This Weekend in College Football: Week 5

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.


  • Clemson @ Syracuse (ABC): While the Cuse is often known for giving Clemson a game, it’s hard to exactly rely on that. I’ll take the Tigers but keep an eye on this one.
  • Southern California @ Colorado (FOX): So what we all finally expected to happen to Colorado at some point this year finally did happen at the hands of the Ducks, who absolutely obliterated the Buffs on the lines. USC’s defense is still extremely suspect but there’s nothing wrong with Caleb Williams and company, so while Colorado might get in the end zone more than once, this is still going to be a rout.
  • Florida @ Kentucky (ESPN): I don’t have a good read on either of these teams. Well, I know the Gators are still kind of figuring it out, but I don’t have much of an idea about the Wildcats at all. Sure, they’re 4-0, but that schedule has been, well, soft. The Gators are a little more battle-tested and I like them just a bit, but I won’t be surprised either way.
  • Alabama-Birmingham @ Tulane (ESPN2): It’s going about as well in Birmingham as I thought it would be for Trent Dilfer. Which is to say, not very well. The Green Wave will roll.
  • Louisiana @ Minnesota (BTN): Still trying to figure out how the Gophers lost to Northwestern, but they’ll be fine here.
  • Pennsylvania State @ Northwestern (BTN): Penn State will not pull a Minnesota here, I feel pretty good about that.
  • South Alabama @ James Madison (ESPNU): JMU more or less looks like the best team in the Sun Belt, which makes it somewhat inconvenient for them that they’re still ineligible for the postseason this year. Many folks are trying to pump this one up, but y’all, USA lost to Central Michigan last week. I think JMU will be fine.
  • Texas A&M vs. Arkansas (@Arlington, TX; SEC): The Jerry Jones bowl enters what I believe to be its last season as a neutral-site game. Both of these teams enter with plenty of questions. The vibes are off at Arkansas this season, and, well, they’ve been that way for a while for Jimbo down in College Station. That said, it seems like they may’ve figured some stuff out on offense, whereas even with the close effort against LSU last week Arkansas just seems to be missing something. I like the Aggies.
  • Utah State @ Connecticut (CBSS): Speaking of Aggies… they’ll roll.
  • Buffalo @ Akron (ESPN+)

1:30: Eastern Michigan @ Central Michigan (ESPN+)

2:00: Virginia @ Boston College (The CW): This is, for all intents and purposes, one of the worst games in the Power 5 on this day. It’s not going to be good. Virginia can actually play offense a little, so I’ll take the Hoos.

3:00: Arizona State @ California (Pac12): The Sun Devils can score, Cal can’t.


  • Georgia @ Auburn (“The Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry”; CBS): Well, this edition of the most-played game in the Deep South doesn’t figure to be close. An Auburn shutout seems like the most likely scenario.
  • Michigan @ Nebraska (FOX): Michigan’s gradual easing into the season continues. Their first road test will be against a mostly bad Cornhusker squad that will either be easy to deal with or provide motivation to not take anyone lightly.
  • Kansas @ Texas (ABC): One of the few ranked vs. ranked games of the day is… KU-Texas? Which, of course, many Internet commentators will note has gone poorly for Texas in the past. But that was when Kansas was terrible. When both have been good, Texas has not had issues here, and I don’t expect them to.
  • Central Florida @ Baylor (FS1): UCF looks pretty likely to get their first ever Big 12 win.
  • Texas Tech @ Houston (FS2): The Red Raiders look pretty likely to get their first Big 12 win.
  • Indiana @ Maryland (BTN): It’s still September and the Hoosiers are terrible, so the Terps will roll.
  • Wagner @ Rutgers (BTN)
  • Northern Illinois @ Toledo (ESPNU): Rockets figure to roll here.
  • Bowling Green @ Georgia Tech (ACCN): The victory over Wake last week was deserved, but it was incredibly weird in many ways. For starters, there were a boatload of penalties, some of them very dumb. The passing game was on fire, but we couldn’t run the ball at all. A defense that came into the game with 1 sack left with 9. (Seriously, was Wake’s o-line play bad or what?) Either way, we were resilient and still mostly competent, all encouraging signs. The focus needs to be maintained in this game, as getting a third victory here makes getting to a bowl for the first time since 2018 very possible.
  • South Florida @ Navy (CBSS): Navy’s 1-2 record makes things look worse than they are, which is surprising. That said, they need to get an actual victory and not just a moral victory, and the Bulls will also be a tough test. I like USF here.
  • Illinois @ Purdue (Peacock)
  • Ball State @ Western Michigan (ESPN+)
  • Arkansas State @ Massachusetts (ESPN+)
  • Old Dominion @ Marshall (ESPN+)


  • Boise State @ Memphis (ESPN2): In the days of Peak Boise, this would’ve been a great game. Unfortunately, they’re kind of just okay now. I’ll take Memphis.
  • Missouri @ Vanderbilt (SEC): Mizzou should be fine here.
  • Hawaii @ Nevada-Las Vegas (Team1Sports)
  • New Mexico @ Wyoming (MWN)

6:00: Louisiana State @ Mississippi (“Magnolia Bowl”; ESPN): Ole Miss talked a big game against Bama last week, and then completely failed to follow up on it. LSU had a bit of a weird game against Arkansas, but I’m still going with the Tigers here.

6:30: Oregon @ Stanford (Pac12): The Ducks are going to score here. A lot.


  • Iowa State @ Oklahoma (FS1):  Iowa State got a conference win last weekend against a similarly bad Oklahoma State team. Oklahoma will not be as accommodating.
  • Coastal Carolina @ Georgia Southern (NFLN): A couple years ago this was a marquee Sun Belt matchup, but it’s been tougher since. That said, Coastal just looks a bit more lost, so I like the Eagles here.
  • Utah Tech @ Colorado State (MWN)
  • Troy @ Georgia State (ESPN+)
  • Texas State @ Southern Mississippi (ESPN+)
  • Abilene Christian @ North Texas (ESPN+)
  • East Carolina @ Rice (ESPN+)


  • Notre Dame @ Duke (ABC): This is pretty much the game of the day. The obvious quip, of course, is that the Domers will be favored if they can have 11 dudes on the field for defense. That said, this Duke team is good and fun, but… I think Notre Dame is just too talented. I think things will get real quickly for the Blue Devils.
  • Michigan State @ Iowa (NBC): The Drive for 25 is now completely off the rails after Penn State deleted Iowa’s “offense” last weekend. By getting shutout, the Hawkeyes are now at 85 points through 4 games, which is 21.25 points per game. Assuming a bowl game, the they’ll need to average 26.67 points per game the rest of the way. That said, the Spartans are… well, it’s not going great up in East Lansing, let’s say that. I suspect whether Iowa can get to 27 will be the main drama here.
  • South Carolina @ Tennessee (SEC): The Vols appeared to figure some things out against UTSA last week, so I’ll take them here.
  • Charlotte @ Southern Methodist (ESPNU): SMU isn’t that good this year, at least so far, but Charlotte… well, it’s been tough there.


  • West Virginia @ Texas Christian (ESPN2): Someday we’ll know how exactly this TCU team lost to Colorado, but in the meantime they’ll continue improving against a slightly-better-than-expected WVU squad.
  • Pittsburgh @ Virginia Tech (ACCN): This one seems dire, but it’s no UVA-BC at least. Pitt actively hates the idea of offensive football, and VPI just lost to Marshall. Just on relative talent I’ll take Pitt, but, uh, not a lot of reasons to watch this one.
  • San Diego State @ Air Force (CBSS): The Aztecs have lost three in a row, and Air Force has won four in a row. ‘Nuff said.
  • Appalachian State @ Louisiana-Monroe (ESPN+)

9:00: Alabama @ Mississippi State (ESPN): Miss State is caught a little bit between offensive identities right now, which is never good, but seems much, much less than ideal against Nick Saban and company.

10:00: Washington @ Arizona (Pac12): While USC-Colorado figures to be the most lopsided game of the day in the Pac-12, this one may give that a run for its money, since UDub can actually play defense.

10:30: Nevada @ Fresno State (FS1): Fresno is pretty good again, and Nevada is possibly the worst team in FBS. That means there’s unfortunately not to recommend in this nightcap.

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