College football week 5 predictions


College football week 5 is upon us, and it has a little bit of work to do to match last week’s quality.  Tennessee finally ended 11 straight years of L’s by beating Florida.  We witnessed a one-of-a-kind devastating loss, which gave the power brokers at LSU an excuse to carry out their plan to relieve their head coach of his job.  Stanford quickly scored two touchdowns late in the fourth quarter to beat UCLA.  Yes, the bar is high this week, but Week 5’s schedule contains plenty of great games.  Naturally, a new week brings on another round of predictions, so it’s time to get things done, starting with a quick recap of the previous week’s results.

Last week’s predictions’ win-loss record rebounded to 4 wins versus 3 losses after taking two early L’s.  Actually, describing Georgia’s defeat to Ole Miss as just one loss doesn’t quite capture the beat down Ole Miss put on them.  If someone close to the Georgia football team announced to the press that the people playing last week were imposters, because the team’s bus broke down on the way to Mississippi, would anyone raise an eyebrow?  Then, L number three occurred when a Stanford defensive lineman wasn’t content to just recover Josh Rosen’s fumble on the last play of the game — oh no, big man had to rumble all the way to the end zone, allowing Stanford to cover the point spread.  (Did this guy have money on the game?)

Now, it’s time to introduce a new wrinkle to the predictions format…

Through the magic of a computer program implementing a random number generator, a computer will offer its “predictions” this week as well.  This idea was spawned from a contest a finance professor spoke about during a lecture I attended several years ago.  The contest was featured in the Wall Street Journal back when people read the newspaper in paper form.  Yep, back in the day.  Anyway, the story goes like this.  Experts in the financial world would pick their stocks against the “darts”.  The “darts” picked stocks just as the name implies:  the Wall Street Journal stock section was spread across the wall, and someone would throw darts at it.  The tip of the dart made the selection.  (Of course, the computer’s “darts” are the random numbers and logic.)  Legend has it that the darts won more than 50% of the time.  Still feel confident about the person managing your stock portfolio? 

Anyway, here are the predictions.

Stanford at Washington (-3)

Both teams were able to scrape by with wins last week.  Washington beat Arizona in overtime.  Stanford bested UCLA with a couple of touchdowns late in the fourth quarter.  Stanford is the more trustworthy team in this matchup.  (For the record, I am going to root for the Huskies, though.)

Winner:  Stanford

Computer prediction:  Stanford

Wisconsin at Michigan (-10.5)

When Wisconsin beat LSU, people talked more about LSU’s deficiencies than Wisconsin’s play.  Next, Wisconsin beat up on Michigan State in East Lansing, MI, a team that had just come off a nice road win against Notre Dame.  Maybe now people will realize that Wisconsin is pretty good.  Sure, Michigan has looked great, but none of their opponents match the perceived “quality win” that Wisconsin can claim.  Hey, I am a believer in the Khaki Man, Jim Harbaugh, but I don’t think Michigan will cover the point spread. 

Winner:  Wisconsin

Computer prediction:  Michigan

Tennessee (-3) at Georgia

Georgia looked helpless last week against Ole Miss.  Defenders didn’t look interested in covering receivers, tackling, or anything else that would stop the Ole Miss offense from scoring.  On the offensive side of the ball, Georgia’s receivers showed an astounding ability to drop passes.  The Vols vanquished Florida last week, and with a win against Georgia, they will put some distance between them and the second place team in the SEC East division.  Georgia will play better than last week, but even so, what does this really mean — they only lose by 7? 

Winner:  Vols

Computer prediction:  Georgia

Missouri at LSU (-13)

At first glance, this line looks a bit high considering the fact that LSU just fired Les Miles, a coach who had held the position for 11+ years.  However, as long as the LSU players just concentrate on playing the game, they’ll win by two touchdowns. 

Winner:  LSU

Computer prediction:  Missiouri

Oklahoma (-3.5) at TCU

Come on, now, the Sooners won’t lose 3 games this soon, right? 

Winner:  Oklahoma

Computer prediction:  TCU

Louisville (-2) at Clemson

The game of the week.  Lamar Jackson versus DeShaun Watson.  Which defense can get enough stops?  Well, let’s rephrase that – which defense can sort of get in the way of the other offense?  This game should wear out the scoreboard operator due to the number of points the teams will score.  Louisville was impressive in their win against Florida State, but that was a home game.  Can they duplicate the same electrifying performance on the road against a quality opponent?  Clemson has improved their play since their struggles against Troy.  It’s tough picking against Lamar Jackson, but Clemson holds on to win at home.

Winner:  Clemson

Computer prediction:  Louisville

Well, that’s all for this week.  Enjoy week 5, everyone!

Categories: College football

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