It’s Week 5 college football odds, picks, and predictions time. After adding a Super Favorite cover in Ohio State last week, we finished at 5-6 for the week. PFN’s first iteration of college football odds, picks, and predictions is now 20-20-1 through four weeks of action.
College football Week 5 odds, picks, and predictions
We’re back at it after yet again learning from mistakes and growing on our victories. With the slate as terrific as always, we’re back at it with 10 picks and a Super Dog selection. Before we get to the picks, here are some of the more intriguing lines for Week 5 action as of Thursday [September 29] at 8:00 AM ET.
- Virginia @ Miami FL (-6)
- Houston @ Tulsa (-5)
- Iowa @ Maryland (+3)
- BYU @ Utah State (+9)
- Arkansas @ Georgia (-18.5)
- Michigan @ Wisconsin (-1)
- Minnesota @ Purdue (-2.5)
- Duke @ North Carolina (-20)
- Texas @ TCU (+5)
- Mississippi State @ Texas A&M (-7)
- Pittsburgh @ Georgia Tech (+3.5)
- Charlotte @ Illinois (-10.5)
- Memphis @ Temple (+10)
- Western Michigan @ Buffalo (+6.5)
- Louisville @ Wake Forest (-6.5)
- USC @ Colorado (+7.5)
- Cincinnati @ Notre Dame (+1.5)
- Eastern Michigan @ Northern Illinois (-2.5)
- Ole Miss @ Alabama (-14.5)
- Florida @ Kentucky (+8.5)
- Ohio State @ Rutgers (+15)
- Oregon @ Stanford (+8)
- Oklahoma @ Kansas State (+10.5)
- Texas Tech @ West Virginia (-7)
- Syracuse @ Florida State (-4.5)
- Troy @ South Carolina (-7)
- Nevada @ Boise State (-6.5)
- FIU @ FAU (-11)
- Tulane @ East Carolina (+4)
- Central Michigan @ Miami OH (-1)
- Arkansas State @ Georgia Southern (-1.5)
- Baylor @ Oklahoma State (-3.5)
- Army @ Ball State (+7.5)
- UCF @ Navy (+16.5)
- Southern Miss @ Rice (-2.5)
- Liberty @ UAB (-2.5)
- Kansas @ Iowa State (-34)
- Indiana @ Penn State (-12.5)
- Boston College @ Clemson (-14.5)
- Louisiana @ South Alabama (+12.5)
- Northwestern @ Nebraska (-12)
- Auburn @ LSU (-3.5)
- Washington @ Oregon State (+2.5)
- Arizona State @ UCLA (-3.5)
- Tennessee @ Missouri (-3)
- Western Kentucky @ Michigan State (-10.5)
- Washington State @ Cal (-7.5)
- UNLV @ UTSA (-21)
- Air Force @ New Mexico (+10.5)
Early Week 5 college football picks, predictions, and odds
Let’s get to our college football picks for the week.
Virginia @ Miami FL (-6)
We backed the Cavs last week, and they got throttled by Wake Forest. We’re not making that same mistake again as Virginia has to travel down to South Florida on a short week. Even a depleted Hurricanes secondary should be able to do enough to limit Brennan Armstrong’s erratic arm at this point of the season.
Safety Gurvan Hall and running back Jaylan Knighton return to action this week for Miami. D’Eriq King is questionable at quarterback, but both Tyler Van Dyke and Jake Garcia looked solid in a warm-up game against Central Connecticut State last week. Miami’s deeper and has the distinct advantage of playing in the Florida heat and humidity on Thursday night.
Iowa (-3) @ Maryland
The last time these two head coaches met, Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz got the better of Maryland’s Mike Locksley, 31-15. The teams were more evenly matched at that point in 2015 as well. Iowa is the better team, even if Maryland QB Taulia Tagovailoa has played lights-out football through September.
Tagovailoa, however, hasn’t faced a secondary like Iowa’s. The Hawkeyes have intercepted 6 passes and made more than a dozen plays on the ball through four games. They made all 6 of those interceptions against top-notch quarterbacks to boot: Indiana’s Michael Penix Jr. and Iowa State’s Brock Purdy.
Iowa has the guys to stick with the talented WR trio that Maryland represents. They may even score a touchdown of their own in this one.
Arkansas (+18.5) @ Georgia
All the Razorbacks have done this season is prove doubters wrong. That doesn’t change this week at Georgia. Between the hedges, Arkansas has a real chance of announcing to the SEC that they’re no fluke.
Their defense is an incredible unit, but their offense is seemingly unstoppable. They’re averaging 35.7 points per game and have threats at every level. Georgia will have to bring their A-game now that Clemson has proven to be a shell of their former selves.
The Bulldogs are still the best team in the SEC not named Alabama, but Arkansas is close on their heels. Razorbacks keep it close by catching up late.
Michigan (+1) @ Wisconsin
Since they started playing regularly in 1965, the Badgers have never beaten the Wolverines three times in a row. Wisconsin enters this contest on a two-game win streak, having just set their rivalry’s largest margin of victory (38 points) last year. But this Michigan team is different.
Michigan is allowing just 11.7 points per game through four weeks. They’ve allowed just a single rushing touchdown all year long while scoring 17 times on the ground themselves. The Wolverines also have one of the better pass-blocking units in the Big Ten. Wisconsin’s only small victory against Notre Dame came on their pass rush, which is nullified against the Wolverines.
Michigan has only 1 interception this season, but that’s not because they haven’t gotten their hands on passes. They’ve posted 12 pass breakups and have shown the ability to close on passes at every level. Graham Mertz is in for a long day.
Michigan jumps on Mertz early and Jumps Around on Wisconsin.
Texas (-5) @ TCU
The Steve Sarkisian era kicked off to a rocky start after basically quitting against Arkansas. However, dissimilar to Georgia’s win versus Clemson looking “not so good,” Texas’ loss to Arkansas continues to look better. Combine that with the fact that the Longhorns have scored 128 points in their past two games, and you’ve got a formidable team.
TCU is fresh on the heels of allowing SMU to take back the Iron Skillet. With a bye week to prepare for SMU’s passing attack, the Horned Frogs allowed SMU QB Tanner Mordecai to throw for 4 touchdowns and run for another. Texas QB Casey Thompson should be licking his chops for this one.
Thompson, the reigning Maxwell Player of the Week, can once again show he belongs in the conversation as the best Big 12 QB this season.
Florida (-8) @ Kentucky
The Wildcats needed a last-minute defensive stand to keep South Carolina from upsetting them a week ago. Meanwhile, Florida looked dominant (yet again) against Tennessee. Florida ran all over the Vols with QB Emory Jones while Kentucky’s Will Levis put forth his second consecutive “iffy” effort.
Even if Levis had looked sharp against South Carolina, the data is there to showcase Florida’s ability to potentially keep him at bay. They’re solid against the deep ball, especially if Kaiir Elam returns to action. Florida’s rushing attack gets this one done.
Baylor (+3.5) @ Oklahoma State
The nation’s top offensive line was dominant in the first half a week ago against Iowa State. While the offense struggled to muster much more in the second half, the defense tightened up. The Cowboys, however, played a complete game against Kansas State.
The Oklahoma State defense is more of a situational pass-rushing team, getting pressure through ways other than pure pass rushers. That being said, if there’s one creative offensive play-caller in the Big 12 that can figure it out, it’s Baylor’s Jeff Grimes.
Watch out for Baylor’s Siaki Ika to have a big game. The battle in the trenches goes to Baylor, and at the very least, they cover.
Western Kentucky @ Michigan State (-10.5)
The Spartans are playing a brand of lights-out football right now under head coach Mel Tucker. Michigan State is getting after the quarterback and has recorded well over 15 plays on the ball through four games.
A tackling machine, safety Xavier Henderson should have the freedom to play against the Western Kentucky aerial assault. WKU is averaging 40 passes and 408 passing yards per game this season but haven’t had to go up against a secondary quite like Michigan State’s. They’ve also not had to play against a Heisman candidate at running back. MSU’s Kenneth Walker III has recorded 554 yards and scored 5 touchdowns, averaging 7.3 yards per attempt.
The Hilltoppers have allowed UT Martin to rush for 216 yards and 2 scores, Army for 350 yards and 4 touchdowns, and Indiana to go for 159 and 3. This has all the makings of a Kenneth Walker III highlight reel.
Louisiana @ South Alabama (+12.5)
The Jaguars are back in action for the first time in two weeks, playing a downtrodden Cajuns’ secondary. Louisiana has allowed 8 passing touchdowns against just 2 interceptions this season in coverage. South Alabama hasn’t had a showcase game this season, until now.
Expect Jake Bentley and Jalen Tolbert to come up big in this one. Tolbert has turned 14 receptions into 317 yards, an average of 22.6 yards per catch (among the best in the nation). Bentley’s only thrown 2 passing touchdowns, but the USA rushing attack has more than made up for their discrepancy there.
A struggling Sun Belt secondary is the recipe to cure all your passing-touchdown woes. South Alabama covers and is in line for a potential big win at home.
Washington (+2.5) @ Oregon State
Oregon State was dominant against USC last weekend, but don’t overreact too quickly. The Beavers are still a year or so away from competing with their Pac-12 North counterparts, but they’re certainly fun to watch under head coach Jonathan Smith.
Chance Nolan can sling it, but he’ll finally be tested against a Washington secondary with next-level players all over it. The Huskies hold an advantage in interceptions over passing touchdowns allowed and should win the battle in the trenches against a much-improved Beavers offensive line.
Washington, even with Dylan Morris, should be the favorite here.
Super Dog: Kansas (+34) vs. Iowa State
I’ve stayed away from picking the Cyclones too much due to my utmost admiration for Brock Purdy that clouds my judgment. However, picking against them here has nothing to do with Purdy (I told you I’d never quit you, Brock).
Kansas QB Jason Bean is fast. Like fast-fast. Expect him to have a distinct advantage once Iowa State subs out their first-team defense. Garbage time points should be the Jayhawks’ nickname now that they’ve reached Big 12 play. Give me enough garbage-time points to cover, please.