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College Football Picks Week 5: Predictions and Odds for Top 25 Schedule

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistSeptember 23, 2019

ATHENS, GEORGIA - SEPTEMBER 21: Cole Kmet #84 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish celebrates his second quarter touchdown with Tommy Tremble #24 while playing the Georgia Bulldogs at Sanford Stadium on September 21, 2019 in Athens, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

A trip to Georgia was just the start of Notre Dame's gauntlet in September and October. 

The Fighting Irish return home in Week 5 to take on Virginia, which has emerged as the second-best ACC program behind top-rated Clemson. 

By the end of October, Brian Kelly's team will have played four ranked foes, with USC and Michigan on the docket after a meeting with Bowling Green. 

Saturday's matchup at Notre Dame Stadium presents the Cavaliers with an opportunity to prove their worth on a national stage while rebounding from a poor performance in a win over Old Dominion. 

In the other Top 25 showdown, Washington plays host to USC in a clash of two of the final College Football Playoff hopes for the Pac-12. 

                                

Week 5 Schedule and Odds

All Times ET.

Odds from Vegas Insider; predictions against the spread in bold.

     

Friday, September 27 

No. 12 Penn State (-6) at Maryland (8 p.m., FS1) 

Arizona State at No. 15 California (-4.5) (10:30 p.m., ESPN) 

             

Saturday, September 28 

Texas Tech at No. 6 Oklahoma (-24.5) (Noon)

Northwestern at No. 8 Wisconsin (-23.5) (Noon, ABC) 

Middle Tennessee at No. 14 Iowa (-23.5) (Noon, ESPN2) 

Rutgers at No. 20 Michigan (-28) (Noon, BTN) 

No. 23 Texas A&M (-22.5) vs. Arkansas (Noon, ESPN) 

No. 1 Clemson (-26) at North Carolina (3:30 p.m., ABC) 

Ole Miss at No. 2 Alabama (-34.5) (3:30 p.m., CBS) 

No. 18 Virginia at No. 10 Notre Dame (-11) (3:30 p.m., NBC) 

No. 21 USC at No. 17 Washington (-10) (3:30 p.m., Fox) 

Indiana at No. 25 Michigan State (-14.5) (3:30 p.m., BTN) 

Towson at No. 9 Florida (N/A) (4 p.m., SEC Network) 

Mississippi State at No. 7 Auburn (-10.5) (7 p.m., ESPN) 

UConn at No. 22 UCF  (-42.5) (7 p.m., ESPN2) 

No. 24 Kansas State at Oklahoma State (-4) (7 p.m., ESPN+) 

No. 5 Ohio State (-17) at Nebraska (7:30 p.m., ABC) 

Washington State at No. 19 Utah (-6) (10 p.m., FS1) 

             

Predictions

Notre Dame 27, Virginia 19

ATHENS, GEORGIA - SEPTEMBER 21: Ian Book #12 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish looks to throw a second half pass next to Devonte Wyatt #95 of the Georgia Bulldogs at Sanford Stadium on September 21, 2019 in Athens, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Ima
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

A year ago, Notre Dame ran rampant through its five ACC opponents, as it won by a combined 198-80.

In those matchups, the Fighting Irish limited three opponents under 20 points, and in their ranked clash with Syracuse, they held the Orange to three points. 

Due to the ACC's lack of depth, Virginia is just 1-2 versus Top 25 sides since 2017. It has a 1-1 record against Miami and fell to Virginia Tech in 2017. 

Saturday marks Virginia's lone chance to obtain a win over a ranked foe since none of the teams on its ACC schedule are close to the Top 25. 

Dual-threat quarterback Bryce Perkins has to play a near-perfect game on the road. In two of his four games, he has thrown a pair of interceptions. 

If the Virginia signal-caller does that Saturday, he may doom Virginia's hopes of springing an upset. 

The senior may face some trouble versus Notre Dame's secondary, as the Irish concede 157.3 passing yards per game, which is the 17th-best number in the nation. 

The Cavaliers could achieve success on the ground against a rush defense that has been gashed for 204.3 yards per game, but they are coming off a 69-yard performance at home versus Old Dominion. 

No matter which way the game leans, it might be low scoring, as both teams have conceded 18 points per game. 

The difference could be the connection between Ian Book and Cole Kmet. The pair connected for 108 yards on nine passes in the tight end's first game back from injury. 

If they can carve up the middle of the Virginia defense, it may be too much for the visitors to handle over four quarters. 

                     

Washington 34, USC 20

PROVO, UT - SEPTEMBER 21 : Jacob Eason #10 of the Washington Huskies throws a pass against the BYU Cougars at LaVell Edwards Stadium on September 21, 2019 in Provo, Utah. (Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images)
Chris Gardner/Getty Images

By the time Saturday ends, the Pac-12 will lose another potential playoff contender, as either Washington or USC will suffer a second defeat.  

The winner of Saturday's clash at Husky Stadium should join Oregon in the quest to be the conference's top representative in the rankings. 

The Huskies were slowed by California, who might have a say in the Pac-12 postseason discussion, in a weather-delayed one-point loss in Week 2.

Since then, Jacob Eason has 552 passing yards and six touchdowns in victories over Hawai'i and BYU. 

The Georgia transfer is going up against the 90th-ranked passing defense in terms of yards per game and one that concedes 7.2 yards per attempt. 

USC gave up 280 yards through the air to BYU's Zach Wilson in its first road trip of 2019, which resulted in an overtime defeat. 

Conversely, Washington enters in a tie for 31st in points per game allowed with 18.3. That could mean trouble for the Trojans offense, no matter who is under center. 

USC head coach Clay Helton said he is taking a day-to-day approach with Kedon Slovis, per Adam Grosbard of the Orange County Register.

Matt Fink excelled in Slovis' absence with 351 passing yards and three touchdowns versus Utah, but replicating those statistics on the road is a tough task. 

In 2018, the Huskies did not allow a team to reach 25 points at home, and that trend continued in the 20-19 defeat to Cal. 

If Chris Petersen's side can produce close to, or at, the same level, it should be able to halt USC's offense and allow Eason to open up an advantage. 

                       

Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.

Statistics obtained from ESPN.com.

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