Last week was fun, with most of the big games living up to the hype even though the higher ranked teams won all but one of the ranked-vs.-ranked matchups. Conference play begins in earnest this week, so we might see some more chaos. Familiarity does not just breed contempt, it also breeds upsets.
Each week, I will use this space to tell you what I think are a few of the best bets heading into the weekend. I will also throw in an upset of the week, which will be a team that is at least a touchdown underdog that I am picking to win outright.
I will also give you picks on other games involving potential College Football Playoff teams. This early in the season, any major conference team that hasn't lost twice yet is technically still a CFP candidate. So for now, I'll go with the current top 12 in the AP Top 25.
My picks were a perfect 3-0 on last week's picks, which moved the overall record on the season to 6-3. The Upset of the Week is still looking for the first hit, but last week's pick (San Diego State) covered.
Odds via SportsLine consensus
Week 5 picks
No. 7 Washington (-18) at Arizona
Arizona is off to a good start at 3-1 with the Wildcats' only loss coming in overtime on the road at Mississippi State. However, Washington is playing at a different level. The Huskies' 27-point win over Cal on Saturday was its closest victory of the season. They should be able to cover the spread here. Pick: Washington -18
Nevada at No. 25 Fresno State (-24.5)
I have Tulane representing the Group of Five in the New Year's Six bowl games in my latest , but if it's not the Green Wave, it may very well end up being Fresno State. The Bulldogs are the reigning Mountain West champs and look poised to make another run at the conference title this season. Nevada is one of the worst teams in FBS this season, checking in at No. 132 in the latest . Pick: Fresno State -24.5
Michigan State at Iowa (-11.5)
The Hawkeyes' moribund offense bottomed out at Penn State on Saturday. Or at least, they hope so after mustering a mere 76 yards on 33 plays against the Nittany Lions. Michigan State is going through its own issues, but I'm not sure Iowa will even score 12 points, let alone win by 12. Pick: Michigan State +11.5
Upset of the Week
Houston at Texas Tech (-10)
Under normal circumstances, I'd like the Red Raiders in this matchup. However, they didn't just lose to West Virginia last week, they lost QB Tyler Shough to a fractured fibula and he could be out for the season. Backup Behren Morton was only 13 for 37 for 158 yards in relief of Slough. Houston is off to a tough start in the Big 12, but may be catching a break here and could spring the upset. Pick: Houston
Other CFP candidates
- No. 1 Georgia (-14.5) at Auburn Pick: Georgia -14.5
- No. 2 Michigan (-18) at Nebraska Pick: Under 40
- No. 24 Kansas at No. 3 Texas (-17) Pick: Kansas +17
- No. 6 Penn State (-26) at Northwestern Pick: Penn State -26
- No. 8 USC (-21.5) at Colorado Pick: Colorado +21.5
- No. 9 Oregon (-27) at Stanford Pick: Oregon -27
- No. 10 Utah at No. 19 Oregon State (-3), Friday Pick: Utah +3
- No. 11 Notre Dame (-5.5) at No. 17 Duke Pick: Notre Dame -5.5
- No. 12 Alabama (-14.5) at Mississippi State Pick: Alabama -14.5
Which college football picks can you make with confidence in Week 5, and which underdogs will win outright? Visit SportsLine to see which teams will win and cover the spread -- all from a proven computer model that has returned almost $2,500 in profit over the past seven-plus seasons -- and find out.