2016 – Week 5 Picks
The short and sweet approach worked a little better last week as we went 7-3 straight up and actually didn't finish below .500 against the spread going 5-5. The Upset of the Week was wrong again bringing us to an 0-4 record. It will be an upset if we actually peg and upset of the week at this point.
As noted in the rundown for last week, it was a strange weekend for college football. Some truly strange results that made you go, "Huuuuh?" It resulted in 2 coaches getting fired. We all know about Les Miles getting shown the door at LSU, but Florida International also fired their coach, Ron Turner. That's right. That Ron Turner. The one that coached at Illinois. Do you realize that Illinois actually won the Big 10 back in 2001? Crazy, right? That was with Kurt Kittner at QB. What a tangent to go on!
This week we have 3 games between top 10 teams. That's exciting. Washington gets a real test against Stanford, Wisconsin continues its schedule of death against Michigan, and Louisville gets to play the other big boy in the ACC, Clemson. We can only hope that the games are as good as the rankings suggest.
There are actually not very many teams on bye this week. This is a week you need some high scores to climb back up the standings.
Let's make some wrong guesses.
Teams on bye: Virginia Tech, Mississippi State, Army, Tulsa, UTSA, Arkansas State, Georgia Southern
#10 Washington (-3.5)
Washington hung on against Arizona last week after 3 weeks of cupcakes. Now they get to against the class of the PAC 12 in Stanford. Washington was supposed to have the best defense in the league this year. After all, they were ranked number 1 last year and everyone was coming back. They've been doing ok. Their total defense numbers are good. But that's the result of a good pass defense. The Huskies' rush defense is middling. They are giving up 145.5 yards per game on the ground. That's trouble when you are going up against Christian McCaffrey. He's only the 2nd leading rusher in the nation right now. He is also second in the nation in all purpose yards with 211.7 per game. (Know who's #1? Donnel Pumphrey with San Diego State. Dude just broke Marshall Faulk's school record for rushing. Might be a reason why the Aztecs are good and in the top 25.) I know this game is in Husky Stadium, but I don't think Washington will be able to stop McCaffrey for the entire game. Stanford will do its Stanford thing. They will play conservatively and grind the life out of you until they have the victory. PICK: Stanford 28, Washington 20
Oklahoma St. (-2.5)
That sure smacked the Longhorns in the face with some reality. After a quick start including a win over top 10 Notre Dame, (who actually is garbage this year) fans were sending in mailbag submissions to national writers feeling good about how Charlie Strong has Texas "back" and when is the right time to order their Big 12 championship hats. Hold that thought. Last year Texas could barely field a competent offense. This year they can barely field a competent defense. Charlie Strong is supposed to get more hands on with the defense this week, so we will see if it has any effect. This week they get to go against Oklahoma State who has a pretty good offense. Oklahoma State has had a strange year so far. They lost on an incorrect ruling against Central Michigan, and then they beat Pittsburgh after that game had a long delay due to weather. The history of this game is that the road team has won 7 straight match ups. Texas is on the road. So let's buck the trend and go with Oklahoma State. PICK: Oklahoma St. 42, Texas 31
Georgia Tech (+7)
Here we are again. A typical Georgia Tech team. Once the going gets good, they look terrible. So now that they looked terrible, they should win this game. But since everybody knows that is now the pattern for this program, isn't that the obvious pick? So doing the less obvious thing, which does fit the pattern of the program, but less obvious that it isn't the obvious pattern, means that Georgia Tech should lose this game. Plus Miami has looked good so far this year. They have been in the top 10 of the Jacknife power rankings all year, until they had a bye last week. Obviously they are good based on that. Did you know that Mark Richt is coaching at his alma mater? That has to be the reason they are doing better this year. Let's go with the U! PICK: Miami 37, Georgia Tech 20
Air Force (-7)
The most patriotic game of the weekend. If it wasn't for Army blowing the game against Buffalo, all the service academies would be undefeated in week 5 of the season. That seems like a rare thing. I don't feel like fact checking that though. These 2 teams love to run the ball. Air Force is #2 nationally in rushing, and Navy is #5. This game should be over in about 2 hours. The narrative for Navy coming in this year was they would take a step back since they lost one of their best players ever in Keenan Reynolds. But Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo has built a pretty consistent program there. We should expect at this point that they will be a pretty good team every year. Air Force head coach Troy Calhoun has also built a very solid program. So what to make of two solid programs going against each other, both of which love to run the ball? I say go with the home team, just because. PICK: Air Force 28, Navy 24
#25 Georgia (+3.5)
How in the world is Georgia still ranked? I guess when you play in the SEC, you barely beat Nicholls, pull a win against Missouri out of your butt, and fall behind Ole Miss by 45 before losing by 31, you get the benefit of the doubt. The good news is, for all you people with Tenessee, you get 10 extra bonus points if they win. And I think Tennessee will win just for the case I presented for Georgia. I don't think they are very good this year. It is concerning that Tennessee keeps falling behind early, but that's better than last year when they kept blowing late leads. I think Tennessee plays their best game of the year in this one. PICK: Tennessee 35, Georgia 17
#12 Florida St. (-10)
Nice little bounce back game for FSU after getting slaughtered by #8 and Louisville. South Florida is not a slouch team in any sense. That's gonna help heal some of those wounds from Wk 3. Although the FSU defense does look borderline awful up to now. Many of the fans are calling for the FSU's DC Charles Kelly job. If the players are having to defend him still having a job, then that usually means he'll be gone by the end of the year, unless things turn around quickly. Just to give you an idea on how terrible FSU's defense is, they're giving up 5.45 yds per carry and 6.78 yds per play...that is some Texas Tech level defense right there. UNC is pretty much in the same boat here....no defense and phenomenal offense. Although UNC has improved dramatically since DC Gene Chizik was hired 2 yrs ago. UNC is only giving up 4.98 yds per rush and only 5.63 yds per play. If you're a betting man you would take the O/U all day on this one - it's only 69.5 pts. If FSU loses this one then we'll sit back and watch the chaos in Tallahassee begin. Next week they get a really tough Miami team in Miami. I still think that FSU is a top 10-15 team in the nation while UNC is more of a top 30-40. The only way that UNC wins this game is by getting a ridiculous performance from QB Mitch Trubisky - he's quietly having a fantastic year - 10 TDs / 0 INTs with 74.5% completion rate. FSU all the way. PICK: Florida St 54, North Carolina 35
#4 Michigan (-10.5)
Raise your hand if you saw Wisconsin being 4-0....now put it down, you fricking liar. OK, I understand the close win in Wisconsin against LSU, but going into Lansing and thrashing Michigan St, that's some next level stuff right there. For years the Badgers couldn't find a QB but had the best backs in the biz. Well, folks, the Badgers have a QB finally, True Frosh Alex Hornibrook. I expect this game to be close from start to finish based on these defensive stats I'm about to drop. Needless to say these teams are evenly matched. Total Defense - Michigan 272 YPG / Wisconsin 277 YPG....Scoring Defense - Michigan 13.8 PPG / Wisconsin 11.75 PPG....3rd Down Conversion % - Michigan 27.6% / Wisconsin 31.2%....Rushing Yds Per Game - Michigan 122.5 YPG / Wisconsin 80.5 YPG. All of this translates to: Michigan needs to throw the ball and Wisconsin needs to run the ball. The Badgers are impressive to say the least, no denying that....but I think it stops here. Michigan is tough to beat in the Big House and it ain't happening here. Wisconsing covers though! PICK: Michigan 27, Wisconsin 22
What the hell, Cal? You were supposed to be rebuilding and only win 2 or 3 games in 2016. Not taking these top tier teams into the 4th quarter with a lead....albeit you've blown 2 of the 3 leads, but still!! I feel like the only thing holding Cal up at this point is QB Davis Webb, the dude is a stud. If he gets hurt then Cal fans better duck and cover. Utah is the same old crap different year....fantastic defense and an average to below average offense. That defense will carry Utah to glory this year. After looking at their schedule I don't see a game out there that they cannot win. I don't expect them to go undefeated, but they will make a run if they win this game on Saturday. The interesting part of this game will be the passing D of Utah against Davis Webb. Utah isn't that great against the run, but that won't matter in this game. Turnovers will determine this game. If the INTs start flying from Webb then this could get out of hand. I don't think that Cal has the ability to run away from anyone with the worst D in the Pac12....so they better hope it's close in the 4th to pull this W out. It ain't happening - Utah takes it. PICK: Utah 30, Cal 27
Battle for the AAC East. The winner of this game is supposed to go on to with the AAC East and face Houston for the AAC Championship. Neither team did anything to impress anyone last week. USF got throttled by FSU and Cincy had to come from behind against Miami (OH) to win by a TD. South Florida is the favorite by 6 pts...as well they should be after that awful appearance by Cincy against Miami (OH). Turns out you can't really run on Cincy but you can throw the ball up in the air and they'll do their best not to catch it or knock it down. South Florida will take it to the air to beat Cincy and let the D take over since we have seen over and over that Cincy has lost the ability to score a ton of pts, unlike their teams in the past. Cincy coach Tuberville is well known for playing well with other coaches recruits and crapping the bed with his own. I think we're witnessing the beginning of that trend in Cincy. I just don't see Cincy winning this game of staying within a TD. USF rolls in Cincy. PICK: South Florida 35, Cincy 24
#5 Clemson (+2)
No big deal....this might just be the biggest game in Louisville's history. This one decides which ACC team will be the top representative for the CFB Playoff for the rest of the year. Let's be honest, Louisville looks far and beyond any other team not named Alabama. I know that Clemson almost won the Championship last year but that was last year. DeShaun Watson looks good again but not Lamar Jackson good. It will be a matchup of these famous QBs while defense will be secondary. Even though Clemson came into the year the favorite, it's clear that Louisville is on the fast track to the Playoff. I would love to reel a bunch of numbers out for you on this one but none of those matter expect that Jackson has 25 TDs already. Nuff said, Louisville makes Clemson fans shake their heads and wonder how this could happen. PICK: Louisville 58, Clemson 41
Season Record - Straight Up: 21-19
Season Record - Versus Spread: 14-26
Upset of the Week: 0-4
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