Saturday, October 3, 2009

DB’s NCAA predictions: week 5

Last week wasn’t a very good week at all for my predictions as I went 1-4 on a weekend that produced a few stunning results. Miami and Cal both showed that they weren’t quite ready for the big time and their top 10 rankings as they each lost convincingly to Virginia Tech and Oregon, respectively. The only pick I got correct was the Stanford upset over Washington. The trend this year seems to be teams that come off of big wins lose the next week to teams they shouldn’t. Will it happen this week? Follow me and you’ll find out.

DB’s Game of the Week
*No. 8 Oklahoma at No. 17 Miami
Miami is in the last stretch of an extremely tough four-game stretch that most recently included a 31-7 loss at Virginia Tech. Sophomore sensation quarterback Jacory Harris looked human for the first time all season, going 9-of-21 for 150 yards and an interception. He will be looking to rebound against a Sooner defense that hasn’t allowed a point in their past two games. The combined score of those games has been 109-0, but the two games have come against Idaho State and Tulsa. Miami figures to be a slightly better opponent than either of them.
The biggest question facing Oklahoma is the status of Sam Bradford’s shoulder. He has been progressing with his rehab, but it remains to be seen whether he will play on Saturday or not. If he doesn’t, Landry Jones will start in his place. Jones has looked impressive in his first two starts, breaking the single-game record for touchdowns in a game with six against Tulsa. Like I said before though, they weren’t exactly playing the toughest teams in the country.
Miami has plenty of incentive coming into this game. They did not look impressive at all last weekend, and I am sure that they want to end this treacherous four-game start on a good note. I believe the Hurricanes will win because regardless of who starts at quarterback for Oklahoma, they will struggle against an angry and swarming Hurricanes defense. Jones will be going up against his first true test as a starter and Bradford will be a target because of his shoulder. Bottom line is this: the U isn’t fully back, but it’s closer than the experts think.
DB’s Game of the Week prediction: Miami 24 Oklahoma 20

*No. 4 LSU at No. 18 Georgia
This battle between SEC foes could go a long way in potentially determining the outcome of the national championship chase. Both teams are coming off of close victories, with Georgia slipping past 20-17 over Arizona State and LSU holding off Mississippi State on a goal-line stand to win 30-26.
LSU is an interesting team so far this season, because they have beaten some solid teams. That being said, the meat of their schedule is coming up with Georgia this week and the top ranked Florida Gators next weekend in Death Valley. If they win both games, it would be hard not to see them as the top ranked team in the country as of right now.
The question that needs to be asked is this: do they get past this tough Georgia team between the hedges at Sanford Stadium? Their offense hasn’t exactly been lighting it up so far this season, only scoring 31 points against the likes of Louisiana-Lafayette. They may need to step their defense against a Bulldogs offense that put up points if need be.
Home-field advantage is very important when it comes to conference play, and I don’t believe this will be any different. I believe that Georgia wins because they will play enough defense to contain the LSU offense. They will also score enough with their weapons to force the Tigers to try and play catch up. It is a close game, but I believe the Dawgs pull it out.
DB’s SEC prediction: Georgia 34 LSU 21

*No. 7 USC at No. 24 California
This Pac 10 game doesn’t have the same luster as it did at the start of the season. USC had their annual conference hiccup, this time against Washington. They rebounded last weekend against Washington State with a 27-6 victory. Cal didn’t have quite as good of a weekend, getting blown out on the road at Oregon by a score of 42-3.
Cal showed that they were not ready for such a high ranking and it will be interesting to see how they rebound this week. They will be facing a strong USC defense that will be keying in on Jahvid Best.
Will the Trojan offense be able to perform this week? They haven’t been up to par in recent weeks, and it just got worse for the offense with the loss of running back Stafon Johnson. They have the talent at that position, but they won’t be able to replace his experience.
I think Cal will win because they definitely have a big chip on their shoulders right now. USC has a lot of things going on off the field that I don’t think they will be able to get rid of, at least not this week.
DB’s Pac 10 prediction: Cal 24 USC 17

DB’s other predictions
*No. 22 Michigan at Michigan State (Michigan State)
*Washington at Notre Dame (Washington)
*Florida State at Boston College (Florida State)
*UCLA at Stanford (Stanford)

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