Crystal Ball, Week 5:
LSU (5-0) at Florida (4-0) – The Gators were 4-0 at this time last year and we know what happened. This is a better Florida team. Meanwhile, the Tigers keep winning ugly, so ugly they’ve dropped from No. 1 to No. 5 in the polls. Sounds like the makings of an upset, huh? Nah. LSU still has more good players than Florida, particularly along the lines of scrimmage. Good news for Gator fans: Your team is improving, but it’s still a year away from winning these kind of games.LSU, favored by 2½, wins 21-14.
FSU (5-0) at N.C. State (3-2) – Ah, this has the makings of what the college football experts like to call a “trap game”. I don’t buy it. The Noles’ offense is clicking; the Wolfpack defense stinks. FSU, favored by 14½, wins 48-21.
Miami (4-1) vs. Notre Dame (4-0) at Chicago – Let’s hear it for the Hurricanes. Offensively, they’re playing outstanding football. Indeed, the “U” isn’t dead yet as I’ve predicted. Notre Dame, on the other hand, has come close to perfecting a lost art: defense. Resuming this series is good for football, but not good for the Canes. The Irish, favored by 12½, win 21-17.
Georgia (5-0) at South Carolina (5-0) – The winner likely will be headed to Atlanta as the SEC East champ. Both teams are worthy of their rankings, 5 and 6, respectively. I give the edge to the Bulldogs because they throw the ball better. Should be close, exciting and not decided until the final minute in a game the odds makers say is a tossup. Georgia wins 28-24.
West Virginia (4-0) at Texas (4-0) – Final score: 90-89. Just kidding, but can anyone in the Big 12 play defense? Actually, Texas is reasonably strong across the defensive front. WVa QB Geno Smith may actually get touched in this game. Texas, favored by 7, wins 45-42.
Bears (3-1) at Jaguars (1-3) – Seriously, does anyone really think the Jaguars will win this game? The Bears aren’t unbeatable, but the Jaguars’ offense has been awful, particularly at Everbank Field. Let’s see, the Jaguars can’t protect Blaine Gabbert, who struggles with accuracy throwing to receivers who can’t get open. My advice: Give the ball to Maurice Jones-Drew and hope to keep the game close. Who knows? Maybe the Gabbert-Cecil Shorts combo has one more heroic late-game play. The Bears, favored by 6, win 28-10.
Denver (2-2) at New England (2-2) – Doesn’t it give you chills just thinking about a Peyton Manning team playing a Tom Brady team? Such hype probably means one team wins 6-3. The Broncos have the better defense; the Patriots have the home field. The Broncos, underdogs by 6½, win 21-20.
About the only thing as bad as the Jaguars offense is my ability to predict games. I was 3-4 last week picking winners, making me 14-14 for the year. That stinks, but not nearly as bad as my ability to pick against the point spread. Last week I was 1-6. I’m 9-19 for the year. I’m embarrassed, but, like the Jags, I’m not giving up.
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