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Staff Picks - College Football Week 5

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What do we really know about non-Auburn football?

NCAA Football: Miami (Ohio) at Ohio State Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

We’re already a third of the way through the regular season, and soon it’ll be slipping into November (and the weather will still be hot). Which among us will also be hot? Who knows!

***IF YOU’D LIKE TO ADD YOUR OWN PICKS, COMMENT BELOW WITH YOUR SCORE PREDICTIONS FOR EACH GAME AND RYAN STERRITT WILL TRACK THEM. VIEW LAST WEEK’S RESULTS HERE***

Notre Dame (-13) vs Virginia (O/U 48)

Notre Dame is going to take out some frustration on a good(?) Virginia team, but I’m not sure that necessarily means an offensive explosion. Virginia’s offense is baddddd though, so this may be more of a “smother you with a pillow” style win for the Irish. 27-7 Domers. - Ryan Sterritt

Virginia never deserves success in anything ever again, including against Notre Dame, who I think may have won a moral victory last weekend by possibly exposing a coach in Athens who might just have an issue or two with executing at a high level in big games. Notre Dame 27 Virginia 21 - Josh Black

Well Notre Dame, you ALMOST made me look like a genius last week. The Irish come home and face an undefeated Virginia team. The Cavaliers have narrow wins over the likes of Florida State and Old Dominion as they head to South Bend. I think the Irish will bounce back at home Saturday. Notre Dame 28 Virginia 20 - Will McLaughlin

Notre Dame now has something to prove to the world. I don’t think they’ll take the foot off the gas in this one, or any of their remaining games. They need to put themselves back in the conversation. Notre Dame 38, Virginia 14 - Josh Dub

If Notre Dame wins, maybe jack won’t make us pick any more of their stupid games im not going to watch. Our Lady of Embarrassing Irish Losses, pray for us. Hoos 21 Irish 20. - Son of Crow

Notre Dame played MUCH better than I was expecting and I think are a legitimate top 10 team. But how funny would it be if after that big time matchup where UGA had to begrudgingly admit that maybe ND wasn’t such a pushover if they then got beat by UVA? But UVA doesn’t deserve nice things due to their phony bball title. The Fighting Irish bounce back big. ND 35 UVA 17 - AU Nerd

The Golden Domers showed me something last week. They kept it close against Georgia...that is pretty much it. What I got on offense, I expected, but the defense really impressed me. Either that or Georgia had and off night. The Hoos on the other hand have beaten FSU...so they beat a JV squad. I am pretty sure ND will win but that’s a large cover against a good? team on t33-he road. Virginia and the points and the under. ND 23-14 - Drew Mac

Notre Dame had a solid gameplan against Georgia’s offense, but they couldn’t get anything consistent on offense except for going to their TE. I think UVa got caught eating a LetDown Lookahead sandwich last week against Old Dominion. ND does enough to win at home, but I think UVA keeps it close. Irish 24, School for which Ty Jerome double dribbled 17 (ND wins, UVA covers, UNDER) - James Jones

F#$& VIRGINIA. South Bend 33 - Sumbagsville, USA 19 - AU Chief

I know there’s nothing connecting the two, but I really hope that Kyle Guy and his long gums/tiny teeth get to enjoy an epic whipping at the hands of Notre Dame. He apparently writes for the UVA SB Nation site, so write about this one, and tell your double dribble buddy Ty Jerome all about it. Irish 35, Cavaliers 10 - Jack Condon

Washington (-9.5) vs USC (O/U 59)

Washington is a lot better team than they’re going to get credit for after that dumb Cal loss, and despite beating Utah last week, I can’t get on board with the third string quarterback leading the Trojans to another win over a ranked team on the road. It’ll be up to the USC ground game to take advantage of a weaker-than-usual Washington defensive line, but I’m going to take the Huskies here. 30-20 UW. - Ryan Sterritt

Jacob Eason wanted a more refined version of a dog. One who wasn’t bred down to sitting on top of ice as “work”. No he realized he needed to associate himself with a breed that was tough, graceful, and reliable. Shoutout to Jacob Eason, for without him, Georgia may never have gotten their hopes up only to be ripped out against Tennessee in 2016. Without him transferring, maybe Justin Fields doesn’t come to Georgia. Without Justin Fields coming to Georgia, maybe Kirby decides to recruit another star quarterback before and during the 2018 season. And because of neglecting to do so, because you know, Justin Fields is a generational talent, Georgia now has no backup quarterback if Jake Fromm were to catch a horrible case of diarrhea. Also Washington is much better than USC and should win this game. Washington 38 USC 28 - Josh Black

Both of these teams played in Provo against BYU the last 2 weekends. The Huskies rolled while the Trojans lost in Overtime. I think Washington would be undefeated if it weren’t the bizarreness of Pac-12 WAYYYYY After Dark against Cal. I like the Huskies in this one. Washington 31 USC 23 - Will McLaughlin

The PAC-12 is a mystery. Chris Peterson is reliable, though. Well, more reliable than anyone else over there. Washington 42, USC 21 - Josh Dub

Guys I think USC might have it figured out, or at least well enough for the lousy pac 12. That said, Washington is looking better than the Trojans by a wide margin and the dream of Dwag transfers making the playoffs without the Dwags hinges on this game. Washington 35 SC 24 - Son of Crow

It would be a very on brand thing for the PAC-12 if USC were to win this game. They’ve performed better than anyone thought especially given injuries at QB position. But the Huskies first loss came under some wild circumstances so unless the Trojans can get some weather delays I think Eason and company get it done. Huskies 31 Trojans 23 - AU Nerd

Now this is an interesting matchup, and sadly it won’t be on Pac-12 After Dark. Both teams are 3-1 and coming off of nice road wins last week. USC is much better than people want to give them credit for while Washington always seems to have one or two ‘huh’ losses in them. They already got one out of the way a few weeks back to Cal and they play Stanford next week on Pac-12 After Dark. There’s your other loss so they win this one but won’t cover. USC and the points, take the under. Washington 27-21 - Drew Mac

Graham Harrell deserves a lot of credit for keeping the offensive game plan the same with Fink after Slovis went down. What I don’t like is a QB that made some really poor decisions in the second half making his first road start. Washington will be ready for this one. I think you almost have to throw the Cal game completely out for betting purposes. There were so many obstacles in that game that I’m not taking it into account. I think Eason is coming into his own. I may have to create a vested interest in this one. Washington 38, USC 17 (UW covers, UNDER) - James Jones

I dozed off thinking about this one. I guess I like the Huskies. Seattle 36 - Los Angeles 24 - AU Chief

It’s fun when national powers turn back into pedestrian clubs. People would have killed to see USC end up as a struggling mid-level program a decade ago, and most never thought the Trojans would fall to that point. People now think that Bama won’t ever drop to mediocrity again. It’ll happen. USC, however, is on the way back up, and I don’t have anything to base this on except that I don’t really think Washington is all that tough. Trojans 33, Washington 30 - Jack Condon

Nebraska vs Ohio State (-17.5) (O/U 66.5)

Let’s see... Nebraska struggled with USA, lost to Colorado, and barely beat Illinois despite nearly doubling them up in yards. Meanwhile, Ohio State has been murdering bad teams by an average of 54-9. Nebraska will be the best team the Buckeyes will have faced, and it *might* be the first time the starters play the fourth quarter. Buckeyes 48-20. - Ryan Sterritt

Justin Fields just wanted to be at a program that’s won a national title in the past 38 years. Shoutout to Justin Fields. No shame in wanting to be involved with a winner who knows how to finish. You know what’s impressed me most about Ohio State? They’ve managed to find ways to use Justin Fields to their advantage beyond fake punts. I mean, that’s really hard to do. Finding a role for a guy who was considered neck and neck with Trevor Lawrence for the best HS QB in a decade by doing more than running out with the punt team is really a testament to the creativity of the Ohio State coaching staff. Ohio State 48 Nebraska 17 - Josh Black

All you need to know about how bleh this weekend of games is that College Gameday picked THIS game to go to this week. Buckeyes roll. Ohio State 48 Nebraska 14 - Will McLaughlin

Ohio State cruises towards a big October 26 matchup against Wisconsin. (related – the gameday slate of Ohio State/Wisconsin at 11 AM followed by Auburn/LSU at 2:30 may have some serious playoff implications). Ohio State 52, Nebraska 17 - Josh Dub

I don’t think Ohio state feels a speed bump during this game. The Buckeye offense is dynamic and Justin Fields is a generational talent who was called racial slurs by Georgia fans. While he was on their team. Because Georgia. During this game look for there to be more shots of Scott Frost looking completely lost than shots of Nebraska celebrating first downs. Bucks 48 N 20 - Son of Crow

You know who I think is the scariest team in the country right now? It’s not Dabo’s Tigers, it’s not Ed O’s Tigers, it’s not Saban’s high flying offense, it’s not UGA’s boring ass team & it’s not Hurts’ led Oklahoma. It’s the Buckeyes of Ohio State. Justin Fields was a legitimate challenger for the top spot in the same class as Trevor Lawrence. The fact he decided to go to UGA is still one of the more bizarre decisions I’ve seen but now he’s at a program that will make full use of his skillset. This team also has a ferocious defense lead by arguably the best pass rusher in the country. They are flying under the radar right now due to an unimpressive schedule and the jaw dropping offensive numbers Bama, LSU & OK are putting up right now. But for my pretend expert opinion, Buckeyes are the team to be feared the most right now. There may be some hiccups early but OSU rolls. OSU 45 NEB 20 - AU Nerd

One of my favorite, personal things is to watch Nebraska and wonder when the realization that the Scott Frost system isn’t going to work at Nebraska and then the second realization that they are just an average program in today’s college football will truly set in. It obviously hasn’t yet but I think Ohio State will do all they can to bash them over the head with it this week as they welcome the Huskers to the Shoe. Ohio State and the over. OSU 52-17 - Drew Mac

Ohio State has been in the old “Bama minus anything” zone so far this year. Which of course means that I’m finally looking at making an investment in them, and therefore they’ll struggle with the Huskers. Nebraska rolled up a ton of yards on Illinois last week, but they made too many mistakes. I’m wary of the yearly “Ohio State craps its pants on the road on national TV” game, but I don’t think it’s this week. Ohio State 45, Nebraska 21 (OSU covers, UNDER by the hook) - James Jones

Columbus 42 - Lincoln 17 - AU Chief

Ever since Scott Frost shot that kid in Breaking Bad, he’s had it coming. Justin Fields is about to Jesse Pinkman this dude and roll up about 400 yards and 5 touchdowns. Buckeyes 40, Huskers 17 - Jack Condon

South Carolina (-2.5) vs Kentucky (O/U 50.5)

Do we have an Anxiety Bowl here? If the Gamecocks drop this one, they’ll fall to 1-4, and will be lucky to get to 3-9 after that. Muschamp is gone in that scenario. Meanwhile, if the underdog Wildcats lose, Mark Stoops will have lost all good will from last season as Kentucky will be sitting at 2-3. Luckily, Kentucky still has likely wins over Arkansas, Tennessee, Vandy, UT Martin, and Louisville on the schedule, but losing to South Carolina would not be a good sign that Kentucky could handle those other games without faltering either. I don’t know, I guess I’m picking Kentucky? No way they hit that over. 23-15 blue team. - Ryan Sterritt

Neither one of these programs have much in the way of success in football historically. Take South Carolina for example. The last major thing South Carolina did was produce a Heisman Trophy winner in 1980. NINETEEN EIGHTY! That was THIRTY-NINE years ago. Most of you reading this probably weren’t even alive back in those days! How could any program that had their last major national success happen during the waning days of the Carter administration ever take themselves seriously? Can’t relate, but man that must be tough. 1980. 39 years ago. And maybe, just maybe, the best a program residing in the SEC East may have just peaked in 1980. You hate to see it. Kentucky 21 South Carolina 20 - Josh Black

I’m not really sure what to think of this game. It looks like Sawyer Smith will play for Kentucky and the Gamecocks have GOT to win this game or things could get really ugly. I don’t trust picking South Carolina since they screwed me in the Survivor Pool Week 1 so give the Wildcats! Kentucky 24 South Carolina 21 - Will McLaughlin

Talk about two schools needing a win. Both of these programs are desperate for some kind of success right about now. South Carolina and Will Muschamp are sitting at 1-3 and folks, the future does not look bright. They need a win or two to help justify a crazy buyout situation for Muschamp. I’m looking at their schedule…welp, Will Muschamp is going to get retained after going 2-10 because they don’t want to fork out $22 Million. Meanwhile, Kentucky nearly beats Florida then gets destroyed by Mississippi State? I think Kentucky is the only one of these programs that can put together a winning gameplan. Kentucky 28, South Carolina 17 - Josh Dub

I need Kentucky to win and I’ll tell you why: we need SCAR to look so bad that no one could possibly think they could upset one of the better teams left on their schedule. That’s when muschamp strikes and keeps his crummy job. This game is going to stink. Kentucky 21 Scar 13 - Son of Crow

The desperation bowl. Both of these programs needs this win in the worst way. Both are dealing with injuries at the QB position. I honestly thought the Kats would put up a bigger fight on the road against State. SCAR was pretty sad themselves in Columbia, MO. Winner of this game might be able to get off the mat and have an ok season with the terribleness of the East. Loser is fighting for bowl eligibility. Think it’s an ugly one but with it being at home the Cocks’ freshman QB does enough. Muschamp 23 UK 16 - AU Nerd

Woof. I went out on a limb for you last week Kentucky and you give me nothing! Frustrating. Oh well. Now the TurfCats return home to take on a reeling Carolina team in the battle of the second string QBs. No true breakdown here as this will not be a pretty ballgame but since the Cats are at home, as I guess they will be the least loser. Kentucky on the ML and the under. Cats 24-20 - Drew Mac

Gross. If Kentucky was at home, they’d be a no-brainer. To be honest, having the line here means Vegas thinks it’s a toss-up on a neutral field. I don’t know that I agree with that. I think Helinski plays well enough to keep SC in it, but I’m going to lean towards UK getting it done. Holding my nose either way. Gambling wise this is a total stay-away. Kentucky 24, South Carolina 21 (Kentucky wins outright, UNDER) - James Jones

This could be the nail in coach Boom’s coffin. I think he has to have this one in order to keep his job, and with that in mind I think he gets the Cocks up for this one. Columbia 30 - Lexington 24 - AU Chief

Muschamp’s gonna have plenty of time to open up the budding singing career when he ends up getting canned after this season. Boom will be Summertime Lover when he gets to chill on his boat for a season. Then he’ll return to Auburn for round three running the defense once Kevin Steele finally retires. Kentucky 23, Gamecocks 21 - Jack Condon