Friday, September 30, 2016

Your NCAA Football Week 5 Primer (With Picks!)

Jarbill Peppers and No. 4 Michigan will host No. 8 Wisconsin in The Big House Saturday.
By Joe Parello (@HerewegoJoe)

Holy cow, do we have a great week on tap.

Six of the Top-10 teams in the country are playing each other, with a Top-10 match up taking place in the Pac 12, Big Ten and ACC.

Catch up, SEC, you're slacking! Don't worry Big 12, we know it just isn't your year. Maybe if you had invited Houston last year...

But it isn't just about those three massive games, as almost every other ranked team is in action against a league opponent or major conference foe (Arkansas, of the SEC, and San Diego State being the only exceptions).

So, let's not waste any more time, let's get into this week's picks.

Last Week Against the Spread: 8-7
Year Against the Spread to Date: 33-32

Home Team in CAPS


No. 7 Stanford (+3.5) over NO. 10 WASHINGTON

Christian McCaffrey ate the Huskies for lunch last year, and I'm getting points? Could Vegas be making it any easier for Stanford fans to make money this year? The Cardinal has been a smart bet every week, and people from Stanford, at least I hear, are pretty smart.


No. 23 Florida (-10) over VANDERBILT

Look, I'm not crazy about the Gators, especially after last week's meltdown against Tennessee, but this is not a very good Vandy team. Even with failed Purdue starter Austin Appleby playing quarterback, Florida should still take this one by two touchdowns.

No. 13 Baylor (-16) over IOWA STATE

If Iowa can blow out Iowa State, that tells me the Cyclones just don't have it this year. As untested as the Bears are, they've blown out the weak teams they've faced this year, and topped a decent Oklahoma State team by 11.

NO. 20 ARKANSAS (No Line) over Alcorn State

Dammit, SEC!

OKLAHOMA STATE (-2.5) over No. 22 Texas

Yes, I know I'm giving points with an unranked team against ranked Texas, but given how the Longhorns looked, especially on defense, against Cal, and how Notre Dame has looked since Texas beat them, I'm willing to bet Texas is a paper tiger. Oklahoma State played with Baylor for much of the game last week, and should have never lost to Central Michigan on that Hail Mary.

The Cowboys aren't bad, and they're at home against a Texas team that might be.

NO. 2 OHIO STATE (-38) over Rutgers

I was just wondering aloud, "what would the line have to be for me to pick Rutgers in this game?" Given that Urban Meyer loves to run the score up and pad his players' Heisman stats, and the fact that Rutgers is pretty bad, I've decided it would have to be seven touchdowns or more.

Since 38 is less than 49, I'll continue to pick the Buckeyes, until somebody hangs with them.

GEORGIA TECH (+7.5) over No. 14 Miami

The Hurricanes looked good against a decent Appalachian State, and quarterback Brad Kaaya is living up to the hype, but Georgia Tech is a solid defensive team that can run the football with that Flex-Bone option attack.

It's tough for teams to prepare for that running game in just a week, and I'm counting on GT controlling the clock and keeping the game within a possession, if not stealing a big win at home.

NO. 12 FLORIDA STATE (-10) over North Carolina

The Seminoles are desperately out to prove "we really don't suck," so I see them stepping on weaker teams' throats from here on out.

NO. 4 MICHIGAN (-10) over No. 8 Wisconsin

I was really torn on this one because, honestly, I could see the Badgers winning it outright. That said, Michigan has been so impressive, that if they get off to a quick start, I have half a mind to say they could win by three or four touchdowns.

Basically, I have no idea what's gonna happen, so I'll pick the better team playing at home.

Illinois (+20.5) over NO. 15 NEBRASKA

I don't know why, but I just don't trust the Huskers with this big of a line, even if Illinois is awful. Call it a hunch, but I see Nebraska having an off day, and this one ending up surprisingly close.

No. 11 Tennessee (-3.5) over NO. 25 GEORGIA

Nope, I'm done being fooled by you, Georgia. How the hell are you still ranked?!?!

No. 9 Texas A&M (-18) over SOUTH CAROLINA

Trevor Knight has found a home at quarterback for the Aggies, and A&M rolled Arkansas last week, after the game looked like it was gonna be a tight one. I expect the same thing this week: A close one early on, but once the Aggie offense gets going, SC doesn't have the horses to keep up.

NO. 21 TCU (+3.5) over Oklahoma

Is this line wrong? Nope, the underachieving Sooners are really GIVING three-and-a-half, on the road, against a solid TCU team that can score in bunches.

No. 18 Utah (+2) over CAL

Uh, is it just me, or is EVERYBODY underestimating Utah? The Utes are as balanced a team as you'll find in the country, and have shown the ability to make big plays when the game is in the balance. I get that Cal beat Texas two weeks ago, but give the Utes some respect, Vegas.

Or don't, and I'll just pick them.

NO. 16 OLE MISS (-14) over Memphis

I don't know much about Memphis, but I do know that Ole Miss can throw the ball on people with Chad Kelly. If he can move the ball against Alabama and Florida State (even in defeat), I'll just assume he can sling it against the Tigers.

Kentucky (-35.5) over NO. 1 ALABAMA

I'm continuing the strategy of "Nick Saban calls off his dogs once he's up 35, so Bama probably wins by 28."

It didn't work last week against Kent State, but I have a feeling Nicky boy will be saving some things for trips to Arkansas and Tennessee the next two weeks.

SOUTH ALABAMA (-20) over No. 19 San Diego State

You don't just walk into (quick Google search) Ladd-Peebles Stadium (seriously, that's the name of South Alabama's home venue) and walk out with a win… By more than 20 points... When you're an overrated Mountain West team.

No. 3 Louisville (-2) over NO. 5 CLEMSON

I don't feel good picking against Clemson, at home, and giving points, but have you watched Louisville this year? These boys can score, and Clemson has really only played like itself once this year, although it was last week against Georgia Tech.

That said, Louisville looks like a legit playoff contender, while Clemson has really only been one on paper, or based off the results of last year. I'll go with the Cardinals to score yet another huge win against an ACC blue blood.

No. 17 Michigan State (-6) over INDIANA

The Hoosiers look like a bowl team, and Kevin Wilson always has an impressive offense (over 1,000 yards passing in just three games), but Michigan State needs this win to avoid an 0-2 start in the Big Ten.

MSU bounces back with a complete performance in Bloomington.

NO. 24 BOISE STATE (-21) over Utah State

Sure, why not.

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