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Fearless predictions: Week 5

Saturday

No. 14 Texas A&M vs. No. 18 Arkansas (+2.5), 12 p.m. (Southwest Classic at Cowboys Stadium, Arlington)
Henry’s pick: Texas A&M’s defense is leaking some serious oil. The Aggies coughed up 27 unanswered points and 438 passing yards in a 30-29 loss to Oklahoma State last week. Arkansas QB Tyler Wilson leads one of the nation’s most efficient red-zone teams and will continue that trend. Arkansas 33, Texas A&M 30
Rose’s pick: It’s a preview of a future rivalry as Texas A&M moves to the SEC next season. Both teams are coming off stinging losses. Texas A&M had a 20-3 lead over Oklahoma State last week, but fell apart in the second half. Oklahoma State quarterback Brandon Weeden threw for 438 yards against the Aggies. Arkansas was overmatched in a 38-14 loss against Alabama last Saturday. So which team rebounds? Texas A&M looked very good for a half last week. Plus, the Aggies like to get after the quarterback (ranked No. 1 nationally in sacks). Could be trouble for Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson. Texas A&M 31, Arkansas 27

Northwestern at No. 24 Illinois (-8), 12 p.m.
Henry’s pick: Illinois is surging at the right time, which makes this point spread a little suspicious. It could be because Northwestern is getting QB Dan Persa back. That won’t be enough to stop the Illini, which had two 100-yards rushers (Troy Pollard, Donovonn Young) in a 23-20 win over Western Michigan last week. Illinois 27, Northwestern 20
Rose’s pick: Illinois is 4-0 for the first time since 1951. If the Illini hopes to get to 5-0, the defense will need to shut down Northwestern quarterback Dan Persa, who is expected to play for the first time since tearing his Achilles’ tendon last November against Iowa. The ground game has been strong for Illinois this season. The defense has come up big the last two weeks in wins over Arizona State and Western Michigan. So I like Illinois to ground out a close win with the defense doing just enough to slow down Persa. Illinois 23, Northwestern 20

Auburn at No. 10 South Carolina (-10), 3:30 p.m.
Henry’s pick: South Carolina’s defense has settled in after surrendering 37 and 42 the first two weeks. Unfortunately the offense has digressed. Gamecocks QB Stephen Garcia tossed four picks in a win over Vanderbilt last week. This game has upset special written all over it. Auburn 36, South Carolina 33
Rose’s pick: Auburn is giving up 478 yards of total offense per game, including 227 rushing yards. That doesn’t bode well when Marcus Lattimore is running the ball for the Gamecocks. Lattimore is averaging 153 yards per game. The problem is that South Carolina has struggled when Lattimore hasn’t touched the ball. Stephen Garcia has already thrown seven interceptions this season, including four last week against Vanderbilt. If Auburn’s defense can force some turnovers, the Tigers can spring the upset. But I’m going to guess Lattimore carries the offense on his back. South Carolina 34, Auburn 24

Nevada at No. 4 Boise State (-27.5), 2:30 p.m.
Henry’s pick: Kellen Moore is probably the only name that means to be mentioned right now. He’s completing 79 percent of his passes (83-105) with 995 yards and 12 touchdowns. Meanwhile, Nevada surrendered 69 points against Oregon and 35 against Texas Tech. Boise State will roll. Boise State 44, Nevada 20
Rose’s pick: Do you think Boise State remembers last season’s game? Boise State was undefeated and very much in the BCS national title game discussion. But an overtime loss at Nevada ended it all. So the Broncos have revenge on their minds. It’s unlikely we’ll see another upset this time. Nevada already has two losses, but nearly beat Texas Tech last week. Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore has thrown for 995 yards and 12 touchdowns in three games. Boise State 40, Nevada 17

Michigan State at Ohio State (-3), 3:30 p.m.
Henry’s pick: This matchup is about as even as one can get. The Buckeyes rebounded from a 24-6 beating by Miami with a 37-17 win over Colorado last week. It’ll take a big effort from Ohio State freshman QB Braxton Miller to overcome the Spartans 8th-ranked scoring defense. Meanwhile, Michigan State QB Kirk Cousins has been steady as can be. Michigan State 21, Ohio State 17
Rose’s pick: Ohio State’s offense has struggled thus far. Quarterback Braxton Miller will continue to get better, but the Buckeyes are still a week away from getting back Dan Herron, Mike Adams and DeVier Posey. Meanwhile, Michigan State has the nation’s top-ranked defense. The Spartans also have offensive talent with Kirk Cousins and B.J. Cunningham leading the way. Winning in Columbus is never easy. But Miller is still finding his way and could have problems against the Spartans. Michigan State 24, Ohio State 20

No. 15 Baylor at Kansas State (+3.5), 3:30 p.m.
Henry’s pick: Baylor’s Robert Griffin has thrust himself right into the Heisman race with 962 yards passing and 13 touchdowns. He’ll have his hands full against a solid Kansas State defense, which is ranked sixth in the country. Griffin will find away to keep the Bears undefeated. Baylor 27, Kansas State 21
Rose’s pick: Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III is Heisman good. Think about these numbers: Griffin has just 12 incompletions all season and 13 touchdowns in just three games. Here are some other numbers that surprised me: Kansas State’s defense is ranked sixth nationally and 11th nationally defending the pass. The Wildcats are coming off a nice win at Miami (Fla.) and are very tempting to take at home. But slowing down Griffin and his wide receivers is going to take a huge effort. Not sure Kansas State’s defense can do it for four quarters. Plus, Kansas State’s offense can’t keep up with Baylor. Baylor 41, Kansas State 27

No. 13 Clemson at No. 11 Virginia Tech (-7), 6 p.m.
Henry’s pick: Clemson enjoyed solid home wins against Auburn and Florida State. But the Tigers have yet to play a road game this season. Virginia Tech is undefeated, but struggled in wins over East Carolina and Arkansas State. It’s a tough call, but Clemson gets the upset. Clemson 26, Virginia Tech 23
Rose’s pick: A huge early ACC showdown. Clemson rolls into Blacksburg at 4-0 and with nice wins over Auburn and Florida State. Tajh Boyd and Sammy Watkins have been a lethal combination. But Virginia Tech’s defense is one of the best in the nation. The real question is whether the Hokies’ offense can get on track. I’m not sure Virginia Tech has a breakout game on offense against the Tigers. But I’m going to go with Virginia Tech’s defense and the Lane Stadium intimidating crowd. Virginia Tech 24, Clemson 23

No. 3 Alabama at No. 12 Florida (+4), 8 p.m.
Henry’s pick: Alabama has been great on both sides of the ball. Trent Richardson ran all over Arkansas (17-126) last week. Tide QB AJ McCarron (15-20, 200yds, 2 TDs) was also a terror. Florida (4-0) will be tested for the first time this season. If the Gators RB Jeff Demps comes close to duplicating the 157 yards he had against Kentucky, we’ll have a game. He won’t and we won’t. Alabama 31, Florida 16
Rose’s pick: Florida’s new pro style offense with Charlie Weis at the controls has Chris Rainey and Jeff Demps ripping through defenses. Alabama, however, has an elite defense. Going to the Swamp and coming out with a win is no easy task. But the Crimson Tide is playing at a high level. Alabama is simply the bigger and stronger team. That will show in the fourth quarter. Alabama will win by more than 10 points. Alabama 33, Florida 20

No. 8 Nebraska at No. 7 Wisconsin (-9.5), 8 p.m.
Henry’s pick: Nebraska’s Blackshirt defense is hurting with injuries and QB Taylor Martinez has been up and down the last few weeks. Wisconsin has a gaudy record (4-0) and numbers, but hasn’t played anyone. Badgers QB Russell Wilson (1136 yds passing, 11 TDs, 1 INT) looks like the real deal. Look for the Badgers in a big way. Wisconsin 34, Nebraska 17
Rose’s pick: The first Big Ten showdown of the season has Nebraska welcomed to its new conference with a road trip to Camp Randall, which is a tough place to play. The Badgers have a massive offensive line and Montee Ball and James White racking up big yards. But it’s been the play of new quarterback Russell Wilson that has given the offense a whole new dimension. Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez will be a challenge for Wisconsin’s stout defense. Wisconsin has been impressive through four games and is the more complete team. Wisconsin 34, Nebraska 23

Notre Dame at Purdue (+12), 8 p.m.
Henry’s pick: Notre Dame won ugly over Pitt last week and Tommy Rees struggled until the fourth quarter. Don’t expect a repeat performance. Rees will find Michael Floyd often in this game. Purdue wasn’t impressive in its 27-24 win over Middle Tennessee or in its 24-22 loss at Rice. The Boilermakers recovered with a 59-0 thrashing of Southeast Missouri State. This one will be over at the half. Notre Dame 41, Purdue 12
Rose’s pick: Notre Dame is on a two-game winning streak. Purdue is looking for a signature win before heading into conference play. The Boilermakers have run the ball well this season and the return of quarterback Robert Marve could provide a boost. Turnovers continue to be a big problem for the Irish. Still, I like the way Notre Dame has responded since losing its first two games. Notre Dame 27, Purdue 13

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