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College Football Week 5 Picks

BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA - SEPTEMBER 14: Justin Fields #1 of the Ohio State Buckeyes scrambles in the game against the Indiana Hoosiers at Memorial Stadium on September 14, 2019 in Bloomington, Indiana. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)
Justin Casterline/Getty Images

Season Records: Koster 23-15, Guiffra 23-15, Phillips 22-16, McKeone 22-16

Let's take a brief moment here to appreciate that all four of our pickers are cruising along at a money-making clip. That leaderboard is crowded but picturesque. This week we find out who's a contender, who's a pretender, and just how many points Ohio State is capable of scoring.

Penn State (-7) at Maryland

Koster: These two teams are averaging a combined 100 points per game. The Nittany Lions' tight victory over Pitt looks much more impressive after the Panthers stunned UCF. The Terrapins crashed back to Earth against Temple. James Franklin's team establishes the run and survives a scare in College Park. Penn State 42, Maryland 31

McKeone: Maryland's loss against Temple was as bad as it can get for a team trying to move their way up the AP poll. Penn State will come away from College Park with a win, but it'll be close. Penn State 35, Maryland 30

Giuffra: Penn State looked highly beatable against Pitt, and that was at home. This is Penn State's first game on the road this year, and it comes against a team that has won its two home games by 79 and 43 points. Maryland 31, Penn State 28

Phillips: Penn State is the better team and even on the road should be able to cover this spread. Penn State 38, Maryland 24

Arizona State (+5) at California

Koster: This will resemble an NFL game, which isn't a good thing. Neither offense is particularly potent. Cal has found a way to win nail-biters this season and will do it once more to flirt with a Top-10 ranking. California 17, Arizona State 10

McKeone: If it wasn't for whatever happened during Michigan State-Arizona State, this game would be a contender for ugliest of the year. As is, it's not going to be much better. This could go either way, so I'll go Cal. California 12, Arizona State 3

Giuffra: Cal is the only remaining undefeated team in the Pac-12. How long can that last? One more week, at least. Arizona State has simply been too inconsistent for me to count on. Cal 24, Arizona State 18

Phillips: Cal is the better team due to its suffocating defense. The Bears will feast on an incredibly weak Sun Devils offense. Cal 21, Arizona State 14

Virginia (+12) at Notre Dame

Koster: There are no moral victories in college football, especially for a team without a conference championship game. But Notre Dame's performance in Athens proved they can play with anyone in the country. Look for a big bounce back. Notre Dame 30, Virginia 13

McKeone: The Irish suffered a tough loss to Georgia and they'll roll into this week knowing they can hang with anyone. Virginia won't stand in their way. Notre Dame 35, Virginia 21

Giuffra: Notre Dame proved they can compete against the best at Georgia last week. Beating a talented team by over 12 points? They haven't done that yet and I don't think it happens against UVA. Notre Dame 27, Virginia 21

Phillips: Notre Dame has a very good team this year and a weak remaining schedule. A playoff spot is a real possibility. That quest starts against a terribly overrated Virginia squad this weekend in South Bend. Notre Dame 35, Virginia 21

USC (+10) at Washington

Koster: Let's consider common opponents. The Trojans couldn't win in Provo. The Huskies dominated. USC is one of the more perplexing and impossible sides to predict. Let's play it safe. Washington 45, USC 21

McKeone: USC is a complete wildcard. But this won't be the week they stumble into a win. Washington is too good. Washington 38, USC 13

Giuffra: I'm done with USC. Every time I pick them or against them, I lose. So go against me, a man making this pick based on how good Washington historically is at home. Washington 41, USC 17

Phillips: Clay Helton keeps winning games he's supposed to lose and losing games he's supposed to win. I've given up logical thinking when it comes to the Trojans. So this weekend I have Helton shocking college football with a crazy win in Seattle. USC 35, Washington 34

Ohio State (-18) at Nebraska

Koster: Classic heart vs. mind situation here. I need the Buckeyes to stumble at some point so Michigan State can somehow, some way, steal the Big Ten. College GameDay will be there. The air will be electric. Sadly, this probably won't matter once Justin Fields accounts for his sixth touchdown. Ohio State 59, Nebraska 28

McKeone: College GameDay will be showing up for a blowout. As fun as it would be to see the Cornhuskers slow down Justin Fields, it won't happen. Ohio State 56, Nebraska 35)

Giuffra: Remember when everyone thought Nebraska was good? Fun times. Remember when Ohio State has question marks at quarterback? Neither do I. Ohio State 49, Nebraska 27

Phillips: Ohio State looks like an offensive juggernaut. The Buckeyes keep the accelerator on the floor this week. Ohio State 52, Nebraska 24

Washington State (+6.5) at Utah

Koster: The Cougars looked like a playoff team until the collapse of the year occurred against UCLA. That defense? No good. Utah's defense? Pretty good. Utah 31, Washington State 22

McKeone: I don't have a ton of faith in Utah, so I'll go with the underdogs here and predict a bounceback week for Washington State in the form of a road W. Washington State 35, Utah 31

Giuffra: This was supposed to be a massive Pac-12 showdown before both squads suffered embarrassing losses last week. I trust the team that scores 50 PPG more and should be undefeated. WSU 45, Utah 40

Phillips: Utah looked like an average-at-best team against USC. Give me Mike Leach in a bounce-back game after what might be the worst loss of his career last week. Washington State 42, Utah 38

AMES, IA - AUGUST 31: Quarterback Brock Purdy #15 of the Iowa State Cyclones throws under pressure from linebacker Spencer Perry #8 of the Northern Iowa Panthers in the first half of play at Jack Trice Stadium on August 31, 2019 in Ames, Iowa. (Photo by David Purdy/Getty Images)
David Purdy/Getty Images

Iowa State (-2.5) at Baylor

Koster: We do not disrespect Brock Purdy on this here blog. Iowa State 27, Baylor 23

McKeone: The Cyclones took out the frustration of a one-point loss in their rivalry game by dropping 72 on poor Louisiana-Monroe. They won't reach such heights this week, but Baylor won't be able to keep it close. Iowa State 35, Baylor 21

Giuffra: Iowa State proved something against Iowa, losing by one on the road. This week they prove they can take the next step and beat a conference opponent on the road too. Iowa State 24, Baylor 20

Phillips: Baylor isn't good and Iowa State is still working some things out after a heart-breaking loss to in-state rival Iowa. I'm taking the Cyclones. Iowa State 28, Baylor 21

Mississippi State (+11) at Auburn

Koster: Hand up, I am done picking against Auburn. Week after week they exceed my expectations. Time for a beat me down. Auburn 55, Mississippi State 14

McKeone: Auburn and Bo Nix rewarded my faith last week. On to the next one! Auburn 42, Mississippi State 28

Giuffra: The Bulldogs defense has looked solid this year and this is a classic trap game for Auburn (coming off a win over Texas A&M with Florida looming next week). Still, I think Auburn at home is better than State on the road. Auburn 31, Mississippi State 18

Phillips: Auburn continues to impress with freshman quarterback Bo Nix's legend continuing to grow. I'm rolling with the Tigers again. Auburn 45, Mississippi State 28

Indiana (+14.5) at Michigan State

Koster: Peyton Ramsey against that defense should actually be illegal. Michigan State 38, Indiana 6

McKeone: Michigan State's offense looked as good as it has all year last week, but two touchdowns is a tall order given how they've looked in other games. Michigan State 24, Indiana 13

Giuffra: Sometimes a loss is the best thing that can happen to a team. Michigan State appears to be that kind of team. Michigan State 38, Indiana 17

Phillips: My alma mater is gonna get crushed this weekend and the Old Brass Spittoon will be staying in Lansing for the time being. Michigan State 38, Indiana 21

Duke (+2.5) at Virginia Tech

Koster: At least Daniel Jones is good. Virginia Tech 50, Duke 44

McKeone: Duke only being three-point underdogs should rattle the good folk of Blacksburg, Virginia. To the point where they blow it. Duke will steal this one, and suddenly Duke football has entered the national purview. Duke 45, Virginia Tech 44

Giuffra: Duke on the road isn't a recipe I like to bet on outside of basketball. Virginia Tech 30, Duke 21

Phillips: I have absolutely no feel for this game. Virginia Tech is the better squad some I'm betting they wind up covering at home. Virginia Tech 31, Duke 28