Chris Vannini's college football - week 5 picks
Posted by: Chris Vannini on Thursday September 26, 2013
Oklahoma at Notre Dame
A year ago, Notre Dame’s win in Norman legitimized their national championship hopes. The teams meet in South Bend this year with different quarterbacks and different offensive styles. Blake Bell’s dual-threat ability will give problems to a Notre Dame defense that was carved up by Devin Gardner. Both teams are converting more than 49 percent of third downs, but Notre Dame hasn’t gotten its rushing attack going (3.7 yards per carry). On the other side, Oklahoma’s defense is much improved, allowing opponents to convert just 27 percent of third downs. Both teams are scoring touchdowns in just half of their red zone trips, so whichever team is more opportunistic could come out on top, and I see the Sooners doing enough on offense.
Oklahoma wins 28-20
Wisconsin at Ohio State
The Big Ten opener for Ohio State may determine the Leaders division champion. The Buckeyes have a chip on their shoulders after sanctions allowed Wisconsin to reach Indianapolis and then the Rose Bowl last year. Gary Andersen worked under Urban Meyer at Utah, so there’s some familiarity there. Andersen has picked up where previous Wisconsin coaches left off. The Badgers are averaging 7.9 yards per carry, led by the nation’s leading rusher, speedster Melvin Gordon, at 11.7 yards per carry. For Ohio State, Braxton Miller should be good to go, but Kenny Guiton has proven to be a capable starter, and Meyer has stated he’s considering playing both at the same time. A year ago, Ohio State held Wisconsin’s running game in check, but this is a new front four that is unproven against a power running attack. The Badgers will move the ball, but there’s no slowing down Ohio State’s offense.
Ohio State wins 38-28
Read Pete Roussel's week 5 picks