College Football Week 5 Preview: Under the Radar Matchups
There's already enough hype, focus, and overall coverage each week of the big, top-tier matchups in college football.
With that said, we are going to ignore them, at least for the sake of this article, and look at some of the other quality games this Saturday.
Temple (-4.5) over Army (12 p.m.)
The Owls have been making some noise in September. They opened up their season 3-0, including wins over Central Michigan and Connecticut. Then Temple went into Happy Valley and played with Penn State and was good enough to cover for backers as a double-digit underdog.
This time they get the nod as an away favorite. However, it is still unknown how they will cope without their top player, tailback Bernard Pierce.
Army, too, has played well this first month of the season. At 3-1 they have shown they might be ready for a bowl game in December. Coming off a somewhat shocking rout over Duke, can they continue this push?
East Carolina (+11) at North Carolina (3:30 p.m.)
Let's see how the Tar Heels come off their first victory of the season. They earned a nice, come-from-behind win on the road over Rutgers last weekend. Their major suspensions are still in play this week, so Butch Davis' team will need to continue to overcome that, although they're still not finished with their non-conference schedule.
ECU is a tricky team. They don't mind going on the road and playing big schools. I think they give UNC a run for their money as a big dog, and perhaps this is too many points for a program that always seems to show up when most count them out.
Wyoming (+3.5) at Toledo (7 p.m.)
The Cowboys have had some really tough tests the last couple of Saturdays, having clashes with the likes of Texas and Boise State over a fortnight. Wyoming only managed 13 combined points in two one-sided affairs, and a road test awaits them in Week 5 against an intriguing Toledo team.
The Rockets have earned three straight impressive road wins. Victories in the league over Ohio and Central Michigan are key, but then a big upset win at Purdue last weekend took the cake. Now they return back home and are installed as small favorites. Can they hold serve and not have a letdown, knowing they are now expected to win?
Wyoming is certainly better than they have showed against the big boys, and something tells me they are going to come to play in this one. I wouldn't be surprised if they stole it outright. However, you can't ignore the kind of momentum from the success Toledo has found early in the season.
Marshall (+10) over Southern Miss (8 p.m.)
So, winless Marshall is only a 10-point underdog over the class of Conference USA on the road? I don't know why, but this line feels kind of thin to me.
But then I think of these Golden Eagles and how they tend to play better against BCS teams as a dog themselves, and when they get inferior teams, it's a casual affair to them. Just look at last weekend at Louisiana Tech. Tied 3-3 at halftime, Southern Miss was just going through the motions. They then jumped up 13-3 like that in the second half but then threw up the cover and only won by a single point.
I think on paper this is a simple victory for Southern Miss, but that means they need to play with urgency as if they were playing a big school with something to prove. Who knows which team we get, but I wouldn't want to be Marshall if USM shows up at home.
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