NCAA Week 5 Picks - Early Games

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NCAA Week 5 Early Games

All times Eastern

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Week 4 Results: Rick 7-8; Coin: 5-10
Cumulative: Rick: 36-31-2; 30-37-2


Thursday, September 30

7:30 pm Virginia at Miami (-5, 62) - Fairly even match-up in this ACC clash where both teams are 2-2. This is the first conference game for Miami. Virginia's losses are to North Carolina, 59-39, and Wake Forest, last week, 37-17.

The Hurricanes lost to Alabama, 44-13, in their opener, then Michigan State, two weeks ago, 38-17. So much for defense in this one, but Miami should cruise at home.

Coin Flip: Virginia

Prediction: Hurricanes 34 Cavaliers 20


Friday, October 1

8:00 pm #5 Iowa (-3 1/2, 47 1/2) at Maryland - Both teams are 4-0, but the Hawkeyes have the #1 defense in the conference (11 ppg). Maryland has already won three home games, but their one Big Ten win was two weeks ago in a 20-17 win over Illinois (1-4). Iowa's defense should win this one.

Coin Flip: Iowa

Prediction: Hawkeyes 24 Terrapins 10


9:00 pm #13 BYU (-9, 61 1/2) at Utah State - The Aggies are 3-1 with only a 7-point differential, while the Cougars have racked up four wins without a loss by a combined score of 112-77. Their defense wasn't all that sound in last week's 35-27 win over South Florida, but Utah State only tallied a field goal in their 27-3 loss to Boise State last week.

BYU QB Baylor Romney started in place of Jaren Hall in last week's win. Hall should be good to go for this one, but Romney, who three three TD passes, is equally qualified. Utah State's loss to Boise stands out. BYU is probably even better.

Coin Flip: BYU

Prediction: Cougars 31 Aggies 17


Saturday, October 2

12:00 pm #8 Arkansas at #2 Georgia (-18 1/2, 48 1/2) - The Razorbacks are the surprise team of the SEC, easily handling Texas A&M last week, 20-10. Arkansas likes to score points in bunches, but may encounter stiff resistance from Georgia's defense, which has allowed just 23 points in four games, leading the nation at 5.3 per game. Incidentally, Texas A&M is second, allowing just 9.3 per outing.

Georgia's wins came against Clemson, UAB, South Carolina and Vanderbilt. The Commodores were dominated by the Bulldogs, 62-0. Clemson is now 202 after losing to NC State last week and has scored just 87 points in four games, so Georgia's defense may have had it a bit easy.

The Razorbacks will be on their toes for this one and should be able to keep the game close. Upset potential, maybe, but that's a stretch. Georgia is really good.

Coin Flip: Georgia

Prediction: Bulldogs 31 Razorbacks 20


12:00 pm #14 Michigan at Wisconsin (-1, 43 1/2) - If the Badgers were planning to rely on their defense to keep them in the Big Ten West race, they'd better get on their horses right away. They're allowing 21 points a game and the Wolverines come into Camp Randall averaging 40+ in four straight wins.

Last week's 41-13 rout by the Fighting Irish exposed what may be the weak link for Wisconsin. QB Graham Mertz tossed four interceptions and the Irish turned a close game into a rout with 31 fourth quarter points.

Can they rebound? Sure. But doing it against a 4-0 Michigan squad eyeing the East conference title isn't very inviting.

Coin Flip: Michigan

Prediction: Wolverines 28 Badgers 14


12:30 pm Louisville at #24 Wake Forest (-6 1/2, 61 1/2) - The Demon Deacons lit up Virginia last week, 37-17, for their fourth straight win and look to go 3-0 in the ACC when the Cardinals pay a visit. The Deacons are winning by an average margin of 24.5 points and appear to be a true contender in the conference.

3-1 Louisville begs to differ. They are 1-0 in ACC play with a 31-23 win over Florida State last week. The week prior, they upended powerhouse UCF, 42-35, and their lone loss was to 4-0 Ole Miss, a 43-24 defeat in the season opener. The Cardinals have plenty to offer, even on the road.

Coin Flip: Wake Forest

Prediction: Cardinals 36 Demon Deacons 30



2:30 pm #7 Cincinnati (-2 1/2, 50 1/2) at #9 Notre Dame - Both teams come into the game unbeaten. Notre Dame with a 4-0 mark, while Cincy is 3-0. The Irish have been in a number of close games and are battle-tested. Their defense produced four interceptions against Wisconsin last week, turning a close game into a 41-13 romp with 31 fourth quarter points.

The Bearcats are a tough bunch and one of the best teams in college football over the past four years. In 2018 they went 11-2, then, 11-3 in 2019, and last season they finished 11-1, their sole loss a 24-21 defeat by Georgia in the Peach Bowl.

This is probably the best team the Irish will face the rest of the season and the pressure is on them to produce a win because they could run the table after this. Oddly enough, they're underdogs at home, so the Bearcats may prove too good for them.

Coin Flip: Cincinnati

Prediction: Bearcats 31 Fighting Irish 23


3:30 pm #12 Ole Miss at #1 Alabama (-14, 79) - This is a border war. Alabama hasn't missed a beat this season, following up their 31-29 road win over Florida with a 63-14 trashing of Southern Miss last week.

Ole Miss is a formidable opponent. They lead the country in yards per gamer at 635.3 and points, with 52.7 per outing. The Rebels topped Louisville in week one, 43-24, and the Cardinals haven't lost since. Victories over Austin Peay (54-17) and Tulane (61-21) are less impressive. The last time the Rebels beat the Tide was 2016, when Chad Kelly led them to a 43-37 win at Alabama. The last two were not blowouts. 59-31 in 2019 and 63-48 in 2020, though both margins of Alabama victory were larger than this week's spread.

The Rebels have a potent offense, led by Heisman favorite, Matt Corral. High score and a close call.

Coin Flip: Ole Miss

Prediction: Crimson Tide 45 Rebels 38


3:30 pm #3 Oregon (-8, 57 1/2) at Stanford - Coming off a 35-24 home loss to UCLA, the Cardinal awaits #3 Oregon for a PAC-12 meeting. The Ducks are 4-0, and, having defeated Ohio State, stand a very good chance of making the national championship playoffs should they remain undefeated. They don't have many challenges ahead, so expect them to make the most of their opportunity with a big win here.

Coin Flip: Stanford

Prediction: Ducks 45 Cardinal 21


3:30 pm #6 Oklahoma (-10 1/2, 52 1/2) at Kansas State - 4-0 Oklahoma is second (by a fraction of a point) in points allowed in the Big 12, giving up 16 per game on average. That's a huge bonus as the conference has placed more of an emphasis on defense, rather than just high-scoring offenses. The Sooners have toughed out two wins back-to-back, defeating Nebraska, 23-16, and topping West Virginia, 16-13, last week. This is their first road game of the season.

The Wildcats are 0-1 in the conference, making this a must win after falling to Oklahoma State last week, 31-20. K-State has knocked off the Sooners the last two seasons, winning 48-41 at home in 2019 and winning at Oklahoma, 38-35, last year. Will Howard and Jaren Lewis will share the QB role this week for the Wildcats.

Coin Flip: Oklahoma

Prediction: Sooners 30 Wildcats 28


3:30 pm #11 Ohio State (-15, 58 1/2) at Rutgers - The Scarlet Knights may not be a pushover this season. They're 3-1, the only loss coming last week at Michigan, in a hard-fought, 20-13, defeat. They'll have an edge via home field and a better defense than the Buckeyes and could spring a huge upset.

Ohio State has rebounded from their loss to Oregon with wins over Tulsa, 41-20, and Akron, 59-7, last Saturday. While the Buckeyes seem fine offensively, their defense still has issues. Rutgers will look to control the line of scrimmage and the clock, keeping Ohio State's offense on the sidelines. Any Buckeye mosques will be magnified.

Coin Flip: Rutgers

Prediction: Scarlett Knights 30 Buckeyes 24


Click here for late games.


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