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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. MONICA HERNDON  |   Times Miami Hurricanes head coach Mark Richt is seen on the sidelines during the second quarter against the Clemson Tigers in their ACC Championship game Saturday, Dec. 02, 2017 in Charlotte, NC. TAMPA BAY TIMES
    Richt, 59, wrote that he still plans to work for the ACC Network later this week.
  2. Wake Forest place kicker Nick Sciba (4) kicks the go-ahead and eventual game-winning field goal with holder Dom Maggio as Wake Forest defeats Florida State 22-20 in Winston-Salem, N.C. NELL REDMOND  |  AP
    The Seminoles have their chances late, only to see a field goal go wide left and James Blackman fumble twice.
  3. Yesterday• Florida State Seminoles
    Georgia Tech running back Nathan Cottrell (31) scores against Miami defensive lineman Josh Neely (84) during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019, in Miami Gardens. WILFREDO LEE  |  AP
    The Hurricanes have a shot to win in regulation, but the field goal is blocked.
  4. BYU linebacker Max Tooley (31) tackles USF running back Jordan Cronkrite (2) during the second half of last week's game at Raymond James Stadium. OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times
    Game-day guide: And Will Muschamp’s South Carolina tenure looks almost exactly like his time with the Florida Gators.
  5. Florida quarterback Emory Jones (5) throws a pass against Auburn on Oct. 5 in Gainesville. JOHN RAOUX  |  AP
    Kyle Trask and Emory Jones are thriving at Florida, while Willie Taggart is being tight-lipped at Florida State.
  6. Florida wide receiver Van Jefferson (12) celebrates his touchdown reception with wide receiver Tyrie Cleveland (89) and tight end Kyle Pitts (84) in the first half of an NCAA college football game against LSU in Baton Rouge, La., Saturday, Oct. 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert) GERALD HERBERT  |  AP
    Sports Day Tampa Bay: Times college football writer Matt Baker discusses Florida-South Carolina, USF-Navy, FSU-Wake Forest and the conference already out of the College Football Playoff picture.
  7. Florida head coach Dan Mullen prepares to take the field with his players during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Auburn, Saturday, Oct. 5, 2019, in Gainesville, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux) JOHN RAOUX  |  AP
    Some mid-year thoughts on the Florida Gators, FSU Seminoles, USF Bulls, plus some predictions for what happens next.
  8. Clemson's Isaiah Simmons tackles Florida State quarterback Alex Hornibrook, causing a fumble during the first half of Saturday's game in Clemson, S.C. RICHARD SHIRO  |  AP
    The Tigers beat the Seminoles for the fifth straight year, this time in a 45-14 romp.
  9. Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher walks the sideline against Arkansas on Sept. 28 in Arlington, Texas. Texas A&M won 31-27. RON JENKINS  |  AP
    Plus more national nuggets, including a bright spot for Lovie Smith’s Illini.
  10. Florida Gators defensive back CJ Henderson (1) wags his finger after breaking up a pass intended for Miami Hurricanes wide receiver Jeff Thomas during the season opener. MONICA HERNDON  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Matt Baker: A running back duel at Clemson and why Jordan Cronkrite could be in for another big day for USF. Plus, Tampa Bay Times staff picks for week 7.