Home / FOOTBALL / College football picks, schedule: Predictions against the spread for the key top 25 games in Week 5 – CBS Sports

College football picks, schedule: Predictions against the spread for the key top 25 games in Week 5 – CBS Sports

Following a week filled with top-notch action, Week 5 takes a bit of a step back, though there are still some top 25 matches set for Saturday. The 3:30 p.m. ET window not only features No. 1 Clemson and No. 2 Alabama in action, it also has No. 10 Notre Dame hosting No. 18 Virginia and No. 17 Washington welcoming No. 21 USC to town in a key Pac-12 showdown. Upsets may be abound Saturday, which could drastically affect the top 25 polls as we are still about a month out from the first College Football Playoff Rankings.

With action starting early in the day and continuing late into the night, let’s take a look at the biggest games on the schedule Saturday along with our college football picks and predictions for what will transpire in those contests. Our CBS Sports college football experts have picked every game both straight up and against the spread, giving you ample opportunity to decide how to make your picks ahead of kickoff.

All times Eastern

Ole Miss at No. 2 Alabama (-37.5) — 3:30 p.m. on CBS: This will be a dial-a-score game for Nick Saban, and he will dial up a big one on Saturday afternoon. Why? Because the rushing attack really hasn’t provided the balance that he said the team needed this summer. You’ll still see plenty of Tua Tagovailoa through the air, but expect Damien Harris and the rest of the running backs to get a heavy workload deep into the third quarter, have success and lead the Crimson Tide to a big win and cover. Pick: Alabama (-37.5) — Barrett Sallee

No. 18 Virginia at No. 10 Notre Dame (-11.5) — 3:30 p.m. on NBC: To be honest, I prefer betting the total in this game than the spread, and I like the under. If I’m taking a side, I lean toward Virginia. The Cavaliers defense has done a terrific job of limiting explosion plays from opposing offenses, and chunk plays are something the Irish offense has struggled with against teams not named New Mexico. So while Notre Dame’s talent advantage will likely win out in the end, I think the Cavaliers are more likely to keep this within the number than not. Pick: Virginia (+11.5) — Tom Fornelli

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No. 21 USC at No. 17 Washington (-10.5) — 3:30 p.m. on Fox: Other than its weather-delayed loss to Cal, Washington has handled its business. USC is theoretically good enough to win this game, but if Matt Fink is indeed the quarterback, I don’t think he gets away with the deep throws that he did against Utah. Plus, who knows what you’ll get out of the Trojans on the road. Pick: Washington (-10.5) — Ben Kercheval

Mississippi State at No. 10 Auburn (-11.5) — 7 p.m. on ESPN: Auburn’s philosophy is simple — run the ball, play defense and pick spots for Bo Nix to open things up just enough in the passing game to keep opposing teams honest. The same plan will work on Saturday night. JaTarvious Whitlow will wear down a Bulldogs defense that lacks depth, allowing Nix to work off play-action and lead the Tigers to an ugly yet efficient win and cover. It might be sketchy deep into the second half, but the Tigers are just too much for these Bulldogs. Pick: Auburn (-11.5) — Barrett Sallee

No. 5 Ohio State (-17.5) at Nebraska — 7:30 p.m. on ABC: My major concern here is Nebraska’s defense. The Cornhuskers are allowing 25.3 points per game on the season, but in two games against Power Five competition (Colorado and Illinois), they’ve allowed 72 points. That doesn’t bode well for this matchup against an Ohio State offense coming off a 76-point performance. Also, while the Nebraska offense has proven to be potent, it hasn’t faced a defense near the caliber of Ohio State’s yet. So I’m not confident that the Cornhuskers will be able to hang over 60 minutes here. I’d lay the points with the Buckeyes. Pick: Ohio State (-17.5) — Tom Fornelli

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