By Chris Carlson
Week 5 was a mixed bag of surprise upsets, hotly contested games, & blowouts in the ranked vs. ranked matchups. Week 6 features 3 key conference matchups and several important games on the docket that should produce an abundance of fourth quarter drama.
#8 TCU vs. #23 West Virginia: The Horned Frogs face West Virginia, yet another ranked conference opponent just two weeks removed from dominating Oklahoma State in prime time. Statistically speaking on paper the two highest ranked offensive units will face off so expect fireworks from the opening kick. A deeper look at the stats tells us the Mountaineers offense is very good but not great due to the fact that most of their high-scoring games came against subpar competition. Both programs have quality coaches and solid quarterbacks. What separates these teams is confidence & strength of schedule, which clearly favors the Horned Frogs who seem to be the better overall team on both sides of the ball.
The Pick: TCU 40 West Virginia 27
Under The Radar
#17 Louisville at #24 North Carolina State: Louisville looks to rebound in an important ACC matchup versus N.C. State after getting waxed two weeks ago, albeit against returning champs Clemson. The Wolfpack come in feeling good, having gotten past Florida State and playing a tight one with a much improved South Carolina club. If you love defense don’t waste your time with this game and if you love to gamble bet the over. Cardinals QB extraordinaire Lamar Jackson wills Louisville to a victory with an all-purpose performance that involves wideout Jaylen Smith. It won’t be easy N.C. State will compete but in the end Jackson and company bring more weapons to this ACC battle.
The Pick: Louisville 45 NC State 33
Stanford at #20 Utah: Huge Pac-12 game, Utah unbeaten but with lighter schedule then the Cardinals who are in a must-win scenario because of back to back September losses. Can Stanford find offensive production outside of RB Bryce Love? Can Utah contain the run enough to put a dent in ball control? Speaking of ball control the team who wins the time of possession will walk away victorious. This crucial Pac-12 matchup will be a throwback to hardnosed defense and the 3-yards and a cloud of dust days.
The Pick: Stanford 20 Utah 16
Saturday Upset Special
SMU travels to Houston and knocks off the Cougars in a good old fashion Texas shootout. Houston currently sits as a 6-point favorite.
Hardcore Barn Burner of the Week
#13 Miami at Florida State: This bitter rivalry tends to bring out the best in players so don’t get caught up in the Seminoles slow start to the season.
(Honorable Mention: Kansas State vs. Texas is a can’t-miss, 50-50 Big-12 matchup on paper & I envision it coming down to the final minutes.)
Against The Spread
Going back to the well is worth it siding with the California Golden Bears to lose clearly to #6 Washington, just not by the 27.5 points that Cal is on the books as a humongous road dog.
(Honorable Mention: Take a flyer out on Maryland as a gigantic 30.5 point underdog to #10 Ohio State. If the same Terrapins team shows up the way it did against Texas & Minnesota, Maryland can keep it under 30.
Quick Hits Recap
-Louisville QB Lamar Jackson broke a school record when he reached 542 accrued points.
-LSU’s shocking loss to the University of Troy was their 2nd worse point-spread defeat in the last 40 years. The loss also halted the Tigers streak of 49 straight non-conference unranked victories.
-Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn moves to a (job-keeping) record of 16-1 when taking on AP Top-15 opponents at home.
-Stanford running back Bryce Love rushed for 301 yards last Saturday adding to his 1088 total rushing yards on the season good for 4th best all-time through 5 games.
Written by Chris Carlson Host/Producer of The Rope A Dope Radio Podcast Available on Apple Podcast (ITunes), Player.FM, Stitcher, Tunein, www.blogtalkradio.com/ropeadoperadio & More! Follow on Twitter @RopeADopeRadio