At some point, picking winners won’t be this easy. Let’s address that before we begin.
At the moment, however, having not had a single losing week this college football season, we’re ready to ride this wave for as long as we possibly can.
At the onset, last week looked like it might be an issue. After starting 0-2, doubt started to creep in. Then, right on cue, we hit our stride. Our picks against the spread finished 6-3 in Week 4. Over the past two weeks, we’re a scorching 14-5.
For the year, we’re 28-13-1. That will do.
We’re hot, and we wish to stay hot. Before we get to our Week 5 picks, here’s what went right and wrong last week.
The Good: Oregon State (+6) vs. USC
Oregon State hung tough at home, limiting USC to only 17 points. While the Beavers were unable to spring the upset, they did comfortably cover the spread. Finally, I won a game betting against the Trojans.
The Bad: Iowa State (-2.5) vs. Baylor
This one didn’t work out. I liked the Cyclones at home against Baylor, although the Bears were simply better. While Iowa State hung tough, Baylor was just a cut above. I tipped my cap and moved on.
As for this week’s picks, here they are.
All odds courtesy of DraftKings and accurate as of Wednesday.
Florida State (-7) vs. Wake Forest
A few months ago, this point spread would have sounded, well, off.
Now? It feels about right. Florida State is 4-0 and perfect against the spread. Last week, the Seminoles blasted Boston College as more than a two-touchdown favorite.
The level of competition will certainly come up this week with Wake Forest, although the timing is right. The Demon Deacons are coming off a loss in double overtime to Clemson.
The offense, led by quarterback Sam Hartman, was very good. The defense, which allowed 51 points and 559 yards, was not.
FSU is in position to take full advantage playing at home. QB Jordan Travis looked plenty healthy last week, completing 16 throws for 321 yards. The Seminoles have found both explosiveness and balance on defense, and both should play well here.
While I love Wake Forest, this is a tough follow-up after a difficult loss. Florida State makes a big statement with a double-digit win.
Mississippi State (-3.5) vs. Texas A&M
Considering Texas A&M just delivered its most meaningful performance of the year, this point spread is likely to draw some attention.
Like Wake Forest, the Aggies must attempt to carry that momentum on the road. And it will attempt to do so against a tricky opponent with a solid home-field advantage.
No, Mississippi State isn’t ranked. The Bulldogs are 3-1, having lost once on the road to LSU. Outside of that, Mike Leach’s team has looked excellent.
This particular matchup feels like a difficult one for an A&M team still struggling to manufacture offense. Against Arkansas last week, the Aggies scored 23 points. It’s worth noting that seven of those points came on a wild fumble return late in the first half that ultimately flipped the game.
On the other side, Mississippi State QB Will Rogers is coming off a 409-yard, six-touchdown game. While he won’t post those kinds of numbers against a good defense, he will deliver enough to lift his team at home.
The Bulldogs won this matchup by four on the road last year. In a more comfortable setting, they win this one by a little more.
Cal (+4) vs. Washington State
For as much grief as the Pac-12 has gotten in recent years, and some of it was certainly warranted, the conference has produced an abundance of intriguing football games this season that were not expected to be intriguing a few weeks back.
This game fits that mold perfectly. Both teams are 3-1 outright and against the spread. If not for a mini-meltdown against Oregon last week, Washington State could have been 4-0.
Cal’s lone loss came to a Notre Dame team that looked much improved against North Carolina last weekend. Outside of that, the performance has been solid as well.
Last weekend’s 49-31 win over Arizona was a positive step considering how much better the Wildcats have looked this year. And for a team that has struggled to find offense in recent years, that was not an issue Saturday.
Playing at Wazzu certainly won’t be easy, although the oddsmakers seem to have some confidence that Cal will be up for it. As do I.
Boise State (-6.5) vs. San Diego State
This one isn’t for the faint of heart. Both football programs are in a bit of disarray after enjoying successful runs in recent years.
Some might see that as a reason to stay far, far away. Me? I see an opportunity.
This is not the Boise State team you fell in love with. Heck, Hank Bachmeier, the Broncos’ longtime starting QB, announced he was entering the transfer portal after last weekend’s loss to UTEP. That's how it's been going.
Enter Taylen Green, a 6’5” redshirt freshman who played quite well in the team’s opening game against Oregon State. He ran for more than 100 yards in that outing, and that is an element that should work well for Boise State here and beyond.
As for San Diego State, it hasn’t been much better. The Aztecs beat Toledo 17-14 last week, although the offense has been an issue at times. While this team had flashes last year, those days feel long gone.
Behind Green, Boise finds a boost. Broncos by at least a touchdown.
Baylor vs. Oklahoma State (Over 57)
Last season, Oklahoma State and Baylor finished with the nation’s No. 9- and No. 10-ranked scoring defenses. It was the strength of both teams, and efforts ultimately carried each to the Big 12 Championship Game.
Baylor quite literally won by a foot, knocking Oklahoma State out of the College Football Playoff picture. The two met twice last year, and they failed to eclipse 40 points both times.
Many months later, and here we are. Although this game could produce a fair number of points and also be quite fun.
I’ve gone back and forth on picking a team, and I’m instead sticking with the over. Spencer Sanders has put on a show this year at QB for Oklahoma State, albeit against lesser competition. He should be able to find success once again facing a team he struggled against in the Big 12 Championship.
Baylor should also find plenty of success on the offensive side. After watching OK State give up 44 points to Central Michigan earlier in the year, the Bears should be primed for a bigger output.
It will feel and look much different than it did last year, which is perfectly fine. The familiar foes deliver a competitive game and plenty of fireworks.
Other Games on the Card
Middle Tennessee (+4) vs. UTSA
The win over Miami wasn’t a fluke. Middle Tennessee has played well since a Week 1 loss, and it should translate once again. While I love what UTSA has been building toward, give me the points.
North Carolina State vs. Clemson (Over 40.5)
While defense will likely rule this game, this total is too low. I know both teams have struggled at times offensively, although this game still manages to go over.
Utah (-10) vs. Oregon State
The Beavers put up a heck of a fight against USC last weekend, and it won us money. This week, however, Utah makes a statement. Big line, big win.
Coastal Carolina vs. Georgia Southern (Over 64)
It wouldn't shock me if these two teams produce the highest-scoring game of the year. While I bet against Coastal Carolina and lost last week, this week we're hoping for points.
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