The biggest news from Week 4 in college football was LSU, a chic pick to win the SEC title and reach the College Football Playoff, firing head coach Les Miles. The Tigers fell to 2-2 on Saturday with an 18-13 loss at Auburn. Let the rumour mill begin as to whom could replace Miles full time after the season. Expect to continually hear two names: Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher, a former LSU assistant, and Houston’s Tom Herman. Here are five Week 5 games to watch and their Sports Interaction NCAA football odds. Matchups on Saturday unless noted.
No. 7 Stanford at No. 10 Washington
When: Friday, 9 p.m. ET Point spread: Washington -3.5 NCAAF pick: Cardinal
In this space last week, I recommended Stanford -3 at UCLA and the Cardinal won 22-13. The Huskies played their first legitimate opponent of the year and won 35-28 in overtime at Arizona. The winner of this game has a huge head-to-head tiebreaker and becomes the favourite to win the Pac-12 North Division with Oregon looking down this season. The Huskies go to Eugene next week and can all but wrap up the division already with a win here and there. Last season, Washington was unranked when it visited No. 10 Stanford and lost 31-14. Cardinal Heisman Trophy candidate Christian McCaffrey, last year’s runner-up, rushed for 109 yards and a touchdown and caught five passes for 112 yards and a score. Current Washington starting QB Jake Browning did miss that game with an injury. The Cardinal have won three straight in the series.
No. 11 Tennessee at No. 25 Georgia
When: 3:30 p.m. ET Point spread: Tennessee -3 NCAAF pick: Vols
I took Tennessee -7.5 last week against Florida, and the Vols rallied from a 21-3 halftime deficit to win 38-28 to end an 11-game losing streak in the series. Georgia was plastered at Ole Miss 45-14 on Saturday. If Tennessee wins this game, it would be in total control of the SEC East Division. Last season in Knoxville, unranked Tennessee upset No. 19 Georgia 38-31. Vols quarterback Joshua Dobbs had one of the best games in school history, throwing for 312 yards, rushing for 118 more and accounting for five touchdowns. His 5-yard TD run with 5:48 left was the winner. UT was down 24-3 late in the second quarter. Dawgs fans will remember that game as when star tailback Nick Chubb suffered a season-ending knee injury, but he’s back now and playing well.
No. 8 Wisconsin at No. 4 Michigan
When: 3:30 p.m. ET Point spread: Michigan -10 NCAAF pick: Wolverines
I didn’t expect Michigan to cover a big spread at home against Penn State in Week 4 and was wrong on that one as the Wolverines rolled to a 49-10 victory. They rushed for 326 yards and six touchdowns. It was Michigan’s fourth straight game with at least 45 points, the longest such stretch by a Big Ten team since Penn State in 2008. Wisconsin was unranked in the preseason but routed No. 8 Michigan State on its own field 30-6 on Saturday. Freshman QB Alex Hornibrook made his first start for Wisconsin and threw for 195 yards and a touchdown. The Badgers have won the past two meetings, but the schools haven’t played since 2010.
Oklahoma at No. 21 TCU
When: 5 p.m. ET Point spread: Oklahoma -2 NCAAF pick: Sooners
Oklahoma was off in Week 4, giving the Sooners time to try and fix all that went wrong in their 45-24 home blowout loss to Ohio State on Sept. 17. The College Football Playoff is off the table now, so OU’s goal is the Big 12 title and a New Year’s Six bowl game. TCU won 33-3 at SMU on Friday night. These schools played a classic last year in Norman as the No. 7 Sooners beat the No. 18 Horned Frogs 30-29. TCU trailed 30-13 in the fourth quarter but pulled within one with 51 seconds to go. Coach Gary Patterson opted to go for the 2-point conversion and the victory, but it failed. Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield was 9-for-20 for 127 yards and two TDs but didn’t play in the second half due to a head injury. TCU played without its best two players, QB Trevone Boykin and receiver Josh Doctson, due to injury. Both are in the NFL now.
No. 3 Louisville at No. 5 Clemson
When: 8 p.m. ET Point spread: Clemson -2.5 NCAAF pick: Tigers
Clearly the game of the day and the winner would be the favourite to take the ACC Atlantic Division — especially if it’s Louisville as the Cardinals already beat Florida State. Cards QB and Heisman Trophy favourite Lamar Jackson accounted for another seven touchdowns in Louisville’s 59-28 win at Marshall on Saturday. Louisville surpassed 600 yards of offense for the third time this season. Clemson was a 10-point favorite last Thursday night at Georgia Tech, and I expected the Tigers to have some problems with that triple-option, but they won 26-7. Deshaun Watson threw for 304 yards and two scores and Clemson held the Yellow Jackets to 124 total yards.
Clemson’s closest ACC game last year on the way to the conference title and College Football Playoff was a 20-17 win in Louisville in Week 3. How long ago was that? Jackson wasn’t even Louisville’s starter in the game. Kyle Bollin was, and his late interception sealed the win for Clemson. Louisville, which dropped to 0-3 at the time, was held to only 19 yards rushing. Deshaun Watson was 21-for-30 for 199 yards and two TDs for Clemson.