CFN Final Thoughts Before Week Five
Nebraska RB Rex Burkhead
Nebraska RB Rex Burkhead
Posted Sep 30, 2011

In case you haven't heard, Nebraska is playing its inaugural Big Ten game.

Final Thoughts 

Before The Week 5 Games

- Final Thoughts  2010 | Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4
- 2011 Fearless Predictions

- Final Thoughts, Week 5, Part 2

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- Yeah, yeah, yeah, everyone pretends to be sick of expansion and realignment talk, but all anyone wants to talk about is expansion and realignment. Think of it this way; with bigger conferences will come more TV money. That means TV will want more top matchups, and that means more big games in prime time. This Saturday night will give you a glimpse into the future.

- After all the fanfare and all the hoopla, I'll be extremely disappointed if Nebraska stinks it up against Wisconsin. The defense had better have something up its sleeve after a mediocre first few games, and the offense had better be ready to do more than plan on running Taylor Martinez and Rex Burkhead 50 times.

- The Badger secondary is vulnerable. If Martinez isn't connecting early, feel free to pay more attention to Alabama vs. Florida.

- Nebraska fans, this is your beloved program's inaugural Big Ten game. If your Huskers really are the big deal they're supposed to be, then you wear red, not black. Make Wisconsin fans wear something different.

- Ohio State fans wouldn't change their colors.

- If you count the number of Husker fans that'll be in Madison on Saturday, it'll be the fourth-largest city in the state of Nebraska.

- If the Huskers win, the number of fans who'll say they were in Madison will make it the second-largest city in the state of Nebraska.

- Through four games, Wisconsin Quarterback A completes 69-of-91 passes (76%) for 1,136 yards and 11 touchdowns with a pick. Wisconsin Quarterback B completes 64-of-84 passes (76%) for 851 yards and six touchdowns with two picks, working basically the equivalent of three games after sitting out most of Game Four. One is a fringe Heisman candidate and is considered a decent pro prospect. The other wasn't on the national radar until after the regular season was over.

- Quarterback B, Scott Tolzien, finished seventh in the nation in passing efficiency. It's not like Wisconsin hasn't had good passing quarterbacks before Quarterback A, Russell Wilson, signed on.

- And no, Wilson isn't a top pro prospect.

- Speaking of which, John Brantley, your career is calling. This game against Alabama is what we in the media game like to call a signature moment.

- Call it women's intuition, or the bad burrito I had for dinner, but I have a funny feeling that Will Muschamp is going to have Florida's defense frothing at the mouth. Call it an upset if Trent Richardson does anything of significance.

- Snobbish BCS league fans, I have your debate-ender on whether or not a 12-0 Boise State deserves to play for the national title. Florida's remaining schedule: Alabama, at LSU, at Auburn, Georgia, Vanderbilt, at South Carolina, Furman, Florida State.

- Boise State's remaining schedule: Nevada, at Fresno State, at Colorado State, Air Force, at UNLV, TCU, at San Diego State, Wyoming, New Mexico.

- Oh yeah, Clemson vs. Virginia Tech. It's as big as any other game this weekend and it's unfairly getting lost in the shuffle. If the Hokies win, it's smooth sailing to the ACC title game, and maybe more.

- Texas A&M vs. Arkansas is a primetime matchup being played at 11 a.m. EST because of the way the two teams played in the respective second halves of their games last week. The normal ESPN intro theme will be replaced by the Let's Make A Deal muted trumpet after someone in a Wonder Woman costume passes up the entertainment system for the donkey behind Curtain No. 3. (wump, wump, waaaaaaaa)

- At least that's better than the Benny Hill theme song scheduled to be played throughout the New Mexico State vs. New Mexico battle.

- Are you getting what Robert Griffin is doing? Really, is the world able to get just how unbelievable his first three games have been? I know Baylor played Stephen F. Austin and Rice after blowing past TCU, but it doesn't matter if you're throwing against air, if you're completing 85% of your passes for 1,060 yards and 14 touchdowns with no picks, while adding 167 rushing yards and a score, you're doing okay.

- Seriously, try throwing the ball to a friend back and forth 82 times in perfect conditions with no one around. There will be at least 12 incompletions.

- In this week's You-Don't-Care-But-I'm-Going-To-Force-My-Irrational-Sun-Belt-Love-On-You-Anyway department, watch out for Arkansas State. Louisiana is the hot team after beating FIU at FIU, and Troy is always in the mix, but ASU battled hard on the road against Illinois and Virginia Tech and it gets the three league big boys - FIU, Louisiana, and Troy - at home.

- And this concludes the Sun Belt portion of our program.

- I'm begging you, ULM fans – and there are ULM fans – don't yell at me that it's Louisiana-Lafayette and not Louisiana. It's been a long week and typing out Lafayette gets annoying. Typing out Ragin' Cajuns and having to expend the mental energy to not call them the Rajin' Caguns is hard enough.

- Having to type out Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns in full is a gamechanger.

- Sorry. No more Sun Belt. I'll be good.

- It's not going to happen, but keep an eye out for Bowling Green at West Virginia. Neither team can run the ball a lick and the Falcons should be able to keep up in a shootout.

- In a bad year for the Pac-12, Washington at Utah matters. The winner will could end up No. 4 in the bowl pecking order with an outside chance at the top three.

- Is there any question or any doubt whatsoever that Fresno State is going to paste Ole Miss at home and then lose by 40 to Boise State next Friday?

- My favorite fun-stat of the week: Navy has committed five penalties so far in three games, averaging 1.67 penalties and 11.67 penalty yards per game. The No. 2 team, East Carolina, has committed seven penalties for 30 yards per game. No one else is averaging under three sins a game.

- Significant fun-stat of the week that'll be used on Saturday night's telecast and I won't get any credit for: Alabama is No. 3 in the nation in fewest penalties, committing just three a game for a paltry 29.75 yards. Florida is 119th in the nation – second-to-last – getting flagged a nation-high 39 times averaging 9.75 penalties per game for 78.75 yards.

- Iowa State is last.

- The ten most penalized teams in America are a combined 26-13 with Indiana and Colorado accounting for six of those losses.

- If you were my close, personal friend and you were going off to Vegas to legally "invest" what little money you might have left, I'd suggest taking a look-see at Northern Illinois -8.5 over Central Michigan, Wake Forest -2.5 over Boston College, Arizona State -18 over Oregon State, and my Five-Star, Master Lock Pick of the Millennium For This Week, Colorado -3 over Washington State.

- By the way, I went 6-12 with these picks over the first four weeks – really, Indiana, North Texas?! If you're a true pro, all you want from a prognosticator is to be really far one way or the other. Glad to do my part.

- Without looking it up, I'll make the call that Eastern Michigan hasn't been an 8.5-point favorite in a bazillion years.

- Yes, I'm piling on, but Godspeed to the mtn. network on Saturday night when New Mexico State at New Mexico goes on at the same time as Alabama at Florida, Nebraska at Wisconsin, North Carolina at East Carolina, and Notre Dame at Purdue.

- Yes, I'm going to watch. I'll double the mtn's ratings.

By Richard Cirminiello 

Going back to last November, Arizona has now lost eight consecutive games to FBS opponents, and the last four by no fewer than 23 points. Next up is a trip to the Coliseum, and another round of scrutiny for beleaguered head coach Mike Stoops.

Will any remaining Georgia game not be a big deal for the future of head coach Mark Richt?

Texas A&M gets to dip its toe in the SEC West waters this weekend with a game against Arkansas at Cowboys Stadium. The Aggies will also get a chance to eliminate the stench from last weekend's second-half collapse versus Oklahoma State.

How did the Big Ten miss Toledo WR Eric Page? How did the officials in the Syracuse-Toledo game miss that controversial hooked extra point from Orange PK Ross Krautman a week ago?

The Michigan D is by no means a finished product, but coordinator Greg Mattison has clearly made a difference on Brady Hoke's staff. The Wolverines have allowed 10 or fewer points in three of the first four games. In 2010, that happened once.

Welcome back, Dan Persa. The Northwestern quarterback is set to make his long-awaited return from an Achilles' tendon injury that kept him out of last year's game with Illinois at Wrigley Field.

Kansas hosting Texas Tech will be one of the more underrated games of Week 5. The way both teams can get up and down the field behind quarterbacks Jordan Webb and Seth Doege, respectively, it could take 40 points to win.

The combination of Russell Wilson's success at Wisconsin and NC State slow start must be making life miserable for Wolfpack head coach Tom O'Brien. O'Brien could have had Wilson back under center in Raleigh for one more year, but opted instead to turn the page on that chapter.

When was the last time a game between Baylor and Kansas State had this much meaning—or national interest? Someone is going to be a highly improbable 4-0 by Saturday evening.

Who wound up South Carolina spur, a safety-linebacker hybrid, Antonio Allen in the offseason? He's had a good career in Columbia, but is off to an All-American start to 2011 with 36 tackles, two picks, three forced fumbles, three fumbles and a pair of touchdowns.

There won't be many better matchups this weekend better than the one between Virginia Tech CB Jayron Hosley and precocious Clemson WR Sammy Watkins. If the Tigers knock off a third straight ranked opponent, head coach Dabo Swinney could wear an Alshon Jeffery jersey on the sidelines the rest of the year and not get fired.

Jake who? Washington QB Keith Price is tied for the most touchdown passes in America, filling Jake Locker's shoes quicker than anyone in Seattle could have hoped. The flash of the Huskies offense versus the blue-collar Utah D will be an intriguing study in contrasts.

Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart wants to key on Florida playmakers Jeff Demps and Chris Rainey in Saturday night's showdown in the Swamp. Demps and Rainey, though, might be two of the only players in America capable of outrunning spies. In a game dominated by the defenses and special teams, I can't shake this feeling that the Gators are going to upset the Tide.

Stanford is going to miss injured inside LB Shayne Skov … just not this week against UCLA.

Something was missing with Nebraska in September. Wisconsin is going to find it and exploit it repeatedly for a lopsided win at Camp Randall. For the part of the country that hasn't been paying attention to Badgers QB Russell Wilson, this will be his national coming-out party and first Heisman statement game. 

- Final Thoughts, Week 5, Part 2