This Weekend in College Football: Week 5

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.


  • Texas @ Oklahoma State (ABC): Texas and Georgia are still ranked, thus proving the worthlessness of rankings at any point before mid-October, at best. At any rate, Texas will roll into Stillwater to face an Oklahoma State team that is somehow both better than I thought and worse at the same time. This is also Texas’s first game since the debacle in Berkeley, and struggling to say whether that performance was just a product of the pressure that Cal’s offense places on teams or that Texas’s defense just isn’t good. This week, at least, I’m going with the former.
  • Notre Dame vs. Syracuse (@East Rutherford, NJ; ESPN): Yes, the Domers lost to Duke last weekend, and this isn’t a “pretty good” Duke team like in the past few years. Nonetheless, I don’t think they’ll have any issues with Syracuse. If they do, I’d say Brian Kelly’s days are numbered, if they aren’t already.
  • Miami @ Georgia Tech (ESPN2): So, uh, as it turns out, Clemson is a pretty good football team. Miami probably is, too, but we’re the first real opponent they’ve played this season. There’s some reason to believe we won’t be whipped as thoroughly, but if we really want to make anything of this season, it’s gotta happen Saturday.
  • Baylor @ Iowa State (FS1): Baylor.
  • Northwestern @ Iowa (ESPNU): One thing both these teams have in common: losses to FCS teams! Iowa still actually plays defense, though, so they’ll probably win.
  • Southern Methodist @ Temple (ESPNEWS): Temple?
  • Florida @ Vanderbilt (SEC): The other SEC team from Tennessee might have some frustrations taken out on it here.
  • Rutgers @ Ohio State (BTN): Ohio State.
  • Central Florida @ East Carolina (CBSS): UCF is better this year, yes, but are they better enough? I’m still leaning toward no.

12:30: Virginia @ Duke (ACC): I know I said Duke isn’t that good this year, but hey, Brono Mendenhall, what’s going in Charlottesville? I’ll take Duke here.


  • Tennessee @ Georgia (CBS): These teams are coming at this game from totally different angles. Tennessee is ebullient after finally taking down Florida. Georgia is, well, whatever the opposite of “ebullient” is after getting thoroughly trashed by Ole Miss. The thing is, I didn’t think Georgia was that good anyway, so I’m going with the Vols to keep it up.
  • Wisconsin @ Michigan (ABC): Boy howdy, Wisconsin sure did a thing to Sparty last weekend, huh? I don’t think this Michigan team will be caught so unawares, though.
  • North Carolina @ Florida State (ESPN): In order to say relevant as anything other than a spoiler in the ACC, FSU needs this game. Technically, that will be true, of, well, any of their conference games, but Carolina figures to be one of their three toughest remaining tests (along with Miami and Clemson). If they fail here, that’s that for the ‘Noles this year. I think they’ll pass.
  • Illinois @ Nebraska (ESPN2): Nebraska, probably?
  • Kansas State @ West Virginia (ESNPU): West Virginia hasn’t really looked very good so far this year. I have my reservations about K-State, but I’ll pick them here and then we can re-evaluate these teams next weekend.
  • Louisiana-Monroe @ Auburn (SEC): Okay, so, we joked about the Fired Bowl last weekend, but as it turns out, well, someone got fired, and it wasn’t Gus Malzahn. I nearly suffixed that sentence with a “…yet”, though. I don’t think this Monroe team is good enough to win or anything, but somehow, it wouldn’t surprise me.
  • Minnesota @ Pennsylvania State (BTN): I’m going to have to go with the Golden Gophers here.
  • Navy @ Air Force (CBSS): Both the academies here are undefeated so far this year, so the first round of the Command-in-Chief’s trophy will knock someone from those ranks. The question is, of course, who? It’ll be fun, but I’m going with the Falcons.
  • Wake Forest @ North Carolina State (ACC/RSN): *looks up both teams, cringes, types in “Wake Forest?”* Wake Forest?

4:00: Texas A&M @ South Carolina (SEC): I didn’t see that coming last weekend, but is it possible the Aggies are actually good this year? If they can do what they did to Arkansas on any sort of consistent basis… oof. At any rate, the Gamecocks won’t be able to score enough.

5:00: Oklahoma @ Texas Christian (FOX): Oklahoma was supposed to be the class of the Big 12 this year, but their blowout loss to Ohio State mainly served to show how far behind the conference is. TCU comes in, seemingly having lost their way on defense, which must drive Gary Patterson nuts. I think this game could go either way, so I’m picking TCU, fulling expecting to be wrong.

6:00: Utah @ California (Pac12): Unstoppable force, meet immovable object. But unlike a lot of defense-focused teams, the Utes can score enough to keep up with the Bears, and it seems more likely Utah will come up with the stop or two they’ll need than Cal.


  • Kentucky @ Alabama (ESPN): Kentucky, just show up with 7 guys and say you don’t have enough people to play. Everyone will understand.
  • Memphis @ Mississippi (ESPN2): As you may recall, last year Memphis completely disrupted Ole Miss’s playoff campaign. Justin Fuente parlayed that win (and others) into the Virginia Tech job, but as it turns out, the Tigers didn’t pull a Vandy are actually still kinda good. I still wouldn’t pick them to win this game, but this is going to be the game to watch in this timeslot, that’s for sure.
  • South Florida @ Cincinnati (ESPNU):
  • Western Michigan @ Central Michigan (CBSS): ROW THAT BOAT.
  • Florida Atlantic @ Florida International (beIN): One of these teams is 1-3 and the other is 0-4. Should you watch this battle for second-tier Miami area supremacy? Probably not. But I’m here to tell you that you absolutely can. Also going with FAU.


  • Missouri @ Louisiana State (SEC): Well, on the one hand, DACOACHO is back in the ranks of college football coaching. Of course, the question after this if Ed Orgeron appears on your coaching staff, does that definitely mean that you’re on the hot seat? (Remember, his last gig before this was the interim coach at Southern Cal.) At any rate, I hope this stint is as successful for DACOACHO as his previous one, as I can’t think of any better match for this school and that man. And I’m picking them to win this one.
  • Marshall @ Pittsburgh (ACC/RSN): Pitt.


  • Louisville @ Clemson (ABC): Drop everything and watch this game. With the night game in Death Valley, I don’t think the Cardinals are going to do to Clemson what they did to FSU. Also, Clemson’s defense, especially their defensive line, is just really good. I have no idea who is going to win, because I think both these teams are pretty good, but I’m giving a slight edge to Clemson, just because it’s at home.
  • San Diego State @ South Alabama (ESPNEWS): Aztecs.
  • Michigan State @ Indiana (BTN): Well, I didn’t see that coming. “That” being Michigan State’s kinda blowout loss to Wisconsin last weekend. But hey, Indiana is a pretty good chance to recover and get back on the right track, you know?

8:30: Arizona State @ Southern California (FOX): Speaking of places where Ed Orgeron was previously an interim coach, well, it looks like the Trojans are part of the way to having another interim. After all, who was it that got Lane Kiffin fired on the tarmac? Why, the Arizona Sun Devils, of course! That said, this game is at the Coliseum, so presumably they won’t have to drive over to LAX after they lose to fire Clay Helton.

9:30: Oregon @ Washington State (Pac12): Yeah, so I think the good old days are pretty much done for the ducks, but Wazzou provides a chance to make it look they aren’t.


    • Utah State @ Boise State (ESPN2): Boise enters with a pretty good chance to assert itself in the Mountain West, and I think they’ll take advantage.
    • Wyoming @ Colorado State (ESPNU): Wyoming, because why not? I wish this were in Laramie, though, ’cause dem (ugly) uniforms.


    • Fresno State @ Nevada-Las Vegas (CBSS): Both of these teams are 1-3, but UNLV’s at least had less blowout losses, from a quick glance, so let’s go with them.
    • Arizona @ California-Los Angeles (ESPN): #pac12afterdark! Seriously, it’s fun how much they folks out here have leaned into that hashtag. Both of these teams have been pretty inconsistent so far, but that’s just the way things go out here on the left coast sometimes. I’ll go with UCLA so I can get this thing wrapped up.