College Football Week 5 Picks: Alabama at Georgia, West Virginia at Oklahoma, Texas at TCU, Purdue at Michigan State, Iowa at Wisconsin, Ohio State at Indiana, Florida State at Wake Forest

October 1, 2015

By Brad Carroll

 

Week 5 of the college football season truly has that big-time feel, where teams across the country will either cement their place as College Football Playoff contenders, or have their hopes completely disappear if they can't pull off a victory. In all, there are five matchups featuring ranked teams playing each other, including the two big ones, No. 13 Alabama at No. 8 Georgia and No. 6 Notre Dame at No. 12 Clemson.

 

For the Crimson Tide, they likely have to beat Georgia, as an underdog mind you, to remain in the College Football Playoff conversation. And how crazy would it be having Alabama already eliminated after just five weeks of college football?

 

It makes for a huge Saturday, and we have you covered with previews, analysis and our college football experts pick the 11 biggest games against the spread. The early games of the day are below, while the late games are here. Follow us on Twitter for all of our picks and story links. We'll even follow you back.

 

​No. 23 West Virginia at No. 15 Oklahoma, 12 p.m., FS1

The Spread: West Virginia +7; Oklahoma -7

 

Analysis: West Virginia and Oklahoma have played just three times since the Mountaineers joined the Big 12, but each was memorable for featuring a ton of offense in two of the games, and little to nothing in the other. In 2012, West Virginia had 778 yards of offense and scored 49 points, but lost 50-49, as Landry Jones threw six touchdown passes for the Sooners. In 2013, both teams committed four turnovers and Oklahoma won an ugly, 16-7, game. Last year, the two combined for 78 points, with Oklahoma winning by eight. The only constant among the three was venue, as the offensive fireworks happened in Morgantown, while the sloppy game took place in Norman. This one takes place in Norman again, but a repeat of the turnover-plagued game from two years ago seems unlikely. Both teams are undefeated and ranked in the top 25. The Sooners already have a marquee win under their belt, although it doesn't look as great now, when they beat Tennessee on the road. Oklahoma did struggled to put away Tulsa last week, winning by just 14 points. West Virginia has blown out all three of its opponents, with the most impressive opponent being Maryland, which they beat 45-6. This is easily the Mountaineers biggest test of the season. Both teams average over 40 points per game and right around 550 yards of total offense. The Mountaineers allow 307.3 yards on defense, while the Sooners allow 361, but the competition level has definitely made a difference there. West Virginia's defense has seemingly turned the corner, however, allowing just 7.7 points per game and has been creating turnovers, a stark contrast to years past. But offense should rule the day, with West Virginia quarterback Skyler Howard (nine touchdown passes) and Oklahoma quarterback Steven Parker (10 touchdown passes) both having big days through the air. It should make for an exciting, close game.

Brad's Score: Oklahoma 42, West Virginia 38

Craig's Score: Oklahoma 38, West Virginia 34

Glenn's Score: West Virginia 48, Oklahoma 35 (upset pick)

Matt's Score: Oklahoma 34, West Virginia 28

 

Texas at No. 4 TCU, 12 p.m., ABC

The Spread: Texas +15; TCU -15

 

Analysis: TCU got the scare of its life last week against Texas Tech, as if it wasn't for a tipped pass in the end zone landing in the perfect spot, the arms of Aaron Green, the Horned Frogs would be all but eliminated from the College Football Playoff picture. But Trevonne Boykin's bad pass to Josh Doctson in the end zone ended up being perfect, as the tip off Doctson's hands carried into the back of the end zone and allowed TCU to escape Texas Tech with a wild victory. Boykin and Doctson both put together incredible games against the Red Raiders, with Boykin completing 34-of-54 passes for 485 yards and four touchdowns and Doctson catching 18 passes for 267 yards and three touchdowns. There might no be a better QB-WR combo in the nation. For the season, TCU has the fifth best scoring offense and is second in total offense in the country. The Horned Frogs could be set up for another big day on offense against Texas, which has allowed over 35 points and 483 yards per game on defense. The Longhorns are 1-3 on the season, with a blowout loss to Notre Dame and two devastating, last-second losses, to California and Oklahoma State. The Longhorns lost the Cal game after missing an extra point late, and to Oklahoma State on a late field goal by the Cowboys. Texas' improving offense, however, could be in for a big day of its own, as quarterback Jerrod Heard could light up a TCU defense that was dismantled by Texas Tech last week. Heard will have to resemble more the player he was against California (where he had 527 total yards of offense), rather than Oklahoma State (where he had just 167). Texas is getting closer and closer to finally getting a program-changing win, but it won't come here against TCU, although it should be a high-scoring and closer than expected.

Brad's Score: TCU 49, Texas 40

Craig's Score: TCU 56, Texas 31

Glenn's Score: TCU 42, Texas 24

Matt's Score: TCU 63, Texas 20

 

Purdue at No. 2 Michigan State, 12 p.m., ESPN2

The Spread: Purdue +22.5; Michigan State -22.5

 

Analysis: Many are making the case Michigan State should be the No. 1 team in the nation, but the Spartans' claim to the top spot took a major hit after Oregon was humiliated by Utah last week. The Ducks were beaten 62-20 and subsequently dropped right out of the top 25 rankings. While that's obviously bad for Oregon, it's even worse for the Spartans, who defeated the Ducks when they were ranked No. 7 in Week 2. At the time, that win was considered marquee, and something that could break any ties when filling out the College Football Playoff bracket. Now, that win simply isn't as impressive anymore. And without it, the Spartans haven't had really shined at all this season, winning by 13 over Western Michigan, three over Oregon, 14 over Air Force and 20 over Central Michigan. Michigan State might not have two of its better players in this game against Purdue, or at least at full strength, as offensive lineman Jack Conklin and tight end Josiah Price were both hurt in last week's win over Central Michigan. Price was on crutches at the end of the game. The Spartans have beaten Purdue six straight times, but the Boilermakers are 6-9 on the road against teams ranked 1 or 2 in the AP poll, which is truly an amazing record. Purdue is just 1-3 on the year, however, losing to Bowling Green last week on a touchdown run with nine seconds to play. Purdue may have found a quarterback in the game, as redshirt freshman David Blough was 29-of-39 for 340 yards and three total touchdowns. Purdue won't be able to knock off its seventh top-2 team, but will keep the game within three touchdowns.

Brad's Score: Michigan State 35, Purdue 17

Craig's Score: Michigan State 48, Purdue 14

Glenn's Score: Michigan State 35, Purdue 13

Matt's Score: Michigan State 56, Purdue 17

 

Iowa at No. 19 Wisconsin, 12 p.m., ESPN

The Spread: Iowa +6.5; Wisconsin -6.5

 

Analysis: Coming into this matchup it's Iowa that's undefeated, at 4-0 this season, but Wisconsin is still ranked and a solid home favorite. Iowa has a couple of impressive wins already this season, over Iowa State and Pittsburgh, and is averaging 37.8 points per game and a tick under 440 yards of offense. The defense has been solid as well, letting up 17.8 points per game. Wisconsin lost its season opener to Alabama, 35-17, but has bounced back with three straight wins, against Miami of Ohio, Troy and Hawaii, allowing a grand total of just three points on defense. The Badgers are all about the ground game on offense, as usual, and finally broke free with 326 rushing yards against Hawaii last week. That running game will be put to the test by Iowa, though, which has allowed just 84 rushing yards per game and is one of just two teams in the nation (Navy) who hasn't allowed a score on the ground this season. Freshman Taiwan Deal looks to be the next great Wisconsin back, as he rushed for 147 yards and two touchdowns last week. If Iowa can slow down the running attack, it could improve to 5-0 for the first time since 2009. Iowa has a standout back as well, in senior Jordan Canzeri, who had 115 yards and four touchdowns against North Texas last week. Wisconsin has won three straight against Iowa, including last year's 26-24 win over the Hawkeyes. Expect this game to play out the same way, with Iowa falling just short of the upset.

Brad's Score: Wisconsin 24, Iowa 21

Craig's Score: Wisconsin 20, Iowa 17

Glenn's Score: Wisconsin 24, Iowa 17

Matt's Score: Wisconsin 34, Iowa 17

 

No. 1 Ohio State at Indiana, 3:30 p.m., ABC

The Spread: Ohio State -21; Indiana +21

 

Analysis: Everyone expected Ohio State to be 4-0 coming into this Big Ten road matchup against Indiana. Very few, if any, thought the Hoosiers would be perfect as well, but that's exactly what Indiana is. The Hoosiers haven't been 4-0 since the 1990 season and are seeking their first 5-0 start since 1967. But to get there, Indiana would have beat Ohio State for the first time in its last 20 meetings. And there is the fact Ohio State is the No. 1 team in the nation and the Hoosiers have never beaten an AP No. 1, going 0-15 overall and 0-5 specifically against Ohio State. The Buckeyes outscored Indiana 192-40 in those games, but this will be the first time the Hoosiers host a No. 1-ranked team since 1998. Ohio State has won 14 straight road games and 24 straight conference games, which is unfathomable for a Power 5 conference. But the Buckeyes have not been the powerhouse everyone thought they would be coming into the season. Ohio State has struggled on offense, as neither Cardale Jones or J.T. Barrett have proven they are the clear No. 1 quarterback. The team struggled to beat Northern Illinois, winning 20-23, and then didn't cover the point spread against Western Michigan last week. Luckily the Buckeyes still have running back Ezekiel Elliott, who has nine straight 100-yard rushing games. Indiana's Jordan Howard, however, is the nation's leading rusher, with 675 yards. The Hoosiers have beaten Western Kentucky and Wake Forest the last two weeks, but will get a rude awakening from the Buckeyes, who finally put together a complete effort.

Brad's Score: Ohio State 49, Indiana 20

Craig's Score: Ohio State 35, Indiana 24

Glenn's Score: Ohio State 52, Indiana 17

Matt's Score: Ohio State 28, Indiana 13

 

No. 11 Florida State at Wake Forest, 3:30 p.m., ESPN

The Spread: Florida State -20; Wake Forest +20

 

Analysis: Florida State slogged through an ugly performance two weeks ago against Boston College, winning 14-0, and even though the Seminoles ended up covering the point spread, it was not a performance anyone will look back on fondly. Florida State's offense took a major hit this offseason, losing seven starters, including No. 1 NFL draft pick Jameis Winston, but with former Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson stepping in, the growing pains were thought to be minimized. Obviously, that has not happened. Golson hasn't reached 300 yards passing in the last two games combined, against South Florida and Boston College, and has just a pair of touchdowns over that span. Running back Dalvin Cook has been one of the few bright spots on offense, leading the ACC in rushing with 476 rushing yards. Wake Forest might be the perfect opponent for Florida State to get back into the College Football Playoff conversation. The Seminoles have outscored the Demon Deacons 154-6 the last three meetings. Wake Forest is 2-2 on the season, with wins coming against Elon and Army and losses to Syracuse and Indiana. The Deacons have a poor offensive line that has already allowed 15 sacks, so it could be a long day for whomever they start at quarterback. Starter John Wolford missed last week's game with a sprained ankle and his status for this week isn't clear. With Wolford, Wake Forest is a solid passing team. Without him, the offense struggled last week in a win over Army, not gaining much traction at all through the air. This looks like the perfect time for Florida State to finally find its offense.

Brad's Score: Florida State 38, Wake Forest 10

Craig's Score: Florida State 52, Wake Forest 20

Glenn's Score: Florida State 38, Wake Forest 17

Matt's Score: Florida State 35, Wake Forest 7

 

No. 13 Alabama at No. 8 Georgia, 3:30 p.m., CBS

The Spread: Alabama +2; Georgia -2​

 

Analysis: Here a fact that might shock you: Alabama hasn't been an "underdog" since the 2009 SEC championship game against Florida. That's more than five years of being the favorite, an enormous testament to how good Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide have been recently. And by good, I mean championship good. But Alabama finds itself the underdog Saturday afternoon against an undefeated Georgia. The Crimson Tide lost two weeks ago at home to Ole Miss, and another loss here against the Bulldogs would likely knock them out of the College Football Playoff altogether. On the other side, if Georgia were to win this game, it would only have one matchup left against a ranked team, No. 25 Florida, giving the Bulldogs the best shot in the nation of making the College Football Playoff, if they can win the SEC title game as well, of course. So, this game is as big as it gets on the national stage. Alabama had a players-only meeting after losing to Ole Miss, 43-37, where it turned the ball over five times. The Tide responded with 34-0 win over Louisiana-Monroe that wasn't impressive, as the offense had just 303 yards. Georgia has wins over Louisville, South Carolina and Vanderbilt, in addition to scoring 51 against Louisiana-Monroe. Nick Chubb is the start of the Bulldogs offense. He has rushed for 699 yards and six touchdowns. But the outcome could come down to the quarterbacks. Alabama's Jake Coker has turned the ball over five times in four games, while Georgia's Greyson Lambert has seven touchdown passes and no interceptions. I'm surprising even myself with this pick.

Brad's Score: Georgia 34, Alabama 31

Craig's Score: Georgia 27, Alabama 24

Glenn's Score: Georgia 24, Alabama 21

Matt's Score: Georgia 35, Alabama 24

 

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