IAKOW Staff picks: Week 5

I’ll let NWB do the lead-in once again…

“Removing Gator games from the mix, it’s a dead heat. But we pick Gator games at the Gator website and Neil Shulman has picked the Gators every week, whereas I’ve picked them twice. So Neil Shulman leads by two games.

Another chance for me to turn things around on a blockbuster Saturday in college football.”

SEC Picks

South Carolina @ Missouri

NW Blackmon: Game that both teams will need to have at the end of the year if they want to play in a bowl game. Mizzou is well-coached and will fight all year, and Drew Lock offers promise at the quarterback position, but the typically strong Mizzou running game ranks 115th in America. That’s staggering and a testament to just how bad the Tigers have been on offense. Jon Hoke’s defense hasn’t been much better, but they did earn some confidence against UCF and I think they, and freshmen QB Leo Nunez, make enough plays to win on the road Saturday. South Carolina 20, Missouri 14

Neil Shulman: One of several desperation games going on in the SEC this week. The newly founded Columbia Bowl returns to the middle of the country, where Missouri and South Carolina are both reeling from recent losses to Kentucky. But the Gamecocks need it more, and they have the best player on the field in Pharaoh Cooper- who wins an otherwise sloppy game with a big play late. South Carolina 14, Missouri 7

San Jose State @ Auburn

NWB: San Jose State is second in America is pass defense, behind only Boston College. Auburn’s Sean White will struggle against California talent. I think the Tigers run the ball well enough to win a four quarter game. And yes- I almost pulled the trigger on this upset. Auburn 17, San Jose State 14

NS: Like NWB, I’m really, really tempted to pick SJSU in a shocker. After all, Auburn’s defense has been giving up 413.5 yards per game through one third of the season- and one of those games was against FCS foe Jacksonville State. But I refuse to believe that Auburn is so bad that they’ll lose this game and put themselves in jeopardy of missing a bowl game. Payton Barber scores the game winning touchdown late. Auburn 31, San Jose State 24

Alabama @ Georgia

NWB: I’ve gone back and forth on this one because I don’t think this is a vintage Alabama team, I don’t like Jake Coker much, and I think this is Mark Richt’s second-best team ever in Athens. Here’s the deal: Alabama has been an underdog 4 times since 2008 (@ UGA 08, SECCG vs Florida 08, SEC CG vs. Florida 2009, Saturday). They are 2-1 in those football games. Greyson Lambert has been excellent as a game manager for Mark Richt since the rough game against Vanderbilt. But much of the hype comes from performances vs Southern and South Carolina- two porous defenses. This is the Alabama defense, and even though they aren’t great in the secondary, they have enough up front to slow Nick Chubb and make Lambert throw down field. That matchup favors the Tide. So does the intangibles, with Alabama playing to save their playoff hopes. A desperate Nick Saban team? Weird to type that, but that desperation is why they’ll find a way. Alabama 24, School Up North 21

NS: The Crimson Tide find themselves in a rather unfamiliar position. Forget the national championship. This Alabama team is one loss away from seeing their hopes at winning the SEC West destroyed- in the first weekend of October. With their backs against the wall, Nick Saban’s team will do what it has historically done best- run the ball and play defense. But now they face a Georgia team that you better believe has heard all about the beatdown their predecessors received seven years earlier. More importantly, this is precisely the sort of game that Georgia loses every year, and you can bet they’ve heard all about that, too. So both teams want it, both teams are talented, and both teams are well coached. To break the tie in my head, I’m again going with the team that’s got the best player on the field- and that’s Georgia’s Nick Chubb. Georgia 31, Alabama 20

Arkansas @ Tennessee

NWB: Enormous game for Butch Jones and his program (this is becoming a catch-phrase this year). I think the Vols stop the bleeding against the one team in the SEC who finds more ways to lose than they do. Tennessee 30, Arkansas 24

NS: If Tennessee is back, why are they in serious jeopardy of missing a bowl game by the end of September? Trolling aside, the Vols and Hogs both need this win in order to save their seasons, and keep them from becoming complete disasters. But Tennessee’s offense has more playmakers, and that will be the difference. Tennessee 24, Arkansas 20

Eastern Michigan @ Louisiana State

NWB: Tigers get a break before they start their SEC gauntlet next week @ South Carolina. Leonard Fournette will run for 200 yards in the first half of this one and then eat gumbo on the sideline in a romp. LSU 56, Eastern Michigan 0

NS: Next game, please. LSU 38, Eastern Michigan 3

Vanderbilt @ Middle Tennessee State

NWB: Vandy never beats Middle. Or at least they haven’t since college football was segregated (1956). That won’t change in Murfreesboro Saturday evening. Middle Tennessee State 20, Vanderbilt 17

NS: I’m kicking myself for not picking Western Kentucky to beat the Commodores in week one. As a result of that game, I am never picking Vanderbilt to beat another FBS team again until they actually do so. MTSU 31, Vanderbilt 14

Eastern Kentucky @ Kentucky

NWB: Cats improve to 4-1 but the big story in Lexington is Midnight Madness the night before. Kentucky 40, Eastern Kentucky 17

NS: Mark Stoops may actually have something going here. Patrick Towles and co. just knocked off big bad Missouri, the two time defending SEC East Champs, and the defense is playing well. The streaking Cats won’t have too hard a time putting away lowly EKU. Kentucky 34, Eastern Kentucky 10

Mississippi @ Florida

NWB: Chad Kelly’s numbers in SEC play are skewed a bit by a deep ball and a tip ball TD against Alabama. Otherwise, his completion percentage is a pedestrian 55% in conference and he’s thrown a pair of picks. Florida has the best secondary he’s faced, the best DL he’s faced, and is at home. Kelly throws 3 INT’s, the Gators capitalize on short fields and the Gators stun college football for the second week in a row. Also, I’m not picking against Florida 3x in a row. Just not. Even though no one can block Nkemdiche. Florida 23, Mississippi 20

NS: Oh, how seven years can change things. The only thing that’s the same about this year’s Florida-Mississippi game as it was in 2008 is that it’s in Gainesville. Florida’s a touchdown underdog, but that doesn’t mean they won’t put up a fight against an Ole Miss team that’s gotten to 4-0 just as much by luck as it has with talent, coaching, and sound fundamentals. But Florida’s bound to lose a game somewhere along the way, and unless their offensive line improves tremendously in one week and their defense stops missing tackles, it’ll be tonight to the Rebels. Mississippi 34, Florida 24

Mississippi State @ Texas A&M

NWB: Bulldogs routed the Aggies last year in Starkville and if the game were there, I’d pick Dak Prescott. The cool thing about Prescott is his mobility lets you scheme away from Myles Garrett, the All-American Aggies DE who is wreaking havoc on all he faces this season. That will help and Dan Mullen is a great coach but I love the way A & M is finding ways to win and I think Kyle Allen makes enough plays in the passing game to win a close one in College Station. Texas A & M 27, Miss State 21

NS: Every now and then comes what seems like it should be a great game- and one team just comes out and steamrolls the other. Completely out of the blue. This is my pick for that to happen. A&M is still smarting from getting humiliated in Cowbell Town last year, and this time around, they’re good enough to do something about it. Daylon Mack and Myles Garrett will harass Dak Prescott and make his life a living hell while Kyle Allen has his best game as an Aggie. Texas A&M 51, Mississippi State 17

National Games

West Virginia @ Oklahoma

NWB: Dana Holgerson entered the year on the hotseat and his team has played exceptionally well thus far to alleviate pressure. Still, they haven’t played any elite competition and the game is in Norman. I also think the Sooners are more talented in all three phases. Oklahoma 34, West Virginia 24

NS: Baker Mayfield. Samaje Perine. Sterling Shepard. Just too much Oklahoma firepower for West Virginia to be able to stop. Particularly in the Sooners’ backyard. Oklahoma 42, West Virginia 21

Texas @ Texas Christian

NWB: Eventually, all the injuries on defense will catch up to the Horned Frogs. But it won’t be against a Texas team that is improved but hasn’t figured out how to win yet. TCU 35, Texas 28

NS: This has the potential to be a good game if the Longhorns’ defense plays the game of its collective life, but I don’t see it happening. Texas is on the verge of completely collapsing, and Trevone Boykin will happily hasten that process with several Heisman tape highlights. TCU 41, Texas 17

Notre Dame @ Clemson

NWB: I think Deshaun Watson misses Chad Morris in his ear and that’s the reason his production is down. I also admire the way the Irish have fought through two rather devastating injuries on offense. And I loathe picking Clemson to win a game with national implications. But what the hell- Dabo’s guys get it done and there is much rejoicing at the Esso Club Saturday night. Clemson 27, Notre Dame 23

NS: Google the word “Clemsoning.” Then come back and give me one reason why I should pick the Tigers in this one. Those who fail to remember history are doomed to repeat it. OK, so as soon as Malik Zaire went down, we probably all figured that Notre Dame’s season would soon take a downward turn. But it won’t happen today. DeShone Kizer guides the Fighting Irish down the field for a dramatic game winning touchdown. Notre Dame 31, Clemson 28

Iowa @ Wisconsin

NWB: Couple of salty defenses (#20 and #18) meet at Camp Randle. Kirk Ferentz says he loves his team. I remember the one that Tennessee ran out of the building, and like the Badgers to run the ball and win a close one at home. Wisconsin 20, Iowa 17

NS: Good old fashioned three millimeters and a cloud of dust game here. But the Badgers have the better defense, which creates a turnover and a short field that Joel Stave just can’t pass up punishing them for with the game’s only touchdown. Wisconsin 13, Iowa 3

Arizona @ Stanford

NWB: #PAC12AFTERDARK visits the Farm this week where David Shaw has muted the noise that followed the Cardinal dropping their opener at Northwestern. This week they face another set of Wildcats, who are smarting after UCLA brought the hammer to Tuscon last week. I don’t see it getting much better in Palo Alto, and won’t pick Rich Rod’s teams against physical football teams again until they prove me wrong. Stanford 38, Arizona 28

NS: Remember Arizona’s stunning win over Oregon last year? Yeah, that may be as good as it ever gets for Rich Rodriguez in Tucson. Stanford is surreptitiously trying to make everyone forget that they lost to Northwestern in week one, and they’ll take another step in doing so today. The Cardinal will bully the Wildcats in a relatively easy win at home. Stanford 27, Arizona 10

4 thoughts on “IAKOW Staff picks: Week 5

  1. Good picks. And great point on UGA and Chubb being the best player in that game. That tends to be my tiebreaker rule too. Three different picks this week: Ole Miss vs. UF, Bama-UGA, Notre Dame vs. Clemson. If all three road teams win, you’ll be up FIVE picks.

    1. I’m up two games, and we disagreed on three today. If I get all three disagreement games right, I’m up five games. If I get two of the three, I’m up three games- I’ll have gained a two game lead by getting two right and then have lost one by getting one wrong.

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