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Friday, 29 September 2017

College Football Week 5 Picks 2017 (September 30th)

There have been a number of games scheduled for Thursday and Friday in Week 5 of the College Football 2017 season, but none of those really appealed once I broke them down and that means the picks all come from the Saturday selection of games.

Last week could not have gone much better with the picks finishing 8-1 for the week and that gives me something to try and build on after what has been a tough opening three weeks of the season.

The games I've picked from will be played throughout Saturday and putting together back to back winning weeks will be a success, although I will need a little bit of luck on my side for that to happen.

Houston Cougars @ Temple Owls Pick: This was supposed to be one of the top games of be played in the American Athletic Conference this season and many would have considered the Temple Owls and the Houston Cougars as the leading teams to play in the Championship Game later this year.

The feeling has slightly changed all around after seeing the Houston Cougars go down as the home favourite last weekend. At least that was against a non-Conference opponent, but defending American Athletic Champions Temple were blown out from start to finish by the South Florida Bulls and the latter now have the inside path to the Championship Game that the Owls prevented them playing in last season.

That means both Coaches have to pick up their players from disappointment, but this spread still seems off the mark with Temple being given almost two converted Touchdowns a start on the handicap. Any time a home team is given that kind of start you have to have a deeper look as to why, especially as Temple were given only 3.5 points more as the road underdog in South Florida in Week 4.

It feels like an overreaction to that loss against what many consider to be the best team outside of the Power 5 Conferences and I am looking for Temple to show they are better than the blow out suggested. It won't be easy against this Houston team who will also be playing with a point to prove as they open Conference play, but being at home should give Temple every chance of making this competitive.

There is no doubt that Temple have underperformed Offensively so far this season, but there has to be more to come from them. The struggles to establish the run is a concern, but there is a chance they find more room in this one especially as Logan Marchi has played better as the Quarter Back at home than on the road.

Marchi has faced two big road challenges and this Cougars Secondary have given up some big plays with the lack of pressure they have been able to generate up front. Temple's Offensive Line have also been stronger in pass protection than run blocking so far this season and they should give Marchi the time to do better than in previous weeks.

This is a game where the Temple Defensive unit have to step up to help their Offense and the Houston Offense is not as powerful as many expected despite returning 8 starters from 2016. The Cougars have continued to have their issues running the ball and that is where Temple will feel they can at least force their visitors to have to throw from third and long, an area of real problems for Houston.

One of the big criticisms of transfer Quarter Back Kyle Allen is the 4 Interceptions he has thrown to go along with his 4 Touchdown passes. The key to the game and ultimately the spread is whether Allen will get time to make his plays and avoid the mistakes that have blighted him as he faces a Temple Defense which has given up the passing yards through the air, but who have been able to get in and around the Quarter Back effectively with the pass rush.

Sacks can stall drives and help create turnovers and that is where Temple may have a chance to at least keep this competitive. The number really does feel out of whack even though the Owls have not been at their best in 2017 and that is simply because I am not sure that Houston can score enough points to be able to cover it.

One concern has to be the fact that Houston have dominated Temple by winning five in a row against them, but Temple are 8-3 against the spread as the home underdog over the last four years. This is a new Head Coach facing this spot for the first time, but the Owls have to show more than they did last week and the extra preparation time may give them enough time to at least make this one close.

Both teams have something to prove, but I like Temple with the points in what feels like it will be a low scoring game.

Baylor Bears @ Kansas State Wildcats Pick: When this spread came out at the beginning of the week, the Baylor Bears were closer to three Touchdown underdogs, but the sharps have been able to take a couple of points out of that number in the past few days.

The Kansas State Wildcats are coming in off a bye and off an upset loss to the Vanderbilt Commodores, a result that really doesn't stand up when the Commodores were blasted 59-0 at home by Alabama in Week 4. They now come into Conference play with a rough stretch in front of them, but Bill Snyder has shown he can get the best out of his players and I would expect the Wildcats to be more than simply competitive.

They now face a Baylor Bears team who are heading into a bye week following this one and who played really hard in Norman last week as they were narrowly beaten by the Oklahoma Sooners. Playing a Ranked opponent and favourite for the Conference that hard has to have taken a toll on the Bears and I am a little wary of a let down performance from them.

Baylor do have the motivation of revenge after being blown out by the Wildcats at home last season, but the 0-4 start to Matt Rhule's tenure as Head Coach is a real disappointment. Last week may then be a shot in the arm of the Bears players that they can perform rather than a disappointment they came up short and I do think Baylor can keep this game competitive.

A new Head Coach always brings in some teething problems at any level of American Football and that has been the issue for Baylor. The Offensive Line are getting used to a new system but have so far struggled to run the ball with any consistency despite Baylor being one of the better yards per carry teams out there in recent years. Running the ball against Kansas State is always tough so the Offense is likely to rest on Zach Smith's shoulders have thrown 7 Touchdown passes and 4 Interceptions this season.

This isn't an easy Secondary to throw against, but Smith has been given time in the pocket for the most part. That is impressive considering they have not established the run and that time should mean Baylor are able to make enough plays to keep the chains moving.

Keeping the chains moving was a real problem for Kansas State two weeks ago and they will be hoping that Jesse Ertz will have removed some of the doubts he may have had. Ertz is an experienced Quarter Back, but he has thrown 4 Touchdown passes and 2 Interceptions this season and under 200 passing yards per game.

Some of the issues may have been the problems running the ball outside of the Quarter Back who is leading the rushing numbers after three games. With the pressure Baylor have been able to generate up front, Ertz may not be able to find that much running room, although the Wildcats in general may have their best effort on the ground against a Baylor Defensive Line giving up 5.4 yards per carry.

Matt Rhule's Temple Owls Defensive Line was a strength of that team, so it is a surprise to see Baylor struggling although the new Head Coach issues have risen. That is expected to change as the team gets used to what Rhule expects of them but it may be an area where the Kansas State Wildcats are able to earn the edge to win the game.

Turnovers are likely to play a huge part of the game too and may prove to be the difference between a cover and non-cover. I like the fact that Matt Rhule coached teams are 12-5 against the spread as the road underdog over their last seventeen in that spot and I do think he will get a tune out of Baylor who will want revenge for being blown out at home by the Wildcats in 2016.

The Wildcats have their own issues to resolve and they are just 3-6 against the spread as the home favourite over the last couple of years. Backing the underdog in the Kansas State home games would be 9-4 against the spread in that time and I think there are enough points here for Baylor to at least keep this one close.

Georgia Bulldogs @ Tennessee Volunteers Pick: One Hail Mary is the difference between the Tennessee Volunteers being 4-0 and 3-1, but there are real concerns with how the Offense have played. Butch Jones is beginning to feel his seat warm up as Head Coach, especially after a lack of effort was blamed for their near huge upset loss at home against Massachusetts last week.

Being back in SEC play should be plenty of motivation enough as Tennessee play at home before heading off to a bye. Offensive struggles don't bode well against this Georgia Bulldogs team who are 4-0 and fresh off a throttling of the Mississippi State Bulldogs which caught out many.

Any team that returns 10 starters on one side of the ball are going to be dangerous, but the Georgia Defensive unit have dominated through their first four games. That is a big test for the Volunteers to face with criticisms about vanilla play calling being thrown at Jones, and will be the key to decide any chance of Tennessee making this competitive.

Simply put, Tennessee have to find a way to consistently move the chains against a team who have allowed just 11.5 points per game so far in 2017.

It all has begun up front for Georgia who have been able to shut down the run and force teams to try and pick up yards from third and long spots which is not easy. The Bulldogs were strong against the run last year, but now they have experience on that Defensive Line, although this may be the biggest test they have faced in the 2017 season.

The strength of the Tennessee Offense is being able to pick up yards on the ground and John Kelly has been able to make plays from behind the line of scrimmage. The control of this line of scrimmage is going to be a deciding factor between these teams, but I do think the Volunteers can challenge Georgia more than their previous four opponents have been able to do.

That will be so important to Tennessee who have been getting erratic Quarter Back play and they are not expected to make too many big plays against a solid Georgia Secondary. However the Volunteers can make this a competitive game if they are able to use their powerful Offensive Line to get Kelly on track for another 100 yard rushing game and we will know very early on whether the Volunteers are capable of that.

Running the ball doesn't figure to be much of a problem for Georgia in this one as they returned both Nick Chubb and Sonny Michel despite the former looking a lock to join the NFL. Both players have had big years already and now face a Tennessee Defensive Line that have continued to struggle to stop the run as they have picked up from where they left off in 2016.

There hasn't been a team who have shown they can shut down Georgia running the ball which has made life easier for Jake Fromm who is the freshman Quarter Back playing in place of injured Jacob Eason. Fromm has thrown 7 Touchdown passes and just a single Interception which has allowed Georgia to flourish as he has managed the game behind his two strong Running Backs and the Bulldogs will be looking for their Quarter Back to do the same here.

The Tennessee Secondary have some decent numbers, but I am not sure how much of that is down to the fact that teams have been able to run the ball against them. With play-action and bootlegs in the Georgia locker, I do think they will have successes in this one and can understand why they are favoured on the road.

However I am also of the belief that Tennessee simply had a bad game in Week 4 as that one was sandwiched between Florida and Georgia, the two leading contenders in the SEC East. I expect their Offensive Line to give the Bulldogs the biggest challenge they have faced this season and I think the Volunteers will earn their points in this one and keep things close.

The Volunteers are 4-2 against the spread as the home favourite under Butch Jones and they will have heard how bad they are for a whole week which should provoke a reaction. Being a road favourite in the SEC is a big challenge for this Georgia team who have much bigger expectations a week after dismantling Mississippi State and that can be difficult to manage despite the experience they have.

Tennessee have won two straight against Georgia overall, and they have covered as the home underdog twice in a row against the too. I am looking for a big day from the Volunteers to prove they are still in contention for the SEC East title as well as proving they are behind their beleaguered Head Coach Butch Jones and I will take the points with the home team.

Arizona State Sun Devils @ Stanford Cardinal Pick: The public are seemingly behind the Arizona State Sun Devils this week as the road underdog after they came through with the upset of the Oregon Ducks in Week 4. I might have been behind the Sun Devils with the points a week ago, but this time around I am looking to oppose them and join the sharps who have helped this spread move a couple more points in favour of the Stanford Cardinal.

Both teams have had big Pac-12 wins already in 2017, so it is a surprise that neither is Ranked although that says a lot about the way things have gone. Stanford and Arizona State are both 2-2 and this game could already determine the losing team is out of contention in the Conference with the teams in two Divisions with a clear favourite.

It feels like a bigger game for Stanford who were blown out by the USC Trojans in Week 2 before doing the same to the UCLA Bruins in Week 4. They can't afford to be 1-2 in the Conference after three games whereas the Arizona State Sun Devils still have to face their leading teams in their own Division and are 1-0 in Conference play.

Stanford will look to run the ball this week and make sure their Defensive unit, which has underperformed despite bringing back 8 starters from 2016. To that extent the Cardinal should have success with the Offensive Line backing up preseason expectations of potentially being one of the best in College Football.

Bryce Love has been able to pick up from where Christian McCaffrey left off when he moved into the NFL and much of the Offensive play will come through the Running Back. He is helping the Cardinal move the chains at 8 yards per carry on the season and it is going to be a huge test for the Sun Devils to slow them down considering they have given up 4.7 yards per carry in 2017.

The Sun Devils have been a team you can run the ball against over the last thirteen months and that has continued through their first four games. That is key for Stanford who may be missing Keller Chryst at Quarter Back after he suffered a concussion in the win over UCLA.

KJ Costello came in and impressed for Stanford in relief of Chryst and there is much expected of him, but David Shaw is likely to lean on Bryce and sustain long drives to wear out the Arizona State Defensive Line and eventually crack through for some big plays.

You have to expect Arizona State will have their moments in this one as they are pumped up off the home upset of the Oregon Ducks. However they have to get themselves involved in a shoot out here with the Defense unlikely to stand up to the Stanford Offensive Line and long waits on the sidelines may make the Arizona State Offense a little edgy to keep up.

They should have their successes though because the Stanford Defensive unit have been underachieving in 2017, and this Arizona State Offense is a potent one. Manny Wilkens experience at Quarter Back was shown last week in the win over Oregon, although the question for him is whether he will get the time to make his plays down the field.

One area where Stanford have been strong is rushing the passer and the Arizona State Offensive Line have been having their problems both in protection and run blocking. The Sun Devils have to establish a run against a team who have given up 5 yards per carry, but I am not sure they are able to do that after seeing the performances this season and that puts plenty of pressure on Wilkens and the passing game to move the chains.

I do think Wilkens will have his moments, but Arizona State are on the road this week and that is a tough environment to back up their upset from Week 4. They have struggled in Stanford anyway having gone 1-6 in their last seven visits and the Cardinal are playing with revenge after losing to this team in 2016.

Arizona State also lost all five road Conference games by 22 points per game in 2016 and I can see Stanford dominating the line of scrimmage Offensively which will wear down the Sun Devils Defense. A couple of mistakes Offensively from Arizona State will also give Stanford the chance to pull away against a team who are 5-10 against the spread as the road underdog under Todd Graham.

Stanford were a terrible home favourite to back last season, but they blew out UCLA here last week and I will look for them to cover a big number in Week 5.

Eastern Michigan Eagles @ Kentucky Wildcats Pick: The Kentucky Wildcats have to be kicking themselves that they are not 4-0 overall and 2-0 in the SEC East after losing by a single point to Florida in Week 4. It is important for the Wildcats to not allow the disappointment from that defeat to linger and they do look like having the perfect chance to bounce back.

That is no disrespect to the Eastern Michigan Eagles who have a 2-1 record and have already won on the road against a Power 5 Conference team when knocking off the Rutgers Scarlet Knights. However the Eagles are also off a loss and facing the challenge of a decent SEC team is a big task for Eastern Michigan to deal with.

Both teams have plenty of experience to call upon from 2016, but the better talent should be on the Kentucky side of the ball and I would expect that to show up during the course of this game. There is also a chance that Eastern Michigan are looking ahead to their big game at the Toledo Rockets in Week 6 which is an important Conference game for the Eagles.

It is hard to know how the Eagles will be able to run the ball against a Defensive Line who have been strong in 2017 and generally been competing at a higher level. Eastern Michigan have had their issues in run blocking anyway and it will be very difficult for Shaq Vann to find a way to break through for some big runs.

That means the pressure is likely to be on Brogan Roback who has been able to make some big plays with his arm, but who is also just 2-2 in Touchdown to Interception ration. Roback may feel there is room in this Secondary to make his passes, especially with the Wildcats not able to produce a really effective pass rush, but it is a big ask when in third and long constantly.

Being able to shut down the run has given Kentucky the chance to make plays in the Secondary despite the yardage allowed and it would not be a big surprise if they can snag a couple of Interceptions and keep the foot down on the Eagles.

Kentucky themselves have not run the ball as well as they would have liked, but those numbers are not helped by facing two SEC Defensive Lines already. Benny Snell has still played well enough at Running Back and I think Kentucky have room to improve on the Offensive Line which may begin to show up here against an Eagles Defensive Line who have given up 4.2 yards per carry.

Last season it was the Wildcats Offensive Line paving the way for 234 yards per game on the ground that fuelled their winning season. They haven't matched those numbers yet, and are probably unlikely to do so, but this experience Line will be able to open holes for Snell which is going to make Stephen Johnson's life all the more comfortable at Quarter Back.

Johnson had nine starts last season at Quarter Back and he has thrown 5 Touchdown passes and just a single Interception which has helped Kentucky go 3-1 through their first four games. He doesn't have the gaudy numbers, but Johnson should be able to make plays against the Eastern Michigan Secondary with the time he is likely to have if Snell is running the ball effectively.

Eastern Michigan's Defensive unit have shown improvement again this season with an experienced group back, but slowing down Kentucky may be tough especially if the Offensive unit are not able to sustain drives on the other side of the ball. Johnson will have to be aware of the ball-hawking Secondary the Eagles do have, but overall I expect Kentucky to be much more consistent Offensively and that should lead to a fairly comfortable win.

The Eagles have lost all 9 previous games against an SEC opponent by an average of 36 points per game and I think the focus on the Toledo Rockets game may come into play. Kentucky should be able to make enough Defensive plays to eventually pull away in this one and I will look for the Wildcats to have their best margin of victory so far in 2017.

Texas State Bobcats @ Wyoming Cowboys Pick: Conference play has already gotten underway for the Wyoming Cowboys as they moved to 1-0 in the Mountain West, but they have to complete their non-Conference portion of their schedule before heading into a bye week. Big expectations are on the shoulders of Wyoming having won the Mountain Division in the Conference in 2016 and the fact they have as many returning starters as they do.

Even with that mind, Wyoming have perhaps had a few more difficulties Offensively than they would have been expecting especially as Josh Allen has not kicked on as much as they would have liked. Allen has faced the Iowa Hawkeyes and Oregon Ducks from the Power 5 Conferences which may have affected the numbers so facing the Texas State Bobcats is a chance to show why some have tipped him up as having First Round NFL Draft potential.

Allen has to feel good about taking on one of the weaker teams from the Sun Belt Conference even if the Bobcats Defensive numbers haven't looked bad so far. However they were blown out last week and now the Bobcats are travelling on the road.

This game does feel like a chance for the Wyoming Offensive Line to produce one of their better games of the season and that is likely going to help Quarter Back Allen no end. Some of his struggles have come because of a lack of help on the ground, but getting a few more third and manageable spots should allow Allen to showcase his talent and move the chains against a Bobcats Secondary that has been attacked.

The bigger problems have come for Texas State on the Offensive side of the ball as they have continued to have their issues in pass protection. That hasn't been helped by a limited rushing Offense who are now facing a much improved Wyoming Defensive Line who have only allowed 4 yards per carry on the season.

That is a decent number considering who the Cowboys have faced and being unable to establish the run will mean Damian Williams is once again scrambling around and hoping to make plays down the field. Even that is a challenge considering how an experienced Wyoming Secondary have been playing and the bigger problems for Williams may be trying to avoid the turnovers.

It does feel like this could be one of the more complete efforts from Wyoming on both sides of the ball even if Texas State have been a tough road underdog to cover the spread against. The Cowboys have been a little hit and miss when looking to cover as the home favourite, but this looks the perfect chance to take some momentum and feel-good factor into the bye week and I am looking for Wyoming to cover.

Miami (Ohio) Redhawks @ Notre Dame Fighting Irish Pick: It would be a huge upset if the Notre Dame Fighting Irish were knocked off by the Miami (Ohio) Redhawks, and this is one of the rare weaker teams you will see on the Notre Dame schedule. That might sound like something the Redhawks can use to motivate themselves, as well as the fact that there isn't a lot of distance between the schools in terms of miles, but it is a big ask for Miami to win here.

This year's Fighting Irish were considered to be one of the dark horses to make the Play Offs and being 3-1 won't hinder them when you look at the schedule still to come. The loss to the Georgia Bulldogs may continue to look a 'good' one on paper especially if they keep winning and Notre Dame are able to knock off the likes of the USC Trojans, Miami (FL) Hurricanes and Stanford Cardinal.

Brian Kelly won't want to overlook any team they face and that means focusing first on the Redhawks who visit South Bend for the first time on Saturday. A defensive unit that has played well so far this season is going to be tested like it hasn't in 2017 and this is a chance for the Redhawks to show what they are made of.

While the Redhawks have stopped the run effectively, they won't have faced an Offensive Line anywhere near as good as the one they will see in Notre Dame. The expectation was that this would be one of the more improved Lines in College Football, but Notre Dame are playing way above expectations as they have averaged 6.8 yards per carry and I simply can't see Miami being able to live with them for sixty minutes.

Brandon Wimbush at Quarter Back has been a duel threat and Josh Adams has been running the ball very hard which has sparked the Fighting Irish Offense and they should be able to move the chains throughout the game on Saturday. The questions for Wimbush still come about his ability to make plays with his arm, but that will come with experience as he does have a gun there and Week 5 may be the first time when he is allowed to open up a little bit.

Notre Dame will have to be careful though as they are facing Chuck Martin for the first time who worked with Brian Kelly during the run to the National Championship Game five years ago. Martin and Kelly are close and the Miami Head Coach should know what is coming, but obviously the talent differences make it much harder for Martin to actually do something about it.

While the Fighting Irish look capable of moving the chains at will, it is a much tougher task for Miami who have not been able to run the ball. Those games against lower level teams than Notre Dame does not bode well for their chances to do that this week and Notre Dame have shown they can limit the damage they allow on the ground. Giving up just 3.9 yards per carry despite having faced Georgia and Boston College is a good return and Notre Dame should be leaving Miami in third and long spots for much of the afternoon.

Gus Ragland hasn't been playing badly at Quarter Back with 8 Touchdown passes and 2 Interceptions and I can see him making a few nice plays. The problem with not being able to run the ball is that Notre Dame can pin back their ears and allow their pass rush to flourish, with first year Defensive Co-Ordinator Mike Elko already having an impact on a unit who could not generate a pass rush a year ago.

This year Notre Dame have gotten pressure up front so it may be difficult for Ragland to make plays when he is not supported by much of a running game. That could lead to a couple of critical mistakes which allows the Fighting Irish to pull away here.

The relationship between the Head Coaches should mean Kelly does not want to blow out Miami and the Redhawks are 13-5 against the spread as the road underdog since Chuck Martin took over as Head Coach. That may put some doubts in my mind about the home team covering the spread, but I think Notre Dame need to keep winning big to show they should be a Play Off team consideration and they have all the tools to do that here.

Notre Dame can be an overrated favourite with the public keen to back them, but I will look for them to win this one by closer to a four Touchdown margin and that can see them cover this number.

Ohio State Buckeyes @ Rutgers Scarlet Knights Pick: When you think of how easily the Ohio State Buckeyes have dismissed the challenge of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights in each of the last three seasons, you have to say this does not look a big spread. It might surprise you, but I am actually going against the trend of the Buckeyes winning by at least 39 points each time and increasing that margin from 39 to 42 to 58 over each of their last three games against one another.

The public would likely have backed Ohio State regardless of the number at play, but the sharps are on the Scarlet Knights which has seen this point spread come down by a point since it opened. That's not a huge move, but it is a move and I am going to back the Rutgers Defensive unit to give their team a chance of the cover.

I simply don't see Ohio State losing this game outright though.

Rutgers really struggled in Chris Ash's first year as Head Coach and it looks another difficult season is ahead of them as they are 1-3 through their non-Conference stretch. Ash had worked as co-Defensive Co-Ordinator at Ohio State, but that didn't help him in 2016 as Rutgers barely put any Offensive drives together.

It is difficult to see them moving the chains with any consistency in this one too and I am a little concerned in picking them if they can't at least show some power on the other side of the ball. There have been some issues for Ohio State in the Secondary but I do wonder if Kyle Bolin can get things on track when he has thrown 3 Touchdown passes to 6 Interceptions on the season.

The hope has to be that Rutgers can find a way to run the ball behind a more experienced Offensive Line and at least give Bolin the chance.

It may be a good time for Rutgers to face Ohio State who haven't looked completely at ease since their stunning home loss to Oklahoma in Week 2. While clearly the more talented team on the field, they have not covered big spreads in each of the last two weeks in winning efforts, and now are facing a Defensive unit that have performed well and given their team a chance for success.

Up front will be the key for the Scarlet Knights who suffered a big injury in the Secondary last week when Blessuan Austin went down. That should mean JT Barrett is able to have a big day throwing the ball, but if Rutgers can slow down Ohio State up front they may have a chance to stay in this one.

Ash will want to show the improvements the Defensive unit have made and Rutgers haven't been blown out this season despite facing Washington and Nebraska. Ohio State are better than both, but they are perhaps still rebuilding confidence after the loss to Oklahoma and even Rutgers getting up to 14 points might be enough with the way the Defensive unit is playing.

Enough for the cover rather than any potential upset, but I am going to take Rutgers here. At the moment the Buckeyes are doing enough to win games and I think they will be happy to do that again here, where even a win by a four Touchdown margin will not be enough for the cover.

Rutgers can give it their all going into the bye week, and I will take the points and look for something of a surprisingly competitive game.

South Carolina Gamecocks @ Texas A&M Aggies Pick: Both the South Carolina Gamecocks and the Texas A&M Aggies have had tough losses in the 2017 season, but at least the latter are still unbeaten in the SEC. It would take something special for either of these teams to be playing in the SEC Championship Game in December and the loser of this one may just about it call of their chances of doing that.

It is a pressure which makes this an interesting game, one in which the Aggies are favoured to win. They beat the Arkansas Razorbacks in Overtime in Week 4 to move to 3-1 for the season and it is the Aggies who have won the last three between themselves and South Carolina.

The question for the Aggies is whether they match up as well with the Gamecocks Defensive unit as it feels the the latter do on the other side of the ball. The strength for Texas A&M has been to run the ball and make a few plays in the air, but they may need to come out of their comfort zone in this one.

Trayveon Williams has been huge for the Aggies with his ability to run the ball, but he is running up against a South Caroline Defensive Line that has looked much improved from 2016. You may be able to question the Offensive Lines they have faced so far with the Aggies one looking the best by a distance, but Will Muschamp is going to focus to try and take Williams away and force the Aggies to go to the air where they may not feel as comfortable.

Kellen Mond hasn't played badly at Quarter Back at all, but he is helped massively when always in manageable down and distance. It will be a different feel for him if Williams is not allowed to rip off big gains on the ground especially as the Offensive Line have struggled when it comes down to pass protection. South Carolina may not be able to take full advantage of those issues, but they should have something on the Defensive side of the ball which allows them to at least hold the Aggies to Field Goals rather than giving up too many Touchdowns.

All the Gamecocks can ask is they give their Offensive unit a chance to keep things tight in this one. With the Defensive unit expected to make some plays, South Carolina should be able to do that against an Aggies Defense that has had some real problems to deal with in the Secondary.

The Defensive Line has been strong up front, but that will be matched up against the South Carolina team who have been much happier throwing the football. Ty'Son Williams has made some plays for South Carolina from Running Back, but the key for the Gamecocks has to be Jake Bentley at Quarter Back.

Bentley has some nice numbers throwing the ball although the 4 Interceptions don't look great with just four games played. He is going up against a Secondary who have allowed over 300 passing yards per game, although the Aggies will feel the pass rush pressure will be capable of giving them an Interception or two to feast upon.

Turnovers can be a killer for teams, but I do think South Carolina can keep this one close as long as they don't force Bentley to try things that he is still learning to do. Bentley has played well enough to make the throws down the field and I think he can help the Gamecocks at least keep things close against an Aggies team who are 7-13-1 against the spread as the home favourite in recent seasons.

Muschamp's South Carolina were not an effective road underdog to back last season, but they have covered (and won outright) in Missouri in that spot this season. His Florida team went 6-2 against the spread as the road underdog after a 0-2 first season in that spot and I think the Gamecocks are playing well enough Defensively to make enough plays to keep this one competitive.

The Gamecocks have covered as the underdog twice in a row against Texas A&M and I will back them to do that here.

MY PICKS: Temple Owls + 13 Points @ 1.91 Bet365 (1 Unit)
Baylor Bears + 16 Points @ 1.91 Ladbrokes (1 Unit)
Tennessee Volunteers + 7.5 Points @ 1.95 Paddy Power (1 Unit)
Stanford Cardinal - 17.5 Points @ 1.91 Bet365 (1 Unit)
Kentucky Wildcats - 14.5 Points @ 1.91 Ladbrokes (1 Unit)
Wyoming Cowboys - 16.5 Points @ 1.91 Bet365 (1 Unit)
Notre Dame Fighting Irish - 21 Points @ 2.00 Paddy Power (1 Unit)
Rutgers Scarlet Knights + 29.5 Points @ 1.91 Bet365 (1 Unit)
South Carolina Gamecocks + 7.5 Points @ 1.91 Bet365 (1 Unit)

Week 4: 8-1, + 6.27 Units (9 Units Staked, + 69.67% Yield)
Week 32-6-1, - 4.14 Units (9 Units Staked, - 46% Yield)
Week 22-3, - 1.09 Units (5 Units Staked, - 21.80% Yield)
Week 11-3, - 2.09 Units (4 Units Staked, - 52.25% Yield)

Season 201713-13-1, - 1.05 Units (27 Units Staked, - 3.89% Yield)

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