with a strong defense and solid ground game. Michigan is using the same formula for success as the Badgers. I give the Wolverines an edge at quarterback with Wilton Speight. This game could ultimately be decided by turnovers and should be a fourth quarter game. The Wolverines are 6-1 in this series since 2002. MICHIGAN KICKER KENNY ALLEN DECIDES THIS ONE, WOLVERINES 23-20.
#3 LOUISVILLE 4-0 AT #5 CLEMSON When I looked at the lines on this weekends games, I was amazed that Vegas had the Cardinals as the favorite here. Cardinal quarterback Lamar Jackson has taken the early lead for the Heisman race. He has accounted for an astonishing 25 touchdowns in just four games! The dual threat Jackson has tossed 13 touchdowns and added 12 rushing scores. The cardinals have the top rated offense in the country averaging 63 points per game. The Tigers will attempt to slow down the Cardinal offense with the third ranked defense in the country. Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson is a Heisman hopeful himself. He hasn’t played particularly well to this point, but is poised to have a breakout game. The Tigers will win this game at the line of scrimmage. They have the better athletes up front on both sides of the ball. WATSON AND THE DEFENSE WILL MAKE A STATEMENT! TIGERS 33-26.
SUPER SIX PACK: SIX GAMES, SIX WORDS, SIX PICKS
WAKE FOREST 4-0 AT NORTH CAROLINA STATE 2-1 I’ll be in the stands to see if the Deacons can go 5-0 for the first time since 2006. WOLFPACK ENDS STREAK 31-27.
OKLAHOMA 1-2 AT #21 TCU 3-1 A bye week was just what the doctor ordered for Sooners. SOONERS CIRCLE THE WAGONS 42-37.
FLORIDA ATLANTIC 1-3 AT FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL 0-4 Many are calling this the “Pillow Bowl” I agree. OWLS WIN PILLOW FIGHT 19-14.
#11 TENNESSEE 4-0 AT #25 GEORGIA 3-1 Will the Vols have anything left in the tank from last week? NO, BULLDOG WIN CREATES CHAOS IN EAST, 31-30.
#22 TEXAS 2-1 AT OKLAHOMA STATE 2-2 Notre Dame win not looking so good now! COWBOYS SHOOT UP HORNS 42-30.
SOUTH FLORIDA 3-1 AT CINCINNATI 3-1 Big matchup in AAC play! BEARCATS HOLD ON 41-34.
LAST WEEKS RESULTS
FEATURED GAMES: 3-2
UPSET EXPRESS: 0-1
SIX PACK: 3-3