The Dirty Dozen: Breaking Down College Football ‘s Biggest Games In Week 5

It’s Friday, so it must be time for the CBR crew to pick the twelve biggest games of the college football weekend in our Dirty Dozen.  With conference play in full swing, there are several interesting storylines, and several huge matchups of Top 25 teams.  As a reminder for how this works every week, one of our writers will give a brief preview of each game while all of us also try to predict the correct score of each game.  Let’s find out who our staff picks this week…

No. 14 Texas A&M at No. 19 Arkansas: Saturday, 12:00 p.m., ESPN

Aaron Torres’ Take: Simply put, this is the wrong place, at the wrong time for Arkansas. Coming off the loss to Alabama, with another key defensive player out with injury (Tenarius Wright), I just don’t see them winning.  Arkansas may be the better team, but they’re coming in under the wrong circumstance. It’s that simple.

Texas A&M 30, Arkansas 24

Everyone Else’s Take:

Allen Kenney: Arkansas 34, Texas A&M 30
Kevin McGuire: Texas A&M 34, Arkansas 28
Matt Yoder: Texas A&M 34, Arkansas 30
Michael Felder: Arkansas 37, Texas A&M 24
Tom Perry: Texas A&M 24, Arkansas 20

Northwestern at No. 24 Illinois: Saturday, 12:00 p.m., ESPN2

Matt Yoder’s Take: Finally, these two Illinois rivals will be unleashed to freely attack both end zones.  With all the pomp and circumstances (and oddities) surrounding their game at Wrigley last year, it’s easy to forget Mikel Leshoure ran all over Northwestern.  The Illini are off to their first 4-0 start in 60 years since they last won the national title in 1951.  That ain’t happening this year, but the winning streak does include a legit win over Arizona State.  However, this week they have to deal with the return of All Big Ten QB Dan Persa…. making this game nearly impossible to predict.  Illinois has a lot of good things going their way right now, so the obvious move is to pick against them.  That’s Ron Zook logic at its best.

Northwestern 34 Illinois 31

Everyone Else’s Take:

Aaron Torres: Northwestern 24, Illinois 21
Allen Kenney: Illinois 42, Northwestern 36
Kevin McGuire: Illinois 45, Northwestern 28
Michael Felder: Northwestern 29, Illinois 24
Tom Perry: Illinois 26, Northwestern 24


Nevada at No. 4 Boise State: Saturday, 2:30 p.m., Versus

Tom Perry’s Take: Nevada spoiled Boise’s season last year with a come-from-behind win in Reno. This year the Wolf Pack doesn’t have the juice to pull it off again, especially on the blue turf. Kellen Moore will methodically pick apart Nevada’s defense as the Broncos roll to another easy win.

Boise State 48, Nevada 17

Everyone Else’s Take:

Aaron Torres: Boise State 48, Nevada 3
Allen Kenney: Boise State 55, Nevada 7
Kevin McGuire: Boise State 54, Nevada 23
Matt Yoder: Boise State 48, Nevada 17
Michael Felder: Boise State 49, Nevada 10

Michigan State at Ohio State: Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ABC/ESPN

Michael Felder’s Take: Two teams that started the season in the Top 25 are now both looking up at everyone who has passed them as they sit outside of the rankings. Michigan State has their first chance to play a big boy football team since their gut wrenching loss to Notre Dame. We get to see Braxton Miller in his first Big Ten game and that means the freshman will have to really operate under pressure as Michigan State uses their team’s strength, the defense, to rattle the kid.

Ohio State 17, Michigan State 14

Everyone Else’s Take:

Aaron Torres: Ohio State 24, Michigan State 14
Allen Kenney: Ohio State 21, Michigan State 20
Kevin McGuire: Ohio State 21, Michigan State 17
Matt Yoder: Ohio State 21, Michigan State 17
Tom Perry: Ohio State 21, Michigan State 14

Auburn at No. 10 South Carolina: Saturday, 3:30 p.m., CBS

Aaron Torres’ Take: I’ll be the first to admit that South Carolina has looked lousy this year. And by lousy, I mean, “Someone get Stephen Garcia a beer before he throws another interception!”

At the same time, this is a team that has always played up for big games. They nearly beat Tim Tebow and Florida at Billy-Brice in 2009, and took down Alabama in the same venue last year.

After two losses to Auburn last year, they want revenge. They’ll get it Saturday.

South Carolina 35, Auburn 14

Everyone Else’s Take:

Allen Kenney: South Carolina 31, Auburn 20
Kevin McGuire: South Carolina 32, Auburn 30
Matt Yoder: South Carolina 21, Auburn 20
Michael Felder: South Carolina 34, Auburn 26
Tom Perry: South Carolina 33, Auburn 14

No. 15 Baylor at Kansas State: Saturday, 3:30 p.m., ABC/ESPN

Allen Kenney’s Take: Two of country’s most surprising teams square off in Manhattan in this battle of unbeatens. Rather than trying to match Heisman candidate Robert Griffin III and the Bears offense score for score, Kansas State coach Bill Snyder shortens the game with a run-heavy game plan on offense. K-State’s defense harasses RG3 into an ill-advised turnover late, preserving a 21-14 win.

Everyone Else’s Take:

Aaron Torres: Baylor 41, Kansas State 21
Kevin McGuire: Baylor 42, Kansas State 27
Matt Yoder: Baylor 45, Kansas State 33
Michael Felder: Baylor 41, Kansas State 30
Tom Perry: Kansas State 28, Baylor 17

No. 13 Clemson at No. 11 Virginia Tech: Saturday, 6 p.m. ESPN2

Allen Kenney’s Take: The Tigers come to Lane Stadium physically drained after sweating out nip-and-tuck victories over Auburn and Florida State in consecutive weeks. Having played East Popcorn State and the Mid-Atlantic School for the Blind during that same stretch, the well-rested Hokies pound Clemson into submission with their ground game and physical brand of defense. Virginia Tech whips Clemson, 30-16, in a game that’s never really in doubt.

Aaron Torres: Virginia Tech 24, Clemson 21
Kevin McGuire: Virginia Tech 23, Clemson 17
Matt Yoder: Clemson 27, Virginia Tech 24
Michael Felder: Virginia Tech 27, Clemson 20
Tom Perry: Virginia Tech 30, Clemson 28

Washington at Utah: Saturday, 7:00 p.m.

Michael Felder’s Take: Utah gets to host their first ever Pac-12 contest and they had an extra week to prepare for this game after their ripping apart of BYU on the 17th of September. Steve Sarkisian and his gang come in riding a bit of a positive wave as they sit at 3-1 and 1-0 in the Pac-12. This interdivisional game should be a good contest as both teams can score the football and will truly tax the defensive efforts. It is a game of new experiences as this is Washington’s first trip to Salt Lake City to see the new Pac-12 mate and I expect Utah, at home, to come out on top.

Everyone Else’s Take:

Aaron Torres: Washington 28, Utah 27
Allen Kenney: Utah 30, Washington 24
Kevin McGuire: Utah 30, Washington 28
Matt Yoder: Utah 30, Washington 21
Tom Perry: Utah 28, Washington 27

No. 17 Texas at Iowa State: Saturday, 7 p.m., FX

Kevin McGuire’s Take: Iowa State is off to a 3-0 start following a win at Connecticut last week, but to get to 4-0 they’ll have to knock off the Longhorns for a second straight season. Mack Brown mentioned this week that the loss to Iowa State tended to stand out a bit more than the others Texas experienced last year, so look for him to make sure his team is more prepared to pick up a win this weekend on the road. With Case McCoy under center Texas is hoping he can at least be a fraction of his older brother, Colt. One thing Texas has done well so far is play defense and run the football, two areas of concern last year. With Oklahoma looming, this could be considered a trap game for the Longhorns, but I don’t think it works out that way.

Texas 24, Iowa State 13

Everyone Else’s Take:

Aaron Torres: Texas 27, Iowa State 14
Allen Kenney: Texas 27, Iowa State 20
Matt Yoder: Texas 49, Iowa State 21
Michael Felder: Texas 35, Iowa State 21
Tom Perry: Texas 44, Iowa State 24

No. 3 Alabama at No. 12 Florida, 8p.m. CBS

Kevin McGuire’s Take: Florida looks to be off to a good start in the Will Muschamp regime but let’s see what they can do against one of the elite teams in the SEC, Alabama. The Tide defense is going to be a difficult task for Charlie Weis and his offense, and against top defenses we have seen Weis’ play-calling falter before. This is also a big test for Florida quarterback John Brantley, who has just decent numbers early on. He will be under pressure against Alabama’s impressive defensive line so establishing the run with Chris Rainey and Jeff Demps may be tricky, but if they can get it going Florida’s chances will increase as the game goes. Also, let’s see how A.J. McCarron manages the offense in a hostile environment.

We put Alabama on upset alert earlier this week, but I’ll pick the Tide to go home with another win in the Swamp.

Alabama 24, Florida 16

Everyone Else’s Take:

Aaron Torres: Florida 16, Alabama 14
Allen Kenney: Alabama 26, Florida 21
Matt Yoder: Florida 20, Alabama 17
Michael Felder: Alabama 28, Florida 17
Tom Perry: Alabama 38, Florida 27

No. 8 Nebraska at No. 7 Wisconsin: Saturday, 8:00 p.m., ABC

Matt Yoder’s Take: This is one of the games I’ve had circled on the calendar since the beginning of the season.  Nebraska’s first Big Ten game will be epic.  So far this season, Wisconsin really hasn’t been tested, so it’ll be interesting to see how they match up against Top 10 opposition.  We know what Wisconsin can do with their downhill running game and the fantastic play of Russell Wilson at the QB slot.  The key player undoubtedly will be Nebraska QB Taylor Martinez.  Can he make enough plays with his legs, and more importantly his arm, to win?  I just don’t think so.  If this was a neutral field, I’d give Nebraska a better chance… but Camp Randall rockin’ under the lights is one of the two or three most difficult places to play in the nation.  Wisconsin wins a slugfest.

Wisconsin 28 Nebraska 17

Everyone Else’s Take:

Aaron Torres: Wisconsin 31, Nebraska 14
Allen Kenney: Wisconsin 19, Nebraska 17
Kevin McGuire: Wisconsin 26, Nebraska 23
Michael Felder: Wisconsin 42, Nebraska 27
Tom Perry: Wisconsin 20, Nebraska 17

UCLA at No. 6 Stanford: Saturday, 10:30 p.m.

Tom Perry’s Take: UCLA has one of the Pac-12’s best running games, but Stanford has one of the conference’s best run defenses. Something will have to give there. One thing that remains constant for the Cardinal is future overall No. 1 pick Andrew Luck at quarterback. He’s about as reliable as any player has ever been in the college game since Herschel Walker at Georgia in the early 1980s.

Stanford 44, UCLA 9

Aaron Torres: Stanford 45, UCLA 10
Allen Kenney: Stanford 35, UCLA 10
Kevin McGuire: Stanford 45, UCLA 13
Matt Yoder: Stanford 43, UCLA 11
Michael Felder: Stanford 45, UCLA 27

Matt Yoder

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