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What a difference a week can make. Seven days after being lambasted for his tepid play call on fourth and 1 against Penn State, Panthers head coach Pat Narduzzi is being celebrated as a genius for his gusty "Pitt Special" game-winner versus UCF. It just goes to show you how quickly everything can change in the topsy turvy world of Division I football.
Week 5 is just days away, and we have you covered with hard-hitting insight and analysis on some of this week's most eagerly anticipated games as well as the latest trends and storylines from across the U.S.
Wager on all Week 5 NCAAF action at BetAmerica!
*All odds are subject to change.
Notre Dame showed the country last Saturday night that they still belong in the national conversation as they took Georgia right down to the wire in Athens. The Fighting Irish played excellent defense against a loaded Georgia offense and while they ultimately came up short, the dialogue instantly became one that asked if a one-loss Notre Dame team should still be considered for the playoff.
In Virginia, the Cavaliers found themselves in a shockingly competitive game with Old Dominion. Virginia went into the game as 27 point favorites and didn’t take the lead until deep into the second half. While this might be concerning at first glance, Virginia’s ability to pull away in the fourth quarter makes it less worrisome. After the clear wake-up call of being down at home at halftime, Virginia pulled away and ultimately won easily. This suggests that Virginia was in a sandwich situation after coming from behind in a tense game against Florida State and with this big matchup against Notre Dame on deck. Virginia made it to 4-0, is ranked, and with the rest of the ACC Coastal looking like a mess should be mentally prepared to give Notre Dame everything they have.
Virginia QB Bryce Perkins goes full ninja, finishing this run with a flying kick #ODUvsUVA pic.twitter.com/bYxGYTOyZ1— Kevin Boilard (@KevinBoilard) September 22, 2019
Virginia QB Bryce Perkins goes full ninja, finishing this run with a flying kick #ODUvsUVA pic.twitter.com/bYxGYTOyZ1
When these two teams face off Saturday, Virginia +11.5 is the play as we expect head coach Bronco Mendenhall to lean on his defense to keep this game close and low-scoring. Virginia’s offense is nothing spectacular and this is really illuminated when you realize their leading rusher is QB Bryce Perkins, but the defense has been tough allowing only 263 yards per game. They are ninth in the country at 3.9 yards per play and Mendenhall has always been a defensive-minded coach that understands how to slow down powerful offenses. Notre Dame QB Ian Book is an underrated player, but he doesn’t have enough elite weapons on the outside to truly threaten a Virginia team with a very talented secondary.
I expect Notre Dame to come away with a close win at home but this should be a close game throughout with Virginia just failing to convert enough drives into seven points. The Irish seem to always find themselves with thrilling finishes a few times a year in these mid-afternoon games and this looks primed to be one for 2019.
USC has played as many quarterbacks as they have wins. Normally when you hear a statistic like it’s a bad thing by Week 4, and yet for the Trojans, things have been moving better than most probably expected. Despite a non-conference loss to BYU that ended any crazy dreams of a national championship, they are 3-1, ranked, and leading the Pac-12 South.
Unfortunately for USC, injuries have also decimated their depth at the most important position on the field. New starter Matt Fink entered the season as third-string, and while he performed excellently against Utah going 21-30 for 351 yards and three touchdowns, questions about the consistency with which he can perform at that level are deserved. Fink is not a typical 5-star USC QB, and while his ability to run should help him in the near future, his ceiling has yet to be determined.
Well...Matt Fink looks good so far for USC.(via @Pac12Network)pic.twitter.com/LoAkj0zh1J— PFF College (@PFF_College) September 21, 2019
Well...Matt Fink looks good so far for USC.(via @Pac12Network)pic.twitter.com/LoAkj0zh1J
Washington QB Jacob Eason is a big-armed QB that can sling it around. Fans should expect him to improve throughout the season as he gets more familiar with his weapons and head coach Chris Petersen’s play-calling.
Comparing opponents in college football is never a good strategy for picking point-spread winners, but it’s hard to ignore that Washington just dominated BYU while USC’s lone loss came to that same BYU squad two weeks ago. Washington enters this game as a 10-point favorite and it wouldn't be surprising to see the line continue to rise.
When it comes to wagering on the game, Washington -10 looks like the bet. Washington has the better coach and QB and gets to play at home. USC is a bit like the Yankees in that they tend to be overvalued due to the known talent levels on their roster. And while Washington really shot themselves in the foot with their loss to California, it created a sense of urgency for the whole season which should pay dividends when wagering on them against the spread moving forward. Washington knows that to play itself back into the national conversation it must not only win, but do so in dominant fashion.
The Washington State Cougars and Utah Utes are both coming off their first losses of the season. In Week 4, Wazzu fell to Chip Kelly and UCLA following a stunning 32-point comeback by the Bruins, while Utah dropped a game on the road to USC.
On Saturday, the Utes (3-1) host the Cougars (3-1) in a Pac-12 division matchup and look to kickstart a new win streak inside Rice-Eccles Stadium.
With Washington State graduate and new Jaguars starting quarterback Gardner Minshew watching from the crowd, Anthony Gordon broke the school record (set by Minshew) for touchdown passes, with nine against UCLA.
ANTHONY GORDON THROWS HIS 9TH. YES 9TH TOUCHDOWN OF THE GAME FOR WAZZU. WAZZU NOW LEADS 63-60 OVER UCLA By the time this tweet is out I won’t be shocked if there is another score 😂 https://t.co/M5DTxdDk8Q— Sports ON Tap Seattle (@SeattleONTap) September 22, 2019
ANTHONY GORDON THROWS HIS 9TH. YES 9TH TOUCHDOWN OF THE GAME FOR WAZZU. WAZZU NOW LEADS 63-60 OVER UCLA By the time this tweet is out I won’t be shocked if there is another score 😂 https://t.co/M5DTxdDk8Q
Somehow his unprecedented performance wasn’t enough to stave off the 1-3 Bruins, who fought back and forced mistakes to edge out Washington State 67-63 in Martin Stadium.
In the second half, the Cougars committed six turnovers, including three fumbles, that UCLA converted into 29 points. With under a minute to play and the Cougars down four, Wazzu fumbled once more, when Gordon got sacked and dropped the ball, to give UCLA possession and the ability to run out the clock.
On Saturday, the Cougars face a Utah team that unraveled against unranked USC last weekend as well. The Utes were called for 16 penalties for a loss of 120 yards and fumbled the ball at USC’s goal line at the end of the second quarter. USC also blocked a field-goal attempt by Utah in the first quarter, as the Utes trailed 14-7.
Adding injury to insult, running back Zack Moss (393 yards, four TDs) exited the first half with a shoulder injury in Utah’s 30-23 loss. His status is unclear for the game against Washington State.
In their last four home games, the Utes are 0-4 against the spread and 1-6 against the spread in their last seven overall. The Cougars, on the other hand, are 5-1 ATS in their last six road games and 4-0 ATS in their last four games against Utah.
The last time Utah beat Washington State was November 2012, when the Utes annihilated Washington State 49-6.
Here are the betting trends you need to know from Week 4:
We’ve narrowed down the 13 remaining games you can’t afford to miss from Week 5.
"We saw it, you saw it, the entire football world saw it, that that wasn't good enough, and it's not acceptable."- Jim Harbaugh, on Week 4 loss at Wisconsin pic.twitter.com/JreR1yvrZU— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) September 23, 2019
"We saw it, you saw it, the entire football world saw it, that that wasn't good enough, and it's not acceptable."- Jim Harbaugh, on Week 4 loss at Wisconsin pic.twitter.com/JreR1yvrZU
Jim Harbaugh and the Wolverines will have a chance to prove they still belong in the AP Top 25 rankings this week when they tangle with Rutgers at The Big House.
So what did Joe Burrow say to the #Vandy player 🤔 pic.twitter.com/vF8T7arZbu— Garland Gillen (@garlandgillen) September 21, 2019
So what did Joe Burrow say to the #Vandy player 🤔 pic.twitter.com/vF8T7arZbu
LSU QB Joe Burrow nearly incited a riot at the end of the Tigers' game against Vanderbilt last week when he ambled over to the sidelines to share a word (or two) with a Vandy defender. Are you buying his version of events?
Mike Leach on WSU's composure as things were collapsing: "I thought we were kind of babies on the sideline to be honest with you." pic.twitter.com/v9iePwtSnj— Karthik Venkataraman (@KarthikV_) September 23, 2019
Mike Leach on WSU's composure as things were collapsing: "I thought we were kind of babies on the sideline to be honest with you." pic.twitter.com/v9iePwtSnj
Cougars head coach Mike Leach has never been afraid to call a spade a spade. It will be fascinating to see how his team responds this Saturday when Washington State takes on #19 Utah at Rice-Eccles Stadium.
Florida quarterback Kyle Trask threw for 293 yards and two touchdowns on Saturday in his first start in seven years. Here are three things you need to know about the redshirt junior: