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College Football Expert Picks - Week 5

Week 5 of the college football campaign brings perhaps the best slate of games thus far this season with 5 games between ranked opponents: Florida vs. Alabama, Stanford vs. Oregon, Texas vs. Oklahoma, Michigan St. vs. Wisconsin, and Penn St. vs. Iowa.  Zach and Jon beyond those high profile games though and make their plays for the weekend.

Ohio State –17 at Illinois
Right now, the two best teams in college football are Alabama and Ohio State. The Buckeyes have been destroying their competition and looking good in the process. While naysayers will always have their doubts about Terrell Pryor, the likelihood that they will be validated against Illinois is very slim (actually only 7.5%). Ohio State is covering the number in over 60% of simulations which is a great sign being that the computer is 5-1 ATS this season in games involving Ohio State and Illinois.

Texas Tech –7 at Iowa State
One of the biggest questions of the offseason was “who will Texas Tech be?” After Mike Leach’s departure, we were curious to see what Texas Tech would make of their pass happy offense. Now that we are month into the season, we are pleased to see that Tommy Tubberville has done a solid job in keeping things how they were with the Red Raiders offense. On the other side is Iowa State who is still getting mileage from off their fluke win at Nebraska in 2009. I say fluke because the Huskers turned over the ball five times inside the ten yard line. Earlier this season, we successfully picked Kansas State to cover the number against Iowa State and the Wildcats did with offensive efficiency. We also picked Iowa to cover against Iowa State and the same formula worked for the Hawkeyes. AccuScore’s against the spread picks are 5-1 this season in games involving Iowa State and Texas Tech (6-0 straight up) showing that these two teams play to their simulations.  Lastly, AccuScore’s ATS spread selection in games when the “away team is favored by 4 to 9.5 points” is 8-3 this year.

Miami –3 at Clemson
As long as Jacory Harris is the quarterback, handicapping the Miami Hurricanes will always be a challenge. Harris and company are flushed with talent, but that same offense is also a very frustrating to watch. In 2009, 12% of Harris’s drop backs resulted in either sacks or interceptions. Three games into the 2010 season, that number has only dropped 0.5% and cost the Hurricanes when they went to Columbus. His 1-to-1 TD:INT ratio stands out to us stat geek and gets factored into our simulations. Harris’s statistical history will makes our projections closer than they should be, so a bet on Miami is a bet that they can limit the mistakes. AccuScore is 3-1 ATS this season in games where Miami and Clemson are involved. Showing they can win on the road and throw interceptions, the computer likes Miami to cover the number at Clemson meaning the eye test and computer test match up perfectly.  

Navy +10 at Air Force
Since 2003, a game in this series has been decided by more than 7 points only once (2007 by 11). And even more interestingly, Navy is riding a seven game winning streak in this series between the two service academies. Both teams have, as usual, terrific rushing attacks while neither is particularly good at stopping the run. Since both teams run the option, the schemes are not unfamiliar to their defenses and scores in the recent past have been relatively low. Since both teams will run the ball almost exclusively, the clock tends to move in this game with fewer big plays and fewer drives. That tends to keep the score close. Ten points is simply too many to give to Navy even though Air Force looks to be one of the better MWC teams this season. In fact, the Midshipmen are projected to cover 58.2 percent of the time by AccuScore.

Marshall vs. Southern Miss UNDER 51.5 Points
This Under pick has the highest simulation percentage for any totals pick this week at 64.3 percent. Combined these two teams average just 42.75 points with Marshall statistically having a poor defense, and a Southern Miss having a strong one. Southern Miss should have a more explosive offense with Larry Fedora’s spread so one would expect most of the offense to come from the Golden Eagles. AccuScore has gone a combined 7-0 picking totals in games involving these two teams this season.

Follow Zach on Twitter @accuscorezach
Follow Jon on Twitter @thejonlee
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