Week 5 Picks

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Pretty decent week 4 we had on the picks: 6-4 straight up and .500 against the spread with a couple of pushes at 4-4-2.  Of course the one big miss was the Oregon-Utah match up.  That is a truly WTF game.  Not only did we pick Oregon to win, we picked them to cover the 14 point spread.  Who in the world saw that beat down coming?  Clearly Oregon’s defense is terrible.  Utah is a good team, but never has anyone been scared of that offense.  Maybe giving up all those points and yards to Eastern Washington should have been more of a red flag for the Ducks.  The offense has a problem too.  They are not getting any sort of quality QB play and they aren’t figuring out ways to get their playmakers the ball.  So of the 4 playoff teams last year, only 1 currently looks like it is positioning itself for a spot right now.  You get so biased on predictions based on the previous year’s results that it’s hard to picture who could possibly take over the the Playoff spots from the previous top teams.  There clearly will be at least one participant not going back this year.

Then you have the miracle touchdown catch for TCU against Texas Tech.  That catch had us miss on our upset of the week pick by the slimmest of margins.  TCU will have to win all its games this year that way.  Their defense is so thin with injuries they are going to have to outscore everyone by putting up 40+ points every week.  That is not a recipe for success.  There will be a week where the offense is out of sync or they will play a team that will hold them in check.  TCU was a preseason favorite to make the Playoff, but it’s not looking good for them right now to make it through the season unscathed.

And then there is Texas.  They seem to garner a lot of attention for a 1-3 team, but the ways they are losing games are just incredible.  A week after missing a chance to force OT by missing a PAT, they give up 2 field goals in the last minute and a half because their punter lets the snap slip through his hands and ends up with a negative yardage punt.  That put Oklahoma St. in field goal position before they even ran a play.  So instead of a chance at OT again, Texas gives up a game winning field goal after a botched punt.  If you are a silver linings type of person, they did almost beat a top 25 opponent.  Their offense hasn’t been as hopeless as it seemed against Notre Dame.  Now, if they can just fix those special teams…

What else can we take away from week 4:  Auburn is done, Missouri probably is not repeating as SEC east champs, Arkansas can’t hold 4th quarter leads against Texas A&M, the UCLA-USC battle for LA looks like will decide the PAC 12 south, Georgia Tech is fading as an ACC contender after a sizzling start, Michigan St. is not putting up big numbers against MAC schools, Syracuse (!) hung in with LSU, Tennessee is definitely not ready for prime time, Illinois’ drive for 6 is still alive, and Kansas is the worst FBS team ever.

On to week 5.  The regular season is 25% over already!

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#19 Wisconsin (-7)[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″ css=”.vc_custom_1432672269878{border-right-width: 1px !important;}”][vc_column_text]

At the beginning of the season this did not look like a tight matchup.  The Badgers should have been heavy favorites, but Iowa did what some might call the impossible….change their philosophy on offense.  Now the Hawkeyes can be seen slinging the ball all around the field.  They can actually score on long drives and not play a field position game like we’re all used to seeing for a million years (at least it feels that long) under coach Kirk Ferentz.  The defense for the Hawkeyes is average and might have a bit of an issue against the running game that we all come to expect from the Badgers, even though the Hawkeyes are only allowing 2.65 yds per carry.  Iowa looks good against good teams at home, but tend to struggle mightily on the road against anyone above average, we’ll see if this new philosophy works against the top echeolon of Big 10 opponents.  Wisconsin has quietly put their recent opponents away on defense, only allowing 3 pts in the last 3 games.  Granted, they have all been at home and all been against some of the worst teams in the FBS (Miami (OH), Troy, and Hawaii)…then again 3 pts in 3 games is damn good no matter who you play.  Iowa will know what to expect in Madison thought stopping it is the taller task.  I really like Wisconsin at home with the way their D has played lately.  I thought about putting Iowa in the W column but it just didn’t feel right.  Badgers with the home field advantage take it. PICK: Wisconsin 30 Iowa 21

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#15 Oklahoma (-7)[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″][vc_column_text]

What to make of this game?  I don’t think throwing stats around to describe this matchup will do any of us any good.  WVU has had a cake walk schedule thus far compared to OU.  A lot of people are high on WVU and their D to carry them to the top of the Big 12. While it wouldn’t surprise me if WVU won this game in a close one.  The Sooners defense was supposed to be improved dramatically this year with all of the returning starters, they don’t look the part after the Tulsa and Tennessee games.  The offense has bailed them out to win the last 2 games.  Speaking of the offense for the Sooners it has been humming along since the first game, had a little hiccup against Tennessee in the 1st half then came back to life.  If they have another hiccup against West Virginia then we might be looking at an upset.  The Mountaineers have a realy rough patch to go thru in their schedule for the next 6 weeks, while they are a good team there is no way they get through there without 2-3 losses.  Here is where I convinced myself that OU will win the game: the run defense for WVU is suspect at best and OU still has yet to unleash RBs Perine and Mixon.  Expect to see a heavy dose of the run early and often to help control the clock and wear down the WVU front line opening up the passing game for Mayfield in the 2nd half.  OU wins by a FG  PICK: Oklahoma 38 WVU 35

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Navy (-6.5)[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″ css=”.vc_custom_1432672269878{border-right-width: 1px !important;}”][vc_column_text]

Patriotism will be running all over the place in this game…..literally.  I’m setting the O/U on amount of passes at 7.5 and that might be pushing it.  Combined these teams have tried to pass the ball 35 times in 6 games.  The triple option will be abundant, the running game will get redundant and I have nothing else to rhyme with redundant that would make sense.  Moving on!!  The defense will be the separation in this game, hands down Air Force has the upper hand against the rush.  So that seems fair to pick Air Force over Navy, right?  I think I’ll go with that.  These guys haven’t played each other in a while so expect a lot of emotion to left out on the field.  If nothing else watch the game cuz – Murica!  Air Force forces wins by a TD late.  PICK: Air Force 24 Navy 17

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Georgia Tech (-8)[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″ css=”.vc_custom_1432672269878{border-right-width: 1px !important;}”][vc_column_text]

Calling all ACC dumpster fires since 2014!!  What the hell happened to GA Tech this year? They were supposed to win 11 games and be in the mix for the ACC Title once again.  They lose to respectable ND team then get manhandled by Duke.  That is was not in the script.  GA Tech has clearly taken a step back from 2014, they have lost too many players at the skill positions on offense to stroll on down the field for a massive amount of points like last year.  Now who knows what happens if they lose 3 in a row!?!?  UNC had a sliver of a defense last year, they brought in Chizik to fix it and fix it, he did!!  If it weren’t for all of those costly turnovers against South Carolina they would be 4-0 while giving up 14 pts a game….I can’t believe I just typed that.  Here’s the kicker though, UNC has given up over 5 yds per carry this season.  In due time that will hurt your production on defense…..will that due time will be this week?  I think so, GA Tech has got to stop the sinking ship and get back on track or else they could be looking at losses in their next 3 games (Clemson, Pitt, FSU).  It’s now or never for GA Tech.  I really like the rushing stats against the UNC defense, this will be the #1 factor in the game…put your money on GA Tech to right the ship a little bit before the schedule gets brutal. PICK: GA Tech 34 UNC 24

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#5 Baylor(-14.5)[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″ css=”.vc_custom_1432672269878{border-right-width: 1px !important;}”][vc_column_text]

Texas Tech is coming off a heartbreaking loss.  A fluky/miracle catch by TCU prevented the Red Raiders from pulling off a big upset.  There is 1 of 2 ways this could go.  That heartbreak can galvanize the team and increase their resolve, or it can send them into a tail spin they don’t recover from.  Playing against Baylor is not a good way to try to turn the page.  Baylor is essentially TCU with a better defense.  At least we think so.  Baylor hasn’t played anyone of note this year.  That sounds pretty familiar.  Baylor is averaging a staggering 767 ypg.  Texas Tech is averaging 595 ypg.  Expect a lot of scoring in this game.  There won’t be many stops in this game, but expect Baylor to make a few more stops than TCU was capable of and pull away late to start their conference season with a win.  PICK: Baylor 58, Texas Tech 42

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#20 Oklahoma St. (-6.5)[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″ css=”.vc_custom_1432672269878{border-right-width: 1px !important;}”][vc_column_text]

Kansas St. is never a flashy team.  It doesn’t seem to matter who is out on the field or what they projection is for the team, Bill Snyder has the team play solid football.  K-State is a little bit more of an old school type team that tries to limit turnovers and control the clock.  They only have 2 turnovers on the season and control the ball for 32 minutes per game.  Oklahoma St. on the other hand tries to score as fast as they can.  They are top 15 in the nation in long plays from scrimmage.  QB Mason Rudolph is top 20 in the nation in both efficiency and passing yards per game.  That is a good combination to have.  The Cowboys should pass all over the Wildcats’ 83rd ranked pass defense.  Look for Oklahoma St. to win a game that is kind of close but was never in danger of losing.  PICK: Oklahoma St. 34, Kansas St. 27

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#25 Florida (+7)[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″ css=”.vc_custom_1432672269878{border-right-width: 1px !important;}”][vc_column_text]

Ole Miss had a text book let down spot last week after a big, emotional win over Alabama.  Ole Miss struggled with Vanderbilt and you could almost see it coming.  College football is so hard to predict because it is 18-22 year olds playing.  As much as they can say they don’t take anyone lightly, you have to think that after beating Alabama they would be a little full of themselves.  So that’s bad news for Florida.  That should mean the Rebels have re-focused themselves this week and will be firing on all cylinders against Florida.  Florida has been a surprise team so far this year finding themselves back in the top 25 earlier than most would have thought.  While the Gators continue to have a solid defense (top 25 in total defense and yards per play), their offense has upgraded from garbage to mediocre this year.  That combination has allowed them to squeak by their first couple SEC opponents.  It won’t be enough to stop Ole Miss.  They will have to score points to keep up with Ole Miss, and they don’t have the horses to keep up in this race.    PICK: Ole Miss 36, Florida 20

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#14 Texas A&M (-7)[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″ css=”.vc_custom_1432672269878{border-right-width: 1px !important;}”][vc_column_text]

Another top 25 SEC match up, although Mississippi St. feels like a poser top 25 team so far.  Not sure who their impressive win is. (Auburn?  Southern Miss?  A close loss at home to an LSU team playing without their warm up game?)  The stats don’t fit the profile of a top 25 team either.  (#42 offense, #48 defense)  So I guess I’m saying I’m dubious that they can go on the road against a team that does seem to be legit.  One thing the Bulldogs do have going for them is they have one of the few QBs in the SEC you can actually rely on in Dak Prescott.  He’s the type of player that can will his team to victory.  But Texas A&M looks like a tough test.  In a flip of the script, the defense is actually carrying the team this year.  It hasn’t been elite but the defense has kept games close and the offense has come through in the 4th quarter.  Myles Garrett is a beast on the D-line and should cause problems for Prescott all night long.  They might give up some yards, but they pressure the QB and get in the backfield.  They are 2nd in the nation in sacks and 4th in tackles for loss.  But, to take a joke from The Solid Verbal, let’s decide what our favorite victory at home over a ranked SEC opponent in the Kevin Sumlin era is……..  So do I go with the team that feels like a top 25 fraud, or the team that has never won a home game against a ranked conference foe under the current head coach?  Let’s go with the pressure defense.  PICK: Texas A&M 33, Mississippi St. 29

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#12 Clemson (-1)[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″ css=”.vc_custom_1432672269878{border-right-width: 1px !important;}”][vc_column_text]

This is a premier early season match up.  Both of these teams are Playoff contenders and look to bolster their resume with a win.  Notre Dame finally made it through a week without a major injury as they dispatched UMass last week.  We haven’t seen Clemson since their Thursday night win against Louisville which feels like was about 6 weeks ago.  They have had plenty of time to practice and shore up the play on the offensive line.  The defense for Clemson has been very good this year for what was supposed to be a rebuilding year.  Notre Dame has been running the ball like no other since starting QB Malik Zaire has gone down.  They have average 336 yards per game on the ground the past 2 games with C.J. Prosise leading the way.  Going into Clemson is a tough task.  They have only lost 5 games at home in the Dabo Swinney era.  It’s night, the crowd is going to be hyped, and I think the injuries catch up to Notre Dame.  This could be a defensive game.  Clemson rides the energy from the crowd to a close win and makes a big statement in the Playoff race.  PICK: Clemson 23, Notre Dame 21

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UPSET OF THE WEEK!

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#8 Georgia (-2.5)[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″ css=”.vc_custom_1432672269878{border-right-width: 1px !important;}”][vc_column_text]

Don’t know if you heard this or not? But the sky is falling in Tuscaloosa, Alabama and Nick Saban should just call it a career.  He’s an underdog for the first time in 73 games and his dynasty is over.  So for everyone that picked Alabama, you should just pack it in!! Georgia has looked fantastic all year with their VA transfer QB Greyson Lambert setting efficiency records left and right.  The dude has 2 incomplete passes in 2 games….disgusting!!  Now I would like to take a moment to reel everyone back in that thinks Georgia is the best SEC team not called Ole Miss.  People!!  They haven’t played anyone yet….that includes South Carolina.  And they certainly haven’t played a defense as strong as Bama’s.  Bama will try to lock up RB Chubb (if that is possible), they want to force Lambert to beat them through the air.  I’m not 100% convinced that he will be able to do that consistently throughout this game.I could be 100% wrong as well, if I am wrong then you’ll see an undefeated Georgia at the end of this year….cuz that schedule looks weak now that we’ve lost Auburn into the abyss.  I still think that Bama has what it takes to bring down the Bulldogs in Athens and I’m gonna stick with that pick.  I don’t think I’ve ever said this: Bama with the upset. PICK: Bama 27 Georgia 24

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Season Record – Straight Up: 24-16

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Season Record – Versus Spread: 16-21-3

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Upset of the Week: 2-2

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