College Football Picks: Week 5 Predictions for Every Game
Here's a little taste of how loaded the slate is for Week 5 of the 2022 college football season: No. 9 Oklahoma State at No. 16 Baylor might not even be one of the five most intriguing games.
And, you know, that is a capital-H huge game. The winner will become the top candidate to at least reach the Big 12 Championship Game, and if Oklahoma State pulls off the road victory, it could catapult into the Top Five next week.
That said, there are three other Top 20 showdowns (Alabama-Arkansas, Kentucky-Ole Miss and NC State-Clemson), a Friday night clash of Pac-12 undefeateds with the potential to be awesome (Washington-UCLA), No. 4 Michigan trying to exorcise demons in Iowa City and No. 18 Oklahoma going to TCU and trying to avoid getting eliminated from the College Football Playoff conversation before it even really begins.
Throw in No. 22 Wake Forest at No. 23 Florida State, a sneaky great Oregon State-Utah game, a handful of other pivotal 3-1 vs. 3-1 battles (Texas A&M-Mississippi State, Texas Tech-Kansas State, LSU-Auburn) and, of course, Kansas looking to improve to 5-0, and we've got one heck of a weekend for getting cozy on the couch with a few pumpkin-flavored beverages.
Our predictions for each Week 5 game are broken into three sections: Associated Press Top 25 teams, best unranked clashes and the rest of the slate. The Top 25 games are listed in ascending order of ranking. Each other section is presented in chronological order of kickoff time.
Unless otherwise noted, games are scheduled for Saturday. All times Eastern.
Note: Several games have already been rescheduled because of Hurricane Ian. Stay safe, and don't be surprised if other games in the Southeast get rescheduled.
AP Nos. 25-21
No. 25 Kansas State Wildcats (3-1) vs. Texas Tech Red Raiders (3-1), Noon
Scoring 10 points at home in a loss to Tulane and then dropping 41 points on Oklahoma in Norman was one heck of a seven-day swing for the Wildcats. But Adrian Martinez has been good for at least one Heisman Trophy-caliber performance in each season of his five-year college career, and his game against the Sooners was unquestionably his best yet.
Can he string together back-to-back solid showings, though? Against a Texas Tech defense that hasn't been anything special, allowing 30.3 points per game against FBS opponents?
Kansas State gets the win in Manhattan, but Deuce Vaughn (five career touchdowns in two games against TTU) and the defense will pave the way.
Prediction: Kansas State 31, Texas Tech 24
No. 24 Pittsburgh Panthers (3-1) vs. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (1-3), 8 p.m.
In Nebraska's first game after firing Scott Frost, the Cornhuskers lost by 35 to No. 6 Oklahoma.
In Arizona State's first game after firing Herm Edwards, the Sun Devils lost by 21 to No. 13 Utah.
This wasn't going to be a close game before Georgia Tech decided Monday to fire Geoff Collins, but now it might really get out of hand. Like, even more so than Pitt's 52-21 win in Atlanta one year ago.
Prediction: Pittsburgh 41, Georgia Tech 7
No. 22 Wake Forest Demon Deacons (3-1) at No. 23 Florida State Seminoles (4-0), 3:30 p.m.
Get ready to find out in a hurry if the 'Noles are for real.
After narrowly beating LSU and Louisville during this 4-0 start, they are about to run into No. 22 Wake Forest, No. 10 North Carolina State and No. 5 Clemson in three consecutive weeks.
At least this one is at home, and at least it comes against a team that is simply not good on defense. In the last two weeks against Liberty and Clemson, Wake Forest allowed 87 points and 994 yards.
Even another big day by quarterback Sam Hartman might not be enough to save the Demon Deacons.
Prediction: Florida State 38, Wake Forest 35
No. 21 Minnesota Golden Gophers (4-0) vs. Purdue Boilermakers (2-2), Noon
Here's your fun fact of the day: Minnesota ranks third in the nation in total offense (543.0 YPG) and first in total defense (187.8 YPG).
Sure, its first three games were laughably weak, but the Golden Gophers also went on the road and destroyed Michigan State last weekend. They are one of two teams (along with mighty Alabama) that has both more rushing yards and more passing yards than total yards allowed.
And Purdue...darn near messed around and lost a home game to Florida Atlantic on Saturday. Not exactly a ringing endorsement for upset potential. Minnesota has also won eight of the last nine games in this Big Ten West rivalry.
Prediction: Minnesota 38, Purdue 21
AP Nos. 20-16
No. 20 Arkansas Razorbacks (3-1) vs. No. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide (4-0), 3:30 p.m.
See No. 2 Alabama for prediction.
No. 19 BYU Cougars (3-1) vs. Utah State Aggies (1-3), 8 p.m. Thursday
Utah State sure has dropped off a cliff after going 11-3 one season ago. Getting blown out by Alabama was to be expected, but subsequently losing by 28 at home to Weber State was quite the eye-opener.
It's still unclear whether BYU is a legitimate threat to reach a New Year's Six bowl, but the Cougars should have no problem taking care of business.
Prediction: BYU 41, Utah State 13
No. 18 Oklahoma Sooners (3-1) at TCU Horned Frogs (3-0), Noon
Dating back to the beginning of 2015, Oklahoma has lost consecutive games only once. But when it did happen early in the 2020 season, the first loss came at home against unranked Kansas State. The Sooners were ranked 18th for the second loss, which came on the road against an unranked but respectable conference foe (Iowa State).
Will lightning strike twice, or will the Oklahoma defense bounce back from last week's dud to slow down an offense that trails only Ohio State in yards per play?
TCU quarterback Max Duggan did throw for 346 yards and four touchdowns against Oklahoma last year, but it was nowhere near enough in a 52-31 Sooners victory. Perhaps that will be the history that repeats itself, because Oklahoma certainly didn't struggle to move the ball in that loss to the Wildcats, nor did SMU have much trouble with TCU's defense last weekend.
Prediction: Oklahoma 45, TCU 34
No. 17 Texas A&M Aggies (3-1) at Mississippi State Bulldogs (3-1), 4 p.m.
Texas A&M wide receiver Ainias Smith is out for the season with a serious leg injury he suffered Saturday against Arkansas.
Despite missing a significant chunk of that game, Smith has more than twice as many receiving yards as the next-closest Aggie, so it's a brutal loss for an offense that's averaging only 21.2 points per game as it is. It does still have a phenomenal running back in Devon Achane, but even he isn't an every-down workhorse.
We'll see what this offense can muster the rest of the season, but Mississippi State has both a solid defense and a Mike Leach offense that racked up more than 400 passing yards en route to a win in College Station last season.
Texas A&M is paying Jimbo Fisher big bucks to win games like these. But we've got to go with the Bulldogs in Starkville.
Prediction: Mississippi State 24, Texas A&M 17
No. 16 Baylor Bears (3-1) vs. No. 9 Oklahoma State Cowboys (3-0), 3:30 p.m.
See No. 9 Oklahoma State for prediction.
AP Nos. 15-11
No. 15 Washington Huskies (4-0) at UCLA Bruins (4-0), 10:30 p.m. Friday
There have been a handful of intriguing Thursday and Friday games thus far, but this might be the first must-watch non-Saturday game of the season.
UCLA is out to a 4-0 start for the first time since 2015, but is it legitimate? The Bruins' schedule has been extremely easy, and they needed a last-second field goal to avoid a home loss to South Alabama in Week 3.
Their defense will be put to the test by Michael Penix Jr., who is shockingly still being disrespected by Heisman oddsmakers. The Indiana transfer has thrown for at least 300 yards and multiple touchdowns in each of Washington's games, having all sorts of fun under first-year Huskies head coach Kalen DeBoer.
Penix makes it five straight 300-yard games, and everyone suddenly realizes there's a good chance Washington will carry a 9-0 record into Eugene, Oregon, in mid-November.
Prediction: Washington 34, UCLA 28
No. 14 Ole Miss Rebels (4-0) vs. No. 7 Kentucky Wildcats (4-0), Noon
See No. 7 Kentucky for prediction.
No. 13 Oregon Ducks (3-1) vs. Stanford Cardinal (1-2), 11 p.m.
It has been almost a full year since Stanford's last win against an FBS team. That victory came at home against Oregon on Oct. 2. The Cardinal scored on the final play of regulation to force overtime and stunned the No. 3 Ducks.
The Stanford defense has gotten so bad, though, that it's almost impossible to imagine a repeat. The Cardinal has allowed an average of 42.3 points and 530.8 yards in its last six losses.
That defense on the road against Bo Nix could be ugly, and it might even result in a fourth consecutive week with a Power Five coach getting fired.
Prediction: Oregon 42, Stanford 21
No. 12 Utah Utes (3-1) vs. Oregon State Beavers (3-1), 2 p.m.
Though it lost, Oregon State was easily the more impressive team in its 17-14 contest against USC. The Beavers did an incredible job on defense against what previously looked like an unstoppable passing game. In fact, Oregon State has allowed just two passing touchdowns while intercepting six tosses.
That could be a difference-maker against an offense that will need to adjust without star tight end Brant Kuithe, who suffered a season-ending leg injury against Arizona State on Saturday.
Utah does still have its Cameron Rising-to-Dalton Kincaid connection intact, though, as well as an excellent rushing game and a defense that has been top-notch aside from having no answer for Anthony Richardson's mobility in a Week 1 loss at Florida.
OSU quarterback Chance Nolan is at least a bit of a rushing threat, but he's no Richardson. He also threw four interceptions against USC, so I'll go with Utah getting revenge for last year's loss in Corvallis. This should be a sneaky great game, though, even with its unusual start time.
Prediction: Utah 28, Oregon State 23
No. 11 Penn State Nittany Lions (4-0) vs. Northwestern Wildcats (1-3), 3:30 p.m.
Northwestern can't stop the run. Duke and Miami (Ohio) each eclipsed 200 rushing yards in road wins over the Wildcats, and Penn State is considerably better on the ground than either of those teams.
Moreover, Northwestern can't stop giving the ball away. It has already lost seven fumbles (tied for most in the nation) and now has to deal with a defense that ranks fourth in the nation in turnover margin at plus-eight.
While I'm still nowhere near convinced that Penn State is the 11th-best team in the country, it sure seems safe to assume it'll win this one in a landslide.
Prediction: Penn State 45, Northwestern 17
AP Nos. 10-6
No. 10 North Carolina State Wolfpack (4-0) at No. 5 Clemson Tigers (4-0), 7:30 p.m.
See No. 5 Clemson for prediction.
No. 9 Oklahoma State Cowboys (3-0) at No. 16 Baylor Bears (3-1), 3:30 p.m.
What a massive showdown between what are now the two highest-ranked teams in the Big 12.
Oklahoma State has been relentless on offense, leading the nation in scoring with 51.7 points per game. But are the Cowboys actually great with the ball, or did they just capitalize on an early schedule consisting of home games against Central Michigan, Arizona State and Arkansas-Pine Bluff?
We're about to find out, because the Baylor front seven is no joke. The Bears have yet to allow an opponent to rush for 90 yards, and they stifled both BYU and Iowa State on the road. Granted, they lost in double overtime against the Cougars, but it certainly wasn't because of poor defense.
In each of the past two meetings, this has been a low-scoring affair. Oklahoma State won 24-14 in October; Baylor won 21-16 in December's Big 12 title game. And if that trend continues, I like Baylor's chances at home. If the total creeps into the 60s, though, that feels like a big advantage for the Pokes.
Prediction: Baylor 24, Oklahoma State 21
No. 8 Tennessee Volunteers (4-0), Idle
The Vols are 4-0 for the first time since 2016, and they have an extra week to revel in that accomplishment. Really, though, they are resting up for a gauntlet. They can win their Week 6 game at LSU, but facing Alabama, Kentucky and Georgia in Weeks 7, 9 and 10 will be tough sledding, to say the least.
No. 7 Kentucky Wildcats (4-0) at No. 14 Ole Miss Rebels (4-0), Noon
Just like Oklahoma State-Baylor, here we have another unstoppable force vs. immovable object debate. (Though, in this case, the unstoppable force has home-field advantage.)
Ole Miss is averaging 5.8 yards per carry, 280.8 rushing yards per game and 3.8 rushing touchdowns per game. Quinshon Judkins and Zach Evans have been the stars, quarterback Jaxson Dart has plenty of mobility, too, and the Rebels have yet to really unleash Ulysses Bentley IV, who had a good run with SMU over the previous two seasons.
And while the Kentucky defense isn't quite putting up James Madison numbers (84 yards allowed on 88 carries), the Wildcats have been solid against the run, holding each of their first four opponents under 140 yards and allowing only three touchdowns.
Does Kentucky have the necessary offensive firepower to get this road W, though?
Will Levis has thrown it well, averaging nearly 300 passing yards per game, but the Wildcats have had a world of trouble trying to establish the run. And the Rebels defense has been respectable against the pass.
We'll go with Ole Miss doing enough on the ground in what figures to be a lower-scoring game than the 42-41 overtime showdown in 2020.
Prediction: Ole Miss 27, Kentucky 23
No. 6 USC Trojans (4-0) vs. Arizona State Sun Devils (1-3), 10:30 p.m.
When Arizona State beat USC last season, it rushed for 291 yards and four touchdowns.
Last week against Utah, however, the Sun Devils finished with 20 carries for six yards. In three games against FBS opponents, ASU has rushed for 307 yards and has allowed 707.
This team is broken and is now trying to find its way under an interim coach. And going on the road to face a very-good-and-frustrated-from-last-week's-poor-showing offense figures to be a disaster.
Prediction: USC 45, Arizona State 13
AP Nos. 5-1
No. 5 Clemson Tigers (4-0) vs. No. 10 North Carolina State Wolfpack (4-0), 7:30 p.m.
I'll be honest: I have no clue what to expect in this gigantic ACC clash.
Since getting a Week 1 scare from East Carolina, North Carolina State has looked as solid on defense as we expected before the season began, allowing three touchdowns over its last three games. However, two of those three games were against Charleston Southern and Connecticut, and the Wolfpack did allow 299 passing yards against Texas Tech.
So, has NC State actually turned the corner enough to slow down an offense that has been potent over the past two weeks? Or will DJ Uiagalelei and Co. put up at least 35 points for the fifth straight week in a victory that pushes them from favorites to overwhelming favorites to win the conference?
Clemson has won eight consecutive home games in this rivalry, but half of those were decided by a single possession. Considering this is probably the best Wolfpack team in at least two decades, I assume it'll be another one of those nail-biters.
Prediction: Clemson 23, NC State 20
No. 4 Michigan Wolverines (4-0) at Iowa Hawkeyes (3-1), Noon
Dating back to 2009, Iowa has won four consecutive home games against Michigan. Granted, only one came with Jim Harbaugh coaching the Wolverines, but that was a colossal one with the Hawkeyes knocking off No. 2 Michigan 14-13 in 2016.
As was the case heading into that game, Iowa is a dumpster fire on offense while Michigan comes in looking like a runaway freight train. That 2016 Wolverines team was averaging 48.0 points per game. This year's team is at 50.0.
And if Iowa is going to continue its seemingly annual tradition of knocking off a ranked opponent at Kinnick Stadium (seven such wins in the past six years), it's now or never.
We're going with "never," though. Michigan runs the ball too well to get shut down, and J.J. McCarthy isn't going to help Iowa's cause by throwing pick-sixes.
Prediction: Michigan 27, Iowa 10
No. 3 Ohio State Buckeyes (4-0) vs. Rutgers Scarlet Knights (3-1), 3:30 p.m.
In the past eight seasons against Rutgers, Ohio State is 8-0 with a scoring margin of 428-88. The "closest" game was a 49-27 Buckeyes win in 2020, and even that was 42-9 at the end of the third quarter.
And, unfortunately for Rutgers, the Ohio State offense looks better than usual, even with Jaxon Smith-Njigba unable to make an impact since his hamstring injury early in Week 1 against Notre Dame.
One of these years, Rutgers will at least put up a fight against Ohio State.
But it won't be this year.
Prediction: Ohio State 45, Rutgers 10
No. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide (4-0) at No. 20 Arkansas Razorbacks (3-1), 3:30 p.m.
It's hard to remember the last time a team's season swung so heavily on a single play as the moment last week when Arkansas quarterback KJ Jefferson fumbled at the goal line and Texas A&M ran it back for six.
The Hogs were about to take a 13-point lead in a likely win at a neutral site against a ranked opponent. They would have entered this home game against Alabama as an undefeated Top 10 team with a legitimate chance at victory. Instead, they lost to the Aggies, they're probably going to get smoked by Alabama, and their subsequent three consecutive road games against Mississippi State, BYU and Auburn could leave us wondering if the Razorbacks will even become bowl-eligible.
Let's not put the cart before the Hog, though. Arkansas does have a potent rushing game and did put up 35 points in a relatively close call against Alabama in November.
But as was the case in that game, Arkansas will have no answer for Bryce Young. We probably won't be treated to a repeat of that 559-yard, five-touchdown extravaganza, but this Razorbacks secondary is pretty bad. Young went for 385 yards and four touchdowns in last week's dismantling of Vanderbilt. He could do the same in Fayetteville.
Prediction: Alabama 41, Arkansas 16
No. 1 Georgia Bulldogs (4-0) at Missouri Tigers (2-2), 7:30 p.m.
Never take a road game in conference play for granted, but Georgia has won eight consecutive games in this SEC East "rivalry"—and each of the past five by at least two touchdowns.
And the Bulldogs defense has something to prove after shockingly allowing 22 points in last week's win over Kent State. Georgia had held 20 of its previous 21 opponents to 21 points or fewer, including four shutouts, so that it gave up anything to the Golden Flashes, who lost 33-3 at Oklahoma, was surprising.
The Dawgs should have a field day against an offense that was held to 12 and 14 points in losses to Kansas State and Auburn.
Prediction: Georgia 38, Missouri 6
Best Unranked Clashes
Virginia Tech Hokies (2-2) at North Carolina Tar Heels (3-1), 3:30 p.m.
Interesting little "tortoise and the hare" matchup in the ACC. VT's first four games have featured an average of 37.8 points, while UNC games are at 86.0.
West Virginia moved the ball well against the Hokies last week, and even the Notre Dame defense couldn't stop the Tar Heels from scoring at least five offensive touchdowns. Got to think the hare wins this home game and emerges as the top challenger to Pitt in the ACC Coastal Division.
Prediction: North Carolina 38, Virginia Tech 20
Iowa State Cyclones (3-1) at Kansas Jayhawks (4-0), 3:30 p.m.
It is a travesty that this one even falls under "unranked clashes." Kansas should have been ranked a week ago, and it definitely deserves to be ranked now. But the Jayhawks fell just shy as the first team out of the Top 25.
Perhaps a win over Iowa State would do the trick?
The Cyclones have a good defense, but it got picked apart in last week's 31-24 loss to Baylor. Jalon Daniels and the high-scoring Kansas offense should be able to do the same.
Prediction: Kansas 35, Iowa State 27
Georgia Southern Eagles (3-1) at Coastal Carolina Chanticleers (4-0), 4 p.m.
There has been a lot of talk about the Sun Belt this season, what with Appalachian State and Marshall knocking off Top 10 teams in Week 2. And this is a huge conference game with Clay Helton and the Eagles visiting the Chanticleers, who look mighty fine for a third consecutive year.
Georgia Southern and its much-improved offense already delivered the final blow to the Scott Frost era at Nebraska. Can it also out-score Coastal Carolina, which has allowed at least 24 points in each game?
Grayson McCall gets the W at home, but this one comes down to the wire.
Prediction: Coastal Carolina 35, Georgia Southern 31
California Golden Bears (3-1) at Washington State Cougars (3-1), 5:30 p.m.
Can Washington State recover from that heartbreaking loss to Oregon?
Against a Cal defense that just allowed Arizona to rack up 400 passing yards in a game for the first time in nearly three years, yes, probably.
Save for the killer pick-six late against the Ducks, Wazzu's Cameron Ward has had a solid season and should move the ball well against the Golden Bears. And the Washington State defense is good enough to keep Cal from even threatening to repeat last week's 49-point outburst.
Prediction: Washington State 31, California 23
LSU Tigers (3-1) at Auburn Tigers (3-1), 7 p.m.
Can you believe that one of these teams is going to be 4-1?
Auburn should have lost to Missouri several different times in Week 4, and its Week 2 win over San José State wasn't convincing.
At least LSU has looked pretty good—especially via the running game—since getting off to a rough start in those first 41 minutes of Brian Kelly's debut against Florida State. This one won't get as ugly as Auburn's 41-12 home loss to Penn State two weeks ago, but the road team will win this battle of SEC West Tigers.
Five of the last six games in this series were decided by five points or fewer, but LSU wins by double digits in Auburn for the first time since 1998.
Prediction: LSU 30, Auburn 17
Rest of the Slate, Part I
- South Carolina State (1-2) at South Carolina (2-2), Noon: South Carolina 45-10
- Tulane (3-1) at Houston (2-2), 7 p.m.: Houston 35-24
- UTSA (2-2) at Middle Tennessee (3-1), 7:30 p.m.: UTSA 31-27
- San Diego State (2-2) at Boise State (2-2), 8 p.m.: Boise State 21-14
- New Mexico (2-2) at UNLV (3-1), 11 p.m.: UNLV 34-10
- Georgia State (0-4) at Army (1-2), Noon: Army 28-23
- Louisville (2-2) at Boston College (1-3), Noon: Louisville 38-21
- Illinois (3-1) at Wisconsin (2-2), Noon: Wisconsin 24-21
- Navy (1-2) at Air Force (3-1), Noon: Air Force 27-10
- Temple (2-2) at Memphis (3-1), Noon: Memphis 41-13
- Texas State (2-2) at James Madison (3-0), 1:30 p.m.: James Madison 35-14
- Northern Illinois (1-3) at Ball State (1-3), 2 p.m.: Ball State 27-24
- Massachusetts (1-3) at Eastern Michigan (2-2), 2 p.m.: Eastern Michigan 42-17
- Bowling Green (1-3) at Akron (1-3), 3:30 p.m.: Akron 24-21
- Miami (Ohio) (2-2) at Buffalo (1-3), 3:30 p.m.: Buffalo 28-27
- Ohio (2-2) at Kent State (1-3), 3:30 p.m.: Kent State 23-20
- Central Michigan (1-3) at Toledo (2-2), 3:30 p.m.: Toledo 31-20
- Fresno State (1-2) at Connecticut (1-4), 3:30 p.m.: Fresno State 41-14
- Michigan State (2-2) at Maryland (3-1), 3:30 p.m.: Maryland 31-28
- Gardner-Webb (1-3) at Marshall (2-2), 3:30 p.m.: Marshall 35-7
- SMU (2-2) at Central Florida (3-1), 3:30 p.m. ET: SMU 38-34
- The Citadel (1-2) at Appalachian State (2-2), 3:30 p.m.: Appalachian State 42-7
- Florida Atlantic (2-3) at North Texas (2-3), 4 p.m.: Florida Atlantic 27-21
Rest of the Slate, Part II
- South Alabama (3-1) at Louisiana (2-2), 5 p.m.: Louisiana 31-27
- Wagner (0-3) at Syracuse (4-0), 5 p.m.: Syracuse 49-3
- New Hampshire (3-1) at Western Michigan (1-3), 6 p.m.: Western Michigan 34-13
- UTEP (2-3) at Charlotte (1-4), 6 p.m.: UTEP 35-23
- Liberty (3-1) at Old Dominion (2-2), 6 p.m.: Liberty 28-24
- Louisiana-Monroe (2-2) at Arkansas State (1-3), 7 p.m.: Arkansas State 26-20
- Cincinnati (3-1) at Tulsa (2-2), 7 p.m.: Cincinnati 31-19
- Troy (2-2) at Western Kentucky (3-1), 7 p.m.: Western Kentucky 28-21
- Indiana (3-1) at Nebraska (1-3), 7:30 p.m.: Indiana 28-17
- UAB (2-1) at Rice (2-2), 7:30 p.m.: UAB 38-21
- West Virginia (2-2) at Texas (2-2), 7:30 p.m.: Texas 35-21
- Virginia (2-2) at Duke (3-1), 7:30 p.m.: Duke 30-24
- San José State (2-1) at Wyoming (3-2), 7:30 p.m.: Wyoming 27-24
- Florida International (1-2) at New Mexico State (1-4), 8 p.m.: New Mexico State 34-13
- Colorado (0-4) at Arizona (2-2), 9:30 p.m.: Arizona 38-17
- Eastern Washington (1-2) at Florida (2-2), Noon: Florida 42-14
- East Carolina (2-2) at South Florida (1-3), 1 p.m.: East Carolina 31-17