Posted: Friday October 1, 2010 11:36AM ; Updated: Friday October 1, 2010 1:28PM
Stewart Mandel
College Football Pickoff: Week 5
Saturday, Oct. 2
8 p.m. ET (CBS) No. 7 Florida (4-0) at No. 1 Alabama (4-0)
Realistically, Florida is going to have trouble moving the ball on Alabama. Trey Burton won't score six touchdowns this week. But the Gators' defense has been pretty darn dominant, notching 14 turnovers. If anyone can slow down Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson, it's these guys. But they won't. They'll make it tough for 60 minutes, but ultimately the Tide have more firepower.
8 p.m. ET (ABC) No. 9 Stanford (4-0) at No. 4 Oregon (4-0)
Stanford's transformation into a suffocating defensive team (No. 6 nationally with 14 sacks) under former Ravens assistant Vic Fangio has been one of the stories of the season so far. Last week the Cardinal blew up Notre Dame's spread offense, but the Ducks' version is far more polished and features far speedier players. What's more, Oregon's D won't suffer the same letdown it did last year in Palo Alto.
3:30 p.m. ET (ESPN) No. 8 Oklahoma (4-0) vs. No. 21 Texas (3-1)
Bob Stoops and his players don't seem particularly concerned with the numerous defensive breakdowns the Sooners have committed in three of their four games. Perhaps that's because they know they're facing Texas' bumbling offense. But Will Muschamp's defense will make life difficult for Oklahoma QB Landry Jones, too. Expect a similar game to last year's 16-13 Texas sludgefest.
3:30 p.m. ET (ABC) No. 11 Wisconsin (4-0) at Michigan State (4-0)
In one of several intriguing Big Ten matchups this weekend, the Spartans get coach Mark Dantonio back (in the press box), while the Badgers get back several injured players. Michigan State is playing with a lot of confidence right now, thanks in part to a powerful rushing attack that ranks 17th nationally. But Wisconsin is more apt to slow down those runners than the Spartans are John Clay.
8 p.m. ET (ESPN) No. 22 Penn State (3-1) at No. 17 Iowa (3-1)
Last year's game in Happy Valley marked the coming-out party for star Iowa DE Adrian Clayborn. The senior has been relatively quiet this season (no sacks, 1.5 TFLs), but junior Mike Daniels (three sacks, 7.5 TFLs) has not. Expect Clayborn, Daniels and DT Karl Klug to shut down Penn State's running game and put the onus on freshman QB Rob Bolden, who will make some plays, but not enough.
3:30 p.m. ET (CBS) Tennessee (2-2) at No. 12 LSU (4-0)
As much as the Vols have struggled on offense, they've got nothing on the Tigers, who rank 102nd nationally with 299.8 yards per game. But LSU has beaten four straight BCS-conference foes thanks to a ferocious defense (No. 9 nationally) and Patrick Peterson's game-changing punt returns. Look for LSU's offense to show some life this week against the overmatched Vols.
Noon ET (ESPN2) No. 16 Miami (2-1) at Clemson (2-1)
Miami showed its power in a 31-3 rout at Pittsburgh, while the Tigers looked mean and physical in an overtime loss at Auburn. Clemson pulled off a 40-37 overtime win in Miami last season, but these 'Canes are more talented and more mature. Death Valley will not intimidate them, and their D-line will cause problems for Clemson QB Kyle Parker.
3:30 p.m. ET (NBC) Virginia Tech (2-2) at No. 23 NC State (4-0)
Hokies defenders have looked much more like their usual selves the past two weeks, holding East Carolina to three second-half points, then blanking Boston College. Torrid Wolfpack QB Russell Wilson presents their biggest challenge since Kellen Moore in Week 1, but I have more faith in Bud Foster's D reigning in Wilson than I do in the Wolfpack slowing down Tech's rushing attack.
2:30 p.m. ET (Versus) Navy (2-1) at Air Force (3-1)
It's been a nightmarish start for Navy QB Ricky Dobbs, who was memorably stopped at the goal line in a season-opening loss to Maryland and who, due in part to a sprained ankle, is averaging just 2.4 yards per carry. He says he's back to 100 percent following a bye week, but it probably won't be enough to keep up with the Falcons' national-best rushing attack (394 yards per game).
7 p.m. ET Texas Tech (2-1) at Iowa State (2-2)
UPSET SPECIAL: The Red Raiders are still finding themselves offensively under new coach Tommy Tuberville, which leaves them prone to an upset away from Lubbock. The Cyclones are better than their record indicates, with safety David Sims leading the nation's No. 13 pass efficiency defense. Iowa State will capitalize on Tech turnovers and put the ball in running back Alexander Robinson's hands.
Record Last Week: 9-1               Record This Season: 30-10
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