CFB Week 5 Picks: Ride With Arkansas, Notre Dame ATS In Top Games


The first month of the college football season treated us in much different ways.

I used a hot first few weeks to maintain an above .500-record.

Meanwhile, Jon Jansen just wishes he was at . 500 right now after a rough few weeks.

There's no time to feel bad for Jansen about his first month of picks, or my meager .500 record last week after I shouted from the mountaintops that I loved the board.

It's all about looking forward to the games in front of us and to have a winning record this week.

Positive vibes only as we dive into the Week 5 College Football plays. You may have heard there are some big games on Saturday.

CFB Week 5 Picks

Joe Tansey (22-17 Overall; 6-6 Week 4)

Houston (+3.5) at Tulsa (Friday, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN)

Houston is better in a handful of categories than Tulsa.

First, the Cougars have the better overall record. They also have superior defensive marks. They allowed 150 fewer total yards per game and held their last three opponents to 20 points or fewer.

Houston is riding the momentum wave off a come-from-behind win over Navy and quarterback Clayton Tune is playing much better after throwing four picks in Week 1 versus Texas Tech.

Iowa (-3.5) at Maryland (Friday, 8 p.m. ET, FS1)

The more I look at this matchup, the more I’m comfortable buying with the hook in favor of Iowa.

Maryland is off to a solid start, but it struggled to win its only Big Ten game against Illinois in Week 3.

Iowa’s defense is stellar. It has not allowed an opponent to score more than 17 points in four games.

As long as the Hawkeyes defense plays to their high standard, Spencer Petras and the offense should do enough to pull away by more than a field goal.

Texas (-3.5) at TCU ( Saturday, Noon ET, ABC)

The line movement has gone in my direction in this game.

Texas was up around a 5.5-point favorite all week and then it dropped in the last 24 hours.

I like the Longhorns even more with the smaller number. Texas is coming off a demolition of Texas Tech in Week 4 and TCU has been dealing with all sorts of distractions in the build-up to this game.

TCU head coach Gary Patterson has been preoccupied with complaining about how SMU treated its win over the Horned Frogs last weekend.

Texas is the better team and TCU may suffer a hangover from the deflating in-state loss from last week.

Arkansas (+17.5) at Georgia (Saturday, Noon ET, ESPN)

Arkansas will not beat Georgia.

However, the Hogs will stay within three touchdowns, or two touchdowns and a field goal of the Bulldogs.

I can’t fully trust J.T. Daniels to solely beat Arkansas, which he may have to do if the Razorbacks stifle Georgia’s running game.

All Arkansas has to do is score once or twice against Georgia’s strong defense and it should cover.

I don’t expect a ton of points out of the marquee game in the early window.

Minnesota at Purdue (-2.5) (Saturday. Noon ET, BTN)

There’s no way you can trust Minnesota right now.

The Golden Gophers just lost to Bowling Green at home. They struggled to put away a bad Miami (Ohio) team in Week 2. Their only big win is over a bad Colorado team .

Purdue was competitive with Notre Dame and it proved it could win a few tight games of different styles against Illinois and Oregon State.

Give me the home side as a short favorite in what might be a lopsided affair.

USC (-7.5) at Colorado (2 p.m. ET, Pac-12 Network)

I can’t quit USC.

The Trojans are not a good football team.

The good news for USC is that Colorado is a much worse football team.

USC is away from southern California this weekend and I think that will help it refocus and beat a weaker squad, similar to what it did against Washington State two weeks ago.

How bad is Colorado? The Buffs are averaging 239 total yards and 13.4 points per game. They reached a double-digit point mark once this season.

Cincinnati at Notre Dame (+2.5) (Saturday, 2:30 p.m. ET, NBC)

I bought in on Notre Dame at this spread on Monday.

The line has not dropped much as of Friday morning. It might flip in the Irish’s favor as more money comes in.

Notre Dame navigated its early-season struggles well enough to win three games and then it looked like a strong team against an inept Wisconsin offense.

Cincinnati will be a tougher foe than the Badgers, but I still think the Irish win this one easily.

All of the talk going into the game will be about the Bearcats’ playoff prospects and that should motivate Notre Dame even more to prove a point inside its home stadium.

The Irish have the better individual play makers in running back Kyren Williams and tight end Michael Mayer. Look for them to make some big plays to put Brian Kelly’s side in front.

UCF (-16.5) at Navy (Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, CBSSN)

Navy is just a bad football team right now.

The Midshipmen are 0-3, scored over 10 points once and were dealt a huge blow after giving up a 10-point halftime lead on the road to Houston.

UCF should throw all over a Navy defense that allowed 357.7 total yards per game to open the season.

Look for the Knights to bounce back here following their tough loss to Louisville two weeks ago.

South Florida at SMU (-20.5) (Saturday, 4 p.m. ET, ESPNU)

This is one of the biggest mismatches on the Week 5 board.

SMU averages 549.8 total yards per game. South Florida allows 504.8 yards per game.

SMU’s defense is not great, but it should do enough to stop the putrid USF offense on its home turf.

SMU quarterback Tanner Mordecai has 1,268 passing yards and 20 touchdowns. Those numbers will grow immensely on Saturday.

Liberty at UAB (-1.5) (7 p.m. ET, CBSSN)

The underrated game of the week.

Liberty and UAB are two of the best Group of Five programs in the FBS, but there is a clear advantage I see in this matchup.

UAB is opening a new football stadium. The new building marks another step in the program’s growth after it came back from the dead.

The Blazers will be playing with a lot of emotion. Oh and by the way, they have a strong defense that can slow down Malik Willis and Co.

UAB conceded 27 points in its three victories. Its defensive totals are skewed at the moment because it ran into the Georgia buzzsaw in Week 2.

Northwestern at Nebraska (-12.5) (Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET, BTN)

I didn’t think I would say this a month ago, but I’ve been impressed with Nebraska in the last two weeks.

The Huskers held both Oklahoma and Michigan State to 23 points and they had a chance to win both contests.

On Saturday, Scott Frost’s team finally gets a chance to play at home again and it does so against one of the weakest teams in the Big Ten.

At some point, Adrian Martinez is going to have a big game without any turnovers. I’ll call my shot and say it happens here with the Nebraska defense backing him up.

Washington (+100) at Oregon State (Saturday, 9 p.m. ET, Pac-12 Network)

Washington was a 2.5-point underdog for most of the week, but the number dropped recently so it’s just easier to take the money line in this spot.

The Huskies were one of the most disappointing teams in the first two weeks, but they rallied back to win their last two games.

Oregon State is in a prime letdown spot after beating USC by 18 points on the road last week.

Despite the two early losses, Washington is only giving up 17.8 points per game. Defense wins this one for the Huskies.

Jon Jansen (5-11; 1-3 Week 4)

BYU at Utah State (+9.5) (Friday, 9 p.m. ET, CBSSN)

FINE!

I'll reluctantly go back to Utah State here. Look, this is absolutely the right play in this game and a good bet for Week 5.

Obviously Utah State was a disappointment last week, but don't expect that to happen again against BYU. While BYU is ranked, and undefeated, I'm still not convinced that this BYU team is that good.

Its defense has been stellar, but the offense on the other hand has been extremely average. That fact that USF's inept offense was able to find cracks in the BYU defense last week means that Logan Bonner and co. can do the same.

Bowling Green (+16.5) at vs. Kent State (Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+)

Look, I'm desperate at this point.

Kent State hasn't looked very good, 1-3 this season, but in fairness, it has played some good Power 5 teams.

However, I think it's safe to say that Kent State has looked disappointing so far and not what we expected of it.

The same can be said for Bowling Green. Don't think many expected Bowling Green to beat Minnesota. let alone cover the 31-point spread, but it did. Bowling Green has been competitive all season, even in the first half against Tennessee, and I think the Falcons will be competitive in this MAC matchup. Falcons will be 5-0 ATS by the end of this game!

Indiana at Penn State (-12.5) (Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET, ABC)

Despite this being a typical letdown spot for Penn State, especially against Indiana in recent years, I think it's time to realize the tremendous season PSU has put together so far.

The win against Villanova was PSU's first loss ATS, but that is its only blemish. This is the FOURTH straight home game for the Nittany Lions.

Indiana has struggled against some of the better defenses on its schedule. The Hoosiers scored 24 points against Cincinnati and only six against Iowa. This offense just doesn't look the same as it did last season and now it has to go up against one of the best defenses in the country. The number is a bit large, but Penn State should roll in this game.

Auburn at LSU (-3) (Saturday, 9 p.m. ET, ESPN)

Sticking to a safe trend here, although I'm not that comfortable with betting LSU.

However, I don't think LSU is as bad as even I made them out to be. Max Johnson has looked fine and should be good enough to put up some points on this Auburn defense.

The reason why I'm betting this is Bo Nix. His numbers drop significantly on the road, even during a pandemic season. Here are the point totals of Auburn road games dating back to last season: 20, 24, 13, 35, 22 and 6. That's only 20 PPG on the road dating back to last season. Not good. Geaux Tigers.


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