Week 5 of the College Football season is here and off to their best start since the 2013 season, the Missouri Tigers (4-0) begin SEC play at the Vanderbilt Commodores. It’s the first week of the season where the SEC features every conference game — so our Rock M Pick Em slate features No. 22 Florida Gators at Kentucky Wildcats, Texas A&M Aggies at Arkansas Razorbacks, and No. 13 LSU Tigers at No. 20 Ole Miss Rebels. For the first time ever, College Gameday heads to Durham, North Carolina for No. 11 Notre Dame Fighting Irish at No. 17 Duke Blue Devils.
First, a standings recap through Week 4:
Sammy: 8-2 overall (6-4 ATS)
Kortay: 8-2 (5-5)
Parker: 7-3 (3-7)
Josh: 3-2 (0-5)
(Odds per Draftkings Sportsbook)
No. 23 Missouri (-13.5) at Vanderbilt: 3:00 p.m. CST on SEC Network
Parker Gillam, Beat Writer: Just one step away from the ideal 5-0 start that everybody envisioned before the season started, Mizzou cannot get complacent. Vandy has a passing attack that could allow them to hang in this game, and the ‘Dores have made this a dog fight two years in a row. The Tigers should be able to find more success on the ground in this one, which will only open things up for Cook and Burden more. It may not be pretty, but Tigers win 34-20.
Sammy Stava, Staff Writer: Mizzou has everything to lose and nothing to gain here for their first conference game of the season, which is a scary situation to be in. I fear games like these, but I believe this a mature team that will take care of business on the road. Remember, Vandy beat Kentucky and Florida last season. Tigers can’t afford to take them lightly and they won’t. 37-21 Missouri.
Josh Matejka, Deputy Site Manager: This is why I don’t bet: I can’t be trusted with my money when my emotions are on the line. And while I agree that this is a unenviable position for the Tigers to be in, I think they get it done. The offense is trending in the right direction, which should give the defense more than enough margin for error against a feisty Vanderbilt passing attack. 31-21 Missouri.
Kortay Vincent, Staff Writer: Just like last weekend, this screams trap. The Tigers are riding high with a huge game the following week that could catapult their season. But before they can do so, they need to take care of business at Vanderbilt first. In years past, winning on the road at Vanderbilt has proved to be harder than it needed to be, but this year’s Missouri team feels different. I think the Tigers take care of business and hang 40 for the first time this year to cruise to the cover. Missouri 45 - Vanderbilt 16.
No. 22 Florida at Kentucky (-1.5): 11:00 a.m. CST on ESPN
Parker Gillam: After UF dominated this series for eons, Kentucky has appeared to solve all of those issues in recent years. The ‘Cats have a “good-not-great” team in my eyes, and I have yet to see NC State transfer QB Devin Leary really put together a complete game. Because of that, and Florida’s dominant rushing attack that should travel well, I’ll take the Gators 24-20.
Sammy Stava: I know the Gators had the big win over Tennessee at The Swamp, but Kentucky still feels like the more complete team. Devin Leary and the Wildcats get the win in Lexington. 28-24 UK.
Josh Matejka: A classic Kentucky team that isn’t great but is good enough to beat anyone on their best day. An up and down Florida team with a middling QB headed to Lexington. One ugly win for the Wildcats, 27-21.
Kortay Vincent: Florida are frauds on the road. Give me the Wildcats 31-20.
Texas A&M (-6) vs Arkansas in Arlington: 11:00 a.m. CST on SEC Network
Parker Gillam: This has been one of the tightest matchups in recent SEC memory, although Arkansas always seems to be the team getting its heart broken. Sorry Razorback fans, but I think it happens again. Pittman’s squad fought hard last week and will likely end up being better than its final record, but I think the Aggie defense stars on Saturday in a 31-17 win.
Sammy Stava: Unfortunate injury news for Texas A&M losing quarterback Connor Weigman for the season, but the Aggies will come out with an inspired game behind what I would assume Max Johson under center. Agree with Parker that Arkansas fought hard last week at LSU and that should be encouraging, but TAMU still has more talent in this one. The Aggies won’t lose in the Lone Star state. 34-21 Texas A&M.
Josh Matejka: If I were a different man (i.e. not a Missouri man) I would feel bad for Sam Pittman. He seems to be a good guy with a lot of football know-how who just happens to be in the country’s toughest division. Arky desperately needs a bounce back of some sort to avoid another middling season, but it’s hard to pick them doing so against a vastly more talented A&M team, flawed though they are. I’ll take the Aggies in a tight one, 28-24.
Kortay Vincent: Arkansas is more of a joke than a Theo Von podcast. Even with a backup QB, A&M cruises 27-17.
No. 13 LSU (-2.5) at No. 20 Ole Miss: 5:00 p.m. CST on ESPN
Parker Gillam: Outside of Michael Penix Jr., there might not be another player in the country who is as hot as Jayden Daniels right now. Ole Miss will have more offensive success playing in front a home crowd, but it will not be enough to keep pace with the Bayou Bengals. LSU wins 35-27.
Sammy Stava: Playing Alabama and LSU in back-to-back weeks is as tough as it gets for Ole Miss. I want to take the Rebels at home in a bounce back situation, but I think LSU will make just enough plays in this one. 38-35 LSU.
Josh Matejka: I’m not really sold on either of these teams at this point, but one team has Jayden Daniels and the other doesn’t. LSU keeps on trucking, 31-24.
Kortay Vincent: For the sake of the LSU vs. Mizzou dream, let’s go Bayou Bengals 27-21.
No. 11 Notre Dame (-5.5) at No. 17 Duke (4-0): 6:30 p.m. CST on ABC
Parker Gillam: Notre Dame outplayed Ohio State immensely in the second half of their game, and I think the Irish were playing their B game overall. With zero room for error from here-on-out, Marcus Freeman’s squad will win a close one over Duke and Riley Leonard. The QB matchup will be incredible to watch, but ND wins 31-23.
Sammy Stava: Duke has become a respectable football program and they have things trending in the right direction under Mike Elko. It should be a big-time atmosphere in Durham for College Gameday, but I think it will be too much Notre Dame with Sam Hartman and Audric Estime leading the way for the Irish. 34-27 ND.
Josh Matejka: If not for Marcus Freeman’s brain fart, Notre Dame would be undefeated and Ryan Day would never have publicly insulted Lou Holtz. Duke is good, but they’re not Notre Dame good. 28-24 Fighting Irish.
Kortay Vincent: Notre Dame is so damn good, and it didn’t deserve to lose last week. This is a playoff-caliber team. Give me the Irish 34-24.