Tucker’s Pick ‘Em: College football picks and previews for Week 5

MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – 41NBC’s Tucker Sargent makes his picks in this week’s games of interest.

Record last week: 10-2
Record this year:  34-7

No. 11 UCLA (3-0, 0-0 Pac-12) @ No. 15 Arizona State (3-0, 1-0 Pac-12)
Thursday, September 25 at 7 p.m. FOX SPORTS 1
For the second straight week, two ranked teams clash on Thursday night.

Despite starting the season 3-0, UCLA hasn’t quite lived up to all its preseason hype.  Arizona State is also 3-0 but will be without three-year starting quarterback Taylor Kelly.  The senior injured his right foot last week in a 38-24 win over Colorado.

The Bruins aren’t sure yet whether their star quarterback will play or not.  Brett Hundley, a junior, injured his elbow last week in a 20-17 win over Texas:

UCLA 23, Arizona State 20

Actual Score: UCLA 62, Arizona State 27 (WIN)

Appalachian State (1-2, 0-0 Sun Belt) @ Georgia Southern (2-2, 1-0 Sun Belt)
Thursday, September 25 at 7:30 p.m. ESPNU
Longtime FCS rivals App State and Georgia Southern meet again Thursday–this time as FBS members in the Sun Belt Conference.

GSU opened conference play last week with a 28-6 win at South Alabama.  Through four games, the Eagles have been almost unstoppable on the ground, gashing their opponents for more than seven yards per carry. Their two losses came on the road at NC State and Georgia Tech by a combined five points.

App State has won three in a row over the Eagles, but GSU will roll this year:

Georgia Southern 35, Appalachian State 14

Actual Score: Georgia Southern 34, Appalachian State 14 (WIN)

Tennessee (2-1, 0-0 SEC) @ No. 12 Georgia (2-1, 0-1 SEC)
Saturday, September 27 at 12 p.m. ESPN *SEC Network’s SEC Nation
Tennessee was off last week.  Georgia wasn’t, but it might as well have been.

As expected, the Bulldogs had an easy time with Troy, dominating the Trojans from start to finish in a 66-0 win.

Tennessee started the season with home wins over Utah State and Arkansas State.  Two weeks ago, it fell at Oklahoma, 34-10.

For the Vols to win in Athens, Justin Worley will have to play a perfect game:

Georgia 27, Tennessee 17

Actual Score: Georgia 35, Tennessee 32 (WIN)

Vanderbilt (1-3, 0-2 SEC) @ Kentucky (2-1, 0-1 SEC)
Saturday, September 27 at 12 p.m. SEC NETWORK
It’s been a rough start for first-year coach Derek Mason and the Commodores.  Even worse, all four of their sloppy games have been played at home.

They’ll hit the road Saturday to play Kentucky, a team that’s much improved under second-year coach Mark Stoops.

The ‘Dores’ three-game winning streak in this series comes to an end:

Kentucky 35, Vanderbilt 24

Actual Score: Kentucky 17, Vanderbilt 7 (WIN)

Mercer (3-1, 0-1 SoCon) @ VMI (1-3, 0-1 SoCon)
Saturday, September 27 at 1:30 p.m.
Mercer returns to conference play with a road trip to Lexington, Virginia.

Like the Bears, the Keydets are SoCon newcomers.  Both teams have played one conference game.  Mercer fell to Furman, 25-20.  VMI fell to Samford, 63-21.

Coach Bobby Lamb leads the Bears to their first SoCon win:

Mercer 31, VMI 28

Actual Score: Mercer 27, VMI 24 (WIN)

Arkansas (3-1, 0-1 SEC) @ No. 6 Texas A&M (4-0, 1-0 SEC)
Saturday, September 27 at 3:30 p.m. CBS
A few months ago, this game seemed like it’d be meaningless.

Not so much now.

The Razorbacks have already matched their win total from last season.  Texas A&M, expected to fall off a bit this year after the departure of Johnny Manziel, is 4-0 and lurking just outside the Top 5.

The offenses will get the spotlight Saturday.  Arkansas, under second-year coach Bret Bielema, likes to pound it up the middle.  For Texas A&M, Kenny Hill has emerged as yet another dual-threat weapon in one of Kevin Sumlin’s spread offenses:

Texas A&M 45, Arkansas 38

Actual Score: Texas A&M 35, Arkansas 28 – OT (WIN)

FIU (1-3, 0-0 C-USA) @ UAB (2-1, 0-0 C-USA)
Saturday, September 27 at 3:30 p.m.
Under first-year coach Bill Clark, UAB is off to its best start since 1995.

The Blazers opened the season with a 48-14 home win over in-state rival Troy before a 47-34 loss at Mississippi State.  Two weeks ago, they beat Alabama A&M 41-14.

With a week to rest, they’ll have an easy time with the Golden Panthers, who are 1-3, including a 14-12 loss to Bethune-Cookman (FCS):

UAB 41, FIU 21

Actual Score: FIU 34, UAB 20 (LOSS)

Louisiana Tech (2-2, 1-0 C-USA) @ No. 5 Auburn (3-0, 1-0 SEC)
Saturday, September 27 at 4 p.m. SEC NETWORK
Auburn gets back in the groove of playing on Saturdays, but this game won’t be anything like next week’s visit from LSU.

The Bulldogs, under second-year head coach Skip Holtz, are coming off a loss to Northwestern State (FCS).

The Tigers should be able to rest some starters early:

Auburn 45, Louisiana Tech 7

Actual Score: Auburn 45, Louisiana Tech 17 (WIN)

Fort Valley State (2-1, 1-0 SIAC) @ Benedict (2-1, 1-0 SIAC)
Saturday, September 27 at 6 p.m.
The FVSU Wildcats emerged victorious last week in the Valley, beating Clark Atlanta 19-18 to move to 1-0 in conference play.

Benedict also won by one point, scoring a last-second touchdown to beat Elizabeth City State 20-19.

The Tigers haven’t beaten the Wildcats since 2009:

FVSU 27, Benedict 20

Actual Score: FVSU 33, Benedict 30 (WIN)

Missouri (3-1, 0-0 SEC) @ No. 13 South Carolina (3-1, 2-1 SEC)
Saturday, September 27 at 7 p.m. ESPN *ESPN’s College GameDay
Missouri’s hot start came to a crashing halt last week with a home loss to Indiana.

Yes, Indiana.

Now the Tigers leave their Columbia for the one in South Carolina.  The last time they played there, they lost 31-10:

South Carolina 38, Missouri 23

Actual Score: Missouri 21, South Carolina 20 (LOSS)

Troy (0-4, 0-0 Sun Belt) @ Louisiana-Monroe (2-1, 1-0 Sun Belt)
Saturday, September 27 at 7 p.m. ESPN3
Troy starts its Sun Belt schedule Saturday when it visits Louisiana-Monroe.

Last week’s 66-0 loss at Georgia dropped the Trojans to 0-4 for the first time in 32 years.

There’s always next year:

Louisiana-Monroe 31, Troy 14

Actual Score: Louisiana-Monroe 22, Troy 20 (WIN)

Duke (4-0, 0-0 ACC) @ Miami (2-2, 0-1 ACC)
Saturday, September 27 at 7:30 p.m. ESPN2
Duke is 4-0 for the first time in 20 years.  The undefeated Blue Devils begin their defense of a division title with a night game at .500 Miami.

Already 0-1 in conference play, Miami faces a must-win game here.  I just don’t see the ‘Canes being able to stop the Devils’ offense, which is averaging nearly 44 points through four non-conference games.

Duke stays unbeaten:

Duke 31, Miami 21

Actual Score: Miami 22, Duke 10 (LOSS)

No. 8 Notre Dame (3-0) @ Syracuse (2-1, 0-0 ACC)
Saturday, September 27 at 8 p.m. ABC
Notre Dame plays on the road for the first time Saturday when it faces Syracuse at MetLife Stadium.

It’s the first meeting between the Irish and Orange since 2008, when ‘Cuse won 24-23 in South Bend:

Notre Dame 28, Syracuse 14

Actual Score: Notre Dame 31, Syracuse 15 (WIN)

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Categories: Across Georgia Sports, National Sports, Sports

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