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The College Five: Week Five

Proving some theories

Stanford Cardinals v Cal Bears Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

Week four proved to be a turbulent affair, which means the college football world will look very closely at several theories to see if they hold up in week five.

Is the Big Ten a two-team conference? Is Auburn for real? Will the PAC-12 continue to self-destruct or can a playoff contender rise from the chaos?

Plenty is on the table, for The College Five.

My Record 14-6

Mississippi State Bulldogs vs. (7) Auburn Tigers - Auburn favored by 10

Auburn freshman Bo Nix has been lights out this season, passing for over 600 yards in the first four games, leading his squad to two victories over top 25 teams.

However, this is a clash between a team with the 7th most rushing yards (Auburn) and the 18th (Mississippis State). And in this run-heavy matchup, Auburn’s defense has the advantage, allowing just 89.5 rushing yards per game. That is the same defensive front that has also racked up 11 sacks and 29 tackles for loss. Big boys like Marlon Davidson and Derrick Brown will control the front in what is shaping up to be a classic SEC slugfest.

Taking: Auburn minus 10

Washington State Cougars vs. (19) Utah Utes - Utah favored by 5.5

Cougars quarterback Anthony Gordon threw nine touchdown passes and lost. HE LOST! Gordon leads the nation in passing yards and touchdowns while ranking sixth in yards per attempt.

The Cougars defense, on the other hand, is absolutely atrocious. Truly despicable. It is the massive Achilles heel for WSU in this game, but not enough to put this insane offense away. Gordon has an overwhelming amount of firepower, which is enough to keep the Utes on their heels.

Taking: Washington plus 5.5

(5) Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Nebraska Cornhuskers - Ohio State favored by 17.5

Under head coaches Jim Harbaugh and David Shaw, Stanford made a name for itself by zigging when others zagged, subscribing to winning games in the trenches. Forcing contests into low scoring, possession battles. The move came at a time when everyone else in the conference was going fast and spread out. They won going against the grain.

Now Nebraska is trying the inverse in the Big Ten. Head coach Scott Frost is trying to go smaller and faster, in the big boy conference of the Big Ten. It is going badly.

And now the Cornhuskers bedraggled offense is headed into a meat grinder. The Buckeyes are second in the nation in sacks (19), along with a staggering 44 tackles for loss.

People should be legitimately concerned about anyone who lines up across from defensive end Chase Young, who has 7.5 tackles for loss, seven sacks and two of his team’s three forced fumbles. Young and company are going to crush the hopes of a Nebraska reboot in 2019.

Taking: Ohio State minus 17.5

(18) Virginia Cavaliers vs. (10) Notre Dame Fighting Irish - Notre Dame favored by 12.5

The Fighting Irish came dangerously close to toppling the Georgia Bulldogs on the road last weekend, thanks in large part to a massive defensive effort. Notre Dame racked up six tackles for loss, forced a fumble and allowed just seven points on the first half.

And despite two picks, Ian book was no slouch himself, tossing for nearly 300 yards and two scores against one of the top defenses in the country.

Now a Virginia squad that nearly lost to Old Dominion is in the sights of the Irish.

The return home for Notre Dame has all the makings of a rebound game for the far better team.

Taking: Notre Dame minus 12.5

Utah v USC Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images

(21) USC Trojans vs. (17) Washington Huskies - Washington favored by 10.5

The last time these teams met, it was 2016. Sam Darnold had taken over for Max Browne and was putting together a nice run at the USC helm. In the final month of the season, the Trojans headed North, to take on Jake Browning and the 4th ranked Huskies. The heavy underdog Trojans went on to stun Washington with a 26-13 victory.

Yet again, USC is in a strange quarterback flux when headed into this game. JT Daniels was knocked out early in the year, and while Kedon Slovis has performed admirably, he too has been knocked out of the starting role with an injury. Now Matt Fink will be taking on Washington after tossing fro 351 yards against Utah. The same team against whom Darnold started his run. Do you believe in destiny?

Taking: USC plus 10.5