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Saturday Six-Pack: Week 5 College Football Picks

The Week 4 schedule was lame. How lame? So lame, Lee Corso pulled on a paper bag instead of a mascot’s head. Then there’s Week 5, which is, to use a seldom-heard phrase, totally awesome, and which could be, to use an even rarer word, epic.

Time to crack open the Six-Pack:

NO. 6 LSU AT NO. 9 GEORGIA

The facts: 2:30 p.m., Ch. 2.

The records: LSU 4-0, 1-0 SEC; Georgia 2-1, 1-0.

The line: Georgia by 3.

The story line: Tigers quarterback Zach Mettenberger grew up an avid Georgia fan and signed with coach Mark Richt out of high school. Richt, who’d known Mettenberger throughout the player’s childhood, had to cut him loose from the program after an incident with a woman at a bar; Mettenberger ultimately pled guilty to two counts of misdemeanor sexual battery. Three years have passed, but Mettenberger expects harsh reminders from the Athens crowd. Meanwhile, he’s having a season worthy of Heisman discussion and trying to lead his team to the top of the SEC. Of course, the same could be said of Georgia’s Aaron Murray. Extremely tough call here, but all the pressure’s on the Bulldogs. If they lose, they’re out of the BCS title race. LSU can still win its way to Pasadena regardless.

Greenberg’s pick: LSU, 30-27.

NO. 14 OKLAHOMA AT NO. 22 NOTRE DAME

The facts: 2:30 p.m., Ch. 5.

The records: Oklahoma 3-0, 1-0 Big 12; Notre Dame 3-1.

The line: Oklahoma by 3½.

The story line: Are the Irish as strong overall as they were last season? Probably not. But this is Oklahoma we’re talking about — the OU that has lost 13 times since its last appearance in the national championship game to cap the 2009 season. For the love of all that is holy, did you see last year’s Cotton Bowl? The Sooners haven’t lost yet in 2013, but ND is the first opponent with a pulse they’ve faced. The Irish defense should be able to confuse OU quarterback Blake Bell, who’s still very inexperienced as a passer and will be making the first road start of his career. Can somebody explain why the Irish are underdogs in this one?

Greenberg’s pick: Notre Dame, 31-21.

NO. 21 MISSISSIPPI AT NO. 1 ALABAMA

The facts: 5:30 p.m., ESPN

The records: Ole Miss 3-0, 1-0 SEC; Alabama 3-0, 1-0.

The line: Alabama by 14½.

The story line: Maybe it’s not much of a pattern, but it’s worth pointing out that the Crimson Tide — national champs in 2011 and ’12 — lost a regular-season game in Tuscaloosa each year. Two years ago, it was LSU barely getting the better of Nick Saban’s team in a matchup of the two best teams in the country. Last year, it was much more of an upset, not to mention a coming-out party for Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel. Is Ole Miss capable of an Aggies-like explosion in 2013? That’s a question SEC wonks have been puzzling over for a while now. No doubt, the Rebels offense is spilling over with playmakers, from quarterback Bo Wallace to home-run-hitting running back Jeff Scott (9.4 yards per carry) to the superb pass-catching trio of Donte Moncrief, Laquon Treadwell and Evan Engram. The Tide really haven’t played all that well thus far; keep that in mind in case they struggle (again) on offense or (again) on defense.

Greenberg’s pick: Alabama, 35-31.

NO. 10 TEXAS A&M AT ARKANSAS

The facts: 6 p.m., ESPN2.

The records: Texas A&M 3-1, 0-1 SEC; Arkansas 3-1, 0-0.

The line: Texas A&M by 14½.

The story line: Bret Bielema’s wife, Jen, made waves a couple of weeks ago with her “#karma” tweet after Wisconsin’s controversial loss at Arizona State. Badgers fans let her have it after Arkansas, now led by Bielema, blew a late lead last weekend in a loss at Rutgers. But this is the game that could really go bad for the Hogs and their first-year coach. Bielema brought his tough-guy style to the SEC with the intention of taking on West division powers Alabama and LSU head-on, but there’s no such thing as meeting Manziel and the Aggies head-on. Arkansas doesn’t have nearly the offensive firepower to go drive-for-drive with A&M, and the Hogs are suspect defensively. Bielema — the coach, not the wife — loves to add “#NeverYield” at the end of his own tweets, but his team is about to yield a whole mess of yards and points.

Greenberg’s pick: Texas A&M, 45-24.

NO. 23 WISCONSIN AT NO. 4 OHIO STATE

The facts: 7 p.m., Ch. 7.

The records: Wisconsin 3-1, 1-0 Big Ten; Ohio State 4-0, 0-0.

The line: Ohio State by 7.

The story line: The ugly truth is, Urban Meyer and Gary Andersen really like each other. They worked together when Meyer was coach at Utah and have remained close friends. Sickening, isn’t it? The Big Ten needs these guys to get along like it needs another season on the outside looking in at the national title race. The Big Ten Leaders has precious little football rivalry juice beyond the Buckeyes’ and Badgers’ recent history of not being able to stand each other. It won’t be winner-take-all this weekend in Columbus, but the victor will have essentially a two-game lead in the standings, with the head-to-head tiebreaker. Yep, this is another big one between these programs. And forget the rankings — it’s also another tossup. “Our players and their players know that it’s going to come down [to the finish],” Meyer said. “This will be a classic game.” But will it also be a classy game? We can only hope not. Rivalries are much more fun when they’re angry.

Greenberg’s pick: Ohio State, 27-21.

NO. 5 STANFORD AT WASHINGTON STATE

The facts: 9 p.m., ESPN.

The records: Stanford 3-0, 1-0 Pac-12; Washington State 3-1, 1-0.

The line: Stanford by 9½.

The story line: Mike Leach’s first season on the Palouse was a nightmare. It would’ve been understandable had he fled back to Key West, where he’d spent a long while hiding out after the controversy that got him booted from Texas Tech. But Leach is back to looking like his old, upset-minded self. The Cougars already have a win at USC under their belts. Prior to that, they nearly won at Auburn. Who’s to say they can’t give Stanford a tough night? The Cardinal defense could totally dominate this game, but quarterback Kevin Hogan doesn’t have the same playmakers around him that he had a year ago. Until David Shaw’s offense hits a new gear, Stanford will be vulnerable.

Greenberg’s pick: Stanford, 20-10.

LAST WEEK, STRAIGHT UP: 5-1.

LAST WEEK, AGAINST THE SPREAD: 4-2.

SEASON, STRAIGHT UP: 15-3.

SEASON, AGAINST THE SPREAD: 11-7.