Finding an Edge in the Power Five: Week 7

All I can remember was leaping out of my chair and screaming FEPF after Hakeem Butler reeled in a long bomb from Brock Purdy late in the Iowa State game last week.  OK maybe I didn’t exactly yell FEPF but there was something said.  It really doesn’t matter because that final touchdown pass allowed us to cover the spread and cement another winning week for FEPF.  Our underlying theme this week was finding good spots for underdog teams playing much better as the season winds down.  We have three of those dogs this week and now without further ado…

ACC: Boston College at Virginia Tech (Virginia Tech +2 at W Hill)

Our first underdog appears in the ACC with the Hokies hosting a BC team that is trending upward after their big win at home versus Miami last week.  BC running back Dillon was able to put the game away in the fourth quarter for a decisive victory.  Next week BC hosts Clemson and this appears to be a week where motivation will not be at its highest.  Virginia Tech under Justin Fuente has thrived against teams who come in with a lack of motivation.  Quarterback Ryan Willis has filled in admirably for the injured Josh Jackson and he finds a good matchup in this one.  BC has struggled in the secondary all season long and expect VT to play with a fervid pace and attempt to stretch the field whenever possible.  On the defensive side, coordinator Bud Foster’s teams are historically great against the run.  This will be a tough road test for BC.  This game will be close and I have Tech winning outright 30-27.

Big 10: Michigan State at Maryland (Michigan State -2.5 at W Hill)

So much turmoil!  Maryland found the headlines again this week when they reinstated coach D.J. Durkin one day and then decided to fire him the next day.  Added to that, there were other University officials that resigned amidst an unprecedented public backlash.  It would be difficult to deal with all of these distractions facing a subpar opponent but instead they face a very solid Michigan State team that still has an outside chance of reaching the conference championship game.  Backup QB Rocky Lombardi filled in for injured Brian Lewerke last week and was suburb minimizing mistakes and making key throws on 3rd downs.  There’s a chance that Lewerke will be back for this game but I don’t think it matters either way.  Michigan State looked very strong against Purdue last week.  They boast the #1 rushing defense in the country and Maryland’s offense struggles to gain yards through the air.  I tried to figure out how Maryland scores in this one but came up with nothing.  Expect a low scoring game here with MSU coming out on top 27-14.

Big 12: Oklahoma State at Baylor (Baylor +7 at Caesars)

How about another sandwich?  Like Boston College, OSU plays the ultimate sandwich game this week coming off a big win against Texas last week and then facing Oklahoma for the traditional ‘Bedlam’ game on November 10th.  OSU is starting a rebuild on offense this season and have expectedly been inconsistent on that side of the ball.  The key to success has been allowing QB Cornelius time to throw the ball.  Baylor’s defense boasts 16 sacks already on the season.  Coach Matt Rhule has done an excellent job with this program so far in  only two seasons.  They remain dynamic offensively with playmakers littering the field at every position.  Starting QB Brewer is questionable to play in this game but I really like backup McClendon.  He has a strong arm and great pocket awareness.  This should be a pretty high scoring affair and I believe Baylor has a great chance to win this one outright.  I’ll pick them to do just that with a final score of 35-34.

Pac 12: Stanford at Washington (Under 46 at Wynn)

This was a game that you marked on the calendar before the season started.  An absolute must watch game that would likely determine the Pac 12 North winner.  That is not the case anymore with both teams coming in with three losses and chasing an upstart Wazzu team that has aspirations of making the College Football Playoff.  Both teams have been ravaged with injuries throughout the season.  Four year starting RB Gaskin for Washington is questionable in this one and Bryce Love for Stanford looks likely to play but won’t be 100% if he does.  Without Love healthy, Stanford has struggled all season long offensively.  They’ve been unable to get enough first downs to play that signature ball control game we are used to seeing under coach David Shaw.  On the flip side, Washington has surprisingly struggled on offense with veteran QB Browning still at the helm.  I’m expecting those struggles to continue and paired against two very good defenses, this will be a low scoring slugfest.  I have the final score 24-20 Washington.

SEC: Missouri at Florida (Missouri +6.5 at Cantor)

Here’s a line that just smells bad.  Missouri still has no wins in conference and completely gave the game away against Kentucky last week.  Florida meanwhile has a win against LSU and have looked great except for the hiccup last week in the Cocktail Party versus Georgia.  The line seems like it should be ten or higher and it’s meaningful that it’s under seven points.  I agree with the oddsmakers and believe the Tigers match up well against a Florida team that got exposed last week.  QB Drew Lock will attack the weak Florida secondary and even get back their best WR Emanuel Hall.  Mizzou will play well enough on defense to keep this one close.  Florida is still searching for an identity on offense and I don’t believe Feleipe Franks is capable of winning a game with his arm.  Florida seems relegated to playing in grind out games and that style will make it difficult to cover six points against a strong opposing SEC team.  Florida may still win the game but not enough to cover for a final score of 30-27.

Three straight weeks of 3-2!  Let’s keep this winning streak going.  Good luck this week.

Results

ACC: 4-2

Big 10: 2-4

Big 12: 3-3

Pac 12: 3-3

SEC: 4-2

Overall: 16-14

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