What to watch: Week 5 college football viewing guide, picks against the spread

Every week throughout the season we’ll give you a college football viewing guide by highlighting the five best games of the coming weekend. We will pick those five games against the spread and highlight some other matchups that caught our eye from a betting perspective.

We're in for another fun weekend in college football as we fully dive into conference play.

Week 4 brought some really dramatic finishes, and there are plenty of excellent matchups on the schedule in Week 5. There are four ranked vs. ranked showdowns, as well as some tricky road spots for other ranked teams.

There are some really intriguing battles on Friday night that will carry over throughout the day on Saturday. Who's on upset watch? Who's ready to emerge as a national title contender? We can answer some of those questions this weekend.

(Note: All times ET, odds from BetMGM)

No. 10 Utah at No. 19 Oregon State

Time: 9 p.m. (Fri) | TV: FS1 | Line: OSU -3.5 | Total: 44.5

It feels like Utah flies under the radar on a yearly basis. The two-time defending Pac-12 champions are off to a 4-0 start but haven’t gotten the same level of attention as other teams in the conference. The Utes have already defeated three Power Five teams — Florida, Baylor and UCLA — and have allowed a total of 38 points in four games. As good as the defense has looked, the offense has struggled. Cam Rising, still on the mend from a knee injury from last year’s Rose Bowl, has not played. Will the senior QB make his debut on the road in Corvallis?

On the other side, Oregon State is coming off a road loss to Washington State. The final score was 38-35, but it was a more one-sided affair than that score would indicate. WSU entered the fourth quarter with a 35-14 lead and carved up the Beavers’ defense for 528 yards, 422 of which came through the air. Oregon State has a potent rushing attack, but Clemson transfer QB DJ Uiagalelei has not provided much of a spark to the passing game. Over his past two outings, Uiagalelei has completed just 31-of-64 (48.4%) attempts for 482 yards with two TDs and three INTs. How will he fare against the Utah defense?

Nick Bromberg: Utah +3.5, Sam Cooper: Oregon State -3.5

No. 8 USC at Colorado

Time: Noon | TV: Fox | Line: USC -21.5 | Total: 73.5

Deion Sanders and Colorado have been arguably the biggest story in sports as the Buffaloes surprisingly started the year 3-0. Things changed last weekend, however, as Colorado got demolished 42-6 at Oregon. CU mustered only 199 yards of offense, many of which came in garbage time, and didn’t put any points on the board until the final minutes. Now back home, the Buffs get another extremely difficult challenge with USC and Heisman Trophy winner Caleb Williams visiting Folsom Field.

USC is off to a casual 4-0 start and is averaging a whopping 55 points per game, albeit against lackluster competition. Last weekend, USC had a bit of a sluggish performance on the road against Arizona State. ASU, a team that was shutout at home by Fresno State, twice cut USC’s lead to one score in the second half before USC eventually pulled away and won, 42-28. Colorado has really struggled on defense, but USC’s defense has also been prone to breakdowns. This could turn into a shootout.

Nick: USC -21.5, Sam: USC -21.5

Colorado head coach Deion Sanders talks with his son and quarterback Shedeur Sanders during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Oregon, Saturday, Sept. 23, 2023, in Eugene, Ore. (AP Photo/Amanda Loman)
Colorado head coach Deion Sanders talks with his son and quarterback Shedeur Sanders during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Oregon, Saturday, Sept. 23, 2023, in Eugene, Ore. (AP Photo/Amanda Loman)

No. 24 Kansas at No. 3 Texas

Time: 3:30 p.m. | TV: ABC | Line: UT -16.5 | Total: 63.5

Could this be a tricky spot for Texas? The Longhorns are 4-0 and up to No. 3 in the country. Texas already has a marquee road win over Alabama and opened Big 12 play with a blowout 38-6 road win over Baylor last week. The next massive game on Texas’ schedule is next weekend against rival Oklahoma. But the Longhorns can’t get caught looking ahead to the Sooners with a dangerous Kansas team visiting Austin.

Only a few years ago, Kansas was arguably the worst Power Five program in the country, but coach Lance Leipold has quickly transformed the Jayhawks into a viable Big 12 team. Kansas is off to a 4-0 start for the second consecutive season behind a stellar offense led by QB Jalon Daniels, RB Devin Neal and a deep group of receivers. The Jayhawks run a unique offensive system that could give the Longhorns problems, but the bigger question is how the defense will handle Texas’ deep collection of weapons. If KU can get a few stops, this could turn into a very close game.

Nick: Kansas +16.5, Sam: Kansas +16.5

No. 13 LSU at No. 20 Ole Miss

Time: 6 p.m. | TV: ESPN | Line: LSU -2.5 | Total: 66.5

Will the real LSU please stand up? The Tigers entered the season with national title hype, but their play has been uneven so far. LSU was blasted in the second half of the season-opener vs. Florida State and has since won three straight. A home win over Grambling started the winning streak before the Tigers crushed Mississippi State on the road and then barely got by Arkansas at home. The offense has been prolific, but the defense still has major concerns — particularly in the secondary.

Does Ole Miss have the skill talent to exploit LSU’s weaknesses? On paper it would appear so, but the Rebels have not looked quite right on offense. While QB Jaxson Dart looks improved in his second season as the starter, star RB Quinshon Judkins is off to a slow start and the receiver corps has dealt with an array of injuries. The Rebels opened the year 3-0 before a disappointing loss at Alabama last week. Back at home, how will Lane Kiffin’s team respond following last week’s uninspiring performance?

Nick: LSU -2.5, Sam: LSU -2.5

No. 11 Notre Dame at No. 17 Duke

Time: 7:30 p.m. | TV: ABC | Line: ND -5.5 | Total: 52.5

Notre Dame is coming off a brutal loss. The Irish had a 14-10 lead at home over Ohio State but allowed the Buckeyes to score with one second remaining during a play where they had only 10 men on the field. It had to be incredibly deflating for Marcus Freeman’s program, and now the Irish have to go on the road to face an undefeated Duke team. Notre Dame has clearly improved with Sam Hartman at QB, but will this team be able to bounce back after such a crushing defeat?

For Duke, this is the program’s biggest game in years and the first time the school has ever hosted ESPN’s “College GameDay” for football. It’s a big deal for a program that went winless in the ACC in 2021, the year before Mike Elko took over as head coach. Elko has turned things around in short order. Duke went 9-4 last year and is off to a 4-0 start that includes a Week 1 upset over Clemson. Since then, the Blue Devils have mowed over three cupcakes — Lafayette, Northwestern and UConn. This visit from Notre Dame represents a major step up in competition. Will Riley Leonard and the Blue Devils be ready for the moment?

Nick: Duke +5.5, Sam: ND -5.5

Head-to-head ATS: Nick: 8-13-1, Sam: 14-7-1

Notre Dame's Sam Hartman (10) hands off to Audric Estimé (7) during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Ohio State on Saturday, Sept. 23, 2023, in South Bend, Ind. (AP Photo/Michael Caterina)
Notre Dame's Sam Hartman (10) hands off to Audric Estimé (7) during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Ohio State on Saturday, Sept. 23, 2023, in South Bend, Ind. (AP Photo/Michael Caterina)

Week 5 best bets

Nick Bromberg (Last week: 1-2, Overall: 5-7)

Texas A&M (-6.5) vs. Arkansas: The Razorbacks have been able to keep it close against the Aggies since this series moved to Arlington in 2014. While A&M has won all but one matchup at AT&T Stadium, three of those wins came in OT and just two have been by more than a TD. Arkansas may even win this one straight up. Pick: Arkansas +6.5

No. 1 Georgia (-14.5) at Auburn: The Bulldogs are winless against the spread so far and I think that changes this week. Auburn was meek at Texas A&M and Georgia’s depth should shine through in the second half again, even if the Bulldogs are a bit thin at running back. Pick: Georgia -14.5

No. 23 Missouri (-13.5) at Vanderbilt: The Tigers are 4-0 and inside the top 25 but haven’t been blowing opponents out. Both QB Brady Cook and WR Luther Burden are listed as questionable and while I think they’ll both play, Mizzou has a big home game against LSU in Week 6. This could be the opportunity for Vanderbilt to hang around. Pick: Vanderbilt +13.5

Sam Cooper (Last week: 2-1, Overall: 5-7)

Texas A&M (-6.5) vs. Arkansas: A&M lost QB Conner Weigman, but will turn to very capable backup Max Johnson. The Aggies have so much talent at receiver and Arkansas has a porous secondary, so this won't be the game where the downgrade at QB hurts A&M. At the same time, Arkansas is in a desperate spot and is going to really battle. Oh, and Rocket Sanders could return from injury. Pick: Over 53.5

No. 13 LSU (-2.5) at No. 20 Ole Miss: LSU has obvious issues in the secondary, but that's not enough of a reason to scare me away from backing Brian Kelly's team on the road. Over the course of 60 minutes, I don’t think the Ole Miss offensive line can hold up vs. LSU’s front seven, nor do I think the Rebels can stop Jayden Daniels and the LSU offense. Pick: LSU -2.5

West Virginia at TCU (-12.5): West Virginia is coming off wins over Pitt and Texas Tech, but the Mountaineers averaged a measly 3.7 yards per play over the course of those two games. Even if QB Garrett Greene returns from injury, I don't like WVU's chances to put up many points on a TCU defense that is much better than it showed vs. Colorado. At the same time, I don't want to lay double digits with TCU. Pick: Under 52.5