College Football Picks Week 5: Predicting Marquee Games Against the Spread

Adam WellsFeatured ColumnistSeptember 28, 2012

MORGANTOWN, WV - SEPTEMBER 22:  Geno Smith #12 of the West Virginia Mountaineers drops back to pass against the Maryland Terrapins during the game on September 22, 2012 at Mountaineer Field in Morgantown, West Virginia.  WVU defeated Maryland 31-21.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

After last week's incredible slate of matchups, Week 5 of the college football season could feel like a letdown. However, just when you think things are going to be easy, something happens that completely screws everything up. 

No, there isn't the same depth of games that we had last week. However, several teams are looking to make loud statements to the rest of the country—and voting populace—that they deserve to be taken seriously. 

As we get set to make our predictions for the biggest games of the weekend, remember that college football is a game designed to break your heart and provide upsets when you least expect them. 

Odds courtesy of Bovada

No. 25 Baylor at. No. 9 West Virginia (-11.5)

A year ago, this would have been one of the most-anticipated quarterback matchups of the season. Robert Griffin III and Geno Smith were two of the best in the country. 

Smith is still doing his thing with West Virginia, and is a huge reason why the Mountaineers find themselves ranked in the Top 10. 

Baylor lost a Heisman winner, but Nick Florence has been outstanding in three games. He has 1,004 yards, 11 touchdowns and just four interceptions. Unfortunately, those numbers have come against SMU, Sam Houston State and Louisiana-Monroe. 

That's not to say West Virginia has been playing powerhouses, though. Its best win has come against Maryland. 

Neither team is going to give you much on defense, so expect the points to come fast and furious. 

West Virginia is a much more complete team and has more physicality in its game. This is going to be fun to watch, but the Mountaineers will hold at home. 

Prediction: West Virginia 47, Baylor 31


No. 14 Ohio State at No. 20 Michigan State (-3)

Both of these teams baffle me. I think they have the talent to be dominant, especially on the defensive side of the ball. However, they do so many things, particularly on offense, that leave me wondering how they are able to stay in the Top 25. 

The Buckeyes are trying to figure out what they are now, since they have to wait another year to get back into a bowl game. They look like a team that plays down to its competition, as they have let UCF, Cal and UAB hang with them in games at the Horseshoe. 

Michigan State was always going to take a step back offensively this year after losing Kirk Cousins, but to only be averaging 21 points per game (104th in the nation) is puzzling. There is still plenty of talent in East Lansing, led by running back Le'Veon Bell, they just don't know how to use it. 

Defensively, the Spartans are a vastly superior team to the Buckeyes. They have one of the best front sevens in the country, which helps them create turnovers and set up their offense on short fields for easy scoring opportunities. 

As talented as Braxton Miller is, I don't envision him being able to move the ball effectively against the Spartans in this game. It will be ugly to watch, but Michigan State will be celebrating. 

Prediction: Michigan State 20, Ohio State 16


Tennessee at No. 5 Georgia (-14)

This is a really good measuring-stick game for both Tennessee and Georgia. 

The Volunteers bounced back after that tough loss at home against Florida to defeat Akron. They now have to prove that they are at least making strides to get back to being one of the better programs in the SEC. 

Georgia is facing its first real test of the season after victories over Buffalo, Missouri, Florida Atlantic and Vanderbilt.

The Bulldogs believe they are title contenders, and the voters would seem to agree with them right now. They have scored at least 41 points in every game this season and continue to get strong defensive outputs. 

For Tennessee to have a chance in this game, quarterback Tyler Bray has to exploit the secondary. The Volunteers are at their best when they are throwing the ball downfield, scoring quickly and putting pressure on their opponent. 

Bray's worst game of the season came against Florida, when he completed just 50 percent of his passes and had two interceptions to go along with his two touchdowns. 

There always seems to be a game where Georgia plays sloppy, but I do think Mark Richt has assembled his best team top-to-bottom during his tenure with the program. You have to wonder if they will be looking ahead to South Carolina next weekend, but on paper this game should go in their favor. 

Prediction: Georgia 31, Tennessee 24