NCAA Football: Week 5. Picks and Predictions ?

Last Week in Review By Dr. Senkbeil

Last week was awful 5-9-1.  It started well and most of the night games looked good for a half until the dam broke.  This week has to be better.  I will also use the Sagarin predictions this week to provide added context and see if my rationale is validated.

Weekend of 9/30/17 game lines as of Wednesday 9/27 midnight EST:

Picks against the spread are in bold.
  • USC -3.5 at Washington State

    Prediction: USC 37 Washington State 28

    Sagarin: USC by 2

    Balanced USC (9,19) travels to The Palouse to take on the 4-0 Cougs (22,30).  Washington State is not a bad team, but they have not played anybody and the 47-44 Boise OT win does not look nearly as good now.  USC has 3 decent wins and covers this on the road.

  • USF – 23 at East Carolina

    Prediction: USF 56 ECU 21

    Sagarin: USF by 21

    USF has started to become the team it was predicted to be under Charlie Strong.  Their defense has rapidly improved in the last 3 weeks and now they are balanced (31,42). ECU has the worst defense in the FBS (129th) but they beat UCONN last week for what that is worth.  USF rolls just like V Tech and WVU did over the Pirates.

  • Vandy +10 at Florida

    Prediction: Florida 20 Vandy 17

    Sagarin: Florida by 11

    When will the luck end for Florida (69,10)?  They beat Tennessee on a Hail Mary and somehow survived Kentucky by 1 point.  Are they 10 points better than Vandy (98,17)?  The under is 42 so the game either becomes a 20-7 gators snoozefest or it stays close the entire game in a defensive slugfest.  Do they break 30 for the total?  

  • Central Michigan at Boston College -7.5

    Prediction: B.C. 24 CMU 7

    Sagarin: B.C. by 10

    The quick reaction here is to take B.C and their terrible offense (126, 40).  B.C. used some magic potion to hypnotize Clemson for 3 quarters last week. Central Michigan (93,102) is only ranked 3 spots lower in S&P but they lost by 17 to Miami OH last week.  B.C. already beat Northern Illinois earlier this season and after playing Clemson, the Chippewas will look manageable.    

  • Ohio at UMass +8.5

    Prediction: Ohio 24 UMass 23

    Sagarin: Ohio by 6

    Umass (106,92) almost beat Tennessee in a weird game last week.  They get 8.5 at home against offensively challenged Ohio (110,59) who needed OT to beat E Michigan last week.    

  • Georgia -7.5 at Tennessee

    Prediction: UGA 31 Tennessee 17

    Sagarin: UGA by 4

    Speaking of Tennessee (40,41), I thought this line was crazy and it has not moved much.  These 2 teams tend to play close games.  Tennessee has won the last 2 meetings and neither team has won by more than 7 in the past 5 years.  Tennessee looked awful last week while Georgia (43,8) looked sensational.  The water has been chummed and this shark is ready to bite even on a classic half point hook.  UGA is a better team.    

  • EMU at Kentucky – 14.5

    Prediction: Kentucky 35 EMU 13

    Sagarin: Kentucky by 14  

    Kentucky (58,68) must take out their Florida frustrations on EMU.  Stoops needs a big win to get the fans back behind this team.  EMU (91,80) is not terrible and I am worried about the 14.5 being 14, especially with Sagarin at 14.  Cats cover, I think     

  • Iowa +3 at Michigan State

    Prediction: Iowa 21 MSU 17

    Sagarin: Iowa by 6

    Iowa (84,20) is boring, methodical, fundamental, determined, and tough to beat.  They are not as good on the road, but they should have beaten Penn State last week.  Michigan State (77,24) got blown out by Notre Dame, but that was somewhat misleading.  They appeared to score a TD to make it 21-14, but fumbled in the endzone and ND recovered and then scored a TD.  That 14 point swing changed the game and demoralized Michigan State.  These teams are even statistically so I understand the line going 3 points to the home team.  I think it will be 4 points in the other direction.  

  • UCONN at SMU -17.5

    Prediction: SMU 52 UCONN 28

    Sagarin: SMU by 14

    UCONN (122,106) stinks and lost to ECU last week.  SMU (28,94) gave TCU a fight before getting outscored by 20.  They should score easily against UCONN and win big at home.

  • Akron at Bowling Green +3

    Prediction: Bowling Green 36 Akron 31

    Sagarin: even

    Pillow fight alert!  Number 121 Akron travels to number 118 Bowling Green.  Somehow, Akron is favored so I will take BG at home and the points.

  • Mississippi State at Auburn -9

    Prediction:  Auburn 28 MSU 17

    Sagarin: Auburn by 13

    State (37,27) never got off the bus last week against UGA.  They are a better team than that and will play better in this game.  Auburn (48,5) also looked better and their nasty defense will be tough for MSU to break on the road.  Auburn finds enough consistency on offense to win and make State 1 dimensional on offense.  This game was lopsided last year.

  • Memphis at UCF -4

    Prediction:  UCF 43 Memphis 27

    Sagarin: UCF by 1

    UCF (74,38) had an impressive 38-10 win at Maryland last week.  Memphis (20,96) outscored UCLA 2 weeks ago, but looked lackluster in other games.  UCF gets the win at home and covers.

  • Washington -26.5 at Oregon State

    Prediction:  Washington 45 Oregon State 10

    Sagarin: Washington by 29

    Washington (8,13) is really clicking and Oregon State (65,100) is having a rough year.  The Huskies beat Colorado at altitude by 27 last week and the Buffs are better than Oregon State.  Oregon State just lost by 29 to Washington State.  Washington has a back-loaded schedule so a consistent performance should mean an easy cover here.

  • Clemson at Virginia Tech +8

    Prediction:  Clemson 27 Virginia Tech 20

    Sagarin: Clemson by 10

    Lane Stadium will be raucous for this one.  It is so difficult to establish any offensive rhythm when playing against that Clemson (25, 3) defensive front.  Does Tech (56,11) have enough passing offense to get Clemson off balance?  The Tech defense is also very good so Clemson should struggle to score.  With an over of 51.5 this sounds like a close game where Clemson wins but never pulls away from V Tech, at least not by 8.

  • San Jose State +13 at UNLV

    Prediction:  UNLV 44 SJSU 34

    Sagarin: UNLV by 7

    Number 120 SJSU (125,98) hits the road to take on number 112 UNLV (66,128) as a 13 point dog.  These 2 teams are nearly opposites but UNLV has slightly better stats.  13 points seems like 6-7 too many when these teams are so similar overall, but SJSU was destroyed last week by Utah State 61-10 committing 5 turnovers.  SJSU rights the ship and stays within range but loses.

Be sure to keep your eye out for our weekly blog with Dr. Senkbeil’s picks every Thursday. Challenge your college buddies and coworkers on your Alma Mater’s game and raise money for charity in the process! Don’t have the GoodBookey app? Download it below. Talk some smack and give back!