College Football Week 5: Conference Seasons Kick Off With Big Games
After last weekend’s feast by the major football college powers on the cupcakes of the Division I world (more on that at the end of this week’s picks), the college football conference seasons kick in for most everyone. With the start of that season, there are several games this week that pit powers against each other as they make their drive towards the National Championship (Home team in CAPS, choice for game in BOLD, lines from the Mirage in Las Vegas).
#21 Mississippi vs. #1 ALABAMA (-14.5)
Mississippi had one of the top recruiting classes of 2013 and the young recruits for the Rebels have done well in the early part of the season. At 3-0 (including a dominating victory last week against Texas), Ole Miss has the 21st rushing offense in the NCAA behind RB Jeff Scott. The problem for the Rebels is that this is the toughest competition they have faced yet this season.
What can you say about the two-time defending champion Crimson Tide that hasn’t been said yet? Even the much-hyped rematch against Texas A&M and QB Johnny Manziel was less than exciting as the Tide rolled fairly easily. Expect this one to be another win for Alabama gang (and take the over on 55.5 points) as Ole Miss isn’t yet ready to challenge for SEC supremacy.
#23 Wisconsin vs. #4 OHIO STATE (-7)
Another big matchup for this Saturday features the Badgers trying to derail the steamroller that has become the Buckeyes. The past two weeks, Buckeye starting QB Braxton Miller has been on the bench due to injury, but backup Kenny Guiton has been rewriting the Ohio State record books by chucking 13 TDs in those games. Whether Miller or Guiton starts this week, the Buckeyes are going to continue their decimation of teams in covering the spread and going over the 56 point line.
#6 LSU (+3) vs. #9 GEORGIA
This is our pick for the UPSET SPECIAL. Georgia has been well tested in the early part of the season as this is their third game of the year against a Top 10 team (they are 1-1 in those games). They haven’t exactly blown teams out of the water, however. LSU, on the other hand, has been a dominant squad in starting off the year 4-0. This trend will continue as I expect that LSU will win this game outright but fall short of the 62 O/U.
#14 Oklahoma vs. #22 NOTRE DAME (+3.5)
This is one of the tougher games to handicap. The Sooners haven’t exactly been challenged to this point in the season (three weeks ago, they barely beat West Virginia on their home turf) although they are 3-0. Notre Dame has already had some tough fights against Big Ten opposition (losing to Michigan, beating Michigan State and Purdue) and, at home, to be the underdog is a bit hard to believe. With the strength of each teams’ defenses, however, I don’t expect the O/U of 51 to be cracked.
Wake Forest (+28) vs. #3 CLEMSON
The Tigers from South Carolina are arguably the greatest threat to knock off Alabama from college football supremacy. After their victory to start the season against then-#5 Georgia, Clemson has gone on to stack up two more wins, albeit not against the greatest competition. One of the “thorns in their side” has been the Demon Deacons from North Carolina. Although they are 2-2, they have a stubborn defense (Top 25 in points given up) and just enough offense to keep QB Tajh Boyd off the field and the game inside the spread and under 58 points.
LAST WEEK: With all the lopsided matchups last week (Miami (-60) against perennial powerhouse Savannah State and Ohio State (likewise -60) against the college football legend Florida A&M), there was no sense in even looking at the schedule. Most teams, as they prepared to head into conference play, were looking for one more cupcake to feast on; with that in mind, it was one of those weekend’s that a smart bettor takes the weekend off and simply watches for enjoyment.
A couple of weeks ago, I went 2-2-1 in picks and ATS and once again missed our Upset Special (Illinois pushed against Washington; I had them winning outright). For the season, I’m still under .500, but it’s improving. A good week this week would get me on that mark or, if perfect, over it.
SEASON: 5-9-1 (picks/ATS), 0-3 Upsets
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