Super 8: Week 5 College Football Picks

By: Matt Doherty and Liam O’Brien

Last week, we had some tremendous high and lows on our picks. Oregon choked away a potential upset victory over Stanford with a brutal fumble in the final minute, leading to a game-tying Cardinal field goal and an eventual overtime loss.

As the Ducks +2 pick crumbled to ashes, Wisconsin rose from the dead in a comeback win over Iowa. The Badgers overcame a 17-14 point deficit in the final minutes with two touchdowns in the final 57 seconds to cover.

Now, onto Week 5.

Liam: BYU (+17.5) over Washington

There is no doubt the Huskies are on the rise, having defeated two tough Pac 12 teams over the past two Saturday nights in Utah and Arizona State. However, Washington has not been dominant enough to convince me they will cover this lengthy spread.

The Huskies were favored by 18.5 over the Sun Devils the last week and failed to cover by 11.5 points in a 27-20 victory. I see this trend continuing this weekend against BYU. Washington allowed Arizona State to essentially force a tie in time of possession while Sun Devils running backs Eno Benjamin and Trelon Smith combined for 149 yards and a touchdown on 34.

The Cougars are a team that can run the football and expect that to be a point of emphasis against Washington. In a shocking 24-21 win over Wisconsin in Week 3, Squally Canada rushed for 118 yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries while Aleva Hifo gained 45 yards on five carries.

Washington will need to squash Canada and the running game if they wish to cover this lengthy spread. I don’t see that happening.

Matt: Cincinatti (-17) over UConn

I’m going to keep betting against UConn until they prove me wrong. The numbers are bad. Like, really bad. They are losing by an average of 41.3 points per game and surrendering an astonishing 56.5 points per game!! You want more? UConn is ranked dead last in defensive efficiency, and my favorite stat of their dismal season: they allowed 49 points at home to an FCS team.

Meanwhile, Cincy is 4-0 and although their offense is average (72nd), the UConn defense could make a high school offense look potent. The Bearcats will be able to put up around 50 points and the defense is too good to let UConn hang around. Keep betting against the Huskies.

Liam: Boston College (-13) over Temple

This spread has fallen over the course of the week as people jump off the BC bandwagon. I’ve planted my flag in the Eagles and I’m sticking with it.

Yes, the Eagles were taken behind the woodshed by Purdue last week, but that doesn’t detract from the fact they should dominate against the Owls. BC has a top 25 rushing offense with 235.5 yards per game while Temple’s rushing defense ranks 73rd in the country, allowing 160.3 yards per outing.

The Owls allowed 111 yards on just 16 carries to Villanova running back Aaron Forbes in an embarrassing season opening loss to their FCS counterparts before allowing 138 yards and two scores on 25 carries to Kevin Marks in a 36-29 home loss to Buffalo in Week 2.

BC running back AJ Dillon is knocking on the door of 500 yards already and will surpass that milestone and more in a big Eagles win at noon on Saturday.

Matt: Memphis (-14) over Tulane

This Memphis offense is really good and the only blemish on their resume so far came in a 22-21 loss against a triple-option Navy offense in the pouring rain. I look at that game as an anomaly due to unlucky conditions. In their three other games, Memphis is averaging 59 points per game. On Friday night in the Big Easy, the Tigers get to feast on a poor Tulane defense that is ranked 102nd in efficiency and gave up 49 points to Ohio State last week and 31 to UAB the week before.

Memphis QB Brady White is completing 72% of his passes and he should have no problem moving the Tigers up and down the field all night long en route to a comfortable victory.

Liam: Stanford (+5.5) over Notre Dame

This is the 22nd consecutive season in which these two historic programs have faced off, and this matchup might be the most anticipated one to date.

The crowd will be raucous, but the way the Cardinal composed themselves in Eugene, Oregon last Saturday night displayed their ability to handle such an environment. Stanford quarterback K.J. Costello went 19-for-26 for 327 yards and three scores while Bryce Love grinded out 89 rushing yards and a touchdown against a top-30 defense in the Ducks in a statement comeback win.

With opposing defenses keying on Love, Costello has assumed a greater role in the offense and is slinging it all over the yard. He should have opportunities to make big plays against a Fighting Irish defense that ranks 76th in the nation with 223.5 passing yards per game.

Love has room to be effective in this one as well. Notre Dame has allowed 145 rushing yards per outing this season, ranking 62nd in the country.

Matt: UCF (-13.5) over Pittsburgh

I’m riding the AAC train this week as UCF joins Cincy and Memphis in the pick column. The Knights might be headed for another undefeated season and National Title as they are favored in every remaining game but one. UCF was a two touchdown favorites last week against Florida Atlantic and won by 20 and I expect a similar result this week.

We’ve been riding against Pitt this fall, winning bets in games they failed to cover vs. Penn State in Week 2 and North Carolina in Week 4.

Speaking of Penn State, they possess a similar offense as UCF and the Nittany Lions gashed Pitt for 51 points. Pitt had trouble defending the RPO attack of Trace McSorley and Miles Sanders, to a tune of 211 rushing yards. UCF QB Mackenzie Milton is one of the best in the country, averaging 300 yards per game in the air and 50 yards per game on the ground. As a team, UCF is averaging 6.4 YPC for the 13th most efficient offense in the country.

They’ll put up a lot of points Saturday and win by more than two touchdowns.

Liam: LSU (-10.5) over Ole Miss

The Rebels play no defense, simple as that.

Ole Miss ranks 120th in the nation with 505.3 yards allowed per game. They have allowed 18 touchdowns in the first four games and opponents are gaining nearly six yards per play against them. Yes, 62 of these points and 516 yards came via the juggernaut that is Alabama in a 62-7 beating two weeks ago. However, the Rebels also allowed 41 points and 629 yards against Southern Illinois.

LSU’s Clyde Edwards-Helaire led the team to a 38-21 win over Louisiana Tech last Saturday night with 136 yards and two scores on 20 carries and should have some gaping holes to run through this week. Ole Miss is allowing 190.8 yards per game on the ground.

Matt: West Virginia  (-3.5) over Texas Tech

I am very high on West Virginia, so let’s grab some value here against an overrated Texas Tech team. This line is too low. The Mountaineers have a more efficient offense (5th to 16th), a better quarterback, and a better defense (52nd to 66th).

The Mountaineers have allowed just 12 points per game which includes a road game at Tennessee. While the Red Raiders looked impressive in a 41-17 win at OK State last week, this is a classic letdown game. Because WVU’s game at NC State got canceled, I don’t think Vegas knows exactly how good West Virginia is.

They’ll find out Saturday when they beat Texas Tech by double-digits in a Lubbock shootout. Will Grier: Heisman campaign begins.

Leans: Clemson +25.5, Texas A&M -21, Nebraska +3.5, UL Lafayette +48.5

Season Records:

Matt: 6-6

Liam: 8-4

Photo from Boston Herald

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