NCAAF Week 5: 2-5, (28.57%) -3.5 Units
NCAAF Season: 14-23-1, (37.83%) -11.3 Units
That record speaks for itself right now and it’s been a season from hell in College Football. No excuses out of me it’s just flat out been a horrible start to the year. Nothing I can do but start trying to dig myself out of this hole and make something of the season. Here’s what I’ve got this week….
Pittsburgh (+11): This is a tricky 4 game stretch for NC State, in this stretch they face Louisville, Notre Dame, Clemson and of course this game Saturday at Pitt. If there’s a game they are going to let down or not be as pumped up you’d figure it to be this one. For Pitt starting QB Max Browne is out and in steps Redshirt Sophomore Ben Dinucci. Now I’ll admit there’s obviously a drop off going here I also think Dinucci is a respectable QB. He doesn’t come in void of experience either as he’s seen action in 5 games this year and thrown 65 passes. He also has decent mobility and is a bit of a threat to run. Last week Pitt experimented with safety Jordan Whitehead at running back and he actually put up 73 yards on 7 carries, that’ll be something to keep an eye on in this one as well. On the NC State end it’s a matter of handling success and being able to continue to get up each week. This is the best team they’ve had in many years and while it’s easy to get up for games against Florida State, Louisville, and in coming weeks Notre Dame and Clemson, it might not be as easy to get up for a game against Pitt and their backup QB. Just feels like a tricky spot for the Pack and I think Pitt finds a way to hang around.
Tennessee (-3.5): It’s been a weird 3 weeks for the Vols. It all started when they lost at Florida 26-20 on a last second Hail Mary pass. They then were in sleepwalk mode in a 17-13 win over U Mass where they were clearly looking ahead to Georgia. Then of course last week Georgia came into town and cleaned their clocks 41-0. Now however I think the Vols get back on track at home against South Carolina. Neither team has much of a passing attack but what Tennessee does have is probably the best play maker on the field with John Kelly. Kelly averages 99 yards per game rushing on over 5 yards per carry and also chips in 46 yards per game receiving on over 10 yards per catch. He’s a solid all around weapon and in what should be a low scoring game like this a guy like that is even more valuable than usual. As far as South Carolina goes they are coming off a 48-22 over Arkansas but that team is in complete shambles right now and I’d take that win with a grain of salt. Earlier in the year South Carolina did beat NC State but that game was extremely flukey with them winning despite being outgained in total yardage 504-246. The 4-2 overall record is nice but I think there’s some smoke and mirrors going on with the Gamecocks and I’m expecting a road loss here.
U Conn (+9.5): Kind of a strange game here with a horrible offense against a horrible defense. Temple has one of the worst offenses in FBS and U Conn is one of the worst defenses. The Owls are only averaging 333 yards per game and last weeks 34 against East Carolina can’t be taken too seriously as that’s probably the worst defense in FBS right now. I’ll admit U Conn’s defense is awful and I’ll just have to take my chances they can keep a horrid Temple offense at least under control. What I do have with the Huskies though is an offense that’s proven they can at least put up yards and points. Lost in how bad U Conn has been is how good QB Bryant Shirreffs is playing. Shirreffs has thrown for an average of 375 yards per game in his last 3 games and on the season is averaging over 10 yards per attempt to go with 9 TD’s and only 3 INT’s. He even held his own at power 5 school Virginia by going 18 for 26 with 227 yards, 2 TD’s, 1 INT and for good measure 90 yards rushing. Despite an awful defense I’ll take my chances with him at the helm and 9.5 points in my back pocket against a horrid offensive Temple team.
UNLV (+7.5): I took some shots at UNLV last week on Twitter after SDSU destroyed them 41-10 in Vegas. I do however think they can have some success here against Air Force. For the Rebels it seems to be pretty simple, they can run (and run very well) against bad teams, but as SDSU showed if you give them a good defense they’ll be handled fairly easily. Luckily for them they get a shaky Air Force defense on Saturday. The Falcons allow 253 yards rushing per game which is perfect for a UNLV team that runs for 266 per game themselves. For all the Rebels warts there’s no denying that if you give them a soft run defense to face that they’ll clean up. Lexington Thomas is a solid back and QB Armani Rogers while not yet a great passer is an elite athlete with excellent wheels. Air Force will likely have some success of their own on the ground but getting over a TD is enough for me to take a shot with the Rebels here.
Georgia Tech (+6.5): Miami is getting a ton of attention right now and rightfully so as they are undefeated and knocking on the door of the top 10, Georgia Tech however is doing their thing under the radar. The Yellow Jackets are 3-1 and their only loss came in a 42-41 game against Tennessee where they clearly outplayed the Vols and gave the game away in the 4th qtr and OT. On the year all the numbers for the Jackets are very impressive. They average 479 yards per game on offense while allowing only 260 per game defensively, a whopping net edge of 220 yards per game. Their defense is very solid against both the run and pass and of course the offensive attack is all about that triple option. Running the ball it’s the duo of QB TaQuon Marshall and RB KirVonte Benson are doing major damage. In just 4 games those two have combined for 999 yards and 13 TD’s on about 5.5 yards per carry. Miami is no doubt a solid team but fact is they were outplayed last week by Florida State and pulled a rabbit out of their hat to win that game. FSU won the total yardage battle 406-337, time of possession by 10 minutes, and it took a long TD pass with 6 seconds left for the Canes to escape with victory. It’s also worth noting that canes star RB Mark Walton was lost to injury in that game and is now out. Walton ran for over 1100 yards last year and was averaging 7.6 yards per carry this year so needless to say that’ll be a big loss for Miami. An outright upset here wouldn’t surprise me but even if we don’t get that I think Tech hangs around throughout.
Ole Miss (-3.5): I’m simply going to back the team that actually has some fire power in this game. Both of these teams have their flaws and that’s why each of them are at the bottom of the SEC right now. Vandy however has a serious problem moving the ball. Yes I realize their schedule has been brutal and that’s a large part of why their numbers are so bad, but 277 total yards per game on offense is just awful. They only throw for 200 a game, they only run for 77 a game and frankly it’s an offense void of any real play makers. As a team they average less than 3 yards per carry and they don’t have the kind of passing offense that can overcome that. Their QB Kyle Shurmur is great at protecting the ball with only 1 INT this season but they just don’t eat up big chunks of yardage. Ole Miss can’t really run the ball either but what they can do is throw it all over the lot. If you take away their game against Alabama (and it’s freaking Alabama I think it’s fair to give them a pass there) their passing numbers are insane. In their other 4 games QB Shea Patterson is averaging 407 yards per game passing. He’s got some nice weapons and WR and unlike Vandy, Ole Miss actually has the ability to eat up big chunks of yardage and put up points. Throw in the fact they are at home and I’m perfectly fine laying the 3.5 here.
Kent State (+9.5): I’ll start off by saying and admitting that Kent State is awful. There’s no way around it and there’s no denying it, this is a really bad football team. This play however isn’t really about them, it’s strictly a fade of Miami-Ohio. The 2-4 Redhawks aren’t exactly world beaters in the their own right and now come into this one with starting QB Gus Ragland hurt and unavailable. They’ll turn to back up QB Billy Bahl who is about what you’d expect from a guy who is a back up QB in the MAC…. not very good. This should be an ugly low scoring game and I honestly think if Kent State can even find their way to 14 points that right there should be enough to stay within this number. For the most part however this one just comes down to challenging an already bad Miami-Ohio team to go and cover 9.5 points in a conference road game with a back up QB. If they can do that than so be it, I’ll take my loss and move on.
Have some more but out of time for write ups…
Old Dominion (+14)
Oregon State (+10)