Last Week’s Record (6-2), Overall (25-6)
I heard Braden Gall of Athlon Sports mention something last week on his weekly segment on Midday 180 on 104.5 The Zone out of Nashville that may come to fruition. 2007 was one of those seasons where teams like South Florida and Boston College were hovering over the top spots in the AP Poll. Gall alluded to the possibility of seeing more South Florida’s and Boston College’s making a push into the Top 5 in 2014 for the first time since that ridiculous 2007 season.
Although the usual suspects of Seminoles, Ducks, Crimson Tides, Sooners, and War Eagle Tigers currently sit atop the college football rankings, the current AP Poll is shaping up to resemble the 2007 season that was loaded with short-term Cinderella stories. How short-term these Cinderella stories will be has yet to be seen, but with names like Mississippi State and East Carolina blasting into the Top 25 this week at No. 14 and No. 23, respectively, don’t be surprised to see a few new and non-traditional names showing up in the top 10 before season’s end. Ole Miss has already poked its head in at No. 10, so we are setting up for a fun sprint to the College Football Playoff final four.
Oh, how can I forget? Notre Dame is ranked No. 8 because Notre Dame. Tell me all you want that the Irish do not get the same favor they did decades ago, but Notre Dame is ranked No. 8 in the entire world of college football, you guys. A couple more wins and they will receive an automatic bid to the College Football Playoff.
Before we get to the final four, we must first review Week 4 and predict Week 5, so let’s do that now.
Week 4′s Weakly Comparison
1. Indiana 31, Missouri 27 (Predicted Missouri 44, Indiana 17)
2. Mississippi State 34, LSU 29 (Predicted LSU 28, Mississippi State 23 )
1. Georgia 66, Troy 0 (Predicted Georgia 77-0)
2. Texas A&M 58, SMU 6 (Predicted Texas A&M 55, SMU 13)
Very unimpressive guesses of very mismatched games.
Week 5 Predictions
Every SEC team will have at least one conference game under their belt at the end of Week 5. Some are playing their first conference game this week (Tennessee and Missouri) while one team will be halfway through their conference schedule following Saturday’s action (South Carolina).
With next Saturday (October 4) being billed as something along the lines of “Separation Saturday,” this week will be a “Prelude to the Biggest Weekend of the SEC Schedule.” However, a couple of upsets here and there in Week 5 and Week 6 quickly becomes the weekend of “Matchups That Nearly Meant Something.”
Please direct your attention to the 50 yard line for a special presentation of Week 5’s predictions.
All Times Eastern | Utilizing AP Poll until College Football Playoff Selection Committee poll is released on October 28.
Saturday, September 27
Tennessee (2-1, 0-0) at #12 Georgia (2-1, 0-1 SEC)
12:00pm | ESPN
College football has endured a few changes to its landscape the past three-to-five years, but none have been as big in the South as Tennessee not opening SEC play against Florida on the third Saturday in September.
This Saturday’s SEC opener for the Vols will be in Athens, Georgia to face a Bulldogs team that will still feel slighted for the loss suffered two weeks prior at South Carolina. Georgia also remembers the previous two seasons’ near upsets by the Volunteers.
Georgia escaped Knoxville with an overtime victory in 2013, but they also took home to Athens an injury list so substantial that the season ended with a dull dud of disappointment.
Tennessee spent last week licking its wounds following a road trip to Norman, Oklahoma. Although the Sooners won handily, it was not the same Tennessee teams of Derek Dooley past where the bleeding just wouldn’t stop. The Vols have some youth that will only get better throughout the season. Will Athens be the place it all begins to come together?
I don’t think it’s quite time for the Vols to win a big one like this on the road, but by November, every pundit in college football will be excited to see what Butch Jones does with this team in 2015. Tennessee is respectable, but just doesn’t have the horses to outrun this litter of Bulldogs.
FINAL SCORE: Georgia 35, Tennessee 17
Vanderbilt (1-3, 0-2) at Kentucky (2-1, 0-1 SEC)
12:00pm | SEC Network
Kentucky has improved immensely in year two under Wildcats head coach Mike Stoops. They had a week off to forget (or sulk) about the 3-overtime loss to Florida in Gainesville. Vanderbilt appears to be improving a little each week so the ‘Cats can’t look at this game as a guaranteed bounce-back game.
Kentucky will be looking to break a 3-game losing streak to the Commodores in this noon kickoff game in Lexington. The losses suffered at the hands of the ‘Dores since 2011 have been severe beat downs. To quantify that for you, allow me to do a little math. Over the past three losses, Vandy has outscored Kentucky 100-14.
That’s ONE HUNDRED for Vanderbilt and FOURTEEN for Kentucky. FOURTEEN!
Luckily for the current Wildcats, they only have to score more than Vanderbilt in this one game and that, honestly, should not be a problem.
FINAL SCORE: Kentucky 35, Vanderbilt 10
#6 Texas A&M (4-0, 1-0 SEC) vs. Arkansas (3-1, 0-1)
3:30pm | CBS | AT&T Stadium | Arlington
The scoreboard on that mountainous big screen inside the Jerry Dome will be busy in the Dallas area on Saturday afternoon. Texas A&M can throw and Arkansas can run.
Kevin Sumlin vs. Bret Bielema may be the closest we’ll ever come to knowing what it would have looked like seeing Tom Landry vs. Jimmy Johnson. No, Johnson never ran a system similar to Sumlin, but the dichotomy between Saturday’s head coaches is as applicable.
Sumlin feels that there is no such thing as a drive that’s too short. Bielema believes there is no drive that’s too long so long as you’re chewing up clock and time of possession.
It should be fun to see which team dictates pace. This may look like a basketball game at times with A&M trying to run up and down the court while Arkansas sets up its mid-court offense and score with as little time left on the shot clock as possible.
This may be the week that the West gets even more jumbled that it already was. A&M will no longer be among the undefeated after the clock hits 00:00.
FINAL SCORE: Arkansas 44, Texas A&M 35
Louisiana Tech (2-2) at #5 Auburn (3-0, 1-0 SEC)
4:00pm | SEC Network
Anytime I see LA Tech I immediately have flashbacks to 1997 and 1999 when the Bulldogs of Ruston, Louisiana defeated Alabama. That 1999 team that lost to Tech won the SEC Championship.
What do these random moments from 15 years ago have to do with Auburn’s matchup with Louisiana Tech?
It was that or actually talk about how the Bulldogs have a shot to win this game if they execute in the first and second half and stuff.
WAKE UP! See? I told you the first paragraph was much more enjoyable.
Sorry, Auburn. You win, but you fail to get the shutout.
FINAL SCORE: Auburn 42, Louisiana Tech 7
Missouri (3-1, 0-0 SEC) at #13 South Carolina (3-1, 2-1 SEC)
7:00pm ET | ESPN
Remember that time we all said, “Okay. We’ve slept on Missouri enough. Stop it and stop it now. They are legit and last season’s run to Atlanta was no fluke”? Well, it might not have been a fluke last year, but our willingness to crown the Tigers a real threat in the SEC fell very flat Saturday at home versus the Hoosiers of Indiana.
The good news for Mizzou is they remain undefeated in SEC play. The bad news is, INDIANA! ALL THE HOOSIERS!
The Gamecocks will be playing their fourth SEC game while the other is playing their first. I just mentioned Mizzou is undefeated in SEC play, but they are also winless, so there’s that. South Carolina is 2-1, and will have already played half their SEC schedule once this game comes to a close. Missouri did the same last year in their run to the East Championship.
Based on how the SEC East has gone thus far, I’m taking Missouri on the road, one week following a loss to Indiana at home. IN. DEE. ANNA.
FINAL SCORE: Missouri 36, South Carolina 28
New Mexico State (2-2) at #17 LSU (3-1, 0-1 SEC)
7:30pm ET | SEC Network
Remember last week when we predicted Georgia over Troy by a score of 77-0 and Georgia came a little short, only winning by a score of 66-0?
Allow me to introduce New Mexico State to the portion of the schedule where a team with much much more talent and athleticism executes each and every play as though they have more talent and athleticism. The team on this portion of the schedule names the score because you are the team with the unfortunate task of playing the role of therapeutic punching bag and sparring partner for a team that lost their SEC opener to Mississippi State at home last week.
Other than that, though, New Mexico State can enjoy the nice Bayou evening in Baton Rouge.
#RIPNewMexicoState will be trending before the premier of SNL Saturday Night.
FINAL SCORE: LSU 52, New Mexico State 3
Memphis (2-1) at #10 Ole Miss (3-0, 1-0 SEC)
7:30pm ET | FSN
If there has ever been a trap game, this is the one. Memphis appears to be legit in 2014 with a 7-point loss to UCLA being the only blemish in 2014 going into Oxford to face No. 10 Ole Miss.
Not only is Memphis winning, but they are doing it in front of witnesses. An announced crowd of 46,378 watched as the Tigers trounced Middle Tennessee 36-17 Saturday night at the Liberty Bowl.
I spoke with Daily News Journal beat writer for Middle Tennessee State, Will Borthick (@willborthick), who got an up-close and personal look at the Tigers inside the Liberty Bowl on Saturday. I asked Will if Memphis could pose a serious threat to the Rebels outside of Ole Miss just playing their worst game of the year.
Absolutely. Tigers defense will be best Ole Miss has faced by far. Trap game, plus Memphis HATES Hotty Toddy.
The Memphis DL is big, nasty and tough to beat. Linebacker Tank Jakes is legit too. If Bo Wallace doesn’t protect the football, and we all know that is a weakness of his, the Tigers will capitalize. I’m not convinced Memphis will be able to move the ball a ton against Ole Miss’s defense, but if the Rebels are looking ahead to Alabama, they will get beat.
I detect a very minimal amount of “if” in that analysis of Memphis. The key is will Ole Miss be able to fool themselves long enough to believe they aren’t all hotty toddy hiddy giddy over Alabama coming to Oxford in seven days?
History has a way of poking its head in the door of college football’s office. Memphis beat Alabama in 1987 and Tennessee in 1996. The Tigers have a wide receiver that transferred from Alabama, Memphis native Keiwone Malone. He was 18 when he was a freshman at Alabama. If you double the number of years between the victories over Alabama and Tennessee, you get 18.
Because none of that really makes sense and it conveniently flows with what I’m trying to do here, we will just pretend that 18 has substantial meaning and thus and so. Memphis single-handedly takes the luster out of next week’s 3:30pm CBS kickoff from Vaught-Hemingway Stadium by handily winning the battle of field position by downing 80 percent of all punts inside the 20 yard line coupled with great defense that will force enough turnovers to create enough points to pull off the upset of the day.
FINAL SCORE: Ole Memphis 18, Ole Miss 9
Open Date: Florida, #3 Alabama, #14 Mississippi State
Eric Taylor is a contributor to FBSchedules.com. Follow him on Twitter @EricFromSpfld or contact him via email at Eric.Taylor –at– stadiumjourney –dot– com.