After summoning the spirits last week to find out what will happen in week four of the 2012 season, my colleague David Purdum shipped the crystal ball to me for ths week. He even packed it in dry ice so that when I opened the package to take it out, it looked all mystical and stuff. (That's what she said.)
On the surface, the fifth week of the season is seriously lacking in high-profile games. Then again, doesn't it seem like those weeks always end up being the most chaotic? Let's see what's in store.
Thursday, Sept. 27: Stanford at Washington
The Cardinal enter this contest with severely wounded pride following a beatdown two weeks earlier at the hands of USC. Likewise, the Huskies are still smarting from an LSU thrashing in the second week of the season. Who's more likely to get up off the mat?
Personally, I love the turn that the Stanford offense has taken in recent years. The Cardinal smashmouthed UW to death a year ago in Palo Alto. That physical style of football generally translates well on the road, which is a plus in these big night games.
The crystal ball, however, says otherwise. Fueled by a loud home crowd, Steve Sarkisian and talented quarterback Keith Price will use their quickness and athleticism to race past Stanford and send the Cardinal to their second loss of the year.
Washington 35, Stanford 30.
Saturday, Sept. 29: Tennessee at Georgia
Few seats are hotter right now than the one currently occupied by Derek Dooley and his orange pants. We'll get a pretty good indication of where the season is headed for him early, as the Volunteers get conference match-ups with SEC East rivals Florida and Georgia before October.
Would a split in the two games be considered a step in the right direction? Tennessee took down the Gators on Rocky Top in week three, but the Vols will far short in their bid to upset the 'Dawgs between the hedges. Some heady play in the fourth quarter by veteran quarterback Aaron Murray saves UGa's bacon.
Georgia 24, Tennessee 17.
Saturday, Sept. 29: Ohio St. at Michigan St.
Sparty has gotten off to a strong start, notching wins over Boise St. and Notre Dame already. The Buckeyes, meanwhile, have impressed, too, starting the season 4-0 against a sneaky tough slate featuring Central Florida and California.
OSU has done its damage to this point at the Horseshoe, and leaving the friendly confines of home won't treat the Buckeyes so well. Mark D'Antonio's salty defense will keep Braxton Miller and Urban Meyer's spread in check as MSU runs its record to 5-0 and starts to get some early mention in the national title race.
Michigan St. 27, Ohio St. 21.
Saturday, Sept. 29: Texas at Oklahoma St.
The Cowboys have whipped the boys in burnt orange two years running with both wins coming in Austin. But this ain't your daddy's OSU team. Or, well, maybe it is, seeing as two years is a pretty short amount of time in the grand scheme of things. Whatever...
Ironically, Brandon Weeden, the top QB in OSU history, has left for Cleveland where he's "competing" with Texas legend Colt McCoy for the right to get pounded under center for the Browns. Weeden's replacement, talented true freshman Wes Lunt, has gotten off to a hot start, but he won't have faced a challenge anywhere near the caliber of the UT D yet.
The Longhorns ride behind their stable of talented runners and Manny Diaz's ferocious defense to pull off the mild upset at Boone Pickens Stadium.
Texas 30, Oklahoma St. 28.