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Dirty Dozen: The Crystal Ball Run Week 6 Staff Picks

Here are the Crystal Ball Run Week 5 staff picks…

No. 24 Northwestern at Penn State: Saturday, 12:00pm ESPN

Andy Coppens Take: Call this week "Crossroads Week" if you will in the Big Ten as Northwestern enters the game against Penn State undefeated, but perhaps a bit untested. Their opponents so far this season are a combined . On the other hand Penn State comes in after confidence building wins against Navy and last week over Illinois on the road.

Apparently Penn State is like cat nip to the Wildcats, especially under Matt McGloin who is 2-0 and this game is complete toss up. It's Northwestern's dynamic offense vs. Penn State's dynamic defense. However I'm looking at this matchup and asking who's got the better playmakers and to me that's Northwestern. Call me crazy, but give me Kain Colter and Venric Mark over Michael Mauti and Gerald Hodges.

The Pick: Northwestern 33, Penn State 17

Everybody Else’s Take:

Aaron Torres: Northwestern 21, Penn State 10
Dave Singleton: Northwestern 31 Penn State 21
Kevin McGuire: Penn State 31, Northwestern 17
Tom Perry: Northwestern 24, Penn State 17

Arizona at No. 18 Stanford: Saturday, 3:00 p.m. FX

Tom Perry's Take: Arizona is still a bit of a surprise at 3-2, but Rich Rodriguez' team has dropped two straight to ranked opponents. Now the Wildcats get to go on the road to Stanford, who is reeling from a loss to Washington. Stanford has a bruising running game, but quarterback Josh Nunes must play better this week for the Cardinal to get back on track. The Wildcats are scoring points, but Stanford's defense might be the best unit they have faced.

The Pick: Stanford 38, Arizona 30

Everybody Else’s Take:

Aaron Torres: Arizona 31, Stanford 18
Andy Coppens: Arizona 31, Stanford 20
Dave Singleton: Stanford 27, Arizona 24
Kevin McGuire: Arizona 30, Stanford 26

Georgia Tech at No. 15 Clemson: Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ESPN

Aaron Torres’ Take: The simple truth here is that Clemson is the better football team in every way: They’re more talented, deeper, more athletic, and their coach Dabo Swinney even has a cooler first name than Georgia Tech’s Paul Johnson.

But with the Yellow Jackets coming off back-to-back embarrassing losses and Clemson just days away from a bye, could we be looking at a game closer than the experts are predicting?

I say so.

The Pick: Clemson 24, Georgia Tech 17

Everybody Else’s Take:

Andy Coppens: Clemson 40, Georgia Tech 17
Dave Singleton: Clemson 33 Georgia Tech 16
Kevin McGuire: Clemson 33, Georgia Tech 20
Tom Perry: Clemson 38, Georgia Tech 21

No. 4 LSU at No. 10 Florida: Saturday, 3:30 p.m. CBS

Dave Singleton’s Take: The LSU Tigers head to the Swamp for their first game against a ranked opponent this season. LSU has looked sluggish the last two weeks, squeaking by a tough road spot at Auburn and lazily beating FCS squad Towson. The Gators have looked better each and every week this season before their bye, shutting out Kentucky in the last game they played. Florida has something going. LSU looks a little lost. I like the Gators in the swamp to pull off the upset.

The Pick: Florida 23 LSU 15

Everybody Else’s Take:

Aaron Torres: Florida 13, LSU 10
Andy Coppens: LSU 31, Florida 13
Kevin McGuire: Florida 23, LSU 17
Tom Perry: LSU 27, Florida 20

No. 17 Oklahoma at Texas Tech: Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ABC/ESPN2

Kevin McGuire’s Take: Oklahoma's defense will be put to the test this week on the road against an offense that was very successful against them last season, at Texas Tech. The Red Raiders have jumped out to a 4-0 record and they have not lost at home against Oklahoma since 2003, but after losing their last game to Kansas State and having a bye week to think about it, Bob Stoops should be likely to have his team ready to get back in the win column this weekend.

It will not be easy though as Texas Tech brings a potent offense and a defense that has performed very well so far, albeit against lesser opposition. If Tech can force Landry Jones outside of the pocket then they will have a chance to pick up a huge win. On offense it will be Seth Doege's job to find some cracks in the Sooners pass defense. With 15 touchdown passes and just three interceptions, Doege can be the key player in an upset bid.

The Pick: Texas Tech 34, Oklahoma 33

Everybody Else’s Take:

Aaron Torres: Oklahoma 35, Texas Tech 13
Andy Coppens: Oklahoma 35, Texas Tech 27
Dave Singleton: Oklahoma 21, Texas Tech 17
Tom Perry: Oklahoma 31, Texas Tech 14

No. 5 Georgia at No. 6 South Carolina: Saturday, 7:00 p.m. ESPN

Aaron Torres’ Take: While college football fans (myself included) were upset that this early season SEC East showdown was moved to Week 5 this year, it seems to have all worked out for the best. With five games now under their belts, we realize now just how good these teams are, and that the winner will not only be in the SEC East title chase, but potentially primed for a National Championship run as well.

And with that, give me the visiting Georgia Bulldogs. Yes their defense didn’t look to spectacular last week against Tennessee, but remember, they were returning two starters for the first time, and will only get better again this week. Plus, as good as South Carolina’s offense has looked against Vanderbilt, Missouri and Kentucky in SEC play this year, remember that, well, we’re talking about Vanderbilt, Missouri and Kentucky.

The ‘Dawgs have too much offense and will find just enough offense to pull out an impressive victory, under the lights in Columbia Saturday night.

The Pick: Georgia 34, South Carolina 27

Everybody Else’s Take:

Andy Coppens: Georgia 27, South Carolina 24
Dave Singleton: South Carolina 28, Georgia 27
Kevin McGuire: Georgia 33, South Carolina 31
Tom Perry: South Carolina 34, Georgia 31

No. 8 West Virginia at No. 11 Texas: Saturday, 7:00 p.m. FOX

Tom Perry's Take: This game is a match up of the Big 12's best offense against its best defense. Texas' defense did give up 36 at Oklahoma State last week and we all know what WVU can do behind Heisman-favorite Geno Smith. The Mountaineers are making their first road trip in their new conference and going to Austin won't be easy. There's no question that WVU's defense will have to improve on last week's performance in which they gave up 63 to Baylor.

The Pick: Texas 42, West Virginia 41

Everybody Else’s Take:

Aaron Torres: Texas 38, West Virginia 30
Andy Coppens: West Virginia 41, Texas 31
Dave Singleton: West Virginia 42, Texas 38
Kevin McGuire:  Texas 27, West Virginia 26

Texas A&M at Ole Miss: Saturday, 7:00 p.m. ESPNU

Dave Singleton’s Take: Kevin Sumlin's A&M squad notched its first SEC win by annihilating a lame duck Arkansas squad 58-10. Ole Miss put up quite a bit of resistance against Alabama, losing 33-14. Ole Miss played hard, but one has to wonder if the emotion it takes to play against Alabama might have taken a bit out of the Rebels. Texas A&M, led by quarterback Johnny Manziel, threw up 716 yards of offense against the Hogs. Ole Miss has some fight in them, but the A&M offense looks like it might be clicking right now.

The Pick: Texas A&M 41, Ole Miss 17

Everybody Else’s Take:

Aaron Torres: Texas A&M 38, Ole Miss 20
Andy Coppens: Texas A&M 33, Ole Miss 20
Kevin McGuire: Texas A&M 43, Ole Miss 27
Tom Perry: Texas A&M 35, Ole Miss 17
Miami at No. 9 Notre Dame: Saturday, 7:30 p.m. NBC

Aaron Torres’ Take: Simply put, you’re not going to find a bigger fan of what Notre Dame is doing right now than I am. Brian Kelly should be in consideration for National Coach of the Year the way he’s juggled this offense and figured out how to make everything work.

Still, Miami can score points and is the best offense Notre Dame has faced this season. Stephen Morris has emerged with more than 1,000 yards passing over the two games, and Duke Johnson might be the best true freshman in the country so far.

Point being, Notre Dame will win. But this one will be closer than the experts expect.

The Pick: Notre Dame 20, Miami 17

Everybody Else’s Take:

Andy Coppens: Notre Dame 31, Miami 13
Dave Singleton: Notre Dame 27, Miami 14
Kevin McGuire: Notre Dame 27, Miami 23
Tom Perry: Notre Dame 23, Miami 15

No. 3 Florida State at NC State: Saturday, 8:00 p.m. ESPN2

Kevin McGuire’s Take: Florida State improved to 5-0 and showed something in their character by slugging out a road win at South Florida last week, fresh off of a big home win against Clemson. Now they head to North Carolina State as a big favorite, but should we sleep on the Wolfpack this weekend? The Seminoles dominated this series in the 1990's but NC State has evened the playing field a bit in the 21st century, with Florida State holding a 7-5 edge since the 2000 season.

If NC State is going to win their second straight meeting taking place in Raleigh they absolutely have to protect the football against Florida State's defense. NC State quarterback Mike Glennon has been intercepted six times. Florida State looks to be playing at a championship level but they still may be prone to lose a game they probably should not. This probably will not be it.

The Pick: Florida State 34 , North Carolina State 24

Everybody Else’s Take:

Aaron Torres: Florida State 35, NC State 14
Andy Coppens: Florida State 33, NC State 17
Dave Singleton: Florida State 41, NC State 20
Tom Perry: Florida State 58, N.C. State 20

No. 21 Nebraska at No. 12 Ohio State: Saturday, 8:00 p.m. ABC

Andy Coppens Take: Week Two of the Big Ten schedule could finally let you and I know exactly who's for real and who's pretending this weekend and there's no better case for that than the matchup between Nebraska and Ohio State.

The Huskers had to have their best half of football following their worst half of football to beat Wisconsin 30-27. Earlier in the day it took the Buckeyes everything they had to squeak out a 17-16 victory over Michigan State. Yet, despite those wins we still don't know what to make of these teams. So, put them together and the winner is for real?

For me, this one all comes down to who is the better QB on Saturday between Taylor Martinez and Braxton Miller. Miller is injured, at least to some extent, and if he gets knocked out so do the Buckeyes in my opinion. For that reason and for no Jordan Hall to help either I'm going with T-Magic and the Huskers.

The Pick: Nebraska 31, Ohio State 24

Everybody Else’s Take:

Aaron Torres: Nebraska 28, Ohio State 24
Dave Singleton: Nebraska 30, Ohio State 19
Kevin McGuire: Ohio State 24, Nebraska 20
Tom Perry: Nebraska 28, Ohio State 16

No. 3 Washington at No. 3 Oregon: Saturday, 10:30 p.m. ESPN

Aaron Torres’ Take: So many variables to consider in this one. Is Washington still riding a high off their epic win last week? How will they handle hitting the road after winning at Qwest Field on Thursday? And is Oregon, a team which has put up points in bunches but hasn’t necessarily been great for four quarters, ready for their toughest challenge of the season.

I’m not sure on the first two, but my hunch tells me the answer to the last one is a resounding “yes.”

The Ducks haven’t been great this season (which makes the 52 points a game they’re averaging all that much more impressive), but going against a slow Washington defense, coming down from an emotional high against Stanford, I think Oregon plays their best game of the season.

The Pick: Oregon 49, Washington 14

Everybody Else’s Take:

Andy Coppens: Oregon 38, Washington 20
Dave Singleton: Oregon 48, Washington 23
Kevin McGuire: Oregon 46, Washington 31
Tom Perry: Oregon 47, Washington 22

 

About Aaron Torres

Aaron Torres works for Fox Sports, and was previously a best-selling author of the book 'The Unlikeliest Champion.' He currently uses Aaron Torres Sports to occasionally weigh-in on the biggest stories from around sports. He has previously done work for such outlets as Sports Illustrated, SB Nation and Slam Magazine.

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