Like Michael Jordan in 1995, “I’m back.”
The last time I wrote this piece was just before the 2019-2020 bowl season. A 3-3 mark in those bowl games resulted in a 41-37-3 finish for the season.
Then came 2020, a year none of us will ever forget.
Sports in general were in flux. I remember exactly where I was when the news broke of the NCAA Tournament being cancelled. As fall approached, no one knew whether college football would take place, and if it did, how COVID-19 would impact the landscape.
It made sports betting difficult. Who’s in? Who’s out? It was a never-ending struggle to keep up. And while the games did go on (as did Vegas), I felt it was a time to lay off my picks.
But here we are again (albeit a few weeks late) to give you the top plays in G5 college football.
If you’ve followed me over the past few seasons at Underdog Dynasty, I’ve compiled a 113-98-4 record (54%) with our sole focus on Group of Five teams. Out-of-conference games, for the most part, are behind us and we’ve entered the stage of the season where we have a good idea of how teams are operating.
The G5 is getting more love in the polls than I can recall in recent memory. The Cincinnati Bearcats are the darlings of college football. Currently ranked No. 5 in the AP Top 25, they are the G5’s best chance of finally getting a shot in the College Football Playoff. With road wins against Indiana and Notre Dame in consecutive weeks, they enter a favorable conference schedule. As long as they take care of business the rest of the way, we should see a G5 team make history for the first time.
Four other G5 programs have also cracked the Top 25 with undefeated records. BYU (10th), Coastal Carolina (15th), SMU (24th) and San Diego State (25th) round out the “underdogs” making the national polls. It’s a beautiful thing to see.
Each week, I’ll give my top five favorite plays in the G5. So after a long hiatus, and there currently being five teams ranked, it only makes sense to get this party started with those programs, right? Let’s get to it.
2021 Record: 0-0
*All lines are according to ScoresAndOdds.com and are accurate at the time this article is published
No. 15 Coastal Carolina Chanticleers (-20.5) vs. Arkansas State Red Wolves
This line opened at 17 and has since jumped 20.5. That doesn’t scare me one bit. The Chanticleers are second in scoring at 48.2 points per game and averaging 255.2 rushing yards, ranking sixth best. On the flip side, the Red Wolves are allowing 45.6 points and 263.2 rushing yards per game, which both are 129th out of 130 FBS teams. Coastal Carolina is also seventh in scoring defense (14 ppg), third against the pass (131.8 ypg) and 10-3-2 ATS in their last 15 games. With style points needed to inch up the polls, they’ll blow out stAte.
Temple Owls (+29) vs. No. 5 Cincinnati Bearcats
For those who don’t know, I am a Temple alum, but let me be clear, this is not a homer pick. Cincinnati is coming off two of its biggest wins in program history and this is one where they can take their foot off the gas a bit against an inferior opponent. The Owls are 5-0 ATS in the last five meetings and 7-3 ATS in their last 10 between the two schools. The last two meetings were one-score games, and while I don’t see that happening in this one, Temple does just enough to keep this below the 29-point spread.
Boise State Broncos vs. No. 10 BYU Cougars (-6)
BYU running back Tyler Allgeier ran for a career-high 218 yards and three touchdowns last week at Utah State with the Cougars being forced to play with their third-string quarterback due to injuries. Starter Jaren Hall (ribs) is expected back this week and Allgeier should have plenty of running room once again as Boise is dealing with a ton of injuries to their defensive line. The Cougars are 10-4 ATS in their last 14 games against a Mountain West opponent and 8-2 ATS in the last 10 against Boise State, including a 51-17 shellacking of the Broncos last season. Honestly, I’m shocked this line is where it is, but will gladly reap the benefits.
No. 24 SMU Mustangs vs. Navy Midshipmen (+13.5)
These are two programs who move the ball in vastly different ways. SMU will air it out most of the game with their 14th-ranked passing offense. Navy will look to slow the game down with their 15th-ranked rushing offense and the fifth-best time of possession in college football. The Mids always seem to be the Mustangs kryptonite as Navy is 8-2 SU in the last 10 meetings, including 5-0 ATS in the last 5 games in Annapolis.
New Mexico Lobos vs. No. 25 San Diego State Aztecs (-19.5 AND Over 42.5)
I know I said five picks in the excerpt above but can’t help myself with this one. New Mexico hasn’t won a road game since October of 2018, is 0-5 ATS to start the season and is in the bottom of third of every offensive category. San Diego State has won five straight at home, is 5-1 ATS in their last six games, ranks 9th in rushing yards (251 ypg), 23rd in scoring (36.75 ppg) and second-best against the run (45.5 ypg). I’m expecting the Aztecs to flirt with the over alone meaning we only need one score from the Lobos to make it happen.
Check back with us next week for more and let me know what you think in the comments below or via Twitter. Until next week, SHOW ME THE MONEY!!