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Week 5 College Football Picks: Thoughts on Florida-Kentucky, Arkansas-A&M, LSU-Ole Miss and more!

Updated: Sep 29, 2023


Credit: Kentucky athletics

It's Wednesday, and you know what that means.... IT'S TIME TO MAKE SOME WEEK 5 COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICKS!


And people, boy are we coming off a HECK of a Week 4.


Last week we were absolutely on fire, going 7-1 overall - although, let's call a spade a spade: The Florida State cover and under hitting were a gift from the gambling Gods. We may have sacrificed a small animal late on Saturday night as a thank you for all their help.


Still, despite sitting at 70 percent on the season (19-8 overall), the show must go on which is why we're here today.


By the way, before we get started, we have a BIG ANNOUNCEMENT: We have a new partner, as we welcome in our good friends at DraftKings Sportsbook.


With legal sports betting now in Kentucky, new users in the lovely Bluegrass State can bet $5 and get $200 in bonus bets when they use the code "TORRES."


Thanks again to DraftKings, now to the picks:


Cincinnati at BYU (+2): Friday, 10:15 p.m. ET, ESPN


While we could wait until Saturday to get the slate started, this one caught my eye and I decided why wait until Saturday, when you can have some late night Friday fun?


First off, when you turn on this game, two things are going to jump out immediately:


  1. This is a Big 12, conference game

  2. The two quarterbacks in this game - Cincinnati's Emory Jones and BYU's Kedon Slovis - have roughly 247 combined years of college football experience

Regardless, as mentioned above, this is a Big 12 game - which is why I love the Cougars here (I love cougars in general, but that's besides the point).


BYU is coming off back-to-back road games, and I expect the fans to be fully fired up for their first league game in a decade. Meanwhile, Cincinnati is coming off an emotional loss last week at home to Oklahoma, now have to turn around, fly across country and play at altitude on a short week against a hungry BYU squad.


Seems like a bad luck of the draw, as I expect BYU to win its first home game as a member of the Big 12.


Colorado (+21.5) at No. 8 USC: Saturday, 12:00 p.m. ET, FOX


First off, let me say this: The thing that sucks about doing this article in the middle of the week, is that sometimes you get the worst of a number. That happened here, as USC opened as over a four-touchdown favorite against Colorado, and was immediately bet down to 21.5.


Even with that said, I still the Buffaloes to cover, and keep it closer than many expect.


Look, by now we all know the narrative around Colorado. How could you not. They're talked about non-stop by everyone in the media (including me).


Because we know so much about Colorado, and all their strengths and weaknesses, it feels like many expect a blood bath here.


I don't.


The bottom line is that there is a difference between walking into a snake pit in Eugene, against an Oregon team which is a much more complete than USC, and playing a flawed Trojan team at home.


That's right, like most of America, I watched USC struggle defensively at Arizona State last Saturday night, and you know what it reminded me of?


Oh, I don't know, how about last year's USC team. The one that couldn't get a stop to save its life, and was essentially bailed out by Caleb Williams one time after another, again and again.


Well, that plays right into Colorado's hands especially at home.


I'm still not sure Colorado has anything close to a roster good enough to win, but I do think they make it competitive.


Give me 38-31, as the Trojans win and the Buffaloes cover.


No. 22 Florida at Kentucky (-1): Saturday, 12:00 p.m. ET, ESPN


Like USC, after wins against two bad teams (Nevada and Stanford) it feels like everyone is ready to declare Florida "fixed" after they beat Tennessee at home two weeks ago.


I'm sorry, I just don't see it.


Listen, do I think Billy Napier has largely gotten a raw deal so far as head coach? I do. At the same time, it feels like the narrative has swung from "Sun Belt Billy" to "You know, Florida might be onto something here" a little too fast. You mean to tell me the entire perception about this Gator team flipped because of a home win, against a Tennessee team that we don't even know if they're good? In a game in which they scored a grand total of three points in the second half?


Beyond that, I had this thought on Tuesday: Is this the first time in our lives, that Kentucky simply has better players across the board than Florida? I think you could argue that was the case last year, but Anthony Richardson at least seemed like an equalizer for the Gators.


This year, there is no Anthony Richardson, and this is what we're left with: Devin Leary - at least to me - is the superior quarterback to Graham Mertz, and Kentucky's skill position guys (Ray Davis, Dane Key and Barrion Brown) look like the skill position guys Kentucky used to have, but doesn't anymore.


Kentucky has better players, the home field advantage and Mark Stoops doesn't seem to be worried at all about how excited the home crowd will be.


Kentucky wins a third straight versus Florida.




Arkansas (+6.5) vs. Texas A&M (Arlington, TX): Saturday, 12:00 p.m. ET, SEC Network


Put simply, the Southwest Classic is the craziest rivalry that the average college football fan doesn't realize is a legitimately batshit crazy rivalry.


I thought I might be making that up, so for fun, I looked it up: In the last 10 meetings, six games have been decided by a touchdown or less. Three have gone to overtime. For comparison's sake, Ohio State-Michigan (deemed the "best rivalry in the sport") has had two of the last 10 games decided by a touchdown or less, and one go to overtime.


Someone also tweeted at me that five times in the last 11 years, A&M has trailed by double-digits in the second half and managed to go 4-1 in that stretch.


Insanity.


And I expect insanity at Jerry World on Saturday.


The bottom line is that it feels like Texas A&M is getting wayyyyyyy too much love for last weekend's win over Auburn, considering they were only up 6-3 at home before Auburn melted down in the second half. Now, Conor Weigman is officially out, Max Johnson is in and we'll see if they can maintain their success.


Two, Arkansas isn't as bad as that 2-2 record indicates and really, more than anything, it's about cleaning up penalties. The Hogs rank 127th in penalties this season, with 14 in a seven-point loss to BYU and 11 in a three-point loss to LSU.


Clean up the penalties and they easily could've won those two games.


Add this all up, and it feels like a close, one score game like it always is at Jerry World.


I'll take the Hogs plus the points here.


No. 2 Michigan at Nebraska (+17): Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, FOX


First off, it shows you the power of the Deion brand that this game - featuring two historic powers - gets bumped to the 3:30 window.


Unrelated to that, I have a take for you: Nebraska isn't terrible.


Now, to be clear, they're not good. But in one off-season, Matt Rhule has turned this program into a respectable outfit.


Remember, the last we saw them against Colorado they were absolutely in that game until Jeff Sims forgot how to take a snap, fumbling three times at crucial points. Since then, they've quietly ripped off two wins in a row, as backup Heinrich Haarberg has replaced an injured Sims and played pretty well. Oh, and they come into this game with the No. 2 rush defense in all of college football, and one giving up just 18 points per game.


Well, that defense is now going to go up against a Michigan team playing its first road game. JJ McCarthy has been good, but still mistake prone (he had three interceptions against Bowling Green 10 days ago) and a run game where Jim Harbaugh is openly talking about getting his star players fewer carries.


Ultimately, I think Michigan wins, but it's in the 21-10 variety.


I wouldn't be shocked if this is a one possession game going into the fourth quarter.


No. 24 Kansas (+16.5) at No. 3 Texas: Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC


This is another game that we got the wrong side of the number, as money is coming in on Kansas.


And to me, it should be.


Look, I think everyone is pseudo-enjoying the Texas resurgence. They've been so average to below average, for so long, it's kind of fun to have them interesting again. We're all dreaming of what this program can actually look like if Sark can harness all the things that Texas has to offer, the recruiting base, the transfer portal and NIL opportunities.


And while I think Texas is legitimately good, and I think they win Saturday, here's a dirty little secret: The Kansas offense is, by far, the best offense they'll have seen so far this season.


Yes, that includes Alabama, which we've all seen. It isn't pretty.


The Jayhawks currently come into this game ranked 25th nationally in total offense. Here are the rankings of Texas' opponents so far: 60th (Rice), 89th (Alabama), 125th (Wyoming) and 62nd (Baylor).


Add in the fact that this is a week before next Saturday's showdown with Oklahoma, and I see this one being relatively competitive.


Give me Kansas to cover and Texas to win.


No. 12 LSU at Ole Miss (UNDER 67.5): Saturday, 6:00 p.m. ET, ESPN


I know what you're all thinking: "Torres, how can you possibly take the UNDER in a game featuring the SEC's two best offenses, a pair of teams that have combined to put up over 80 points per game this season.


You're crazy, bro! You're crazy."


Yeah, crazy like a fox, maybe.


(Ok, sorry for the grandpa joke there. Will never happen again)


The truth is, I honestly believe both these teams are overrated - and believe that Ole Miss, and especially the offense is vastly, VASTLY overrated.


Really, this goes back to last week. If you remember, the Ole Miss-Alabama under was one of my favorite bets for the same reason, and I'm rolling with it again here.


First off, if Ole Miss' offense was that good, and if Lane Kiffin trusted in Jaxson Dart that much, why did he go out and sign not one, but two quarterbacks this off-season? And beyond that, there are the stats.


Last week Ole Miss scored a touchdown on its opening drive and never found the end zone again. And in the previous two games, they were tied 17-17 going into the fourth quarter against Tulane and up 17-3 going into the fourth against Georgia Tech before blowing them out late. Neither win was as decisive as the final score looked.


In the end, I don't love taking road favorites, although I believe LSU is the right side here.


But the under is the better bet - as LSU wins somewhere in the neighborhood of 28-17.


Stay Aways:


No. 1 Georgia (14.5) at Auburn - Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, CBS: Yes, Auburn is at home, but this line makes absolutely no sense. Auburn has no quarterback and could essentially decide to run the triple option with Robbie Ashford on Saturday, rather than anything in the vertical game. The best bet here is the UNDER, but I just have no interest in betting this. At all.


No. 11 Notre Dame (-5.5) at No. 17 Duke - Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET, ABC: Duke isn't just feisty, they're legitimately good. Notre Dame is now playing its sixth game in six weeks (including Week 0) and is coming off a heartbreaking loss on, literally, the final play of the game. This feels more like "Duke upset" than "Notre Dame blowout win."


No. 12 Alabama (-14.5) at Mississippi State - Saturday, 9:00 p.m. ET, ESPN: New Mississippi State coach Zac Arnett decided something creative last week - using the forward pass in his offense. It's an innovative concept, I know, but after three weeks they finally let Will Rogers loose. The problem is, the Mississippi State defense - once deemed to be Arnett's strength - has never looked worse. Alabama is going to win, but I have no feel for this bet in any way shape or form.








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