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Week 5 College Football Recap – Week 6 Betting Lookahead

Texas football QB Quin Ewers celebrates college football touchdown

College Football Betting Recap For Week 5

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Football content contributor Ron Marmalefsky offers his college football Week 5 betting recap as well as his lookahead to Week 6 of college football kicking off on Thursday! What are his takeaways and look aheads from a betting perspective? Read below now!

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College Football Week 5: Betting Recap

Welcome to my Monday recap of last Saturday’s NCAA football action. In this edition, the first section will take a look at six teams whose Power Ratings have changed the most from my opening numbers.

I’ll list my top three Power Rating risers and top three Power Rating fallers, and discuss how and why they fell, and what’s the outlook moving forward.

After that, I’ll take a very brief first look at three games that should generate plenty of interest.

College Football Power Ratings Risers & Fallers

Like many long-time handicappers, I set opening Power Numbers for each team. My formula over four decades has not changed, and I use these numbers as part of my overall handicapping methodology.

There’s no right or wrong answer to setting opening Power Numbers, but typically a number is set based on factors such as returning starters, strength of coaching staff, incoming and outgoing transfers, QB efficiency, etc.

My ratings tend to weigh continuity along the OL and DL, and special team prowess and coaching more than others, and I also use past data (metric stat analysis, plus past Power Ratings for each team) as part of my preseason analysis.

I do not go back far in the data when a school has had recent and/or numerous coaching changes, but certainly I can learn something from past history.

Twelve schools have seen their opening Power Rating change 5.5 points or more. Nine schools have seen their Power Rating drop at least five or more points. Here’s my list of the very top risers and fallers.

College Football Risers Heading Into Week 6

Texas State (UP 11.5 in my ratings): No team has been more impressive in 2023. The Bobcats hired G.J. Kinne to jump-start their offense and point production has more than doubled.

They currently average over 43 points per game and 5.75 yards per rush attempt. Their starting QB has completed 73% of his passes.

Their top RB is averaging 9.75 yards per carry. They sit at 4-1, including an early win at Baylor. Moving Forward: They have a challenging Sun Belt schedule.

The defense has allowed 20 or more points in every game, so they could be vulnerable to the stronger offensive teams in conference play.

My guess is that everyone has taken notice of what this program has accomplished so far in 2023, and my colleagues likely agree with me on the Power Rating upgrade.

Colorado (UP 7 in my ratings): This was a very difficult team for me to set an initial number to start 2023, and I suspect it was difficult for most people as well.

What do you do when a team turns over its entire roster? As it turned out, my initial rating (66) was dead on to the spread opening week at TCU.

Deion Sanders mania took place after that, and I, like others were scrambling to assign a logical Power Number on a weekly basis. I’m still struggling to find the right number for them, and I suspect that will be the case all season long.

Moving Forward: Colorado has obvious holes along the OL and all throughout the defense that will only be fixed with another massively productive transfer portal cycle after the season.

They’ve allowed 36 points per game, but the schedule they have faced has been rough, so that needs to be taken into account.

The only thing I would have done differently is recognize that they had a bottom five Head Coach a year ago, and usually that means “addition by subtraction”.

I give them a 50-50 chance at becoming bowl eligible, which would give them the added bonus of 15 or so bowl game practices. With a thin roster, be careful if injuries start to mount.

Jacksonville State (UP 7 in my ratings): It’s very hard to make a true Power Rating for teams moving up to the FCS level, so everyone should get a pass in assigning an opening number here.

I went into 2023 knowing they had a good Head Coach in Rich Rodriguez, and tried to factor that into the equation, but even with back testing the data I may have set too low a number.

My formula for adjustments however, has caught up to the true number, as based on this week’s game at MTSU, Jacksonville State may be slightly overvalued.

Moving Forward: While the stat sheet looks good, the teams they have faced could create some value fading this team moving forward. I do not expect their run defense to maintain their current level of play, and the kicking game (four of seven) could hurt them down the road.

I’m a big fan of their coach, but let’s see if there will be enough regression to be ahead of the curve later this season.

Some other notable teams who have seen their number rise at least 5.5 rating points include Miami Florida, Oklahoma, Rutgers, Washington, and Georgia Southern.

College Football Fallers Heading Into Week 6

UTEP (DOWN 9.5 in my ratings): Dana Dimel is a three-time member of my published Bottom Five coaches list with this team.

That alone creates “play against” possibilities, yet they have still tumbled way down from my opening number. They are 0-5 straight-up and vs. the spread this year, and four of those games were considered toss-ups (-1 or at most, +1).

They have a horrid history of covering as any favorite, and in a subset of this notation, now stand 5-24 vs. the spread as a short favorite. Given the below average competition, I am just 2-0 fading them, but do hold an under six seasonal win ticket.

I probably should have set an even lower opening number because of my coaching concern, but the offense “looked” improved with experience at RB and along the OL.

Moving Forward: No one is going to be running to the windows to bet on this team in the 2nd half of the season, so I suspect value will be lost. We can only hope that Dimel returns for another season so that he can be faded once again, but I suspect this is it for him.

Pittsburgh (DOWN 8.5 in my ratings): Pittsburgh is famous for a) putting extreme pressure on opposing QB’s, b) producing a solid upset or two vs. ranked teams, and c) giving up splash plays, and having a stat sheet that shows too many points allowed considering their usually solid run D and pass D figures.

I’ve already noted that QB Phil Jurkovec is overrated, but hitting 51% in the NCAA is well below par. It’s actually worse, as if you take out his numbers vs. Wofford, Jurkovec is 40-89, which anyone can tell you is bench material.

Based on where the odds have been, those who set the lines have already made adjustments in their Power Numbers. Moving Forward: A four-game losing streak is uncharted territory for this coach and program.

They have a week off to reset, and once again, the defensive stat sheet is just fine, including their ability to put pressure on opposing QB’s.

I think they are capable of pulling off an upset down the road, but beware if the losing streak continues, as there could be finger pointing and perhaps some quit if it gets really bad.

Illinois (DOWN 8 in my ratings): The Illini had to replace three defensive backs, all drafted in the 1st three rounds! They also lost stud RB Chase Brown and had to replace their QB.

On top of that, their defensive coordinator became the Head Coach at Purdue. I reset their number from 86.5 (closing ’22) to a start of 80, which was in line with odds on the early game lines, but the Illini have had too much to overcome, and are 0-5 vs. the point spread.

QB play has been decent, but the defense has been the problem. Last year’s 3.6 per carry run D currently stands at 4.75. Their amazing 49.5% pass D is currently around 58.5%.

They have allowed 153 points in five games. No wonder their Power Number has regressed. Moving Forward: The bye week is not until after 10/21, so I can’t see how this gets fixed right away.

Nebraska is not an efficient passing team, but with equal turnovers (Nebraska deficient in this area) this looks to be a tossup game, only because the Illini has the kicking edge.

I think they can reboot after the bye week, but I won’t be in a hurry to back this team until I see better defensive play.

Some other notable teams who have seen their number fall at least 5.5 rating points include San Diego State, Connecticut and Michigan State.

College Football Week 6: Three Key Games

Oklahoma at Texas (neutral): Texas embarrassed the Sooners 49-0 last year. Both teams are improved heading into this game. The line is accurate according to my Power Numbers. We’ll find out if Oklahoma’s defense is up to the challenge.

Alabama at Texas A&M: If you’re an Alabama fan you should be concerned about the offense. The run game is not producing, and QB play has had it’s ups and downs.

The defense is just fine, as is the kicking game. A&M’s stat sheet is above my expectations, even with the (expected) loss to Miami.

I like WR Smith a lot, but drives are stalling a bit, which could be a concern vs. the Alabama defense. I’m a bit surprised at the total, as I expect a lower scoring game.

Fresno State at Wyoming: Let’s go off the radar a bit for an intriguing Mountain West matchup. I expected growing pains for Fresno, but they escaped with a pair of last-minute comebacks early on, and now stand 5-0.

QB play, and a solid defense has paved the way. Despite RB defections and just two returning OL, Wyoming’s run attack has delivered.

Like Fresno, some of their wins were in tossup affairs, so the record could be a bit deceiving. Fresno has won the last four in this series, and Wyoming’s home field edge hasn’t materialized vs. the Bulldogs.

Follow me on twitter @ronacesports to be alerted of future articles, and my weekly podcasts with @lasvegascris.

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