2010 College Football Week 5 Predictions

RALEIGH, NC - SEPTEMBER 16: Russell Wilson  of the North Carolina State Wolfpack talks to his team in the huddle against the Cincinnati Bearcats during their game at Carter-Finley Stadium on September 16, 2010 in Raleigh, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)


After going 3-1 two weeks ago, I successfully predicted a downfall last Saturday by putting forth a brutal effort. Alabama (no front door cover, Tide?), South Carolina (couldn’t hang onto that lead, Cocks?) and LSU (only 20 points at home, Tigers?) were all losers, while my only winner was Temple over Penn State (even though the Owls tried to blow that one for me late).

Here goes a better effort this week…

No. 17 Ohio State –16.5 at Illinois, 12:00PMET
Lay the points. The Buckeyes are 4-0 against the spread this year and have done it in rather easy fashion. I realize this is their first road test of the year, not to mention their first Big Ten game, but Ohio State is the far superior team and should roll. The Buckeyes haven’t lost to the Illini since 1991 and while Illinois has hung with them in recent years, it’ll be too much Terrelle Pryor this Saturday.

No. 11 Wisconsin vs. No. 24 Michigan State +2, 3:30PM ET
The Spartans will certainly get a lift from Mark Dantonio, who returns to the sidelines (the press box, actually) this weekend after suffering a heart attack following MSU’s overtime win over Notre Dame two weeks ago. The Spartans have rushed for over 200 yards in each of their first four games and while the Badgers have a potent rushing attack themselves, I like MSU to win outright in East Lansing. Every year the Spartans beat an opponent they’re not supposed to and while a win on Saturday would hardly be shocking, it would still be considered an upset with Wisconsin ranked 11th in the nation.

Virginia Tech vs. North Carolina State +4, 3:30PM ET
I feel as though people are falling asleep on this NC State team, which is coming off impressive wins over Cincinnati and Georgia Tech the past two weekends. They don’t have a great rushing offense, but their passing game led by Russell Wilson ranks 19th in the nation and they’re averaging 37.75 points per game. After losing to Boise State and James Madison earlier in the year, VA Tech has gotten back on track with wins over East Carolina and Boston College the past two weekends. That said, there’s still something missing from this team and while Tyrod Taylor has made a ton of highlight reel plays, he leads an offense that is 87th in passing. I think NC State keeps this game within a field goal and covers.

No. 3 Boise State –43.5 vs. New Mexico State, 8:00PM ET
Usually I don’t even consider games that have point spreads of over 30 points because of the threat of a backdoor cover, but I always make an exception when New Mexico State is involved. As long as the Broncos don’t take their foot off the gas I could see them scoring in the 60s this weekend. The Aggies rank second-to-last in total defense among FBS teams and the Broncos can ill-afford to suffer a letdown now that they’re ranked third in the nation. Boise rolls.

Season Record: 4-4

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Boise State’s national championship cause takes a massive hit

MIAMI - JANUARY 01:  Head coach Frank Beamer of the Virginia Tech Hokies looks on against the Cincinnati Bearcats during the FedEx Orange Bowl at Dolphin Stadium on January 1, 2009 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

When Boise State knocked off Virginia Tech on Monday night, their hope was that the Hokies would go on to run the table so that the victory looked great in the eyes of BCS voters come the end of the year.

So much for that idea.

James Madison shocked the college football nation on Saturday by knocking off the Hokies 21-16 in Blacksburg. The Dukes were only able to produce 14 first downs but they forced three turnovers, which included a fumble recovery with 5:21 remaining to seal the game. Quarterback Drew Duzik also ran for two touchdowns as James Madison beat the Hokies for the first time in school history.

The loss destroys VA Tech’s national title hopes, although they haven’t even begun conference play yet so they still have plenty to push on for this season. The biggest blow will likely be felt by Boise State, as their win on Monday night now holds less water than a colander. Thanks to a soft WAC slate, they don’t have another team on their schedule to help prop them up in the eyes’ of voters.

While the Broncos did what they had to do in beating Virginia Tech on Monday, unfortunately the Hokies didn’t live up to their end of the bargain. The coaches will have their vote and will never put a Boise team in the title game when their claim to fame was knocking off a team that was beat by James Madison the very next week.

Apparently Turner Gill spent two weeks preparing for Georgia Tech

DETROIT - DECEMBER 5:  Head Coach Turner Gill of the Buffalo Bulls looks on against the Ball State Cardinals during the MAC Championship game on December 5, 2008 at Ford Field in Detroit Michigan. (Photo by: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Lost among the major Week 1 storylines in college football was Kansas’ loss to FCS (I-AA) opponent North Dakota State in coach Turner Gill’s debut.

The Jayhawks not only lost to NDSU, but looked absolutely awful doing it, scoring just three points and getting held below 100 yards rushing. But today, Gill went a long way toward erasing a lot of the early doubt Kansas fans might have had after that loss, as the Jayhawks knocked off No. 15 Georgia Tech, 28-25.

It’s another reminder that we shouldn’t pay too much attention to what we see in Week 1, or at least not do too much prognosticating based off of it. Many teams hold a lot back when playing lesser opponents, as basic plays, along with a higher talent level is usually enough. That obviously didn’t work for Kansas a week ago, and Gill deserves a lot of the blame for not having his team ready for its opener. But it looks like the Jayhawks aren’t going to be the pushover Week 1 seemed to have shown us.

In other early-game news, Marcus Lattimore is the kind of running back that can make even Steve Spurrier a run-first kind of coach. The South Carolina true freshman carried the ball nearly 40 times today against Georgia, and each one was more punishing for the Bulldog defenders. If Stephen Garcia can get things figured out, South Carolina could contend in the SEC this season.

– Virginia Tech clearly has a little bit of a Boise State hangover, as it struggled with James Madison through the first half, leading 13-7 (that’s since gone to 16-7). The Hokies run game, which was supposed to be its strong point, is struggling again, as super sophomore Ryan Williams is being held under four yards a carry. This, of course, is bad news for Boise State, as some will use any poor outing by the Hokies as a reason to punish the Broncos.

Boise State just saved their 2010 season

Boise State Broncos wide receiver Austin Pettis (2) celebrates a touchdown against the Virginia Tech Hokies during the first quarter of their NCAA football game in Landover, Maryland, September 6, 2010.  REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

Boise State might have well just won the Super Bowl.

Thanks to a Charmin extra soft schedule every year, when the Broncos play a team from a BCS conference they have to make it count. A loss guarantees that they won’t be playing for a national title, while a win essentially sets them up to run the table the rest of the season.

On Monday night, their game with No. 10 Virginia Tech lived up to the hype. Boise led 17-0 after one quarter, but VA Tech erased the deficit and then went up by one point after Ryan Williams scored on a one-yard touchdown run midway through the third quarter. From that point on, the lead changed three more times before the Broncos seized a 33-30 victory when Kellen Moore found Austin Pettis on a 13-yard touchdown pass with only 1:09 remaining on the clock.

And what a final drive that Moore orchestrated to win the game. He led the Broncos on a five-play, 56-yard jaunt that took just 38 seconds to complete. He was 4-for-5 passing on the drive for 43 yards, which included the 13-yard strike to Pettis.

Moore once again proved that he has ice water running through his veins. Of course he had to, because VA Tech quarterback Tyrod Taylor played out of his mind and almost willed the Hokies to victory himself. He was 15-for-22 on the night for 186 yards passing, two passing touchdowns and 73 yards rushing on 16 carries. He also scrambled for 11 yards on a broken play were he slipped out of the grasp of a Boise defender, kept his knee off the ground and then ran for a first down.

Houdini couldn’t have pulled the play off.

But back to Boise State. I laugh when people comment about how overrated this team is. I don’t understand how a team that went 14-0 last year and had 20 starters coming back could be overrated. Some get too caught up with the big school/little school aspect of college football and they push aside experience, coaching and fundamentals. I’m not saying that Boise deserves to go to a national championship just for beating one quality opponent a year. But time and time again they prove their mettle in big games.

The bottom line is that Boise State is a damn good football team, VA Tech is going to be tough to beat in the ACC, that was a freaking thrilling way to end Week 1 of the 2010 college football season and the Broncos’ season has been saved.

College Football Program Power Rankings

Welcome to a new feature on The Scores Report. We thought it would be interesting to tally up all the major accomplishments of a college football program and assign a point value to each category in order to rank them against one another. Then our football guru, Anthony Stalter, wrote a little bit about each program and the direction that it’s headed.

Here’s how the points are calculated — 20 points for a national championship, 10 for a BCS title game loss, seven for a BCS bowl win, five for a BCS bowl loss, five for a BCS conference championship, three for a mid-major conference championship, two for a BCS conference runner-up and one for a major bowl appearance (i.e. a bowl that has a recent payout of more than $2 million — Capital One, Outback, Chick-fil-A, Cotton, Gator, Holiday, Champs Sports and Alamo.) You’ll see the total points in parenthesis after the team’s name.

We put some thought into the point values for each accomplishment, paying special attention to how the point values are relative to one another. For example, we figured that one national championship would equate to four BCS conference championships, or three BCS bowl wins. We only looked at the last five years, as college football has increasingly become a fluid and fickle sport, and that’s about how far back a recruit will go when deciding amongst a list of schools.

Lastly, since a program is so dependent on the guy in charge, we added or subtracted points if the program upgraded or downgraded its head coach in the last five years. A max of 10 points would be granted (or docked) based on the level of upgrade or downgrade. Again, we tried to quantify the hire relative to the program’s other accomplishments. For example, hiring Nick Saban is probably worth two BCS bowl appearances, or 10 points. (Sure, he might lead Alabama to more, but he also might bolt for another job in a year or two.)

So, without further ado, here are the rankings. Every year we’ll go through and update the numbers based on what the program did that year (while throwing out the oldest year of data), so don’t fret if your team isn’t quite where you want them right now. Everyone has a chance to move up.

1. Florida Gators (61)

National Championship: ’08-W, ’06-W
BCS Bowl: ’09-W
Conference Championship: ’09-RU, ’08-W, ’06-W
Major Bowl Appearance: ’07, ’05

It’s hard to argue that the Gators don’t deserve the top spot with two national championship victories, three BCS bowl wins, two conference championships and five bowl appearances in the past five years. Considering they play in college football’s toughest conference, what Urban Meyer’s program has been able to accomplish in the past five years has been incredibly impressive. The program dodged a bullet when Meyer rejoined the team.

2. Ohio State Buckeyes (58)

National Championship: ’07-L, ’06-RU
BCS Bowl: ’09-W, ’08-L, ’05-W
Conference Championship: ’09-W, ’08-RU, ’07-W, ’06-W, ’05-RU

The Buckeyes are subjected to criticism every year because they play in a weak conference that doesn’t have a title game, but keep in mind that they have absolutely owned the Big Ten over the past five years. They have finished no worse than second in each of the past five seasons and have also appeared in two title games. While it’s true they lost in both of those appearances, just getting there helped them greatly in these rankings.

3. Texas Longhorns (49)

National Championship: ’09-L, ’05-W
BCS Bowl: ’08-W,
Conference Championship: ’09-W, ’05-W
Major Bowl Appearance: ’07, ’06

The Longhorns have been a model of consistency. They’ve made a bowl appearance in each of the last five years, won a national championship in 2005 and made a title appearance this past last year. It’ll be interesting to see how Mack Brown’s program fares in 2010 now that Colt McCoy has graduated and youngster Garrett Gilbert is set to take over at quarterback.

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