By: Hunter Schmidt
Thanks to those of you who read the fifth edition of “Finding The Edge.” The picks went 8-5-1 last week, even after another disastrous Friday night with the picks going 0-3. Here is your weekly recap:
Week 4 Recap: 8-5-1, +3 Units
Season Long Recap: 36-30-4, +4.35 Units
The playoff contenders are beginning to separate themselves from the pretenders.
Georgia and Wisconsin both earned marquee wins to put on their resume. Notre Dame and Michigan lost tough road games to those teams, but one loss is all it takes to find yourself on the outside looking in. I could see the Irish running the table from here on out, but they’d need help to notch a playoff spot.
This isn’t going to be the last game Michigan loses unless they drastically improve a lot of aspects as a team. Utah lost at USC on Friday night and every contender in the PAC-12 now has a game in the loss column. It feels like this conference is going to cannibalize itself throughout the year and miss out on the Playoff once again.
Let’s get into the picks for Week 5:
FLORIDA ATLANTIC @ CHARLOTTE; 2:30PM CT
Lane Kiffin finally seems to have his offense rolling after scoring 40 points in consecutive weeks. Their schedule was tough to begin the year, playing Ohio State and Central Florida, but the Charlotte defense is giving up 38 points per game and allowed Gardner Webb to score 28 against them.
The only team who didn’t score against them was UMASS, who quite possibly is the worst team of the last decade. The total going under the last four years gave me pause, but Charlotte is a different team under first-year head coach Will Healy. He’s going to be one of the sought after coaches after a few years at Charlotte due to his recruiting prowess and offensive scheming.
I expect this game to be played in the 70’s and will be betting on the over in this match-up.
The Play: Over 63.5 Risk: 1.1 Units To Win: 1 Unit
SMU @ USF; 2:30PM CT
SMU has been one of the early surprises in college football this year, upsetting TCU last week to move to 4-0 on the season. Shane Buechele, the Texas transfer, has the offense averaging 43.5 points and over 500 yards per game.
This week they face a South Florida team coming off a bye that lost by 49 to Wisconsin, and a terrible Georgia Tech team. Charlie Strong’s team has looked awful early in the year after a horrendous end to the season a year ago. Their offense is averaging less than 300 yards per game and just a shade above 21 points.
I think SMU moves to 5-0 after winning by double digits down in Tampa.
The Play: SMU -7 Risk: 1.1 Units To Win: 1 Unit
USC @ Washington; 2:30PM CT
Clay Helton is just 2-12 SU and 3-11 ATS as an underdog, including their home win last week against Utah, where they won despite being outgained by over 100 yards. Washington has covered 7 out of the 10 previous games in this series and covered six out of their last seven games.
USC is just 2-5 ATS in their last seven games on the road, including a loss to BYU in Provo. Washington throttled this same BYU team by a score of 45-19 just a week ago, and they seem to be putting things together after their loss to Cal.
I think the difference in this game is going to be the Washington defense. They’re holding opponents to just 332 yards per game and I don’t expect Matt Fink to have the same success he found in the passing game last week against Utah.
Give me the Huskies by double digits in this Top-25 game.
The Play: Washington -10 Risk: 1.1 Units To Win: 1 Unit
NEW MEXICO @ LIBERTY; 5PM CT
A year ago, these teams combined to score 95 points in a 52-43 Liberty win. They combined for 1,148 yards in that match-up that went well over the closing total of 65.
The Liberty offense and “Buckshot” Calvert have looked mediocre for Hugh Freeze standards, but this is the week they get things rolling. They play a New Mexico defense that is giving up 546 yards per game and 49.7 points on average.
The New Mexico offense has kept them in games, averaging 36 points per game and 482 yards. They played New Mexico State last week and the two teams combined for 107 points.
Liberty played a horrid Hampton team and allowed 27 points in a 62-27 victory. I wouldn’t be shocked if this game had 40+ points at halftime and the total landed in the 80’s or 90’s.
Take the over, turn your score notifications on, and hear it buzz while you pray it’s a beautiful woman texting you, until you look down and realize it’s just another touchdown being scored in Lynchburg.
The Play: Over 71 Risk: 1.1 Units To Win: 1 Unit
UAB @ WESTERN KENTUCKY; 6PM CT
Bill Clark and UAB were one of the most underrated teams in the country last season. They lost a lot, which made me hesitant to bet on them early, but there is a huge coaching advantage in this game.
Western Kentucky has a first year head coach that has already lost a game to Central Arkansas at home. Their quarterback, Steven Duncan, was lost for the year due to injury and will be replaced by Arkansas transfer Ty Storey. He will have to go up against a UAB team that is only giving up 281 yards and 14 points per game.
UAB is 6-2 ATS in their last eight road games, while Western Kentucky is just 1-4 ATS in their last five home games.
I expect Bill Clark to have his team ready to play on the road against a Western Kentucky team that has no edge coaching wise, offensively or defensively.
The Play: UAB -2.5 Risk: 1.1 Units To Win: 1 Unit
That’s all I have for this week. I didn’t like much on the board, so I’m not going to force anything just to have action. Thanks to those of you reading the column. Be sure to give it a share on Twitter “@huntterrschmidtt” or Facebook.
Best of luck this weekend!
Cover photo via: SMU Athletics
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