Welcome to Week 5 of the college football season! As always, the Saturday Tradition staff is back with more picks for the full slate of action!

After the loaded Week 4, teams in the B1G begin to hit bye weeks as we hit the last weekend in September. A number of double-digit lines also dot the landscape in a rather lackluster Week 5 schedule after the drama of last weekend.

Without further ado, let’s get to the picks!


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Week 4 records

  • Alex Hickey: 2-2
  • Paul Harvey: 3-1

Penn State (-27) at Northwestern

  • AH: James Franklin will regret riling up dozens of Northwestern fans after admitting that Penn State isn’t using any outside noise in practice this week. OK, so maybe he won’t. The Nittany Lions should still win handily. But Penn State has never won a game by more than 24 points in Evanston, and that seems like a more reasonable place to put this line. Cats cover. PICK: Northwestern
  • PH: Coming off a massive White Out win, Penn State looks every bit like a top-10 team. There’s a reason for the Nittany Lions to feel confident, but that sometimes leads to a letdown performance. And by “letdown” I mean winning by 3 touchdowns as opposed to 4 against an overwhelmed Northwestern program. Pick: Northwestern

Louisiana at Minnesota (-11)

  • AH: I would 100% stay away from this game in real life. I think the Gophers will rebound after their stunning fourth-quarter collapse at Northwestern, but it always makes me nervous to see how a team responds to catastrophe. Another issue: this defense just got lit up, and the Ragin’ Cajuns are 19th nationally in total offense. If the Gophers cover, I think it will be late in the game. PICK: Louisiana
  • PH: How am I supposed to pick this game after the Gophers lost to Northwestern? All I know is Minnesota has occasionally struggled to win these games at home. (See Bowling Green and Georgia Southern.) PICK: Louisiana

Michigan (-17.5) at Nebraska

  • AH: What a nasty little hook we have here. It’s just sitting there, daring us to take the Huskers. I won’t fall for the bait. Despite the fact the Wolverines are now 0-3-1 ATS this season, I think this will be a replica of last week’s game against Rutgers — close first half, and then Michigan pulls away. PICK: Michigan
  • PH: Don’t fall for the bait. Jim Harbaugh has the national media and rival fans right where he wants them, starting to question his ground-and-pound program after some sluggish starts. The Huskers are close at halftime, but not for long. Pick: Michigan

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Indiana at Maryland (-14)

  • AH: This feels destined to end in a push. And I should know after picking 2 of them last week. But the Terrapins have won all 4 games by double digits, so I’ll officially back them to keep the trend going. PICK: Maryland
  • PH: Maryland is looking for its first-ever 5-0 start under Mike Locksley, and the team should be plenty motivated after he said the team is still looking for a complete performance. Also, there’s the way the Hoosiers looked against Akron. PICK: Maryland

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Illinois at Purdue (-1)

  • AH: Yellow will be the official color in a matchup of the B1G’s 2 most penalized teams. No matter who you back in this game, be prepared for something dumb to happen that later makes you regret doing so. But since the Boilers have won 6 of the last 7 in this series, and nothing good has happened to a sports team from Illinois all week, I’ll take my chances on Purdue. PICK: Purdue
  • PH: Ah, Bret Bielema vs. Ryan Walters. (Semi) Master vs. apprentice. Both teams have a number of warts this year, but I think Purdue’s defensive issues (somewhat) outweigh Illinois’ problems. PICK: Illinois

Michigan State at Iowa (-12.5)

  • AH: It’s the movable object (Michigan State’s defense) against the stoppable force (Iowa’s offense). For whatever reason, I think getting out of East Lansing will prove a breath of fresh air for the Spartans after a couple weeks sitting in a toxic stew. PICK: Michigan State
  • PH: The problem in picking Iowa is they have to at least score 2 touchdowns to cover. Okay, 5 field goals would be more appropriate (and maybe a safety somewhere along the way). Either way, for all the offensive ugliness, there is some stability in Iowa City and the added element of a night game in Kinnick. None of this matchup has me leaning Spartans. Pick: Iowa

Note: Wagner at Rutgers game unlisted.