Finding an Edge in the Power Five: Week 3

By Tony Johnson

We finally had a fantastic week for the second edition of FEPF.  We went 3-2 overall and one of the losses was Oregon St that got derailed with a few late scores by Arizona State.  I was enthralled like everyone else with the Ohio St game and still shocked they were able to come from behind and win.  It seems pretty clear that Ohio St and Penn St have separated themselves from the rest of the conference.  This week we have another five pack from the power five and let’s get right to them!


ACC: Clemson at Wake Forest (Under 61.5 at Stations)

After narrowly escaping an upset from Syracuse at home, Clemson takes the show on the road to Wake Forest.  Wake has struggled mightily on defense this season and even replaced their defensive coordinator a few weeks ago.  On the plus side, they’ve continued the strides on offense from last season with freshman qb Hartman and big time playmaker Dortch on the outside.  Trevor Lawrence made his much anticipated debut last week at quarterback for Clemson but was unfortunately knocked out of the game in the 2nd quarter.  He returns this week with a clean bill of health.  This game plays out much slower than anticipated in my eyes.

Clemson’s defense will get to Hartman and wreak havoc all over the field.  I believe Clemson will exude more ball control on offense compared to last week.  I’m expecting them to dominate the time of possession and pull away in the second half.

Final score 38-17 Clemson.


Big 10: Maryland at Michigan (Under 48 at W Hill)

Most people wrote Michigan off after losing handily to Notre Dame back in week one. (Is Notre Dame actually legit this year?)

They got beat on both sides of the ball and things looked bleak.  Harbaugh and company have quietly righted the ship and are playing some excellent defense in the process.  This team is only allowing 12.5 points per game in the last four and they face another subpar offense when Maryland arrives in the Big House this Saturday.  Maryland comes in surprisingly 4-1 this year and have a quality win against Texas in a game where nobody gave them much of a chance.  That being said, I see a lot of holes in this team.  Quarterback Kasim Hill is averaging less than 130 passing yards per game.  His poor play combined with a porous offensive line that allows way too much penetration in the middle are the pieces that are holding this offense back.  I’m expecting the Michigan defense to dominate again and score just enough points to put the game out of reach in the fourth quarter.

Michigan wins 24-10.


Big 12: Kansas at West Virginia (West Virginia -26.5 at Westgate)

What a shocker!  West Virginia is involved in our Big 12 selection for the third week in a row.  They played a great first half last week at Texas Tech but fell apart defensively when Tech QB Jett Duffey made plays with his arm and legs in a valiant comeback effort.  I believe WVU got rattled after starting QB Bowman left with an injury and were not prepared for a QB that could run.  This week they will be fully prepped and won’t relax with a lead against a hapless KU team.  To their credit, KU has improved on both sides of the ball this year and are no longer a total train wreck.  Unfortunately for them, WVU can make you look bad in a lot of ways and I see this game being totally one sided early and often.  Expect 500 yards on offense from WVU with the rout on early.

45-7 WVU final.


Pac 12: Arizona State at Colorado (Under 64.5 at Stations)

Yeah I know three unders so far.  Makes everyone feel pretty uncomfortable.  I get it.  Rooting for a lack of points with two good offenses on the field is about the most torture you can have betting on football.

Who cares?  Let’s embrace it!  This game aligns well for a struggle on both sides. Both teams come in with top ranked rushing defenses and this will be the story of this game.  I’m aware that ASU got cracked by running back Jermar Jefferson last week but I’m confident this was an anomaly in a game they controlled from start to finish.  Michigan State, San Diego State, and Washington all struggled to run the ball effectively in previous weeks and I’m confident that ASU gets back to that dominance in a much closer game on the road that will have their full attention.

Colorado has started the season 4-0 but will face their toughest test so far.  I believe QB Montez and RB McMillian will be the focal point for them on the ground offensively. They will not see the same chunk plays in this game that have come so easily for them in the first few weeks.  This will be a game grinded out until the very end.

I have Colorado coming out on top 28-24 in a squeaker.


SEC: Kentucky at Texas A&M (Texas A&M -5.5 at Westgate)

Here we are with another classic Tony Johnson game.  We have talked about fading the public in the past but this time we are betting on the side that makes no outward sense. (Let’s call this jump on the janky side) This one features a point spread that makes no sense at first glance.  Kentucky has started 5-0 and boasts three conference wins already!  Texas A&M meanwhile is only 3-2 and are coming off a game where they allowed a hapless Arkansas team to stage a late comeback that made the game close at the end.  Why the hell is Texas A&M favored?

First off let’s remember the two losses A&M have are versus Clemson and Alabama. These may be the two best teams in FBS football and both games were very competitive.  Second, A&M quietly has one of the best rush defenses in the country. Their depth allows them to rotate fresh bodies on the defensive line giving them a huge advantage over many teams.

Kentucky can only go as far as star running back Benny Snell takes them.  Their passing offense is still a work in progress and they haven’t needed a complete game yet this season.  This week they will need a complete one and I don’t see it happening.

Lastly, I believe the hype for upstart Kentucky has grown too loud and the game before their bye week is a perfect time for the inevitable letdown.  This is their first time on the road since going to Gainesville back on September 9th.  A line that originally made no sense now looks like it makes a lot of sense for the other side.  The other side is where we will be.

Texas A&M wins 30-14.


See you all next week for another edition of FEPF.  Let’s bring home a 5-0 week!

Results

ACC 2-0

Big 10 0-2

Big 12 1-1

Pac 12 1-1

SEC 1-1

Overall 5-5

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