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College Football Week 5 viewing guide: USF vs. SMU is huge for Charlie Strong

And if Willie Taggart’s Seminoles really are different this year, they’ll win a coin-flip game over North Carolina State. Plus: Tampa Bay Times staff picks.
USF head coach Charlie Strong watches his team run drills during practice at the practice football field at USF in Tampa in July. [CHARLIE KAIJO | Times] [Tampa Bay Times]
Published Sep. 27
Updated Sep. 27

Lamest time window: Noon. Enjoy a chill start to the day before settling in for a nice early-afternoon slate.

Noon: It’s not saying much, but Texas Tech will be the best team No. 6 Oklahoma has faced so far.

3:30: No. 18 Virginia at No. 10 Notre Dame is good, but I’m more interested in seeing how No. 21 USC looks at No. 17 Washington.

4: SMU isn’t a must-win game for USF coach Charlie Strong, but it’s big for the direction of his program.

7: With a top-10 matchup in The Swamp looming, No. 7 Auburn is on upset alert against Mississippi State.

RELATED: Goodbye, Civil ConFLiCT. And good riddance.

7:30: If Florida State is really different in Willie Taggart’s second year, the Seminoles will find a way to win a coin-flip game against North Carolina State.

10:30: UCLA completed one of the biggest comebacks ever in last week’s #Pac12AfterDark game against Washington State. What can Chip Kelly do this time at Arizona?

Tampa Bay Times staff picks

Away Home Traci Johnson, Assistant Sports Editor Matt Baker, College Beat Writer Martin Fennelly, Columnist Ernest Hooper, Assistant Sports Editor Joey Knight, USF Beat Writer Mike Sherman, Deputy Editor-Sports
SMU (-7.5) USF SMU 38-31 SMU 42-20 SMU 31-28 USF 24-20 SMU 40-28 SMU 31-24
Towson Florida (-33.5) UF 51-14 UF 45-7 UF 62-3 UF 44-0 UF 41-7 UF 51-10
UConn UCF (-43.5) UCF 42-17 UCF 56-7 UCF 59-10 UCF 50-14 UCF 55-10 UCF 56-13
NC State FSU (-4.5) FSU 28-27 NC State 28-27 NC State 38-33 NC State 30-13 NC State 34-31 NC State 30-28
Duke Virginia Tech (-3.5) Va Tech 31-24 Va Tech 28-24 Duke 28-27 Va Tech 21-20 Va Tech 28-24 Duke 28-27
Penn St (-7.5) Maryland Penn St 34-21 Penn St 35-21 Penn St 29-22 Penn St. 30-21 Penn St 27-17 Maryland 31-27
Arizona St Cal (-5.5) ASU 28-21 ASU 21-20 ASU 31-26 ASU 21-20 Cal 24-21 Cal 26-21
Northwestern Wisconsin (-24.5) Wisconsin 42-10 Wisconsin 35-7 Wisconsin 40-14 Wisconsin 28-7 Wisconsin 34-14 Wisconsin 41-14
Rutgers Michigan (-27.5) Michigan 35-3 Michigan 42-7 Michigan 52-17 Michigan 28-12 Michigan 31-13 Michigan 42-13
Texas Tech Oklahoma (-27.5) OU 42-21 OU 45-20 OU 49-20 OU 40-7 OU 49-21 OU54-20
Middle Tenn Iowa (-24.5) Iowa 31-10 Iowa 38-13 Iowa 48-10 Iowa 20-7 Iowa 31-7 Iowa 35-10
Texas A&M (-23.5) Arkansas A&M 34-6 A&M 42-14 A&M 38-17 A&M 38-6 A&M 35-10 A&M 35-14
USC Washington (-9.5) Wash 31-21 Wash 28-17 USC 33-28 Wash. 33-23 Wash 38-21 Wash 28-17
Virginia Notre Dame (-12.5) ND 35-13 ND 31-17 ND 27-20 ND 30-13 ND 26-17 ND 38-21
Clemson (-26.5) North Carolina Clemson 48-14 Clemson 42-17 Clemson 45-13 Clemson 66-6 Clemson 49-10 Clemson 48-14
Ole Miss Alabama (-35.5) Alabama 42-14 Alabama 45-13 Alabama 51-14 Alabama 70-7 Alabama 52-10 Alabama 51-13
Indiana Michigan St (-14.5) Mich St 28-13 Mich St 24-14 Mich St. 37-27 Indiana 22-20 Mich St 28-14 Mich St 27-13
Miss St Auburn (-11.5) Auburn 31-10 Auburn 21-13 Auburn 23-19 Auburn 24-12 Auburn 38-21 Auburn 31-17
Kansas St Oklahoma St (-5.5) Okla St 34-28 Okla St 31-28 Okla St 28-20 Okla. St 27-20 Okla. St.41-30 Okla St 35-31
Ohio State (-18.5) Nebraska Ohio St 45-28 Ohio St. 42-20 Ohio St. 33-21 Ohio St. 35-17 Ohio St. 37-35 Ohio St 41-21
This week Lock of the week Wisconsin SMU Alabama 51-14 Oklahoma Clemson
This week Upset of the week ASU ASU Indiana N.C. State
Last week vs. spread 10-10 12-8 11-9 10-10 7-13 10-10
Overall vs. spread 33-36 34-35 33-36 31-39 27-32 29-40
Last week straight up 12-8 15-5 11-9 11-9 14-6 11-9
Overall straight up 50-20 53-17 45-25 32-28 49-21 50-20
Season Locks 2-2 3-1 3-1 3-1 2-2 2-2
Season Upsets 2-2 3-1 0-4 0-4 1-3 1-3


  1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Vernon III Hargreaves kneels in the end zone after the Seattle Seahawks defeated his team in overtime in an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 3, 2019, in Seattle. (AP Photo/John Froschauer) JOHN FROSCHAUER  |  AP
    Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: It’s a mailbag episode, with answers on Jameis Winston’s future, Lavonte David’s season, Mike Evans’ plight, Kevin Cash’s third-place finish and Charlie Strong’s job...
  2. Florida State head coach Willie Taggart, right, disagrees with the referee in the first half of his final game with the Seminoles, Nov. 2 against Miami in Tallahassee. MARK WALLHEISER  |  AP
    There are reasons to think quick hooks and mid-season dismissals are the new norm.
  3. Miami quarterback Jarren Williams (15) scrambles as he is rushed by Louisville linebacker Dorian Etheridge (17) during the second half in Miami Gardens. Williams set a school record with six touchdown passes as Miami defeated Louisville 52-27. WILFREDO LEE  |  AP
    The Hurricanes quarterback has a field day in a 52-27 win over Louisville.
  4. Florida State interim head coach Odell Haggins gets a hug from linebacker Jaleel McRae after his team beat Boston College on Saturday in Boston. BILL SIKES  |  AP
    The Seminoles rally from a first-half deficit, surge ahead, watch the Eagles tie the score, then pull ahead for good in the final two minutes.
  5. In this 1987 file photo, Deion Sanders stands on the field during a game against the Florida Gators in Gainesville. ALLEN DEAN STEELE  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Roundtable: Was this just Friday afternoon internet clickbait or an idea worth Seminole consideration?
  6. Quarterback Kyle Trask threw for 257 yards and got the Gators back in the game vs. Georgia in the second half, but Florida lost 24-17. OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times
    The last three times Florida lost to Georgia, the Gators lost the next game by double digits.
  7. In this Dec. 2, 2017, file photo, Florida State interim head coach Odell Haggins watches the team warm up before a game against Louisiana Monroe in Tallahassee. Now he finds himself as the interim coach again just two seasons later. MARK WALLHEISER  |  AP
    Haggins has been at FSU through the highs of two national titles and the last three years of lows.
  8. Former Florida State football player Deion Sanders, left, joins Head Coach Willie Taggart prior to the start of the spring game action Saturday at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee in 2018. COLIN HACKLEY  |  COLIN HACKLEY
    NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport and Mike Garafolo reported the development Thursday night.
  9. Quarterback Jameis Winston and the Bucs play their first home game in 49 days at 1 p.m. Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals. Times
    Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Can Jameis Winston make the Bucs’ welcome-home game a success?
  10. LSU quarterback Joe Burrow (9) passes in the first half against Florida in Baton Rouge, La., on Oct. 12, 2019. BILL FEIG  |  AP
    Bill Clinton once took a nap on Nick Saban’s couch. No, really.