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College Football Week 5 Picks

College Football: Week 4 was a very revealing week for a lot of the teams we had doubts about.

Texas A&M was indeed doomed by the loss of their QB against Colorado, weeks ago. Arkansas is indeed a solid team. USC, Miami, and FSU are probably all cooked on their redemption tours, and Oklahoma is the luckiest fraud team we’ve seen since the last Notre Dame team who was blown out in the National Title game.

On the week, we again went 2-2 (for the fourth straight week). We are now at 12-8 for the season and will look to improve upon that in this exciting week of college football action (albeit mainly big SEC games).

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A Look Ahead to Week 5

#12 Ole Miss travels to #1 Alabama this week to face the Tide in their annual, “can Ole Miss beat Alabama again” game. Over the last eight seasons, no team has as many wins over Alabama as Ole Miss.

#5 Iowa will head to college park to face the undefeated Maryland Terrapins on Friday night. #2 Georgia hosts #8 Arkansas this week in Athens, while #15 Texas A&M looks for a bounce-back win against Mississippi State.

In the Big 12, #21 Baylor looks to stay undefeated this week, when they travel to Stillwater to face #19 Oklahoma State. The last big game of the week is #9 Notre Dame hosting #7 Cincinnati. Both teams have playoff aspirations, so this one should be a regular season classic.

Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook

 

#13 BYU -9.5 at Utah State

Unlike the Utah State teams of the past few seasons, this 2021 team has an abysmal defense. Utah State is ranked 120th out of 130 FBS teams on defense. Offensively, the Aggies are close to average, but the BYU team on the other side is exceptional.

BYU is the 29th ranked offense by PFF and the 59th ranked defense. Utah State was able to run up the score against the likes of undersized, smaller teams. However, last week’s 27-3 against Boise showed how size on the defensive front can really give them issues.

BYU has played four solid opponents thus far and won each game by at least eight points. For the Cougars, their defense is going to put a lot of pressure on the Utah State offense who lives and dies on risky plays. The Aggies have an astonishing 4.09% turnover-worthy play percentage. Expect the Cougars to capitalize and for this game to snowball late.

BYU 40 Utah State 17

 

Toledo -27 at UMASS

UMASS didn’t disappoint us last week (unless you were rooting for them to win). They were 36-point dogs to Coastal Carolina last week and still easily covered (losing by 50). This week, we are looking to ride UMASSacre to another cash against Toledo.

Toledo nearly pulled-off a miracle upset two weeks ago, losing in the waning minutes at Notre Dame. The Rockets tend to get gashed on the ground against their opposition this season, but the pass defense surrenders only 185 yards per game.

With how poor UMASS is on defense (130th in ELO ranking and 130th in Defensive ranking via PFF) the game script for UMASS will push them into a more pass-heavy approach. That plays right into the strength of Toledo’s defense (ranked 13th overall).

This game has all the makings of another bloodbath. The only concern here is that UMASS runs the ball well early and manages to keep things close. Alas, I trust the Toledo defense too much to believe that’s a realistic scenario.

Toledo 49 UMASS 14

 

Ohio -9.5 vs Akron

This game is more of a philosophy-based pick. There’s one clear and obvious game plan for the Ohio defense and I’m trusting the Ohio coaching staff sees it. Akron is the lowest-ranked team in the MAC on defense. Offensively, the Zips are second from the bottom in the MAC.

The achilles heel for this Akron offense is pass protection. In a clean pocket, the Zips have a 115.6 passer rating. Under pressure, they have a passer rating of 63 (per PFF). We’re leaning on Ohio paying attention to these easily accessible numbers and forming a defensive game plan to take advantage of it.

From a macro perspective, Ohio needs a win here. They’ve had awful performances up to this point, but the advanced numbers indicate they should have a clear advantage in this game. Ohio has nearly triple the big-time throw pct and around half the turnover-worthy plays as Akron.

I’m not buying the narrative that Akron is going to get some boost from holding Ohio State to a close game into the second half. With the way that game finished, it’s more likely the hangover from that eventual blowout will negatively impact them this week.

Ohio 34 Akron 17

Tennessee at Missouri -2.5  

Long gone are the sounds of Rockytop shattering the dreams of opposing SEC teams and fans. Over the past decade and change, the Vols have been a red dwarf on the college football landscape. Despite the decline, they’ve managed to recruit a few really good players ever few seasons.

Missouri had immediate success in the SEC but has recently struggled to make any sort of major impact. Last week, Missouri fell to Boston College in a closely contested battle, but showed some offensive promise.

For this matchup, I trust the Missouri offense more than any other unit on the field. Tennessee has shown their offense and defense can be good. They’ve just struggled to do so from start to finish in a meaningful game.

Both teams are rated similarly across the board, with Missouri having an edge on offense and Tennessee having a slight edge on defense. The key here is the home field advantage for Missouri. Road SEC games are tough. Tennessee has just six road SEC wins since 2015.

Missouri 31 Tennessee 20

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