Week 5 Top 25 Forecasts

Every week I will post my forecasts of all the games involving Top 25 teams. As usual, it includes my computer’s projected box score for each game. Last week the Top 25 Forecasts went 17-2 (89%) and so far this season I am 76-9 (89%).

Last year the Top 25 forecasts went 205-60 (77%)! On the bottom of the forecasts, I have also listed some Upset Specials for this week.

#1 LSU VS KENTUCKY

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
KENTUCKY 35
125
6
3.5
-
LSU
245
195
41
1.5
-

LSU is off its 3rd AG in 4W and 3rd game vs a ranked opp already. The key to this game might be when it was announced LW that the game will kickoff at 11:21 am locally and keep in mind under Miles, at home, LSU is 28-1 in night gms while they are just 8-4 in day gms. UK has been shutout in its L/2 trips to Death Valley (‘00 and ‘06, avg score 42-0, -131 ypg). In the last gm (‘07) #1 LSU had a 4 gm series win streak snapped losing in 3OT on the road. LW LSU finished up their impressive month of Sept with a 47-21 win over WV as they scored the final 20 pts but did get outgained 533-366. QB Lee has made everyone forget about Jefferson avg 156 ypg (64%) with a 6-1 ratio. UK is off to a poor 2-2 start being outgained by an avg of 366-281. QB Newton is avg 148 ypg (54%) with a 5-6 ratio and the big problem has been the run gm avg just 123 (3.6). LSU has a big game vs Florida on deck but it will be tough seeing the Cats offense moving vs our #2 defense.

PHIL’S FORECAST:  LSU 38 KENTUCKY 10

 

#2 OKLAHOMA VS BALL ST

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
BALL ST 77
155
9
2.3
-
OKLAHOMA
248
415
48
1.6
••

1st meeting and it doesn’t look pretty. OU has won 11 str vs non-BCS opp’s at home (avg win 46-10) and Ball St 1-38 on the road vs BCS schools (avg loss 39-15). It’s easy to say that OU has the RRR on deck but they are 10-1 prior. BSU is off to a 3-1 start under new HC Lembo but they do have a conf HG on deck (LY lost 45-0 at Iowa gm prior to conf). While BSU did upset an Indy squad led by LY’s OU OC Wilson, 27-20 in the opener, they were blown out 37-7 at USF the next wk. Naturally every position is a mismatch and OU can name the score and at home it is usually a large blowout.

PHIL’S FORECAST:  OKLAHOMA 48 BALL ST 6

 

#3 ALABAMA VS #12 FLORIDA

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
ALABAMA 150
160
22
2.1
-
FLORIDA
140
165
22
2.7

LY AL ended FL’s streak of 24 reg ssn wins and handed Urban Meyer the 2nd most lopsided loss in his tenure at FL. They had met in the SEC Title gm the prev 2 yrs and Bama led 24-3 at HT thanks to a couple of key plays but relaxed a little in the 2H and ended up being outgained 281-273. LW Bama rolled #12 Ark 38-14 as they outgained the Hogs 397-226. RB Richardson is right back in the Heisman race after totaling 211 yds (126 rush, 85 rec) LW. Tide QB McCarron had another efficient outing and is avg 195 ypg (66%) with a 4-2 ratio. The Gators tandem of Demps/Rainey have been the key to the offense all season and LW was no different as they comb for 277 all-purp yds (avg 275 all-purp ypg) in the 48-10 win over Kentucky. QB Brantley and OC Weis will face their biggest test to date vs the #1 D in the country. While the off and def are nearly even, UF does have a slight edge on ST’s (#5-20). Saban is a big gm veteran while this is Muschamp’s 1st go-round vs a ranked foe as HC.

PHIL’S FORECAST: ALABAMA 27 FLORIDA 16

 

#4 BOISE ST VS NEVADA

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
NEVADA 172
140
13
2.9
-
BOISE ST
218
330
43
1.2

UN snapped a series high 10 gm losing streak in what was arguably the biggest win in school hist LY knocking BSU out of Nat’l Title talk. UN has lost 6 str on the Blue by 30 ppg. This is only the 3rd time under Petersen that BSU has had the opportunity to avenge a loss from the prev ssn (‘08 beat Hawaii 27-7, in ‘09 beat TCU in 2nd str bowl). UN, with a brutal sked, is on a 4th str AG incl trips to Oreg and TT. In the gauntlet, QB Lantrip avg 174 ypg (58%, 2-4). The top rusher is Ball (362, 5.2) and Matthews (284, 14.2) leads the rec’s. UN stood toe-to-toe vs TT LW, falling 35-34 with a 562-441 yd edge. They had built a 21-7 early 3Q lead but all’d TT to battle back and drive 56/9pl for the GW TD w/:36 left. BSU is off a 41-21 win over Tulsa. QB Moore (#3 pass eff) avg 332 ypg (79%!) with a 12-2 ratio. RB Martin (202, 3.2, 2 TD) should be able to pad his stats vs FBS’s #108 run D (all’g 210 ypg, 5.7). UN is much weaker than LY’s tm (13-1, #11 AP) and BSU retaliates.

PHIL’S FORECAST: BOISE ST 41 NEVADA 17

 

#6 STANFORD VS UCLA

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
UCLA 143
185
15
2.2
STANFORD
237
275
43
1.7
-

The Bruins are hell bent on revenge from their 1st home shutout S/’99 but the sked makers didn’t do them any favors off a Texas tm bent on revenge, a road trip facing a revenging Oreg St tm (outgained 376-357 in the 8 pt win, +2 TO edge) and a 3rd AG in 5W while the Cardinal are fresh off a bye but do need to break in a new st’r at LB after LY’s leading tkl’r, Skov was lost for the yr vs AZ. UCLA all’d 64% comp on the road LY (68% TY) and if they can’t get Luck off the field (262 ypg, 67%, 8-1 ratio), they have little hope of keeping this one close as SU continues to roll.

PHIL’S FORECAST:  STANFORD 37 UCLA 23

 

#7 WISCONSIN VS #8 NEBRASKA

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
NEBRASKA 205
120
22
1.8
•••
WISCONSIN
220
240
36
1.5
-

The Badgers get the honor of being the official B10 welcoming committee in a night gm at Camp Randall with the GameDay crew on hand. Neb was 13-2 in B12 openers. NU did knock off OKSt on the road LY and UW is 1-3 at home vs ranked tms but did knock off #1 Ohio St LY. The 4-0 Badgers have faced little resistance thus far outscoring foes by 40 ppg incl LW’s 59-10 whipping of SD with 25-9 FD and 612-173 yd edges. Difference maker QB Wilson is #2 FBS pass eff (284 ypg, 76%, 11-1). The Huskers didn’t fall prey to look ahead and won the biggest home game in Wyoming history 38-14 with a 490-305 yd edge. QB Martinez (421, 6.7) and RB Burkhead (420, 6.7) are #2 and 3 in B10 rushing although the pass gm has been inconsistent in the new off. Blackshirts were without potential #1DC DT Crick (concussion) and CB Dennard (leg) saw action for the 1st time TY LW and NU has all’d 390 ypg to FBS foes TY. NU has the D (#15-29) and ST (#4-78) edges while UW has the off (#11-30) and home crowd although NU received a record number of ticket requests for this gm and have instructed their fans to wear black.

PHIL’S FORECAST: WISCONSIN 33 NEBRASKA 30

 

#10 SOUTH CAROLINA VS AUBURN

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
AUBURN 92
153
21
3.0
••
SOUTH CAROLINA
194
283
37
2.1
-

Aub has won 6 str vs SC incl 2 wins LY. LY in the SEC Title gm, SC cut the deficit to 21-14 w/:16 left 2Q but gave up a 51 yd Hail Mary on the 1H’s final play (35-3 Aub run to end gm). In the reg ssn gm SC led 27-21 into the 4Q prior to Aub’s 14 pt 4Q (4 TO’s by SC in 4Q). The only recent time the winner of the SEC Title gm traveled to face the loser the next yr was in ‘04 when GA, off a 21 pt loss, was at home and rolled #13 LSU 45-16. SC is off to its 1st 4-0 start under Spurrier and despite the Ol’ Ball Coach apologizing for a “putrid offensive performance” LW, the Gamecocks dominated Vandy 21-3 with a 367-77 yd edge. The 77 yds all’d were the fewest all’d by SC S/’87. While QB Garcia has struggled (1-4 ratio LW), RB Lattimore is #2 in the FBS with 611 (5.7) and takes on an Aub rush D that is all’g 227 ypg (4.5). Aub was underwhelming LW in their 30-14 win over FAU with only a 315-307 yd edge. QB Trotter is avg 196 (62%) with an 8-3 ratio while RB Dyer has 426 (6.9). SC is stronger than LY’s version while Auburn has just 6 st’rs back and this is the first conf road gm for their new QB going up against my #12 D.

PHIL’S FORECAST:  SOUTH CAROLINA 40 AUBURN 23

 

#11 VIRGINIA TECH VS #13 CLEMSON

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
CLEMSON 109
213
2.1
2.3
-
VIRGINIA TECH
197
248
30
1.7
-

VT has pulled the upset in both ACC meetings. Clemson is off B2B HG’s having beaten LY’s Nat’l Champs and the Atl fav Fla St while VT is playing its 1st BCS tm. VT is off a 30-10 win over Marshall. DC Foster’s defense is coming off one of his worst ssns ever and TY has all’d 231 ypg to a soft sked. CU is coming off a 35-30 win over a Fla St tm that was missing QB Manuel. OC Morris’ offense requires spd and he now has plenty of it while QB Boyd (314 ypg, 66%, 13-2) has matured under his tutelage. Fr WR Watkins has won 2 POW honors and most likely will get a 3rd after 141 yds (17.6) and 2 TD vs FSU. VT has won the L/5 in the series by 23 ppg (no win by less than 17). The VT D and RB Wilson (130 ypg, 5.8) have all’d QB Thomas a chance to grow and now face a CU tm that has trailed Troy, Woff and Aub while all’g 398 ypg. This is a tough spot for QB Boyd making his 1st road start and how much can CU have left in the tank after two huge HG’s?

PHIL’S FORECAST:  VIRGINIA TECH 34 CLEMSON 17

 

#14 TEXAS A&M VS #18 ARKANSAS

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
TEXAS A&M 130
305
31
2.3
-
ARKANSAS
125
290
26
2.0
-

Arlington, TX. Dallas Cowboys Stadium. In ‘09 Ark alum Jerry Jones brought this gm to TX. In the 1st meeting Ark and they rolled to a 47-19 win. LY Ark again won, 24-17. LW the Hogs were thoroughly dominated by Bama, 38-14. Ark has been hit hard by inj TY, 1st losing RB Davis in the offssn while LW they played w/o DE Bequette and their other DE Wright was hurt on the 1st drive and is out 4-6 weeks with a broken arm. QB Wilson did put forth a gutsy effort LW repeatedly taking shots and is avg 252 ypg (67%) with a 7-3 ratio. The rush gm has struggled w/o Davis avg 132 (3.9). A&M, again, blew a DD HT lead vs OKSt and again TO’s were the key as they had 3 in the 2H blowing a 20-3 lead in the 30-29 loss. QB Tannehill is avg 297 ypg (67%) but with only a 6-4 ratio while the RB duo of Gray/Michael is avg 149 (5.1). Both tms are off big gm losses and in a conf sandwich and both like to throw it but A&M has the more veteran QB with the stronger pass D and has been healthier.

PHIL’S FORECAST:  TEXAS A&M 33 ARKANSAS 30

 

#15 BAYLOR VS KANSAS ST

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
BAYLOR 168
255
31
2.2
-
KANSAS ST
227
195
32
1.4
•••

LY Baylor beat 1 tm with a winning record in ‘10 and it was KSU 47-42. BU’s Finley ran for a schl rec’d 250 yds and Griffin threw for a career high 404 as BU became bowl elig for the 1st time S/’94. It was misleading as KSU trailed 47-28 early 4Q scoring their final TD w/:07 left. BU (5-54 B12 AG) will be a conf away fav for the 1st time S/’97. BU scored TD’s on 5 str drives to take a 35-7 early 2Q lead in a 56-31 win over Rice in which the Bears had 33-24 FD and 673-416 yd edges. After 3 gms the FBS’s #1 pass eff leader RG3 has had more TD passes (13) than incomp’s (12) and has led the Bears to 40+ in 3 gms for the 1st time in schl hist. Miami QB Harris’ knee was ruled down and overturned via replay on a 4&gl run with :49 left which preserved KSU’s upset. KSU led 14-3 at HT and had a 265-139 yd rush edge. After 3 gms QB Klein has nearly as many pass (335) as rush (310) yds and John Hubert (286, 6.5) may have solidified his grasp on the #1 TB job over Bryce Brown with 166 vs Miami. KSU has huge D (#37-90) and ST edges (#13-115).

PHIL’S FORECAST:  KANSAS ST 38 BAYLOR 33

 

#16 USF VS PITTSBURGH

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
USF 153
250
33
1.7
PITTSBURGH
162
230
28
2.4
-

Pitt has won 3 straight in the series incl LY when they broke a 10-10 tie w/a 22 yd TD run on the 1st play of the 4Q. USF has to travel on short week but should be fresher after facing 3 lightweight foes while Pitt is off of physical gms vs Iowa and ND in which they blew 4Q leads in both.

PHIL’S FORECAST:  CHECK BACk THURSDAY at 5:00 PM EST

 

#17 TEXAS VS IOWA ST

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
TEXAS 195
253
32
2.5
-
IOWA ST
81
143
13
3.1

LY ISU came to Texas after giving up 120 pts in its prev 2 gms. “Historic” said HC Rhoads LY after ISU’s 1st ever win vs UT and 1st win over a ranked opp on the road S/’90. ISU led 28-6 early 4Q as 43% (187) of UT’s yds came after. It was LY’s gm vs the Cyclones which convinced HC Brown that the Horns players and staff had become entitled and complacent and changes needed to be made. Prior to the bye the Horns used 3 int in the 1Q to jump out to a 14-0 lead over another revenge target UCLA in QB McCoy (12-15 168 yds and 2 TD) and RB Brown’s (110) starting debuts. For the 1st time in ISU history the Cyclones have won their 1st 3 gms by 4 or fewer pts. QB Jantz (222 ypg, 58%, 6-6, 112 rush) has overcome slow starts to lead ISU to gm winning drives in the 4Q or OT in all 3! LTH, without the revenge motivation, UT rolled to a 56-3 win. Okla is on deck for UT but they are off a bye and ready to start handing out some B12 payback in my Revenge Pick of the Week.

PHIL’S FORECAST:   TEXAS 35 IOWA ST 13

 

#19 MICHIGAN VS MINNESOTA

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
MINNESOTA 148
175
14
2.5
MICHIGAN
222
260
36
2.6
-

Michigan is 19-1 in the series. The Wolves pressed the D-Rob button early racing out to a 21-0 HT lead thanks to his 3 TD runs vs HC Hoke’s former team SDSt in a sloppy 28-7 win in which UM had just a 413-376 yd edge and was outFD’d 20-18 while losing 4 TO’s. QB Robinson is #4 FBS rushing (506, 8.0) but last in the B10 in comp % (44%). Improved Wolves D still is all’g 176 rush ypg (4.9). In front of an estimated 12,000 NDSt fans, Minny lost to the FCS’s #12 tm at home 37-24. The Bison drove 65, 83 and 71 yd for TD’s in the 1H but the gm’s turning point came when Gray was int’d on a desperation pass with :05 left 2Q and the int was ret’d 52 yd after a lateral for a TD. NDSt also added a 40 yd IR TD with 2:58 left as Minny had an 18-17 FD edge. Kill used both QB’s Gray (130 ypg, 51%, 3-3, #1 rush 351) and Shortell (4-8 for 71 yd w/1-1 ratio vs NDSt) and he said he wasn’t sure who’ll get the call going forward. Gophers allow just 105 rush ypg (3.7). Gophers have a ST edge (#58-94) but the Wolves have the rest of the edges (#14-85 off, #46-69 D).

PHIL’S FORECAST: MICHIGAN 36 MINNESOTA 23

#20 TCU VS SMU

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
SMU 55
260
19
2.9
-
TCU
185
190
33
1.5
•••

TCU is 10-1 in the battle for the Iron Skillet. LY TCU was down 17-14 w/13:58 3Q. From then on TCU went on a 27-7 run incl 83 yd KR and 19 yd IR TD’s. This game was orig sked for a Friday night, but was moved to Saturday. TCU is off a home game vs Port St (won 55-12, +167 yds) while SMU traveled to face conf foe Memphis (won 42-0, +380 yds) and travels again. SMU QB McDermott is avg 283 ypg (58%) with a 4-2 ratio. He has 2 rec’s (Johnson and Beasley) over 250 yds and the top rusher is Line with 463 (4.9) and 11 TD’s (#2 NCAA). TCU QB Pachall is avg 219 ypg (69%) with a 10-2 ratio and his favorite target has been Boyce (400, 16.0, 3 TD). RB’s James (344, 8.6, 2) and Tucker (266, 5.0, 5) have filled in nicely for LY’s st’r Wesley (has missed L/3). The Frogs also declared LB Brock OFY (has not played since opener). SMU hasn’t won in Fort Worth S/’93 dropping 7 str (L/5 by DD’s) and in this hostile environment, it will be much the same for SMU.

PHIL’S FORECAST:  TCU 34 SMU 20

 

#21 GEORGIA TECH VS NC STATE

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
GEORGIA TECH 308
155
36
2.4
-
NC STATE
92
285
26
2.4

In LY’s gm the FD’s told the story as NCSt held GT to a ssn low (15) while GT all’d a ssn high (27) and the Wolfpack went on the road and won outright, 45-28. NCSt has an edge after a Thurs gm prior and C Mich on deck while GT is off its ACC opener and their QB will make his 1st ACC road start. A banged up NCSt D all’d 503 yds in their 44-14 loss to Cincy. Eight of their top 15 playmakers are inj’d incl their starting front 4 and they now face the triple option. GT met its 1st true test LW and snuck by with a 35-28 win over NC. GT missed a FG, fmbl’d In10, had an int and Hill dropped a wide open TD. GT is 4-0 for the 1st time S/’90, the yr they shared Nat’l Title. GT gets revenge on a Wilson-less Wolfpack squad but won’t have it easy.

PHIL’S FORECAST: GEORGIA TECH 34 NC STATE 31

 

#22 WEST VIRGINIA VS BOWLING GREEN

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
BOWLING GREEN 67
238
26
2.8
-
WEST VIRGINIA
124
398
44
2.6
-

BG has already exceeded its win ttl from LY and has 2 road wins under its belt incl LW’s 37-23 win over Mia, Oh where true Fr RB Samuel (428 yd, 7.0) had 121 rush yds incl a school rec’d 96 yd TD run (Samuel left gm with inj in 4Q). This is HC for the Mountaineers and it’s sandwiched between LW’s offssn defining LSU GameDay matchup and the BE opener vs LY’s BE champ Conn. WV closed to within 27-21 with a late 3Q TD but then all’d a 99 yd KR TD and LSU rolled to a 47-21 win. WV QB Smith was 38-65 for a school rec’d 463 yds while WR Austin had 11 rec for 187 yds. WV is 14-0 at home vs non-BCS tms (40-12 avg). WV has the edge on off (#23-83) and def (#55-96). While this game hasn’t been on WV’s radar, they would like to erase LW’s loss and should get back to their winning ways.

PHIL’S FORECAST:  WEST VIRGINIA 49 BOWLING GREEN 24

 

#24 ILLINOIS VS NORTHWESTERN

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
NORTHWESTERN 135
223
16
1.9
ILLINOIS
261
198
30
2.2

LY’s gm was at Wrigley Field with both tms going in the same direction. UI rushed for 518 yds (most S/’44) and Leshoure eclipsed UI’s single-gm rush rec’d w/330 yds (10.0). 6’6” Watkins (4th string QB TY) made his 1st career start (Persa inj) for NW hitting 10-20-135 with an 0-1 ratio. The L/2 times NW has traveled here they’ve pulled the upset. Persa is exp to ret for the 1st time TY after sitting out the 1st 3 (Achilles) with Colter (130 ypg, 65%, 1-1, #1 rusher 237) starting the ssn strong until faltering vs Army. Both QB’s are exp to play. NU is all’g 206 rush ypg (4.7) bloated by Army’s 381 (5.1). IL is 4-0 for the 1st time S/’51 after rallying from a 13-10 HT deficit to beat pesky WM 23-20 as the Illini had a 296-35 yd rush edge. QB Scheelhaase (159 ypg, 71%, 4-2, 224 rush) is #16 FBS pass eff but has had to be taken out of the L/2 after hits. IL is #1 B10 in sks (13),

PHIL’S FORECAST:  ILLINOIS 24 NORTHWESTERN 21

 

#25 ARIZONA ST VS OREGON ST

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
OREGON ST 63
235
12
2.3
-
ARIZONA ST
167
295
35
1.6
-

OSU has won 3 in a row. LTH (‘09) was the 1st OSU win in Tempe in 17 tries. LW vs USC the Sun Devils pulled ahead in the P12 South battle w/a 43-22 win (+4 TO’s). OSU is still searching for their 1st win of the ssn as they dropped a home meeting vs UCLA LW despite yardage (375-357) and FD (22-17) edges. LY OSU led by 10 but all’d a late TD after a blk’d P in the 31-28 victory. OSU does have just 12 ret st’rs but won on the road at AZ with a 1st yr starting QB LY and appears to be in a similar situation here with rFr Mannion getting the call. With that being said, ASU is the better team playing at home and I’ll call them to win by 17.

PHIL’S FORECAST: ARIZONA ST 35 OREGON ST 18

 

Upsets of the Week:
Boston College over Wake Forest
Rutgers over Syracuse
Mississippi over Fresno

 

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  • JEFFREY SKLAN

    Hey Phil….interesting analysis on GaTech and K State games. I will watch each,closely. Thank you , Jeffrey

  • Rlavin5

    i am looking for your update on the pitt/sfla game.

    Thanks

  • DWrek

    Are the Thursday games posted somewhere else?  I come back every Thursday and no pick.  Says 5 est, its 7:30.  
    Thanks,