Race for the Case: Week 5 college football picks from Dan Wetzel, Pete Thamel and Pat Forde

The 2020 college football season could be rightfully recalled as Alabama steamrolling all opponents en route to the national championship. After all, the Crimson Tide went 13-0 and outscored their opponents by an average of 29.1 points, including playoff victories of 17 (Notre Dame) and 28 (Ohio State). The season was a rout.

Well, except for that one time the Tide was actually tied in the fourth quarter of a game … against Ole Miss.

A touchdown run by Mississippi's Snoop Connor made 42-42 with 11:31 remaining in the game, allowing Lane Kiffin’s high-octane offense to put a bit of a scare into things. Eventually Alabama pulled away. Najee Harris had two fourth-quarter touchdowns (and five for the game) and DeVonta Smith added another while Ole Miss got stuck kicking field goals.

Final score: Alabama 63-48.

For anyone who watched however, it was one of the few hints that Nick Saban’s team was beatable and Kiffin, his old assistant, might actually have the formula to do it. (No former Saban assistant has ever defeated him. He's 23-0 against them.)

Well, the two teams are back at it Saturday, part of an exciting slate of games. The College Football Enquirer’s “Race for the Case” broke down this one, among other Week 5 clashes.

Namely, can Kiffin draw up a gameplan behind returning star quarterback Matt Corral (21 of 28, 365 and two TDs last year) that can simply outscore Alabama? Or, for betting purposes, keep it close.

The Tide have looked quite good in jumping to a 3-0 start. That said, they no longer have breathtaking talent that broke the game open a year ago in Harris, Smith, Mac Jones and Jaylen Waddle. Each, as well as offensive tackle Alex Leatherwood, was a first-round draft pick.

The BetMGM spread is Alabama -14.5. The Over/Under is 79.5. Both are intriguing. The game is in Tuscaloosa, which certainly will be a factor.

For Lane Kiffin, the game is of particular importance. His time as Saban’s offensive coordinator helped rehabilitate his career after high-profile flameouts with the Oakland Raiders, USC and Tennessee Volunteers (not so much a flameout but he left after one year).

After a stint at FAU, Kiffin returned to the SEC where in just his second season, he has Mississippi ranked 12th nationally. Nothing compares to a victory over Alabama though (especially while the two continue to be in the battle for super recruit Arch Manning).

This will be about offense — Kiffin’s new offense against the program where he revolutionized the offense (Alabama used to be more defensively orientated).

Among the other games picked on the pod: Cincinnati at Notre Dame, Arkansas at Georgia, Arizona State at UCLA, Baylor at Oklahoma State and, just for the carnage of it all, Connecticut at Vanderbilt. Plus our locks of the week. Check it out.

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Race for the Case: Week 5 college football picks
Race for the Case: Week 5 college football picks