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National Game of Interest (Week 5)

We might suddenly get better at picking national games against the spread, but Don't Bet On It!

With apologies to EDSBS, it's Sark Week, y'all.
With apologies to EDSBS, it's Sark Week, y'all.
Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

Some people may tell you that NC State would have had a real chance of upsetting Clemson without a bogus call by the refs that a Wolfpack receiver stepped out of bounds. (He most certainly did not step out of bounds.) But the ACC Tigers were in control throughout that entire game and could have easily scored again if necessary. None of that really matters for our purposes, though, because the Fort Hill Felines didn't seem interested enough in the game to cover the 14.5 point spread. At least we correctly called Stanford's easy drubbing of Arizona State. That brings our record for the season in national picks to 2-4.

We'll try to right the ship with this week's National Games of Interest: Stanford (-10.5) at Washington State and Arizona at Washington (-7.5).

The picks: Stanford -10.5 and Washington -7.5

Why you should care: The PAC-12 is the second most interesting conference in college football. It boasts four ranked teams (Oregon, Stanford, Washington, and UCLA), three of five the most prolific offenses in the country (Oregon, Washington, and UCLA), and, of course, a late-night game every Saturday.

The rationale: Each of these games could impact the conference race, so let's forget psychology and keep things simple. We're picking the better team to cover the spread in each case. Stanford is the fifth best team in the country, and they're loaded with that type of talent. Washington State is still a year away from challenging any team with a real coach. David Shaw is clearly a real coach.

Arizona is rushing for a seemingly impressive 322 yards per game, but they've only faced Northern Arizona, UNLV, and something called UTSA. Washington is allowing just 3.1 yards per carry and has actually faced two teams with pulses in Boise State and Illinois. They should be able to load the box and force the Wildcats to pass, which won't end well for an Arizona offense averaging just 108 yards per game through the air. The Huskies won't be so easily contained -- they're averaging more than 300 yards per game on the ground and through the air.

Odds and ends: We've chosen to avoid picking the two games between ranked teams taking place outside of Athens on principle. NBC decided to run No. 14 Oklahoma (-3.5) at No. 22 Notre Dame in the 3:30 time slot. Good luck with that. The worldwide leader, on the other hand, wisely chose 8:00 p.m. for No. 23 Wisconsin at No. 4 Ohio State (-7.5). But as we discussed last week, we really don't care what happens in the B1G, and we're pretty sure that Wisconsin won't be ranked after this weekend anyway.

Bonus pick: We're taking Arizona State (-6.5) at home against USC because of course we are.