I know that the natural instinct is to panic. You're nervous. It's been over a year since you've been faced with a college football Saturday where Mississippi State was not playing. But don't panic! We'll get through this together. So there's no need to worry about your remote ending up on one of those remotes-gone-wild late night shows, because we're going to give you the structure you need to keep your remote (and your sanity) in line today as you view college football without any maroon and white.
When you take an initial look at week 5's slate of games, let's be honest, it's not the prettiest. If you put this week's games in a lineup with all of the other weekends of football, this weekend would be Hillary Clinton while the others would be Sofia Vergara. Saturday's marquee game seems to be Ohio State at Michigan State, which would be at best a 4th or 5th best matchup on any other weekend. But it's what we have, so we must make do, and we must make a plan to figure out what is worth watching today and what is not from gameday all the way up to the late night game on the west coast.
Week 4 picks review
5-2 [Got: Florida, South Carolina, LSU, Notre Dame, Oregon. Missed: Oklahoma, Clemson]
Although I thought some games would be closer and some games worse, I ended up doing decent in week 4 with regards to picking over or under the spread. I, against what should have been better judgement, picked Clemson, and took what seemed to be the safe bet of Oklahoma to cover the 14 at home. I could not have been more wrong on either, but luckily the other 5 games worked out to where I still finished the week decently.
What We're Watching Today [All Times Central, Y'all]
College Gameday - ESPN - 8a.m. to 11a.m.
The gang is in East Lansing this weekend, and is in that mood you're in when your mom tells you you have to go spend the weekend with your Aunt Fay even though she smells weird and has all of those cats. Gameday pretty much has no choice, so off to cover Ohio State at Michigan State they go. Expect a lot of Urban Meyer joke related signs tomorrow, most of which will feature bro high-fiving after they're seen on TV. Desmond will punch the whole front row of MSU fans just on principal, and Lee Corso will invite Samantha Steele to have tea and crumpets with him and his
doll collection friends while he's wearing no pants. All because he didn't take his medication. Herbstreit will hide his homerism for as long as he can, but eventually it will shine through when his 15 boys run on the stage all with his Ohio State jersey on. You'll be pissed at first, but then you're wife will slap you and tell you to shut your mouth because Kirk Herbstreit can talk to her anyway he wants to [she fans herself].
Viewer's Guide Game of the Week
(25) Baylor at (9) West Virginia - FX - 11a.m.
Points: GIVE THEM ALL TO ME. Seriously, this game could legitimately be 80+ combined points. Both teams feature a healthy offense, and West Virginia features one of the best QB's in the country in Geno Smith. Rest assured, this isn't the Baylor team of 2011, but they are still decent. I would expect them to hang with West Virginia for a bit, but Geno Smith and company eventually run away with it.
Spread - West Virginia by 11
How I'd bet [hypothetically] - This game may be competitive, but in a game that features two teams that can score any time, that doesn't necessarily mean it will be within the spread of 11. I say West Virginia beats the spread and wins by at least 14, probably 21.
Late morning battle for an SEC win
Arkansas at Texas A&M - SEC Network - 11:21a.m.
WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Pig... sadness? You'd have to think a hog call at this point in Arkansas' season would be nothing more than a hog whimper, and I wouldn't expect that to change in week 5. Arkansas's top 10 start to the season disappeared quickly, and I'm not so sure their free fall ends this weekend. Texas A&M has a pretty good football team, and I expect Johnny Manziel to have another solid day against this Arkansas defense. The game will probably feature some points on both sides, but expect A&M to be on top when the dust settles in this one.
Spread - A&M by 14
How I'd bet [hypothetically] - A&M on the over here, I'm going to say they'll win by 17 at home to secure their first SEC win.
(14) Ohio State at (20) Michigan State - ABC - 2:30p.m.
"I'm legitimately excited about this game!" - no one below the mason-dixon line. Seriously, this is tabbed as the nation game of the week (College Gameday is there), so you know it's a slow week. Braxton Miller is unreal, but he's essentially the only threat Ohio State features. Michigan State has Le'Veon Bell, but the Spartans are just hoping to have a better showing than they did two weeks ago against Notre Dame at home. Both teams are good not great, and in the end I think the dark Meyer rises. I'm taking Ohio State to take this one on the road.
Spread - Michigan State by 3
How I'd bet [hypothetically] - Michigan State does not cover, as Ohio State comes away victorious in East Lansing.
Tennessee at (5) Georgia - CBS - 2:30p.m.
Before the Florida-Tennessee game, I might have told you I was looking forward to this matchup. Now? Now I'm just concerned that Jarvis Jones will mistake Derek Dooley's orange pants for red, and charge him like a bull, essentially ending his life. Although Tennessee fans wouldn't necessarily be saddened by that, they do hope that Tennessee can get back on the track they were on after a big opening weekend win against North Carolina State. It appears that the Florida team they lost to is legitimate, and we know that Georgia certainly is. I think Tennessee isn't as bad as the last two weeks seem to indicate, but they are just not good enough to take Georgia in Athens.
Spread - Georgia by 14
How I'd bet [hypothetically] - Georgia covers, winning by at least 17 if not more.
(6) South Carolina at Kentucky - ESPN 2 - 6p.m.
The way Kentucky has played so far this season, South Carolina seems like a sure thing to score as many as they please in Lexington tomorrow. But here's the thing about South Carolina: they are primed for a let down in this spot. The gamecocks have Georgia, LSU, and Florida lined up in the next three following weeks, so there is a really good chance they overlook the wildcats altogether. The problem then for Kentucky? They're still not talented enough to win even if they're overlooked. I think the wildcats keep it closer than they should, but in the end the talent of Marcus Lattimore and the South Carolina defense prevail. I'm taking USC.
Spread - South Carolina by 21
How I'd bet [hypothetically] - I'm taking South Carolina to win, but not to cover.
(12) Texas at Oklahoma State - FOX - 6p.m.
This all of a sudden becomes, at least slightly, a more interesting game for State fans, as we appear to be on a collision course with the Cowboys for the opening game of 2013. Oklahoma State is a Top 25 team, they just did not play like it several weeks ago against Arizona in Tuscon. Texas will be tested, but I think in the end they're better (yes that feels weird to say about Texas on the road) than Okie State is, and they prevail here. Game is close, but Texas forever [in my best Tim Riggins voice].
Spread - Texas by 3
How I'd bet [hypothetically] - I'm taking Texas to cover and to win.
Ole Miss at (1) Alabama - ESPN - 8:15p.m.
I am a bit torn here, as Ole Miss is our arch rival, but Alabama is the clear contender for the SEC West lead along with LSU. But when I'm honest with myself, I know that Ole Miss beating Alabama is about as feasible as me winning back to back lotteries. Alabama will not only win, but they will win by 40+, and afterwards in the press conference Nick Saban will spend 40 minutes discussing how disgusted he is with their play and questioning their heart in the last 30 minutes when they were up by 45.
Spread - Alabama by 30
How I'd bet [hypothetically] - Alabama wins by double the spread if they want to, but they don't, so they'll settle for 42 (but Saban will not be pleased with that).
Night Cap (If you have the channel)
(18) Oregon State at Arizona - Pac-12 Network - 9p.m.
I'm not even sure if the Pac-12 Network is any more functioning that The Longhorn Network or the Death Star, but if you have the channel than I would suggest you check this game out. Oregon State is coming into Tuscon off of back to back wins over (at the time) ranked opponents. Stop me if you really expected that out of the Beavers this year. Oregon State is clearly better than they were given credit for to begin the season, but so is Arizona. And although the wildcats struggled in Eugene last weekend, who wouldn't struggle there. I think Arizona bounces back this weekend and grabs a second victory over a ranked team in three tries.
Spread - Arizona by 3
How I'd bet [hypothetically] - Arizona to cover.