> Game of the Week
(4) Georgia at (6) Tennessee
Georgia and Tennessee meet in Knoxville on Saturday in a battle that is not only huge in the SEC East standings but on a national scale as well. Both teams are ranked among the top six in the latest SCS.com Fab 15 and among the top eight in both the ESPN/USA Today and AP rankings. The Bulldogs have yet to lose this season, and Tennessee's lone defeat came on the road at Florida a few weeks ago.
The Vols got things back on track two weeks ago, though, when they went on the road to Baton Rouge, and after falling behind to LSU early, rallied back to defeat the then-unbeaten Tigers in overtime. UT eased past Mississippi this past weekend and now sits at 3-1 overall and 2-1 in league play. Rick Clausen has grabbed hold of the QB job and seems to have that position under control. RB Gerald Riggs Jr. is the Volunteers' most dangerous weapon on offense. The Chattanooga senior is the SEC's second-leading rusher, averaging over 100 yards per game. The WR corps has been a minor disappointment, though some of that can be attributed to the early struggles under center. Tennessee has one of the better defenses in the league. In fact, their running defense is allowing less than 70 yards per game on the ground.
Speaking of defense, Georgia's stoppers are giving up fewer than a dozen points per game, a total that is second-best in the SEC this season. The Bulldogs also lead the league with eight interceptions through the first five weeks of the year. UGA has started off the season with four straight wins, and QB D.J. Shockley has done a nice job replacing David Greene. The senior is completing 60% of his passes and has thrown for eight TDs and just a pair of picks thus far. Shockley has also run for over 150 yards and a trio of touchdowns this season. RBs Danny Ware and Thomas Brown have combined to dash for nearly 450 yards already, an average of well over 100 per game. Martrez Miller and Bryan McClendon, as well as all-conference TE Leonard Pope, have been Shockley's favorite targets early on.
This is likely to be a defensive struggle. Neither offense is overwhelming, but both defensive units are ranked among the top twenty in the country. Though Georgia started off the season with a thrashing of Boise State, the Bulldogs have not been overly impressive in a home win over South Carolina or a road win at Mississippi State. Tennessee's come-from-behind win at LSU seems to have given the Vols new life after the loss at Florida. A loss for Phil Fulmer's squad would likely end their SEC East hopes, so look for Riggs to help the Vols sneak past UGA and for the top of the East standings to stay crowded.
The Editor Says: Tennessee 17-13
> Next Five
Oklahoma vs (2) Texas (Dallas)
The Sooners have struggled early on this season, and because of that, this battle has lost much of the luster it has had over the past few years. The Texas offense is behind only Texas Tech and Southern Cal in terms of points per game so far this season, and though the OU defense is what has kept the Sooners ticking so far, it won't be enough Saturday afternoon in Dallas.
The Editor Says: Texas 31-16
Minnseota at Michigan
Here is a matchup between two teams heading in opposite directions all of a sudden. The Gophers' early-season run came to a screeching halt at Penn State last weekend, their Heisman-hopeful RB Laurence Maroney held to just 48 yards. Michigan, meanwhile, took down in-state rival Michigan State on the road last weekend and should be able to hold off the Gophers this weekend in Ann Arbor.
The Editor Says: Michigan 34-24
Texas Tech at Nebraska
Both the Red Raiders and Cornhuskers have rather quietly marched to 4-0 starts to the 2005 season. Texas Tech's offense, which has faced just one D-I defense, leads the country with over 57 points per game. Nebraska's success has been built around their solid defense, ranked second in the country in terms of points allowed. The high-powered offense gets it done.
The Editor Says: Texas Tech 28-27
(15) California at UCLA
This is another matchup of two teams who have yet to lose a game this season. The Bears have dodged injuries, and their closest game thus far was decided by fifteen points. UCLA, meanwhile, grabbed some early momentum with a home victory over Oklahoma three weeks ago before knocking off Washington last weekend. It's a toss-up, but I'll take California.
The Editor Says: California 35-31
(8) Ohio State at Penn State
One could argue that this one should be our pick for the nation's top game this week. The Nittany Lions spanked Minnesota last weekend and are now 5-0 and tied atop the Big Ten standings. The Buckeyes' early-season loss to Texas doesn't hurt them in the league standings, but a loss this weekend would end their extremely slim national title hopes. Bucks stay in the hunt.
The Editor Says: Ohio State 24-13
> Predicting the Rest
North Texas over Troy
> The Editor's Records
Last Week: 41-14 (.745)
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