Week five of college football is here, folks. It’s been a wild season in some ways so far, with teams expected to win losing and teams expected to lose winning. That’s always how it goes though, right? Hail Varsity’s Brandon Vogel, Erin Sorensen, Mike Babcock and Chris Schmidt, alongside Opendorse’s Blake Lawrence, have hedged their bets once again on another slate of college football games.
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Stanford at Washington
BV: Two teams that look pretty even in terms of ability. The difference being Stanford’s been in these types of games of late. Washington is still a little green in that regard. PICK: Stanford 28, Washington 27
ES: I could see this game going either way, so I feel like I could toss a coin and be fine with the result. I’ll take Stanford but not by much. PICK: Stanford 27, Washington 24
CS: Both of these teams are limping into this showdown. Washington needed OT vs. Zona and Stanford survived UCLA. Stanford is dinged up as well. Give me the Huskies. PICK: Washington 27 Stanford 21
MB: Chris Peterson’s Huskies must deal with Christian McCaffrey, of course. But the Cardinal defense also has been especially effective against the run. But home field is worth something. PICK: Washington 27, Stanford 24
BL: I like what Chris Peterson has done in Washington. He’s got a physical team on both sides of the ball. But it won’t be enough to stop all-everything Christian Mcaffrey and Stanford. PICK: Stanford 28, Washington 24
Wisconsin at Michigan
BV: The Badgers have passed every test thus far, so I’m expecting a pretty classic Big Ten-type game here. Wisconsin will make things tough on the Wolverines, but Michigan is too strong in the end. PICK: Michigan 21, Wisconsin 14
ES: Wisconsin’s been impressive so far this season but Michigan will provide a pretty tough test. I don’t see the Badgers overcoming Jim Harbaugh and the Wolverines. PICK: Michigan 28, Wisconsin 17
CS: Wisconsin has impressed many,with wins over LSU and Michigan State. Those wins don’t look so great right now. This is a big time prove it game for Wisconsin. Harbaugh, his khakis and Vitamin D milk will deal swiftly and harshly with the Badgers. PICK: Michigan 35, Wisconsin 17
MB: The teams are playing for the first time in six years. Really? Can Wisconsin regroup after a big win, with Ohio State next, and contain Michigan enough in the “Big House” to win? I know, I’m supposed to answer that. PICK: Michigan 35, Wisconsin 28
BL: The Badgers are spending back to back weekends in the state of Michigan. I was pleasantly surprised with their big win over Sparty last week. But they won’t be so lucky this week, as the Wolverines and Jabrill Peppers will be too hot to handle. PICK: Michigan 34, Wisconsin 17
Louisville at Clemson
BV: Can anyone stop the Cardinals? Clemson’s defense looked strong against Georgia Tech’s option attack, but Louisville is a big challenge. The line has been bouncing back and forth, but give me Louisville straight up. PICK: Louisville 35, Clemson 31
ES: This should be a tough matchup for both sides of the ball. Once again, I could see it going either way but Louisville seems tough enough to get the win. PICK: Louisville 41, Clemson 38
CS: The Cardinals have been exciting and solid on both sides of the ball. Clemson has looked ordinary and are waiting for their quarterback to get rolling. Clemson has played in and won more big games the last couple of years. Louisville is good but not ready to roll into Death Valley. PICK: Clemson 38, Louisville 35
MB: If Lamar Jackson can direct the Cardinals past Deshaun Watson in his home, they can probably coast until a Nov. 17 showdown at Houston. Clemson has been short of big plays. PICK: Clemson 45, Louisville 42
BL: Lamar Jackson continues to dazzle, but he hasn’t seen a defense like Clemson’s. I expect him to be contained in the first half, but bust out a big comeback in the fourth quarter to add a shining moment to his already Heisman-worthy season. PICK: Louisville 42, Clemson 38
Tennessee at Georgia
BV: Somebody should’ve knocked off the Vols when they were bumbling and stumbling in September because this team has the talent to fulfill all of the sky-high expectations. Tennessee has had extraordinary turnover luck through four games, which gives me pause but I don’t think Georgia can score reliably enough to keep up. PICK: Tennessee 31, Georgia 21
ES: Georgia had a rough time against Ole Miss, which doesn’t give me much hope that they can take down the Vols. Sure, they beat Missouri but barely. Tennessee will simply be too much for the Bulldogs. PICK: Tennessee 28, Georgia 17
CS: The Bulldogs are smarting from their roadie to Ole Miss. Rocky Top needs to manage their emotions after finally taking down Florida. A win by Tennessee should lock up the SEC East (a win over Florida and Georgia), except they have crossovers with Texas A&M and Alabama. I’ll take Butch’s guys but barely. PICK: Tennessee 21, Georgia 17
MB: The Vols keep rolling against a team that barely slipped past Nicholls State, at home, and Missouri. PICK: Tennessee 35, Georgia 17
BL: Georgia was exposed last week by Ole Miss, Tennessee pulled off a wild comeback to beat Florida. This will be a close one from the start. Edge goes to Tennessee, as I feel first year coach Kirby Smart will struggle to get his ‘Dogs to rally after their first loss under the new regime. PICK: Tennessee 24, Georgia 23
Illinois at Nebraska
BV: Illinois will evolve into a pretty solid defensive team under Lovie Smith, but it isn’t far enough down that road to handle a Nebraska offense that is becoming really fun to watch. PICK: Nebraska 42, Illinois 17
ES: Last year’s loss to Illinois was heartbreaking but familiar with the way 2015 went. That’s not how 2016 is going for the Huskers. Illinois has some bright spots, like it’s pass rush, but it won’t be enough to win this time. PICK: Nebraska 38, Illinois 17
CS: I’m excited to see Nebraska continue their payback tour. Protecting Tommy Armstrong vs. this Illinois front four is the key, as will the zone read run game for Nebraska. A win but no cover for Nebraska. PICK: Nebraska 41, Illini 24
MB: Lovie Smith has some work ahead of him. The Illinois has to hope that the Huskers will be looking down the line to back-to-back trips to Wisconsin and Ohio State. They won’t be. PICK: Nebraska 49, Illinois 13
BL: I always loved the game before a bye week. And I always loved the atmosphere of homecoming weekend. It gave us an excuse to play all out — knowing there was rest ahead and the town would be electric. Lovie Smith will have success at Illinois. But it won’t be this week. PICK: Nebraska 45, Illinois 17
Our picks today are for entertainment purposes only. Between 6 and 8 million Americans meet the criteria for gambling addiction, and many more are affected by another individual’s gambling problem. Don’t gamble more than you can afford and if it stops being fun seek help.
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Erin is the Deputy Editor and Digital Marketing Strategist for Hail Varsity. She has covered Nebraska athletics since 2012, which has included stops at Bleacher Report, Cox Media Group’s Land of 10, and even Hail Varsity (previously from 2012-2017). She has also been featured on the Big Ten Network, NET’s Big Red Wrap-Up, and a varsity of radio shows nationwide. When not covering the Huskers, Erin is probably at Chipotle.