Mitch from Sports Chat Place guests on the Tonys Picks TV Show and offers his picks, predictions, previews and odds from all of the top games from college football in Week 5.
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Thursday Night Football
7:30PM ET–Virginia Tech Hokies at Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (ESPN)
The Line: Georgia Tech favored by -7 ½ points with the total lined at 42 points.
After a week one loss to Alabama the Hokies have three straight victories. Their past two wins were struggles defeating East Carolina 15-10 on the road as a -8 point favorite and last week needing overtime in a rainy 29-21 home overtime victory against Marshall as a -8 ½ point betting favorite.
Georgia Tech is a perfect 3-0 on the season. They crushed Duke on the road 38-14 in their ACC opener and last week came from a 13 point second quarter deficit to bear North Carolina 28-20 as a -6 ½ point favorite. Their sophomore quarterback Vad Lee doesn’t throw very much but has already has 7 touchdown passes with his 22 completions on the year. After a slow first half the Yellow Jackets got their run game going as they run for over 200 yards in the second half against the Tar Heels.
Saturday College Football
3:30PM ET—LSU at Georgia (CBS)
The Line: LSU opened a three point favorite. Money pours on Georgia and now the Bulldogs are a -3 point favorite. The total is 63 points.
No meeting in 2012 between these two SEC schools. LSU is 4-0 with wins against TCU on a neutral field and last week defeat Auburn at home 35-21 as a -17 point favorite. The Tigers are 24th nationally in total defense giving up 310 yards a game. Auburn was able to run for 213 yards and throw for 224 yards on LSU last week. Maybe that’s why the money on Georgia. LSU has a capable quarterback in Zach Mettenberger who is hitting on 65% of his passes for 10 touchdowns and 1 picks.
Aaron Murray a senior is completing 72% of his passes with 7 touchdowns and 2 picks but many say can’t win big games. Georgia has a win against South Carolina at home and a road defeat at Clemson by a field goal. LSU should be able to have some offensive success here but the question is can Aaron Murray put enough points on the scoreboard against the LSU defense.
6:30PM ET—Mississippi at Alabama (ESPN)
The Line: Alabama favored by -16 points with a total of 63 points.
Alabama has won nine straight against Ole Miss. Last year Alabama wins 33-14 as a -31 point favorite with the total going under 52 points. Ole Miss has covered six of their past eight meetings against the Crimson Tide. That brings up the question is 16 too many points to lay with Alabama?
Ole Miss is a perfect 3-0 on the year with notable win at Vanderbilt and Texas. Big second halves in each of those wins. They outscored Texas 27-0 and Vanderbilt 29-14 in the second half. Bo Wallace is a junior quarterback in his second season as the teams starter. He completes 64% of his throws with four touchdowns and no picks. Ole Miss has put up some good numbers on offense but they have to face the Alabama defense.
After a 49-42 road win at Texas A&M the Tide defeat Colorado St last week 31-6 despite going 2 of 10 on third down. When asked the Crimson Tide has shown the ability to turn on the switch offensively as we saw against Texas A&M. The question here is can Ole Miss make it a game?
3:30PM ET—Oklahoma at Notre Dame (NBC)
The Line: Oklahoma favored by -3 ½ points with an over under line of 47 points Early money on the Sooners as it opened up at -3.
There were some concerns about the Oklahoma quarterback position as they break in junior Blake Bell in the position. They had a 16-7 home win against West Virginia. But a week late they crushed Tulsa 51-20 with Bell hitting on 73% of his throws for 413 yards with four touchdowns. The Sooners have looked good defensively. Oklahoma comes off the bye week here.
Notre Dame comes off a 17-13 home victory against Michigan St as a -4 point favorite. Some believe that the Fighting Irish may have been aided by some questionable pass interference calls. Michigan St was penalized 10 times for 115 yards. Tommy Rees struggled through an inaccurate game hitting on 14 of 24 for 142 yards and a touchdown. I still like this offensive line for Notre Dame as they are making their running backs look better than they really are by opening up big holes. If Notre Dame had better quality running backs they would be making a lot more big plays on the ground. Hard to measure Notre Dame’s defensive performance against a bad Spartans offense.
8PM ET—Wisconsin at Ohio St (ABC)
The Line: Ohio St favored by -7 ½ points with an over under line of 57 points.
Last year Ohio St goes into Madison and comes away with a 21-14 road overtime win in one of the biggest wins for the Buckeyes last year. They blew a 14-0 lead in a hostile environment but gutted a win. The Badgers overcome a bad beat at Arizona St and come away with a 41-10 home blowout win in their Big Ten opener against Purdue as a -21 ½ point favorite. Wisconsin is scoring points by averaging 30 or more in all four games. Schedule other than Arizona St has been somewhat easy to this point.
Ohio St is 4-0. Toughest opponent to date was going on the west coast against a rebuilding California team and coming away with a 52-34 victory as a -12 ½ point favorite. The Ohio St defense allowed Cal to score and move the football and stay within range. I like how they dominated San Diego St 42-7 in week two. Braxton Miller is questionable with a knee. Senior Kenny Guiton in relief is completing 68% of his passes with 13 touchdowns and 2 picks. On deck for Ohio St is a trip to Northwestern.
Quick Hitter Games
7PM ET—Texas A&M at Arkansas (ESPN2)
The Line: No Line on this game. I see Arkansas a -13 point favorite on the road at the Las Vegas Hilton.
Last year A&M crushes Arkansas 58-10 as a -12 ½ point home favorite. Arkansas has some quarterback concerns. Freshman QB Austin Allen is questionable with a shoulder injury. The Razorbacks hit the road last week and blow a 24-7 second half lead as they allow 21 straight points to the Scarlet Knights in defeat. Junior QB AJ Derby is hitting on 56% of his throws with a touchdown and pick.
The Aggies bounces back after their loss to Alabama with a 42-13 home win at SMU. Note: This is Texas A&M’s first road game of the year. Still some concern for Texas A&M on defense. They are 112th in the nation by allowing 475 yards a game with 218 yards rushing ranking 107th. It’s almost like the Texas A&M team needs their A game on offense to win.
12PM ET—South Carolina at Central Florida (ABC)
The Line: South Carolina favored by -7 points with a total of 52 points.
Central Florida posted the 34-31 road upset victory at Penn St in week three. They come off the bye here in week five in this home test against the Gamecocks. You have to be impressed with the 507 yards they put up on the Nittany Lions defense and they ran for 219 yards for nearly 6 yards a carry. We always think defense first with the Knights. Junior QB Blake Bortles is hitting on 71% of his passes with 7 touchdowns and one pick. Miami transfer running back Storm Johnson ran for 117 yards on 17 carries and a touchdown at Penn St and is averaging 5 ½ yards a carry.
I think South Carolina catches a break here in an early daytime start. The crowd may not be too revved up just yet. This is probably one of biggest homes games for the school. After a 41-30 road defeat at Georiga the Gamecocks defeated Vanderbiltin week three 35-25 as a -10 ½ point favorite. They opened up a 28-0 lead on Vandy but it became a two possession game with 14 minutes remaining. South Carolina has a young defense that is ranked near the middle of college football in all the major categories. Looks like the offense will need to generate more points this season. QB Connor Shaw is completing 65% of his passes with six touchdowns and no picks.
7PM ET—Arizona at Washington (FOX)
The Line: Washington favored by -9 points with an over under total of 63 ½ points.
It is a revenge spot for the Huskies as the Wildcats blowout Washington 52-17 as a -8 ½ point favorite. No letdown from Washington after their 38-6 home victory against Boise St in week one. After a bye they go into Illinois as a -10 point favorite and beat the Fighting Illini 34-24. After the 2011 season we saw a defensive coordinator change at Washington. We all remember that bowl game against Baylor where the Huskies gave up 67 points. The defense greatly improved allowing 24 points a game in 2012 after giving up 36 a game in 2011. The Huskies offense is clicking this year ranked #3 with 629 yards per game. They are 12th in total defense by allowing 279 yards to opponents. They are averaging 43 points a game and allowing 10 points.
Arizona is 3-0 out of the blocks. A very weak scheduled beating Northern Arizona, UNLV, and Texas San Antonio. No clue how good or bad this Wildcats team is. B.J. Denker is their quarterback and hitting on 56% of his passes with two touchdowns and no picks. Arizona’s defense in 2011 and 2012 was atrocious giving up 35 points a game in each of the past two seasons.
10PM ET—Stanford at Washington St (ESPN)
The Line: Stanford a -10 point favorite with a total of 48 points.
Last year Stanford struggles through a 24-17 home win against Washington St as a -25 point favorite.
Monster win for Stanford last week as they host Arizona St and posts the 42-28 home victory as a -6 ½ point favorite. They go up 29-0 at the half. The Cardinal ground and pound for Sun Devils defense for 241 yards rushing.
Washington St is 3-1 on the year. In week one they go to SEC country and loss 31-24 at Auburn. They have a 10-7 win at USC. Then beat up on two cupcakes at home. Junior QB Connor Holiday has beefed up the stats in wins against Southern Utah and Idaho.
10:30PM ET—USC at Arizona St (ESPN2)
The Line: Arizona St favored by -6 points with a total of 50 ½ points.
Two years ago the Sun Devils pound USC 43-22 as a -2 ½ point favorite. Last year USC wins 38-17 as a -10 point favorite. After a 10-7 loss the Trojans pound Boston College 35-7 and last week struggle past a good Utah St team 17-14. It was a good test for the USC defense and they put good pressure on quarterback Chuckie Keeton. The Trojans continue their struggles on third down converting 3 of 14. USC offense the during the Lane Kiffin years seems to be Big Play or Bust. They just don’t seem to have the ability to engineer those long drives we saw in the Pete Carroll years. To their credit the USC defense is playing well. The Trojans history on the road in PAC 12 has not been very good in recent years.
ASU tries to bounce back after an embarrassing loss at Stanford. They go down 29-0 at the half. They pass a test with officiating aid in a 32-30 home win against Wisconsin. The Sun Devils have a pretty good quarterback in junior Taylor Kelly who is completing 60% of his passes with 8 touchdowns and 3 picks. The USC secondary will be tested again as they face the 8th ranked passing team in the league.
12PM ET—Oklahoma St at West Virginia (ESPN)
The Line: Road team Oklahoma St favored by -18 points with a total of 57 points.
Last year Oklahoma St pound Geno Smith and the Mountaineers 55-34 as a -10 ½ point favorite at home.
No Geno Smith for West Virginia. They return home after a 37-0 road pounding an improved Maryland team. They are 2-2 with a loss at Oklahoma 16-7. Against two quality opponents just seven points score. Geno Smith’s replacement is junior Paul Millard who is hitting on 60% of his passes with one touchdown and one pick. Head coach Holgorsen says easy on my QB there are bigger issues on this team. West Virginia is not making plays on offense.
The Cowboys are coming off a bye. Notable win came in week one at home with a 21-3 win against Mississippi St. They then beat up on two cupcakes at home. Sophomore QB JW Walsh is completing 70% of his throws with five touchdowns and one pick. The schedule gets tough late as they close the regular season at Texas then home to Baylor and Oklahoma.
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