College Football Predictions Week 5: Picking Winners for Weekend's Biggest Games

Timothy RappFeatured ColumnistSeptember 26, 2012

JACKSONVILLE, FL - JANUARY 02:  Quaterback Braxton Miller #5 of Ohio State Buckeyes calls a play during the Gator Bowl against the Florida Gators at EverBank Field on January 2, 2012 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Scott Halleran/Getty Images

To quote Mike Singletary, "I want winners!"

And so do you.

Of course, often the most difficult games to call are also the ones you're most inclined to watch. Any bozo with a bank account knows to take Alabama over Ole Miss, but what do you do when two high-powered offenses in Baylor and West Virginia play?

How do you ascertain whether you like Michigan State at home or an intriguing Ohio State team to remain undefeated?

That's where I come in. I've identified the five most intriguing games on this week's college football schedule and made my own picks. From one line that is surprisingly in the double-digits to a dangerous SEC trap game, I've got your winners in the weekend's biggest games.

(My picks in caps. All lines via Bet Online.)


BAYLOR (+12.5) at West Virginia

I like West Virginia, at home, to win outright. Geno Smith has simply been too good for me to pick against the Mountaineers to lose at home. 

However, I really like this line for Baylor in a game I expect to be a shootout that goes down to the wire. The Bears are fifth in passing offense and fifth in points scored per game, and the team's 207 rushing yards per game is hardly shabby. 

We know how good the West Virginia offense is, but is the defense good enough to hold back an electric Baylor offense?

I don't think so. Take the points with Baylor, even though West Virginia will squeak out the win.


Ohio State at MICHIGAN STATE (-3)

Michigan State is at home, two weeks removed from a tough loss with Notre Dame and looking to open the Big Ten campaign with a win. It's hard to imagine them losing this game.

Yes, Ohio State is an improved squad this year, but the Spartans did hold the Buckeyes to just a touchdown a year ago and totally neutralized Braxton Miller in that game. That's less likely with Urban Meyer in town, but this Spartans defense remains one of the best in the country.

Look for the Spartans to run the ball, control the clock, play sound defense and escape with a win by a touchdown. 


TENNESSEE (+13) at Georgia

Georgia is clearly the better team, but with the passing attack the Vols boast, I think they can hang around in what could become a high-scoring affair. Plus, there is the danger that Georgia might be looking ahead to its matchup with South Carolina in a week.

I just don't see this one being a blowout. Georgia will win, but Tennessee will keep it close enough to cover.


WISCONSIN (+13) at Nebraska

Here's my gamble of the week—I wouldn't just take the points with Wisconsin, I think they'll win outright.

It goes against conventional logic, I know. Nebraska is at home. Wisconsin has struggled to generate offense behind a lackluster passing attack. Wisconsin's ground game hasn't exactly been inspiring either (and Montee Ball might not even play), while Nebraska has the fifth-best rushing attack in college football.

But I think Wisconsin can run the ball effectively and get back to its style of play against Nebraska. I think Wisconsin is a better team than it has shown thus far. And even if taking the Badgers outright might be a bit crazy, expecting them to cover a 13-point spread most certainly is not.


TEXAS (-2.5) at Oklahoma State

There are so many things to worry about in this game. Texas could be staring at a huge trap game with West Virginia coming to town in a week. The game is being played in Stillwater, Okla. Oklahoma State has the sort of offense that can give any defense nightmares.  

However, Oklahoma State is hardly unbeatable at home. It has dropped five games in Stillwater since 2008. Plus, sometimes you just have to trust your eyes, and my eyes tell me Texas is simply the better team. 

Vegas knows you are worried about a road trap game here, hence the close line. But trust me, Texas will win this one and look darn good doing it.


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