Bruins visit the Valley of the Sun

Posted on September 24th 2014

Uh…..did I say something about Arizona State’s defense? Well, forget that! UCLA STEAMROLLED Arizona State 62-27. Finally, UCLA put it all together and sent a strong message to the Pac 12, and the nation….beware of the Bruins.

Week 5 leaves a lot to be desired in terms of powerful matches between top teams, but there are a few intriguing games. Here are the top television match ups.

#7 UCLA at #34 Arizona State – I love Thursday night football, and ESPN has another dandy on tap this week. UCLA squeaked out a 45-43 thriller the last time they visited the Sun Devils in 2012, but normally the Bruins have a tough time in Tempe. Brett Hundley is expected to play for UCLA, but Taylor Kelley is out for Arizona State. I don’t believe however, that the QB’s are the key to this game. I think it’s the Sun Devil defense. Neither team may be able to produce a lot of points because of offensive inefficiency, but Arizona State’s defense may shut down UCLA with or without Hundley. Another close thriller, but I’ll go against my own preseason prediction and say Arizona State 20 UCLA 17.

#1 Florida State at #56 North Carolina State – The Seminoles have been upset the last two times they’ve traveled to Raleigh including a shocking 17-16 loss as a double digit favorite in 2012. The Wolfpack is undefeated but also unproven and somewhat an unknown commodity. Las Vegas has Florida State by a whopping 27. My computer says Florida State by 12. I guess Las Vegas knows more about the Wolfpack than I do, but still, this game makes me feel uneasy for the Noles. Closer than the experts think. Florida State 42 North Carolina State 28.

#8 Texas A&M vs #41 Arkansas – Arlington, Texas – A lot of folks have been high on A&M ever since the opening win at South Carolina. Finally we’ll get another opportunity to see them play against better competition. Arkansas has been quite a surprise to me. I did not anticipate the Razorbacks being this much better, but their running game in going to make things very difficult for some SEC West teams. Both of these fan bases travel well and I expect Jerry World to be rockin’ Saturday afternoon. It may go down to the wire for these old time SWC foes, and honestly, I think it’s going to boil down to who makes the fewest mistakes. Texas A&M 34 Arkansas 30.

#18 Stanford at #21 Washington – Sometimes I hate myself for making preseason predictions. Back in July I was so high on the Huskies. I felt like the offensive genius of Chris Peterson was exactly what an already talented Washington needed. Instead the Huskies have struggled in every game (especially in the first half) and have played far below my expectations. The loss to USC was a stain on Stanford’s record that can’t be erased even though the Cardinal is probably overall a better team than the Trojans. Playing at home in a big conference game, I can’t help but believe Washington will play their best game of the season so far.  I’m going to hate myself again, but I’ll stick with my upset…. Washington 24 Stanford 23.

#51 Missouri at #11 South Carolina – Not many upsets have surprised me more than Indiana’s win over the Tigers last week. Honestly, I think Missouri just hooked into the hype about the Big 10 being dead and didn’t prepare. I could be wrong. Maybe Indiana truly is the better team. Only time will tell. All I know is that Missouri is probably mad as all get out and wants to redeem themselves. Where better to do it than on the road against a South Carolina team who is still a mystery to me. The Gamecocks looked awful against Texas A&M, yet somehow managed to beat a very good Georgia team, and then struggled at Vanderbilt. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if this game wasn’t decided in overtime. South Carolina 31 Missouri 28.

For all week 5 projections, follow the links below:

Billingsley Projections

Billingsley+ (MOV) Projections