Tailgate Pick ‘Em Week 5 Predictions Including Washington vs USC

Washington vs USC
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Week 5 doesn’t have any elite matchups but the college football should still be fun and fast with the PAC-12 taking centerstage with battles between one-loss teams Washington State at Utah, and Washington vs USC. Steen Kirby, Yesh Ginsburg, and John Bava offer their predictions.

#12 Penn State at Maryland (Friday in College Park, MD)
Line: Penn State by 6.5

Steen: After escaping an upset minded Pitt, Penn State now faces another regional rival that built a lot of momentum in their first two games only to see it disappear with a loss to Temple in game 3. Maryland has shown they are capable on offense but consistency has not been this programs strong suit. Penn State also has more talent and should be able to do just enough to win this much anticipated Friday night lights contest. Penn State 28, Maryland 21

Yesh: This screams “trap game” so much that Penn State better be expecting it. Maryland is still a good team with a strong offense, even with the egg it laid against Temple. The Terrapins will move the ball against Penn State. The only question is how many stands Penn State can make in its own territory, and whether the offense is up to fighting back. Maryland 38, Penn State 35

John: The conference opener for these two sides takes place under the Friday night lights in College Park. Both should be well-rested as each is coming off their bye weeks. What makes this game tough to gauge is the lack of consistency each team has showed so far. The Terps blew out a ranked Syracuse team only to fall to Temple the following week. The Nittany Lions trailed Buffalo at halftime before turning on the jets in the second half and didn’t look convincing against Pittsburgh a week later. Penn State is an undefeated 17-0-1 against Maryland when they’re ranked and the Terps aren’t, and that trend continues this week. Penn State 34, Maryland 20

#18 Virginia at #10 Notre Dame (Saturday in Notre Dame, IN)
Line: Notre Dame by 12.5

Steen: Both UVA and Notre Dame have shown resiliency early in the season. UVA came back against both Florida State and Old Dominion in their last two games and are off to a hot 4-0 start. Notre Dame was disappointed to lose to Georgia, but losing to an elite team by just a touchdown on the road is far from the worst result to have at this point in the season. The Irish still have dreams of finishing the year in the top 5 and they’ll have to win this home game to do it. Virginia will still have a good season, but I don’t see them matching up well here. Notre Dame 35, Virginia 17

Yesh: Virginia started way too slow against Old Dominion, and that’s a bad sign. Notre Dame is a solid team, and angry about losing to Georgia. Expect a few more outbursts from Brian Kelly during an easy Notre Dame win. Notre Dame 42, Virginia 20

John: This is just the third all-time meeting between these two programs and in the two prior games, Notre Dame was ranked in the AP Top 10. That doesn’t change this weekend with the Irish coming in at number 10. But it’s the first time that Virginia comes into the game as a top-25 team. The ACC Coastal division appears to be up for grabs this year and Bronco Mendenhall’s side might be able to take advantage. But they face an ND side who looked competitive in a narrow loss to Georgia which means they’re not completely out of the CFP mix. They should be motivated to win convincingly in South Bend. Notre Dame 41, Virginia 24

#21 USC at #17 Washington (Saturday in Seattle, WA)
Line: Washington by 10

Steen: After an OT loss to BYU, the USC season was already looking to be in tatters, but the Trojans showed spirit and knocked off Utah the following week to move to 3-1 with three quality wins early in the season. Washington thumped BYU last week, but their PAC-12 season started off on the wrong foot with a narrow loss to Cal in week 2. Playing at home, I expect Washington respond and remain in the PAC-12 title hunt, USC is a capable team, but they aren’t reliable. Washington 34, USC 31

Yesh: What can we expect from USC in any week? Maybe we’ll never know. This team is one of the best in the country when it wants to be, but is also capable of surprisingly poor play. Washington, meanwhile, is solid, and seems to have gotten its one bad performance out early. Washington 42, USC 31

John: It’s been a next man up philosophy for USC at quarterback after they first lost J.T. Daniels for the season and then his replacement Kedon Slovis suffered a concussion. They didn’t miss a beat last week as Matt Fink came in and pulled off an upset of a Utah team that was ranked 10th at the time. It led to the Trojans entering the top 25 ahead of this week’s clash against Washington which is now a battle between two ranked teams. A hallmark of the Huskies under Chris Petersen has been a formidable defense and they’re currently allowing the fewest passing yards among Pac-12 teams. Still, expect the Trojans to keep it close. Washington 30, USC 24

Mississippi State at #7 Auburn (Saturday in Auburn, AL)
Line: Auburn by 10.5

Steen: Mississippi State would love to spoil Auburn’s early confidence with an upset win, but the odds are looking long. Star running back Kylin Hill will carry the weight of their upset bid, while undefeated Auburn looks to build on what has been solid defensive performances in all four games this season. The Auburn defense will tie up Hill and the Bulldogs enough to secure Auburn the win. Auburn 24, Mississippi State 13

Yesh: This line is a trap, right? It has to be a trap. The Tigers are at home against a team that has injury issues and lost to Kansas State. Why is this line only 10.5 points? I have no idea. But I’d be shocked if the Tigers lose, and I don’t expect it to be close. Auburn 41, Mississippi State 20

John: Auburn might be for real. They’ve held serve against both ranked opponents they’ve faced this year. It included an impressive road win over Texas A&M last week in the always hostile environment that is Kyle Field. They’ve done it on offense primarily with a crushing ground game that leads the SEC in rushing yards and is second to only Georgia in touchdowns. It’s taken a lot of pressure off freshman quarterback Bo Nix. Mississippi State struggles to defend the run which isn’t a recipe for success on the road. Auburn 27, Mississippi State 13

#24 Kansas State at Oklahoma State (Saturday in Stillwater, OK)
Line: Oklahoma State by 4.5

Steen: This game will test whether the undefeated Wildcats are for real as they travel to face highpowered OK State in Stillwater. The Cowboys were left heartbroken by a close loss to Texas last week, but they remain hopeful regarding their chances in the Big 12 and have consistently been able to put up points against the competition. Oklahoma State’s athletes should give them an advantage in this one, and they will hold serve at home, even if their defense struggles again. Oklahoma State 38, Kansas State 31

Yesh: Oklahoma State was this close to coming up with an onside kick against Texas, but couldn’t quite pull it off. Now they meet undefeated Kansas State, who looks like a very solid team to start the Chris Klieman era. Kansas State doesn’t have enough talent across the board, so the luck will eventually run out, but I think they’ll squeak out this one. Kansas State 35, Oklahoma State 34

John: Kansas State is one of the more pleasant surprises early on the 2019 season. In their first year under former North Dakota State head coach Chris Klieman, the Wildcats remain unbeaten and have now snuck into the top 25 after a road win over Mississippi State. That occurred two weeks ago which means they come into Stillwater to face Oklahoma State off their bye week. The Cowboys are coming off a hard-fought battle against Texas in which they covered the spread. This is a tough one to get a feel for so I’m going to try to hedge my bets and say OK State wins a close one. Oklahoma State 33, Kansas State 31

Washington State at #19 Utah (Saturday in Salt Lake City, UT)
Line: Utah by 5.5

Steen: How will Washington State (especially their defense) respond after giving up 67 points in an upset loss against UCLA last week? We’ll find out here as they travel to face a ranked Utah team that sputtered against USC but is still capable of winning the PAC-12. Washington State has no trouble scoring, but the defense is a real problem. I expect a shootout, with the Cougars surviving in the end. Washington State 49, Utah 38

Yesh: What a disappointing performance from Utah last week. That was not the Utes team that everyone has expected so far. We know they’re capable of impressive performances, and they’ll get to take out their frustration on a Washington State team that just suffered the most heartbreaking of losses. Utah 52, Washington State 28

John: I don’t know what to say about Utah. They came into this season as a dark horse CFP candidate, had the potential to make a statement against USC who’s playing a third-string quarterback, and they find a way to lose. That might lead to the idea that they’re reeling heading into this weekend’s contest. But their opponent might be also. Washington State quarterback Anthony Gordon threw a whopping nine touchdowns against UCLA last week. Yet the Bruins somehow managed to escape from Pullman with a 67-63 win. What compels me to pick the Cougars is the fact Utah hasn’t been a reliable cover recently as they’re 1-6 against the spread over their last seven. Washington State 38, Utah 34

 

Washington vs USC Main Photo:

SEATTLE, WA – NOVEMBER 12: Tight end Darrell Daniels #15 of the Washington Huskies rushes against defensive back Ajene Harris #27 of the USC Trojans on November 12, 2016 at Husky Stadium in Seattle, Washington. The Trojans defeated the Huskies 24-13.
(Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)