College Football Week 5

I’ve heard enough about anthem protests. And I don’t want to write about college basketball scandals either. Hockey’s regular season starts on the 5th, so it’s too early for that. Should I do a detailed breakdown of this weekend’s best EPL match featuring first place Manchester City going to London to take on defending champion Chelsea? (Aaaaaaaand 86% of American readers just closed their browser). Ok, I think I have just the thing:

Time for a good old-fashioned picks column!!! Those familiar with point spreads know that college football handicapping is a completely different animal than the pro game. So we’ll avoid picking any games where the spread is double digits unless I am sure an upset is coming or my alma mater is involved. The spread will be listed here, but, for simplicity’s sake, the picks will be straight up. Side note: All the big games this weekend are conference games with two of the match ups actually set for Friday night

FRIDAY: 14 Miami (2-0) @ Duke (4-0) Line: Hurricanes by 7 The Pick: In college football, favored teams lose weeknight games on the road all the time. It’s a legitimately tough spot. Miami has only played twice because Irma forced the cancellation of a September 9th contest against Arkansas State. While Miami has beaten Toledo and Bethune-Cookman, Duke has defeated three opponents from Power 5 conferences including a win over ACC rival North Carolina. Karma has to be in Duke’s favor after the travesty that took place in this match up last year (everyone agreed that the officials straight up stole the game from Duke). Focus-factor also favors Duke with the ‘Canes looking forward to next week against Florida State. The temptation to go with the upset is definitely there, but Miami is more talented and better rested. Hurricanes over Blue Devils

FRIDAY: 5 USC (4-0) @ 16 Washington State (4-0) Line: Trojans by 4 The Pick: Another home underdog on a Friday night in this one—probably the second best match up of the week. Damn shame that kickoff is at 10:30pm for those of us on the east coast. Anyway, USC has navigated the country’s 4th toughest schedule without blemishing its record but the product on the field hasn’t always been pretty. Meanwhile Wazzu’s wins (schedule strength 118th out of 129 FBS programs) are looking weaker and weaker as more results play out. That’s enough for me to select the men of Troy, but here’s one more stat for the unconvinced: The Trojans have won five straight in Pullman by an average of 33 points per game. This will be closer than that, but USC may have something special going this season. Trojans over Cougars

7 Georgia (4-0) @ Tennessee (3-1) Line: Bulldogs by 7.5 The Pick: This SEC East match up has produced terrific games the last few seasons and is the best game in the 3:30EST time slot on Saturday. Everything I am reading insists that Butch Jones is coaching for his job after a really dumb loss against Florida and a no-show against UMass last week. You always hear that Neyland Stadium in Knoxville is a daunting place to play and I think the Vols have a lot to prove. HOWEVER, Georgia boasts the nation’s #2 rushing defense and is just too strong. Plus there is no way they are blowing another big lead against Old Rocky Top. Bulldogs over Volunteers

24 Mississippi State (3-1) @ 13 Auburn (3-1) Line: Tigers by 9 The Pick: War Eagle has the “best loss” in college football this year falling 14-6 at Clemson a few weeks ago and could be the team with the best chance to take down Alabama when they play in Auburn Thanksgiving weekend. Hail State has been a bit of an enigma. They looked tremendous in a total demolition of LSU two weeks ago and then looked abysmal as they napped their way to a 31-3 loss in Athens last weekend. I am itching to pick an upset, but this just isn’t the spot. Tigers over Bulldogs

2 Clemson (4-0) @ 12 Virginia Tech (4-0) Line: Tigers by 8 The Pick: Since a solid neutral site win over West Virginia in their opener back on Labor Day weekend, the Hokies haven’t played anybody. They are due a little credit however for dominating where they were supposed to. In that same time frame, the Tigers have beaten SEC power Auburn and bottled up last year’s Heisman trophy winner to go unbeaten against the nation’s 6th toughest slate. ESPN’s College Game Day will be on campus in Blacksburg for this one, but the Hokie is a dumb mascot and my wife went to UVA. Tigers over Turkeys

15 Oklahoma State (3-1) @ Texas Tech (3-0) Line: Cowboys by 9.5 The Pick: Oklahoma State’s CFB Playoff hopes were dealt a serious blow at home against TCU last week and I think the Cowboys will show up angry in Lubbock on Saturday. Texas Tech hasn’t overwhelmed, but you see the perfect record so far. Both teams average more than 575 yards per game so they might break the scoreboard, but the clear edge goes to OK State. Cowboys over Red Raiders

BONUS PICK: Northern Illinois (2-1) @ 19 San Diego State (4-0) Line: Aztecs by 11 The Pick: Well that’s six games picked, all for the favorites. Certainly I’m not going to make it seven! But how could I possibly pick against my beloved Aztecs? I can’t. And here are 3 good reasons: has Rashaad Penny sitting third in their current Heisman Trophy rankings! 2-The Aztec’s loser, d-bag roommate FINALLY moved out (that stupid NFL team with the dumb lightning bolt helmet now plays in a stadium half as big LOL), 3-The 2017 ‘Tecs know how to grind out results as evidenced by gritty wins the last three weeks. I don’t know when times have been better on Montezuma Mesa and I am not throwing cold water on it now! Aztecs over Huskies

And there you have it! My super chalky Week 5 picks.