As is tradition, let’s take a look back at last weekend’s picks. We came close on a few of them, but ultimately, we went 0-5 last week. This will happen some weeks, but the important thing is to keep pushing. We have five more bold predictions that we are confident in hitting this weekend.
USC scores 60 on Colorado – USC had 48 points at the end of the 3rd quarter and then seemingly forgot how to score points. We were close; I’m attributing it to Alex Grinch. No real reason, I’m just pointing the blame at him.
Duke leads Notre Dame at the half – Well, Duke, you need points to lead at halftime. Duke was trailing 10-0 at halftime before taking a late lead in the fourth quarter, only to lose in heartbreaking fashion.
Auburn is held to less than 150 total yards – Auburn more than doubled this total finishing with 307 yards. Auburn taking a 10-0 lead right out of the gate didn’t help our cause.
Trevor Etienne Scores 3 Touchdowns – Just nope. Florida was terrible in every way.
DJ Uiagalelei throws three interceptions against Utah – Uiagalelei threw one interception. He still hasn’t shown significant improvement. Oregon State struggled to move the ball, and it wouldn’t surprise me if he gets benched before the end of the year.
Week six is here! We have what I believe to be some solid predictions. I’m trying to be more cautious as I may have been overly ambitious with some of our previous picks. We’re still all about adding some excitement to our predictions. It’s no fun to go with the safe choices and follow the crowd. Going against the grain is our approach.
Tez Walker finishes with over 150 receiving yards – North Carolina and Tez Walker received great news when the NCAA announced that Walker would be eligible for the remainder of the season. Walker should be immediately inserted into the starting lineup and is likely to be the most talented receiver on the Tar Heels’ roster. J.J. Jones and Nate McCollum have done a serviceable job helping Drake Maye this season. Maye was clearly excited about Walker being declared eligible as he made a post signifying his excitement. As a reminder, Walker transferred from Kent State, where he was the leading receiver for the Golden Flashes, registering 921 yards and 12 total touchdowns last year. He also had over 100 yards in four different games last season. North Carolina faces a challenging test against Syracuse, a team that has significantly improved and is primed for another bowl appearance. Syracuse allowed Cade Klubnik to throw for over 260 yards last weekend. Maye is expected to be selected in the first round of next year’s NFL Draft, and having Walker lined up will make his job that much easier.
Missouri defeats LSU by double digits – Is everyone aware that Missouri is currently undefeated? They boast a 5-0 record with a notable win over Kansas State, a team that was widely considered one of the favorites in the Big 12 until they were defeated by Missouri. A significant factor in Missouri’s success has been the emergence of Luther Burden, a former five-star wide receiver who is in his second season with the Tigers. Burden has burst onto the scene, amassing 644 yards in the first five games. He has been consistently impressive, recording at least seven receptions in each game and totaling at least 96 yards each time.
Turning our attention to LSU, one of their weaknesses has been defending against the passing attack. LSU has been one of the worst teams in the country when it comes to limiting explosive plays. Brian Kelly and his team currently rank 112th in allowing plays of 30 or more yards and 124th in plays of 40 or more yards. Almost all of these explosive plays have come through the air, as LSU ranks 99th or worse in limiting explosive passing plays. Now, LSU faces Missouri, a team whose most explosive player is a receiver with the ability to stretch a defense downfield.
Texas A&M registers at least 8 sacks against Alabama – Alabama’s offensive line has struggled this season, ranking 125th in sacks allowed. They are only outperformed in this statistic by teams like Illinois, FIU, USF, South Carolina, Hawaii, Colorado, and Old Dominion. Given the consistent talent Alabama recruits each year, their offensive line performance has been surprisingly subpar. The Crimson Tide has allowed a minimum of four sacks in each of their last four games. Their upcoming matchup presents a significant challenge, as they will face one of the best defensive fronts in the country.
Texas A&M currently ranks fourth in sacks this season with 20. It’s evident that a matchup between a strong defensive line and a struggling offensive line does not bode well for the offense. Players like Walter Nolen, Shemar Turner, and Edgerrin Cooper have all registered at least three sacks this season for Texas A&M. Expect the Aggies to bring pressure and try to force Jalen Milroe into making mistakes. This season, the Alabama offense has lacked the explosive nature that we have come to expect from the Crimson Tide in recent years. Look for Texas A&M to be disruptive in the backfield, causing problems and putting Alabama in uncomfortable situations.
Ohio State holds Maryland to less than 200 total yards – Ohio State is coming off a much-needed off week following their last-second victory over Notre Dame. This break allowed Ohio State to regroup and avoid a potential letdown game after an emotionally charged win. Maryland is the upcoming opponent, and they gave Ohio State a tough fight from start to finish last season.
Ohio State’s defense seems to have made significant improvements, which they can rely on to secure wins. The defense demonstrated its strength by stopping Notre Dame on multiple fourth-down attempts and keeping Notre Dame out of the endzone throughout the entire first half. Maryland’s offense may be the most talented one that Ohio State has faced so far this season. However, it’s important to note that this is also the best defense that Maryland has encountered.
Charlotte, Michigan State, Virginia, and Indiana are all expected to struggle to reach a bowl appearance this year. Ohio State’s defense limited a pass-heavy Western Kentucky team to just 284 yards, with a mere 60 yards in the second half. Notre Dame managed 351 total yards, with 176 of those yards coming from their rushing game.
Maryland’s offensive style is more reminiscent of Western Kentucky’s than Notre Dame’s due to their reliance on receivers rather than tight ends. This plays into Ohio State’s strengths, especially with Denzel Burke and Davison Igbinosun on the outside.
Arizona State defeats Colorado – I believe the media assumes it’s a foregone conclusion that Colorado will easily defeat Arizona State. The point spread only favors Colorado by about three points, depending on your sportsbook. I am not buying into the hype surrounding the Buffaloes as they head to Tempe, Arizona, this weekend. Travis Hunter is once again absent, which is a significant loss on both sides of the ball. Shedeur Sanders looked impressive in the second half against USC, but it’s important to note that USC is not known for their defense (I’m looking at you, Alex Grinch).
One of the major factors in Arizona State’s recent success has been the change in play-calling duties. Kenny Dillingham took over play-calling just before the USC game, which resulted in their best offensive performance of the season, following a shutout by Fresno State. However, the Sun Devils followed up the USC game with a loss to Cal, and they’re now on their third starting quarterback of the season, Trenton Bourguet. Bourguet is expected to start against Colorado after also starting the game against Cal, where he threw for 344 yards and appeared comfortable. Considering Colorado’s struggles on defense this season, Bourguet should have opportunities to find receivers.
The key for Arizona State will be their performance in the red zone. The Sun Devils’ offense ranks 24th in red zone efficiency, converting on 91% of opportunities. Colorado’s defensive strength lies in the red zone, where they rank 14th and have allowed just 68% of conversions.