Carges College Primer: Week 5

September 29, 2017
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Pete Carges
@Carges550


After Saturday’s games we will officially be a quarter of the way through the college football season and I would venture to say we still don’t know a whole lot more than we knew a month ago. We know that road underdogs are more dangerous than a disrespected Nick Saban team on CBS. We know that Mike Gundy’s mullet, while beautiful, may not have the magical powers we thought. And most importantly, we know that the always polarizing world of politics and National Anthem controversy has not reared its ugly head in the college ranks…just yet.

From politics, we move to Carges Picks. We held steady last week, going 2-2 and keeping our .500 record for the season. Not that any of you will believe this, but I had strongly considered both Vanderbilt and Kentucky for my upset special last week. Had I went with the Commodores, I think it’s safe to say that would have been the end of the Primer as we know it. But alas, I hit you with the Boilermakers and while it didn’t pan out last week, I’ve got a good feeling about all of this week’s picks, as a 4-0 distraction from the craziness of everything that goes on off the field on Sunday will get you through the weekend.

 

Week 5 Can’t Miss Games

  • 2 - Clemson at 12 - Virginia Tech - 8 p.m. (ABC)

Hokie fans have longed to be back in the spotlight after a few mediocre years, and they’ve certainly got their wish with a huge opportunity in Prime Time. This Virginia Tech team has a nice win against West Virginia under their belt, followed by some cupcake dismantling leading up the ACC opener.

Clemson is coming off of a so-so performance on the road against Boston College, but it’s pretty clear these Tigers get up for the big games, which this one certainly is.

Virginia Tech can score with the best of them, but I’m not sure they can survive for 60 minutes against this Clemson D. Last year’s quarterback Jerod Evans surprised a lot of people when he decided to enter the draft, but dual-threat freshman Josh Jackson has filled in nicely for the Hokies.

I expect this one to be a lot different than the ACC Championship game last year, Virginia Tech will jump out early and try to hang on, but Clemson will get the job done late and pave a clearer path to the playoff, until these two meet again in December.

MY PICK: Clemson -8

 

  • 5 - USC at 16 - Washington State - Friday at 10:30 p.m. (ESPN)

It’s Friday night, we just got paid, and it’s time for #pac12afterdark. This will be a wild one.

USC got all the hype coming into this season, but with the exception of the second half of the Stanford game, really hasn’t looked all that great.

Washington State, meanwhile, has looked okay in their four victories, but needed overtime to beat Boise State, who got womped by a weak Virginia team last Friday night. Wazzu will be coming in hot with Mike Leach’s air raid offense, and Sam Darnold is going to have to channel his inner Matt Leinart to keep up.

The Cougars have been a trendy upset pick by the experts this week, but the line has shifted towards USC, which helps solidify my thoughts that this is the week the Men of Troy finally put it all together. USC teams of the post Pete Carroll era have a history of choking in September games, but I think that was put to bed with close wins over the past few weeks. The Trojans get the job done in Pullman, and Darnold props himself right back in the Heisman conversation.

MY PICK: USC -5

 

  • 16 - Oklahoma State at Texas Tech - 8 p.m. (FOX)

Hold on to your hats, folks. This is going to be the offensive showdown of the year.

Over the past six years, this game has been the Big 12 on steroids with at least 70 points scored in every game since 2011, including 80 or more from 2012-on. Will it be different this year? All signs point to no.

I will say Texas Tech does appear to have an improved defense, as they shut down Houston’s attack last week. The same cannot be said for Oklahoma State however, as they got gashed for a million yards on the ground a week ago in a deflating home loss to TCU. The Pokes still have a shot at the playoff, but they are going to need some impressive wins over the next few months to do so.

The Red Raiders came into this season with the most handsome coach in the NCAA on the hot seat, but have responded with an undefeated record so far.

Gus Johnson is on the call, the bean will be spinning and the unfathomable over will be hit.

MY PICK: The OVER 85.5

 

***UPSET SPECIAL***

  • 7 - Georgia at Tennessee (+7.5) - 3:30 p.m. (CBS)

Say what you will about Butch Jones (and believe me, everything has been said) but he always seems to have his best coaching performances against Georgia. Last year’s double hail mary win, a few years ago squeaking it out in overtime, this game always has a flare for the dramatic and I don’t expect anything different this year.

These two squads are certainly trending in opposite directions, but I think the hype may be a little too high for Georgia, while Tenessee is certainly better than just a four-point win against UMass. A home underdog rival is always a dangerous threat, and the Vols will play just well enough on Saturday to keep their coach’s job safe…for now.

 

Other Games to Watch:

  • Florida State at Wake Forest - 3:30 p.m. (ABC)
  • 24 - Mississippi State at 13 - Auburn - 6 p.m. (ESPN)
  • Ole Miss at 1 - Alabama - 9 p.m. (ESPN)
     

My College Football Playoff (if the season ended today):

  • 1 - Clemson vs 4 - Penn State
  • 2 - Alabama vs 3 - Oklahoma

Next four in: USC, Michigan, Washington, Wisconsin


Heisman Front-runners:

  1. Baker Mayfield - QB - Oklahoma
  2. Saquon Barkley - RB - Penn State
  3. Sam Darnold - QB - USC
  4. Lamar Jackson - QB - Lousiville
  5. Jalen Hurts - QB - Alabama