PICKS: How good is this Alabama team & other items for College Football Week 5

Dale Jones

Sports in Paradise
by Dale Jones

It is hard to believe we are already into week five of the 2012 college football season. For the most part, week four went as expected but there were a few hiccups along the way. Alabama rolled. Auburn surprised a lot of people, taking LSU down to the wire. Even UAB held their own against No. 16 Ohio State.

I went 11-4 with my picks last week, moving me to 44-16 on the season, and keeping me at .733.

The SEC continues to show dominance with five teams in the top 12 in the country. There are still a number of very good undefeated teams, so things are about to get exciting.

Several schools are taking this week off including Florida, Mississippi State, Auburn, USC, Notre Dame and Michigan. Still, there is some exciting football to be played, so let’s take a look at how things should pan out.

UAB vs. Tulsa
The Blazers proved last week that it is possible for them to play with the big boys. UAB gave Ohio State all that they could for 3 ½ quarters. Still, Garrick McGee’s squad came up short and they are looking for their first win of the season as they enter conference play against Tulsa. The Blazers are a 13-point underdog to the 3-1 Golden Hurricane. Although it’s not my upset of the week, I believe the Blazers will find a way to win at home on Saturday.
UAB 21 – Tulsa 18

South Alabama vs. Troy
Even after a 30-10 loss to Mississippi State, the Jags did some things well. This game could sway the consideration of some recruits in coming days. I believe Joey Jones has the program headed in the right direction, but this season, it looks like the Trojans will be a little too tough for the Jags. Troy 28 – South Alabama 21

Southern Miss vs. Louisville
The Cardinals find themselves 4-0 and ranked No. 20 in this young season. Ranked 17th in rushing defense, Louisville hopes to keep their win streak alive against a struggling Southern Miss team just looking for a “W.” Look for the Golden Eagles to still be searching after Saturday. Louisville 27 – Southern Miss 10

Texas vs. Oklahoma State
Even before the season started, I circled the Longhorns as a team that could make some noise and surprise some people. At 3-0 and ranked No. 12 in the A.P., Texas is averaging 49 points per game. That all sounds good until you see that Oklahoma State leads the nation in points, averaging 62 points per game (although 84 of their points were scored at the hands of Savannah State). At some point, one of these teams has to be stopped. The defense that plays the best on Saturday will win this one. I like Texas at home. Texas 35 – Oklahoma State 31

Florida State @ South Florida
Florida State has pitched two shutouts, held another team to just 3, but showed on Saturday, in a hard fought game against Clemson, that they can give up some points. Still, the No. 4 ranked Seminoles have yet to score less than 49 points in a contest, making Saturday’s game to in-state foe South Florida (2-2) look like it will be a walk through the park. Florida State 44 – South Florida 17

LSU vs. Towson
I’m not sure I would want to be a member of the Tiger football team this week. The Towson Tigers I mean. That would mean that I would have to jump on a plane and fly to Baton Rouge to play an LSU Tiger team that just squeaked by Auburn and lost a position in the rankings. The Bengal Tigers are going to want to score a gazillion points and there will be little that Towson can do about it. LSU 51 – Towson o

Missouri @ UCF
As many expected, the newcomers to the SEC find themselves tied for last place in the SEC east, along with Vandy and Kentucky. The Knights (2-1) would love to get one more win under their belt before they head into Conference USA play next week. Although it didn’t look like it on Saturday, Missouri has a good enough defense to hold UCF at bay and come away with the win. Missouri 30 – UCF 10

South Carolina @ Kentucky
Steve Spurrier’s Gamecocks are exactly where they want to be right now. They are 4-0, ranked No. 6 in the country, and locked up with the Bulldogs and the Gators for the top spot in the SEC east. Kentucky is horrible, and I expect South Carolina to try to make a statement before their 3-game stint against Georgia, LSU and Florida. South Carolina 49 – Kentucky 9

Georgia vs. Tennessee
The No. 5 ranked Bulldogs enter the meat of their SEC schedule this weekend as they play host to the Vols. It is normally about this time in their schedule that the Dawgs find a way to blow it. Aaron Murray, Todd Gurley and the rest of the 13th ranked offense are all playing well, and while the Vols do have the ability to put points on the board, I don’t see Tennessee being able to come in and stir up any trouble. Georgia 31 – Tennessee 21

Alabama vs. Ole Miss
We thought the Alabama vs. Michigan game was going to show just how strong this Bama team is coming off of their 2011 Championship. As it turns out, Michigan is 2-2 and no longer a ranked team. Many circled the Arkansas game as “the game of the year,” yet the Razorbacks are now 1-3 and scraping the bottom of the SEC bucket. Things looked promising for Ole Miss until the Longhorns beat up on them two weeks ago, knocking them out of the rankings. Bama is still ranked at the top, and rightfully so. But just how good are they? It may be November before anyone knows for sure. Alabama 42 – Ole Miss 14

Other games to watch:
Miami (Fla) 27 – N.C. State 24
Nebraska 23 – Wisconsin 14
Stanford 24 – Washington 10
Michigan State 30 – Ohio State 27

Upset of the Week:
Arkansas @ Texas A&M
Yes, I know that the Razorbacks have looked terrible this season, and like most of you, I agree that they don’t have a coach. But on paper, Arkansas still has a very talented bunch. Things are set up perfectly for an upset. There is pressure on A&M to get their first SEC conference win, they are coming off a huge win over South Carolina State and they know what has happened to Arkansas the past three weeks. Despite the coaching, the Razorback players will head west to prove a point, and indeed they will. Arkansas 28 – Texas A&M 21

—Dale Jones is a syndicated sports columnist, member of the Alabama Sports Writers Association, The Football Writers Association of America, and the Society of Professional Journalists. Email Dale at sportsNparadise@gmail.com or on twitter @sportsNparadise.