College Football Picks- Week 5
Here we go! This is going to be a monstrous weekend for college football! The winners of these “Big” games will be well-positioned to make a playoff run, while the losers will have to regroup and look for some help as the season moves forward.
Last week was my worst of the season thus far. I got a little too cute trying to pick some upsets and ended up with a 4-6 record. If it wasn’t for Stanford’s incredible comeback against Oregon, I would have finished (3-7)!
So this week I’m not going to make it complicated and I’m not going to “out-think” myself. Hopefully, I will be able to avoid the cluster and get myself back on track.
Let’s get to it! Here are my College Football Picks- Week 5!
1. Syracuse at Clemson
Yes, Clemson has had some drama this week with the decision by Kelly Bryant to transfer. But when all the dust has settled, I think that the coaches and players will be able to regroup and focus on the task at hand. Last year, Syracuse handed Clemson their only loss of the regular season 27-24. However, this Saturday the Big Orange will not be able to sneak up on the Tigers. Syracuse is coming in at 4-0, and they are averaging nearly 50 points per game. I think that Clemson will be locked-in and ready to go.
Winner: Clemson, 41-24
2. West Virginia at Texas Tech
This is one of those match-ups that suddenly, and unexpectedly became very fascinating. After losing the opener to Ole Miss, the Red Raiders have won 3 straight, including a dominating upset over Oklahoma State this past Saturday. Texas Tech is averaging 52 points and 623.5 total yards per game…very impressive! It would not surprise me if the Red Raiders pulled off a second straight upset, but I just can’t quite bring myself to make that prediction. West Virginia is a very balanced team and has a very stout defense (only giving up 12.3 points per game), so I’m sticking with the Mountaineers .
Winner: West Virginia, 45-31
3. Florida at Mississippi State
This is another intriguing game for several reasons. The main reason of course is that coach, Dan Mullen, left Mississippi State at the end of last season to become the head football coach of the Florida Gators. Another reason is that each team is coming in with the same record (3-1), and they each lost to the same divisional opponent, the Kentucky Wildcats. “How will these teams respond?” is the question. This is a tough call, but I will go with the home team on this one.
Winner: Mississippi State, 34-24
4. Virginia Tech at Duke
“How will teams respond?” is probably the main theme of the weekend. And this question absolutely applies to the Hokies after they fell to Old Dominion in dramatic fashion this past Saturday, 49-35. I do think that Virginia Tech will actually respond well. The problem is that they are playing Duke, who has played some of the best football in the ACC over the first four weeks. The other issue is that in addition to losing the game, the Hokies also lost their starting quarterback, Josh Jackson, who suffered a broken left fibula. So back-up quarterback, Ryan Willis, will have to try and lead Virginia Tech out of the “Depths of Despair”.
Winner: Duke, 27-20
5. Iowa State at TCU
The Horned Frogs are coming off back-to-back loses after they fell to Texas on Saturday, 31-16. But if you go back and look, TCU had a 16-10 lead very late in the third quarter. The problem was that they kept turning the ball over (4 total), and Texas was able to capitalize. I think that part of the problem was that the Horned Frogs were a little “hung-over” from the previous week after an emotional game against “TTFDB”. TCU is heading back home and I can’t see them turning the ball over 4 times again. It will be a good game, but I think that TCU will find a way to win.
Winner: TCU, 31-23
6. Ole Miss at LSU
Two weeks ago Ole Miss was “run over” by Alabama, 62-7. Last week they struggled with Kent State for about 2 and 1/2 quarters. Unless something out of the ordinary happens, I don’t see how the Rebels are going to pull out a win at Tiger Stadium. LSU is only giving up 14.8 points per game, and they have come up big when it has mattered most. The Tigers arguably have the 2 best wins of the season thus far, defeating both Miami and Auburn. It should be a competitive and fun game, but LSU will pull away late.
Winner: LSU, 37-24
7. BYU at Washington
Believe it or not, these two teams actually have very similar stats through the first 4 games! Both BYU and Washington have also played in several “similar-type” games- Lower Scoring, A Little Ugly, Hard Hitting, Close, etc. Of course the Cougars pulled off the big upset in week #3 at Wisconsin, 24-21. But overall Washington has the most talent. They also have the more prolific passer in quarterback, Jake Browning. I think that it is going to be another “Barn Burner” for both teams- low scoring, hard hitting, and not-too-pretty. The game is at Husky Stadium, and the home team will prevail.
Winner: Washington, 27-20
8. Oregon at California
Let us ask the question again, “How will the Ducks respond”? Oregon has to feel emotionally beat-up after the way things played out in their game against Stanford this past weekend. I talked a great deal about this game in my College Football Recap- Week 4 if you want to go back and check it out. Now the Ducks have to go on the road and face an undefeated CAL team, which is going to be a great test of character. After watching Oregon play on Saturday night, I would have to say that they have earned my trust…for now. They were physical on the line of scrimmage and they were explosive on offense. CAL did have a nice win at BYU, 21-18, but their other 2 wins came against North Carolina and Idaho State (Not exactly football powerhouses). Go Ducks!
Winner: Oregon, 30-20
9. Stanford at Notre Dame
This is one of two enormous match-ups between Top 10 teams on Saturday night. These two teams usually play each other very tough, and the game is usually decided by 1 or 2 possessions. Last year Notre Dame held a (20-17) lead going into the fourth quarter, but Stanford rallied and scored 21 unanswered points to win, 38-20. I will be extremely surprised if this game ends up in a “blowout” either way. I anticipate a very competitive, lower scoring game. As usual, Stanford will rely on their very talented, and very big tight-ends and receivers (which is what saved them against Oregon). But in the end, I think that Notre Dame’s defense will rise to the occasion!
Winner: Notre Dame, 30-23
10. “TTFDB” at Penn State
This game is very difficult to predict! Anything and everything is likely to happen! Just go back and look at the previous 2 meetings between these teams. Both “TTFDB” and Penn State are basically averaging 55 points per game…wow! Each team has a ton of offensive weapons and is very explosive on that side of the ball. So the game will be decided on 3 main things: (1) Which defense will play better, get more stops, limit big plays, etc. (2) The kicking game- Field Position and Made Field Goals (3) Turnovers. It is a night game in Happy Valley, it’s going to be a “white-out”, and College Game Day is going to be there! Hopefully we are all in for a wild ride come Saturday night! I’ll go with the home team in a “squeaker”!
Winner: Penn State, 37-34