By Todd Fuhrman:
Week 5 is upon us and with that comes some marquee games that FINALLY have major title implications (spoiler, we aren’t picking any of those). The two biggest clashes of the week also feature two NEW Bet the Board Top 10 teams (Notre Dame and Penn State). Again, we had some shuffling going on this week as both Mississippi State and TCU fell on the road (convincingly), making room for the Irish and Nittany Lions that covered convincingly in conference road games. Below, we’ll take a peak at an Independent school who may have others fooled (not us), an SEC school with a major test this weekend, and our Best Bet goes to Death Valley with two offenses ready to light up the scoreboard Saturday afternoon.
Bet the Board Top 10 Week 5:
4.) Ohio State
9.) Notre Dame
10.) Penn State
BYU has risen in the AP Top 25, from the 25th position after their Wisconsin victory two weeks ago, to 20th after a home game vs. McNeese State. They are ranked above Michigan State, Duke, and Mississippi State (formerly 7th on our Top Ten list before falling at Kentucky last week). BYU has amassed a 3-1 record with an impressive road victory in Madison. The Cougars other victory was against a very disappointing Arizona team and they suffered a home loss vs. California. BYU has a negative yards per play margin (-0.2), and there is a reason they are 17.5-point underdogs in Seattle against Washington this week. I expect to see their offensive shortcomings through the air (only 5.7 yards per play) on display in all its glory before the popularity poll kicks them to the curb after this weekend’s trouncing.
Underrated: South Carolina
The Gamecocks have started out the season 2-1 with their only blemish coming against National title contender Georgia. They responded off that loss with a very strong win at Vanderbilt out gaining the Commodores by 250 yards. In that effort they held Kyle Shurmur to 180 yards and a 4.8 yards per pass attempt. They won 37-14 despite being on the wrong side of the turnover margin (-1). On the year, they have a +1.7 yards per play margin, and face a tough test on the road at #17 Kentucky this week, a game in which they are only 1.5-point road underdogs suggesting that at least on paper they’re the better team. If South Carolina can pull out a win in Lexington Saturday night, they have a favorable schedule moving forward with three straight home games vs. Missouri, Texas A&M, and Tennessee followed by road trips to Ole Miss and Florida. It’s possible South Carolina won’t face another ranked opponent until their annual match-up at rival Clemson the last week of the regular season looking to play spoiler in the Palmetto state showdown.
Best Bet: Syracuse/Clemson Over 66
This total opened at 64 at BetOnline.ag and has already moved north behind a wave of professional money (Spoiler, Clay Travis’ bet wasn’t part of the professional money moving this number). Clemson finally made the QB switch from Kelly Bryant to Freshman Trevor Lawrence, a true pocket passer with the ability to pick apart secondaries across the country. I expect Head Coach Dabo Swinney wants to leave no doubt that he made the correct call and won’t mind hanging as many points against the same Orange team that upset Clemson last season as 23 point home underdogs. Syracuse runs one of the quickest offenses in the country behind QB Eric Dungey, and will need to score to keep this game competitive. If Clemson has one weakness on defense, it’s the secondary that was on full display in College Station. They’ve allowed 9.6 yards per pass attempt and Syracuse has a great chance for some offensive success of their own. Three of Syracuse’s 4 games have gone over 70 points, the lone exception being an FSU offense trying to overcome offensive line issues so this has track meet written all over it.