The ‘Huskers have a huge game at home in a week filled with interesting match-ups. Here are my Week 5 predictions. Photo courtesy of The North Platte Telegraph.
Last week’s schedule was loaded with huge Top 25 showdowns. Georgia was able to find a way to win at home against Notre Dame, Auburn withstood a late rally by Texas A&M on the road in College Station, and Wisconsin absolutely throttled Michigan. Last week saw plenty of surprising finishes and upsets as well. USC knocked off then #10 Utah at home in the Coliseum. Washington State gave up a 32 point lead at home to a win-less UCLA team. SMU beat the Horned Frogs of TCU for the first time in like eight years. And Pittsburgh used a little trickery to take down UCF there in the “Steel City”.
This week, however, only has two games between Top 25 teams. #18 Virginia travels up to South Bend to take on the #10 Fighting Irish, and #21 USC has to take on Jacob Eason and the #17 Huskies in a huge Pac-12 match-up. Most of the other Top 25 teams take on opponents that, at least on paper, seem wildly over-matched. However, there are actually plenty of interesting games between non-ranked teams to keep an eye on this weekend.
In the ACC, Duke and Virginia Tech get set to throw down tonight in a division game that could start to determine some things about the ACC Coastal. The Hokies haven’t looked great so far this season, but they do have a really tenacious defense and have the upper hand at playing at home at night. Lane Stadium is not an easy place to waltz into and steal a win.
Then, there are two intriguing ACC Atlantic division rivalries taking place. North Carolina State has beaten FSU the last two years, but early on so far, we really don’t know a whole lot about the Wolfpack. We know FSU struggles, especially late in games, but they looked a whole lot better last week and might be gaining some momentum.
Wake Forest and Boston College battle it out in Chestnut Hill, MA. In all honesty, Wake might just be the second best team in the ACC behind Clemson this year. Surprisingly, Boston College hasn’t been great on defense and the offense is not very consistent. Keep an eye on the ACC action this week. There may not be any marquee match-ups, but plenty of games that are going to be fun to watch.
Here in South Carolina, the Gamecocks get ready to host Kentucky on Saturday night. Both teams are coming off back-to-back conference losses. However, Kentucky always seems to have South Carolina’s number as Kentucky has won the last five games in the series. Not sure what the status is of starting QB Ryan Hilinkski for the Cocks, but if he’s not ready to go, it could be a long day for South Carolina fans. On the flip side, Kentucky is also playing with a back-up QB, Sawyer Smith, after Terry Wilson went down in Week 2. Can the Wildcats find a way and stretch the streak to six?
The Chanticleers of Coastal Carolina head up to Boone to take on a really tough App State team in a Sun Belt “Fun Belt” clash. Coastal has been very surprising early on this year with a good win over a Power 5 school, Kansas, who took Boston College behind the woodshed. The Mountaineers also have a Power 5 win over a pretty decent North Carolina team. App State is a 16.5 point favorite, but don’t count out the Chants on the road. This one might just be closer than the experts predict.
The SoCon has a great slate of games set this week as there are four conference match-ups. Furman hosts the Bucs from East Tennessee State, in a revenge game for the Paladins who lost the lead late in Johnson City a year ago. ETSU already has a conference loss and might be feeling the pressure to not drop another one. Sort of feels like a must win for the Bucs.
Same goes for Wofford as they travel to Lexington, Virginia to play the boys from the Virginia Military Institute. The Keydets, surprisingly, were able to get a conference win two weeks ago at ETSU, while the Terriers just couldn’t seem to find the endzone against Samford. However, VMI is coming off a bad loss to Robert Morris last week. Wofford is the better team, but you never know what can happen up in Lexington.
Two teams at the bottom of the league square off Saturday afternoon. Chattanooga and Western Carolina have had seasons to forget so far and a win here could really be a confidence boost moving forward. The Catamounts will still be without Tyrie Adams this week, which could affect how this game turns out. Chattanooga has been well tested so far this season as they have played one of the toughest schedules in the FCS. Things really don’t get easier as they enter league play, but this game will at least be light compared to what the Mocs have faced.
And finally, there is The Citadel taking on Samford down in Birmingham. The Citadel has that great win over an ACC team when they beat Georgia Tech a couple of weeks ago in Atlanta. The Citadel is one of the best, if not the best, team in the SoCon, but they are going against a team that can score and score in bunches. The problem for Samford is that their defense couldn’t stop a leak in a bucket. The defense is just abysmal, but can they do enough to hold on and try to outlast The Citadel. This might just be a shoot-out in “The Magic City”.
So, with all of that being said, here are my picks for week 5:
Duke at Virginia Tech (-2.5) – Tonight – 7:00 – ESPN
Big ACC Coastal division match-up in Blacksburg tonight. The Hokies are still trying to find an identity on offense. They struggle to move the ball at times, but luckily for them, they have one of the nation’s better defenses backing them up. When you think of VT, you think of Bud Foster and his blue collar “Lunch Pail” defense, and that rings true again this year. Duke has blow-out wins over NC A&T and Middle Tennessee State with a big loss to Alabama to start the year. The Blue Devils actually kept that game close for the first half, but couldn’t move the ball against that ‘Bama defense. Duke has some play makers on offense and they will need to step up tonight on the road. Lane Stadium is a really tough place to play, especially at night, but I just think that the Hokie’s problems on offense continue and Duke finds a way to win.
Duke – 24, Virginia Tech – 17
#1 Clemson (-27.5) at North Carolina – 3:30 – ABC
North Carolina is coming off two close losses in back-to-back weeks. The Tar Heels have been really good in second halves of games, but struggle early on. They can’t do that this week if they want a chance to win as the #1 ranked Tigers come to Chapel Hill. The Clemson defense is ferocious and the offense may finally be starting to click. North Carolina cannot afford to get down big early in this game. In my opinion, 27.5 is a little generous.
Clemson – 49, North Carolina – 13
#18 Virginia at #10 Notre Dame (12.5) – 3:30 – NBC
Virginia is a really good team and may be the second or third best team in the ACC this year. However, they haven’t been great at times on offense. QB Bryce Perkins is a game changer and he will have to have a big day for the Cavaliers if they want to win. Problem is, he will probably spend most of the afternoon running for his life as Virginia’s o-line is mediocre. And they will be facing a Notre Dame defense that out played Georgia last week for most of the game. The Irish defense is very physical and will just over match Virginia’s front. The Cav’s have a pretty good defense, but they haven’t faced an offense so far that even comes close to comparing to the weapons Notre Dame has. Irish win and they win big at home.
Notre Dame – 35, Virginia – 10
#21 USC at #17 Washington (-10.5) – 3:30 – Fox
Huge Pac-12 showdown here in Week 5. Washington has looked really good so far this season, except for the head scratching loss at home to Cal. Jacob Eason seems to really be flourishing in Seattle as he’s racked up over 1000 yards and 10 touchdowns through the air. The Huskies defense is also good and has not allowed a team to score more than 20 points in a game this season. USC is on their third-string quarterback now as Matt Fink will get the start on Saturday. Most schools would hang it up if they had to start their third-string guy, but not USC as Fink came in against Utah last week and lit it up. There has been no drop off for the Trojans offensively and they have a lot of confidence after beating the Utes. Watch out for the Trojans. I know Washington is the favorite, but I really think this USC team can surprise the Huskies on the road.
USC – 35, Washington – 31
North Carolina State at Florida State (-6.5) – 7:30 – ACCN
I really don’t know a whole lot about this NC State team. They have blow-out wins at home against ECU and Western Carolina, then got curb stomped by West Virginia, and then trailed against Ball State before finally pulling away. A lot of inconsistencies so far on both sides of the ball. As for Florida State, I know a lot. I know that the ‘Noles like to get off to a good start in the first half and then completely tank in the second half of games. Both offenses can put up yards and points. Interested to see what Florida State team shows up. They looked a lot better a week ago against Louisville and might use that to build up some more confidence. I could see this game going either way to be honest and I think 6.5 points is a little much. Probably more like a field goal win for the ‘Noles at home.
Florida State – 38, North Carolina State – 35
Kentucky at South Carolina (-2.5) – 7:30 – SEC Network
Both teams are coming into this game having lost back-to-back SEC games and they’ve done it in different fashions. The Gamecocks were beat down by both Alabama and Missouri, while Kentucky lost the lead late to Florida and hung around Mississippi State for a while. The Wildcats have beat the Gamecocks the past five seasons and I have a feeling they will make it six straight. Not sure what the status of QB Ryan Hilinski is going to be for SC, but if he’s not able to play, the offense might do good to just move the ball. Neither team is great on defense, but South Carolina is just awful. Sawyer Smith and the Kentucky offense might have a field day against that secondary. If Hilinski is able to go, this one is close. If not, its going to be a rough day in Columbia.
Kentucky – 28, South Carolina – 20
#5 Ohio State (-17) at Nebraska – 7:30 – ABC
College Gameday will travel to Lincoln, Nebraska for the game between the Buckeyes and the Cornhuskers. Ohio State’s offense has been explosive through the first four games, granted they’ve played three Group of 5 teams and Indiana. The Buckeyes are averaging 53.5 points per game and QB Justin Fields is balling out right now. Ohio State has looked virtually unstoppable. Nebraska, on the other hand, has been very much stoppable on offense. They couldn’t do anything against South Alabama in the opener and then lost in overtime to Colorado. Illinois also gave them a run last week. Needless to say, Nebraska has not looked good and Ohio State should win big on Saturday Night.
Ohio State – 45, Nebraska – 27
And this week’s two SoCon game are going to be extremely fun to watch.
East Tennessee State at Furman (-17.5) – 1:00 – ESPN+ or WMYA (Greenville)
A bit of revenge on the minds of the Paladins this week. Last year, ETSU stormed back in the second half to beat Furman up in Johnson City. This year’s Paladins team looks a lot stronger and more determined. They are hot right now and no surprise that they are a big favorite at home. This Paladins team could easily be 4-0 with two wins over FBS programs. They absolutely destroyed Mercer last week, so ETSU will need to be on their A+ game in this one. The Bucs do have a nice win over Austin Peay last week, so maybe some confidence heading into this one. Furman is definitely going to get everyone’s best shot, but I think this Paladin team is too good and they roll once again this week.
Furman – 38, ETSU – 14
The Citadel at Samford (2.5) – 3:00 – ESPN+
This might just be the best game in the SoCon this week. Samford features a very explosive offense, but have a porous defense. They can’t stop anyone, but thankfully have an offense that can put up a bunch of points. The Citadel comes in hot, just like Furman in their game. The Citadel also could easily be undefeated coming into this game with close losses to really good FCS teams and a big win at Georgia Tech. Their defense is good, but Samford is going to score points, that’s just what they do. My issue with The Citadel is if they can outscore Samford, and in a shoot-out, I just don’t think they can. I think they can keep it close, but ultimately I think Samford pulls it out. That’s not to say The Citadel is bad, because they aren’t. I just don’t see them winning this game if Samford’s offense gets rolling.
Samford – 35, The Citadel – 28
Some really good college action this weekend. Looking forward to taking it all in. You can check out the Thursday Night Previews show by going to our podcast page or on Soundcloud.com. Check it out! Also, like us on Twitter and Facebook @ The Spread Football. Comment below and let me know what you think about some of this week’s match-ups.
Week 4 of the NFL season got underway with a really good game in Green Bay between the Packers and Eagles last night. Big takeaway, the Packers have no run game and are having to rely heavily on Aaron Rodgers and the passing game. Rodgers threw the ball 53 times last night for 422 yards. Philadelphia was way more balanced offensively and were able to capitalize on a couple of Green Bay mistakes, none bigger than the pick on the goal line with less than a minute to go in the game. Philadelphia pulled out the win on the road 34-27. A much needed win for this Philly team. If Green Bay can get the run game figured out, they are going to be dangerous.
The Carolina Panthers head to “The Lone Star State” to take on Deshaun Watson and the Houston Texans. Carolina looked like a completely different team last week with Kyle Allen under center. He gets the start again this week as Cam Newton continues to battle with injuries. The offense really found a rhythm against Arizona. This game is shaping up to be a shoot-out as both offenses are really good, especially the Texan’s. Watson is one of the best players in the league and he has arguably the best receiver in DeAndre Hopkins. I would like to see Carolina pull out the win, but honestly, Houston is probably just a little better.
There’s a big AFC East match-up of undefeated teams as the Patriots travel to Buffalo. Kansas City and Detroit also features a pair of undefeated teams (the Lions are 2-0-1). And a big NFC North division game between the Vikings and Bears round out a great Sunday of NFL football.
My Top 5 teams in the league right now are:
- New England
- Kansas City
- LA Rams
Upstate High School
If you don’t have any plans on tonight, head out to your local high school here in the Upstate and check out and support these high school players. Some really good games taking place. Here are just a few:
J.L. Mann (0-4) @ Easley (1-3)
I live right behind Easley High School so I will be rooting for the Green Wave tonight. Hopefully they can get the season turned around with a win tonight at home. RB Dylan Lyda is a huge play maker for the Green Wave. They will need a big night from him tonight.
Berea (2-3) @ Southside (3-1)
Southside has been surprisingly good early on. I went to Travelers Rest, so there is no way I am pulling for the Bulldogs. I see Southside going to 4-1 with a win tonight.
T.L. Hanna (3-0) @ Westside (1-2)
The Battle of Anderson. T.L. Hanna continues to dominant and they get a big win over rival Westside tonight.
Boiling Spring (2-2) @ Dorman (4-0)
Woodmont (3-1) @ Wade Hampton (0-4)
Pendleton (2-2) @ Clinton (1-3)
Wren (3-1) @ Broome (2-3)
Chapman (5-0) @ Eastside (4-0)
A battle of undefeated teams meet up in this one. Eastside has looked unstoppable have a very explosive offense. Chapman has also been putting up a bunch of points. Don’t know how big of a shoot-out this will be, but expect some fireworks for sure. I like Eastside to edge out a win at home.
Byrnes (4-0) @ Gaffney (3-1)
Mauldin (2-2) @ Riverside (0-4)
Powdersville (0-5) @ Palmetto (4-1)
Greenwood (2-2) @ Laurens (2-1)
My Travelers Rest Devildogs have the week off this week after another hot start to the year. The Devildogs are (5-0) and have a huge match-up at Eastside next Friday as they start off region play against the Eagles. Rest up boys, you’re going to need it for next week! Go Dogs! We are TR!