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College Football 2014: Week 5 Preview
Saturday, 2014 September 27 - 9:47 am
Michigan kicks off its conference season against Minnesota; N.C. State takes on #1 Florida State.

Michigan vs. Minnesota
It's the storied Little Brown Jug game. Hooray? Minnesota is not real good, you guys. But neither is Michigan. It's a strength-vs-strength, weakness-vs-weakness game as Minnesota relies heavily on their running game, but faces a Michigan defense that has been impenetrable against the run most of the year. Meanwhile Minnesota's secondary looks suspect, but will whichever Michigan quarterback is playing be able to get the ball downfield?

Minnesota has wins against the likes of Eastern Illinois and Middle Tennessee State. Their best win was last week against San Jose State where they won 24-7, and that's not saying much (SJSU is 1-2 and lost to Auburn 59-13). Their quarterback play has been erratic, to put it nicely. Last year whoever played against Michigan suddenly looked like a Heisman winner... this year I think Michigan's defensive line is capable of providing pressure and getting sacks.

So the question is, will Michigan be able to put up a touchdown against a BCS-conference opponent for the first time this season? A lot hinges on Nussmeier's play-calling, I think. I am skeptical.

Prediction: Michigan 13, Minnesota 10. (Michigan makes two field goals and misses three.)

N.C. State vs #1 Florida State
Uh-oh. No more cupcake opponents. This is a big game in front of a national audience. Jameis Winston is back for Florida State; the FSU defense is formidable; and though N.C. State has looked the past couple of games against inferior competition, I don't think they have the athletes to keep up with FSU.

On the bright side for N.C. State, this is exactly the best time to meet FSU, with the Seminoles coming off a tough and emotional victory against Clemson. Let-down game? Possible. N.C. State is brimming with confidence; with a couple of breaks (maybe some early turnovers and quick scores), this game could stay close through the first half, and if that happens, who knows.

Realistically, though...

Prediction: N.C. State 20, Florida State 49.

Games to Watch on TV
On Thursday we already had the only game against two ranked opponents; #11 UCLA beat #15 Arizona State 62-27, thanks mostly to turnovers.

Tennessee plays #12 Georgia at noon on ESPN. Iowa plays Purdue, and Northwestern plays Penn State, on BTN/BTN2 at the same time.

At 3:30, Michigan plays Minnesota on ESPN2/ABC, while N.C. State plays Florida State on the ABC/ESPN2 reverse mirror. Also keep an eye on Arkansas playing #6 Texas A&M on CBS.

At 4:15 #16 Stanford plays undefeated Washington on Fox. In the absence of better options, I'll go ahead and call this the Game of the Week.

At 6:00 Cincinnati plays #22 Ohio State on BTN. This might be closer than one would think; Cincinnati is probably one of the better mid-major teams this year.

At 7:00 Missouri plays #13 South Carolina on ESPN. Missouri is fresh off that loss to Indiana and might be looking for some redemption. ESPN GameDay is in South Carolina this week, so they seem to think this is a big game.

At 7:30 Duke plays Miami FL on ESPN2. This is an intriguing game to me; Duke is undefeated and will be looking to make another ACC playoff run.

At 8:00 Notre Dame plays Syracuse on ABC.

Oregon State takes on #18 USC at 10:30 on ESPN, in an excellent nightcap game.

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