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Staff Predictions: College Football Week Five

Kent State v Penn State Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

#23 Mississippi State (-7) vs Florida (O/U 50.5)

“Ah the ever entertaining battle of “teams that got thumped by Kentucky”. State has a good enough defense to cause Florida some trouble, and I don’t see Florida holding down their running game the way that Kentucky did. That said, if anyone knows how to stop Nick Fitzgerald, it’s Kevin Steele, followed closely by Dan Mullen. I’ll take the points and the under, but State wins. MSU 23, Florida 17.” - James Jones

“This is a really tough one. State returns home to face their old head coach coming off of a whipping at the hands of the Kentucky Wildcats. Florida comes off of a laugher against a horrid Tennessee team. A few weeks ago though, Kentucky beat Florida in the Swamp. I could see this one going either way, but I think the emotion of the cowbell is just enough for State to get the win, but it muuuuch closer than the spread. Moo State 17-14.” - Drew McCracken

“Welcome back Dan Mullen! Mullen returns to Starkville after leaving the school this past offseason for Florida. The Gators have averaged 47.5 points the last two weeks, albeit against Colorado State and Tennessee. But let’s face it: this is Mississippi State’s “Super Bowl.” They’ve had this game circled on their calendar ever since Mullen’s departure and the Bulldogs will look for retribution (although they forgot they had a game last week). I think they get it done in a fairly low scoring contest. Mississippi State 21, Florida 16.” - Will McLaughlin

“Dan Mullen wins this one much to the chagrin of CLANGA. This game will be blown out of proportion by everyone. The Florida win streak and the State losing streak will be used to prove points they don’t. It will be another day at the office for the SEC network and call-in radio, is what I’m saying. Gators 35, MSU 21.” - Son of Crow

“Oh man I really don’t know here. I was all aboard the MSST hype train because I’m a Moorehead fanboy but I did NOT see that smackdown coming in Lexington. It appears this team has all the same warts as last year: over-reliance on run game, struggles to stop power run game, inaccurate passing game, potential to give up big plays on defense & undisciplined play. This front four is a pain in true pass rush situations but they have been physically dominated a few times now by good OL. However, I’m not sure if UF has the tools to do what UK did. Former AU target Dameon Pierce has looked REALLY good but last week’s beatdown of the Vols had more to do with Tennessee’s ineptitude than necessarily the Gators dominance. I think Starkville is gonna be fired up with the return of Mullen the Dawgs get back in the W column pulling away late 28-13.” - AU Nerd

“I still find it hard to believe that State is good. I don’t know exactly what to think about Florida. That said, I’m gonna go with Florida here. Just a gut feeling. Gators 28-24.” - AU Chief

“Man this game felt like such an easy pick a week ago. Florida may not have *quite* the defense of Kentucky (that is a serious statement) but I think State may struggle more than expected. Still, this State team was almost certainly overlooking last week to get to this game. Starkvegas will be rocking with Mullen back in town. I’m taking State 27-17.” - Ryan Sterritt

“I really don’t know much about either of these teams because I’ve seen both sides of them. They’ve each had a rough loss and a pretty solid win or two, so who really knows which side comes out? I’ll take the home team to cover. Mississippi State 30, Florida 21.” - Jack Condon

#17 Kentucky (-1.5) vs South Carolina (O/U 50.5)

“BREAK UP THE WILDCATS! Kentucky stands 2-0 in SEC play and seems to be the only (theoretical) challenger to Georgia. Kentucky knows what they can do, and they don’t venture too far away from it. I haven’t seen anything from South Carolina that shows they can beat a ranked team on the road, no matter what that ranked team’s name is. Kentucky 27, South Carolina 20.” - James Jones

“I still get understand the love for Carolina. Defense is serviceable but the offense doesn’t wow me. Meanwhile, Kentucky looks like the real deal and will give Georgia a test later in the season, at least more so than we thought at the beginning of the year. I go C-A-T-S CATS CATS CATS 31-21.” - Drew McCracken

“For the record: I, and I alone, went out on a limb last week and picked Kentucky to beat Mississippi State. Benny Snell is one of my favorite players in the SEC and he ran for 165 yards and all 4 of Kentucky’s Touchdowns last week. He’s got 540 rushing yards in 4 weeks and 7 TDs. Now they take on a role that’s unchartered to them: having a number in front of their name. South Carolina bounced back last week with a win over Vandy. This will an intriguing SEC game Saturday night and I’ll ride the Kentucky train at least one more week. Kentucky 27, South Carolina 21.” - Will McLaughlin

“The Blue Cats win this game as their assault on the SEC East continues. I can’t wait to play them in Atlanta. UK 31, SCAR 28.” - Son of Crow

“Ok, I’m starting to get the picture Wildcats. You guys aren’t afraid to line up & smash anyone in the face. Benny Snell is having a Kerryon Johnson like breakout right now for the Kats. On the other side, give the Cocks credit for handling Vandy with relative ease this past weekend. That’s a salty Commodore squad but SCAR was ready. This will be a battle for the #2 spot in the East. Given SCAR already falling to UGA, cheering for the Kats to pull this one out. I think Snell puts up another 3+ TD day with the UK winning late 31-27.” - AU Nerd

“You know what, at this point I’m gonna go all in on Kentucky. Why not? They seem to be pretty good on both sides of the ball. This will be their third toughest test of the year. If they win, then I think Kentucky is a legitimate contender in the SEC Least. I’ll go with the Wildcats 24-17.” - AU Chief

Oh, Kentucky. I so *want* this for you. You’re 4-0 after a crazy last two weeks, and you’re already wondering if you can take on Georgia. While I think the Wildcats might actually be a legitimately good team this season (that #7 defense in S&P+ is bonkers), I think their slated for a letdown here. 28-24 Sakerlina.” - Ryan Sterritt

“I like the way Kentucky’s playing right now, but I have to wonder if maybe they’re getting a little too much pomp for their own good at the moment. After the last couple of weeks, I have to think that they come back down to earth just a bit, and so I think the Gamecocks’ clip them in the end. Benny Snell gets his though. USC 28, Kentucky 23.” - Jack Condon

#5 LSU (-12) vs Ole Miss (O/U 58.5)

“Half of this game is going to be incredibly entertaining. Ole Miss has the conference’s best passing game not led by Haywayan Footbawl Jeezus, and LSU has one of the best secondaries in the country. On the other side, does LSU’s offense have the firepower to take advantage of Ole Miss’s defense? I’m betting they do in a big way. Late kickoff + Ole Miss hatred will make Tiger Stadium even more formidable than usual. LSU 35, Ole Miss 20.” - James Jones

“Let me be clear, I think LSU has at least 3 losses in them. Call me jelly or a hater, but this offense is just....ugh. Sadly, Ole Miss’s defense is just as ugh and couldn’t stop an idling golf cart. Fighting Tigers 34-28.” - Drew McCracken

“A late night game in Death Valley should create quite the scene in Baton Rouge. We’ll see if Ole Miss’s offense can do a bit better than what they did against Alabama’s defense. Quite frankly, I just don’t see Ole Miss having a shot in this one. LSU 27, Ole Miss 13.” - Will McLaughlin

“I don’t know if the LSU offense can score 35 points, but I know the Ole Miss defense can allow 35 points with aplomb. Bad defense loses to bad offense every time. It will look closer than it is. LSU 35, Ole Miss 28.” - Son of Crow

“I still don’t think this is a top 5 LSU squad but give those guys credit. They continue to find ways to win. Last week they had another terrible 2nd half that ended up not mattering. Ole Miss has a chance to put up some points but that D is BAAAADDDDD. More points than Aranda would like are scored but OM can’t stop Burrow who game manages the hell out of the Rebels with a sub .500 completion percentage. Gimme LSU 38, OM 21.” - AU Nerd

“This could be interesting. Ole Miss can score. I’m not sure LSU can keep up in a track meet, even considering how horrible Ole Miss is on defense. I’m gonna put myself even further out on a limb than I was with UK. Upset Alert: Rebels 38-33.” - AU Chief

“Ugh. If Ole Miss had showed ANYTHING against Alabama I’d be inclined to pick em here. This game could get crazy good on one side of the ball and ugly on the other. We’ve got the #4 offense vs #10 defense, but the #51 offense of LSU going against the #108 defense from Ole Miss. LSU is going to BS their way to 5-0 with a 31-24 win.” - Ryan Sterritt

“I really want to pick Ole Miss here because I think they can hit a big pass play in each quarter and make LSU have to play catch up. LSU is not the fifth best team in the country, and I think they end up 8-4 in the regular season. I’ll indulge myself and say Rebels 35, LSU 30.” - Jack Condon

#25 Texas Tech vs #12 West Virginia (-4) (O/U 78.5)

“Could this be 2018’s version of the classic Pat Mahomes-Baker Mayfield POINTSPLOSION of 2016? These teams know what they are, and will surely have the pedal to the floor knowing that their defenses won’t be able to get many stops. I think this one sails past even this high total. WVU 63, TTU 52.” - James Jones

“Solid win last week by the Red Raiders and the prettiest head coach in College Football. Your reward? VISIT HOLGO! Will Greer has an absolute field day and blows out the spread. BURNING COUCHES 52-24.” - Drew McCracken

“You want a game with offense? This should be your game. Although with an 11am kick, there are certainly no guarantees the offenses will come firing on all cylinders. Texas Tech is coming off a big win over Oklahoma State in Stillwater and have looked good since their opening day loss to Ole Miss. West Virginia looks to stay unbeaten in their first true road game of the season. I’ll take Will Grier in a shootout in Lubbock. West Virginia 51, Texas Tech 41.” - Will McLaughlin

“Fight Raiders Fight! Guns UP! TT 56, WV 50.” - Son of Crow

“I don’t understand you, Texas Tech. One week you are getting romped by the Rebels, the next you are romping the Cowpokes. Given your history, I can only assume you lay an egg this week in Morgantown. All Mountaineers in wild shootout. WV 51, TT 41.” - AU Nerd

“This should be major fun to watch. This should have been the Gameday game, with Hal Mumme picking. Anyway, this should be an easy win for WVU. Mountaineers 55-38.” - AU Chief

“POINTSSSSSSSSSS. I don’t care if it’s 78.5 O/U, take the dang over in this one. I’m pulling for either winner of this game to win the Big 12 this season, but knowing how Ole Miss torched Texas Tech, I can’t imagine what Will Grier is about to do. West Virgina 48-35.” - Ryan Sterritt

“The points, all of them. Will Grier has had no trouble tossing five touchdowns per game, and I don’t think that stops now. WVU is a legitimately good team, and they take care of business here, giving up the requisite points that you do against Texas Tech. Mountaineers 58, Red Raiders 31.” - Jack Condon

#9 Penn State vs #4 Ohio State (-4) (O/U 67.5)

“Penn State has looked unimpressive at times (remember, they were trailing Illinois before rattling off 42 unanswered in the second half). Ohio State, other than a tendency to allow big plays on defense, has looked like a championship caliber team. I think this one lives up to the billing, and I’m glad Auburn will be done by the time this one is getting rolling. I’ll be cheering for the Nittany Lions, but….OSU 35, PSU 33.” - James Jones

“Is this the game of the year? I think its a good one but, I’m not ready to crown it yet. Penn State hasn’t done a whole lot to impress me while the Bucks have gone on the road and beat TCU at a ‘neutral’ site. Bosa is out for them but they have just enough talent to take out the Nits. Back and forth game that comes down to the end but tOSU does just enough. Bucks 28-27.” - Drew McCracken

“White-Out in Happy Valley!! Penn State struggled in the first half of their game against Illinois before realizing they were playing Illinois and poured it on the 4th quarter. Nobody has been able to slow down Ohio State’s offense yet. But the Buckeyes have lost their best defensive player in Nick Bosa. Winner of this game is the favorite in the Big 10 with Wisconsin already dropping a game to BYU. The last two Penn State-Ohio State games have been classics won by the home team on great 4th quarter comebacks and you know what, give me a 3rd one!! Penn State 31, Ohio State 28.” - Will McLaughlin

“I always tire out picking games by this point every week. I dunno man, Ohio State probably. Bucks 36, PSU 29.” - Son of Crow

“Two pretty awful programs are set to do battle. I wish both could lose, but alas, someone must win. I’m not as high on Franklin as everybody else & with Moorehead gone I think you are gonna see those cracks from his early tenure reemerge. Buckeyes will miss Nick Bosa but Haskins destroys Nittany Lions. OHST 41 PSU 20.” - AU Nerd

“Gross. Suckeyes 35-14.” - AU Chief

“I know both of these teams are “good”, but I haven’t watched either play more than about 2 minutes this season. On one hand, Penn State almost lost to App State at home. Which, hey, it happens. On the other hand, that TCU win looks less and less impressive for Ohio State, meaning they’ve played nobody. I guess give me Ohio State 41-28, because sometimes good things happen to bad people.” - Ryan Sterritt

“I really love the days that Auburn plays early so that we can settle in and watch games like this at night. This should be one of the best games of the first half of the season, and I think Ohio State’s one of the four best teams in the country. That gives them the nod even on the road. I think they get up big in the first half, and hang on as Penn State comes back late like they’ve been wont to do this season. Ohio State 41, Penn State 38.” - Jack Condon

#8 Notre Dame (-4.5) vs #7 Stanford (O/U 54)

“Notre Dame finally found themselves an offense, albeit against Wake Forest. Stanford is living on borrowed time. They sat on USC and deserved to lose in Eugene. All of that runs out against a Notre Dame defense that can force KJ Costello to beat them, but also not allow him to throw for 327 yards. Notre Dame 24, Stanford 19.” - James Jones

“I actually have tickets to this one so this is the game of the year! The Trees got really lucky last week against the Ducks but good teams find a way to win games like that on the road. Now they go to South Bend and take on an undefeated Irish team that started a brand new QB and looked good in a win over the Deacs. This one could go either way and when the talent is this close, I normally side with the home team. Gimme the Irish for a 24-21 win.” - Drew McCracken

“I don’t think any of us have yet figured out how Stanford won that game at Oregon last weekend. Now the Cardinal has to turn around and travel to South Bend for another huge game. The Irish struggled on offense in Weeks 2 and Week 3 before a QB change ignited the team. Last week, they put up 56 points on Wake Forest and put a defensive coordinator out of a job. If Stanford is able to somehow pull this one out, they would leave September with wins over USC, Oregon, San Diego State and Notre Dame. To me, that would be hands down the most impressive resume in the country (sorry LSU fans). I picked Stanford against USC and Oregon but this game’s in South Bend and I have a feeling this game will have a fluky ending and the Irish will find a way to come out on top. Notre Dame 34, Stanford 28.” - Will McLaughlin

“Gross. Stanford 11, ND 4.” - Son of Crow

“Both of these teams keep finding ways to win but look ugly doing so. However, the Fighting Irish made a QB change & all of a sudden that offense looks A LOT nastier. Gimme ND 24, STAN 13.” - AU Nerd

“Uh, Stanford, maybe? I don’t know. Notre Dame doesn’t look like the #8 team in the country to me. Stanford probably isn’t the 7th best either. I guess I should probably go with the home team. Domers 31-21.” - AU Chief

“No way Notre Dame is better than Stanford. Stanford is actually dangerous on offense outside of Bryce Love, and it’s only a matter of time before he gets going. Give me the nerds in a low scoring game, 24-13.” - Ryan Sterritt

“I’m not impressed with Stanford. David Shaw can stand on the sideline and smirk all he wants, but the Irish will be better at their place than Oregon was at theirs. Ian Book gives ND a little more spark on offense to go along with a pretty good defense. Stanford doesn’t have the juice for two straight big comebacks and Notre Dame gets the hype train rolling as they improve to 5-0. Irish 29, Cardinal 17.” - Jack Condon