By Josh Kramer
Though it is very hard to believe, we are already four weeks in, and week five begins tonight. As has been the case for a good few years now, Boise State once again is being brought up in the National Championship Game discussion. If Kellen and the blue squad win out, will they get an invitation to Bourbon Street? In addition, Michigan is 4 and 0 for a third consecutive year. Can Denard and the Big Blue keep it going through a brutal Big Ten schedule? And lastly, there are two SEC teams that appear to have a great shot of making the National Title Game (Alabama, LSU). The SEC seems primed to bring home a 6th straight BCS National Championship.
Here are the marquee matchups.
Texas A&M vs Arkansas: Razorbacks by 3
Headline: Razorbacks “pass” through the Aggies in Arlington.
-Both of these teams are ranked in the top 20 for a reason. Both of these teams are coming off of tough conference losses. Well this week is a new week and at least one of these teams will go home a winner. The game is supposedly being played at a “neutral” site. But in actuality, it is taking place in Arlington, which gives the Aggies a huge home-field advantage. Luckily for the Razorbacks, home-field advantage did not seem to mean much for the Aggies last week against Oklahoma State.
-In my opinion, both of these teams are a bit overrated. But the SEC is absolutely brutal, and outside of Oklahoma, no team has a legitimate defense in the Big 12. I thought the Aggies “solid D” would be the difference last week against the Brandon Weeden and the Cowboys. I was mistaken. Weeden, Blackmon, and Co. lit up the A&M secondary for 438 yards via the air. Expect more of the same this week. Arkansas may have gotten blown out by the Crimson Tide last week, but they were in Tuscaloosa and Bama may be the best team in the country. Expect Tyler Wilson to have a field-day and lead Arkansas to a huge non-conference win in Arlington.
Clemson at Virginia Tech: Hokies by 7
Headline: Beamer Ball throws the rising Tigers for a loop in Blacksburg.
-Outside of LSU and maybe Alabama, no team is playing better football than Clemson right now. Clemson first shocked the defending champs, Auburn, on the road. Many saw this upset coming. Then they handled business in Tallahassee against a tough Seminoles team. I along with many were very surprised by this. If they are able to go into Blacksburg and handle Beamer and Hokies, this team is a possible National Championship Game contender.
-Luckily for Hokie Nation, I do not think Clemson is a BCS contender. They are a very good team, but not as good as many are making them out to be at this time. They beat a vastly overrated Auburn team who struggled with both Utah State and Mississippi State (you can only play with fire for so long). And then they beat a Florida State team, who was missing arguably their best player and starting QB, E.J. Manuel. Sure Virginia Tech has not played anybody yet, but there is a reason this team has won 10 or more games for seven straight years. After every high comes a low. This week will be the low for a very good, but not great, Clemson team, as they struggle to put up points against a very stout Virginia Tech defensive unit.
Alabama at Florida: Crimson Tide by 10
Headline: Tide roll in the Swamp behind lethal Richardson/Lacy combo.
-Over the past few years, this has been one of the best matchups in the country. Both of these teams consistently are not only favorites to make it to the SEC title game, but also to win the National Championship Game. This year was a little different, at least in the preseason, with respect to the Gators. Nobody really expected Florida to do much, while Bama was a common choice to win the whole thing. The Gators are one of the years biggest surprises thus far, and appear to be the real deal.
-The defense in this game will be NFL caliber. Do not expect a high scoring affair, because it just isn’t going to happen. Both of these teams are surrendering less than 10 points a game for a reason. The speed and size of both defensive units is scary. On the ground will be where this game is decided though. Bama is not only more experienced than Florida, but they have a slightly better rushing attack. Only LSU has a combo that rivals the tandem of Richardson/Lacy (Florida gets to experience that first hand next week in Baton Rouge). Though Demps and Rainey are very good, they are not quite in the same class as the Tide combo. Do not expect much scoring, but do expect Bama to run the ball slowly but surely down Florida’s throat.
Nebraska at Wisconsin: Badgers by 7
Headline: A rude welcoming to the Big Ten in Camp Randall for the Cornhuskers.
-Nebraska’s long-awaited debut in the Big Ten is upon us. Many said that the Cornhuskers would waltz into the Big Ten and take home the conference title in year one. Well this is the game where Taylor Martinez and Co. will get to put their money where their mouth is. Wisconsin was my pick to win the Big Ten, and I stand behind that pick. There is not one place in College Football that is more difficult to go to and win than Camp Randall. Just ask Terrelle Pryor and Ohio State.
-This is an extremely tough Big Ten opener for Nebraska. Not to mention Wisconsin has looked outstanding in every facet of the game thus far. The Russell Wilson project has gone even better than expected through four games. Both of these teams can really run the ball, but Wisconsin can also really dominate via their aerial attack as well. There are two keys to this game that will give the Badgers the win. Number one the home-field advantage. Wisconsin simply does not lose in Camp Randall. Secondly, Wisconsin is a much more well-rounded team. They can move the ball both on the ground and via the pass. In addition, they have a great defense. These keys will give the Badgers the victory on Saturday night.
Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.