Week 4 of college football action wasn’t saved from a handful of unlikely upsets by underdogs entering the week, which means that there are plenty more surprises to come in Week 5. We bring you three sweet matchups below – each featuring a top-25 team – wherein the underdogs have a great shot at pulling off a victory or at the very least cover the spread.
For an in-depth look at the upcoming week’s slate, check out our Week 5 preview right after this.
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2016 NCAA Football Week 5 Sleepers Predictions
1. Baylor Bears vs. Iowa State Cyclones
Where: Jack Trice Stadium, Ames, IA
Date and Time: Saturday, October 1, 12:00 PM ET
Line: Baylor Bears (-17) at Iowa State Cyclones (+17) – view all NCAA Football odds and lines
We’re finally witnessing what the No. 13 Baylor Bears are capable of doing with good health and proper execution. Seth Russell had 387 passing yards and four touchdowns in Baylor’s win over the Oklahoma State Cowboys last Saturday, and he even led the team in rushing that day with 65 rushing yards on 10 carries. However, the Bears cannot rely on Russell to lead the offense on the ground as he has to orchestrate the vertical passing attack that’s been the team’s formula for success this season.
On the other hand, the Iowa State Cyclones have a bona fide back of their own, with Mike Warren rushing for 103 yards and a score against San Jose State as the Cyclones notched their first win of the season with flair, 44-10. Iowa State also trotted out two QBs that game: Jacob Park and Joel Lanning. Two two combined for 301 passing yards and five TDs, showing that the Cyclones can compete in a shootout regardless of who’s under center.
Prediction: Baylor wins in a barn-burner, but Iowa State loses by just two touchdowns, 38-24, to cover +17.
2. North Carolina Tar Heels vs. Florida State Seminoles
Where: Doak Campbell Stadium, Tallahassee, FL
Date and Time: Saturday, October 1, 3:30 PM ET
Line: North Carolina Tar Heels (+11) at Florida State Seminoles (-11) – view all NCAA Football odds and lines
Even though the No. 12 Florida State Seminoles have won eight of their last 10 contests (5-5 ATS) against the North Carolina Tar Heels, the boys from Chapel Hill were the ones that came out victorious in their most-recent match from 2010. The Tar Heels were the first team to hand FSU head coach Jimbo Fisher his first loss since taking over legendary Bobby Bowden’s job that year.
It seems as though UNC is in line for another upset, as the ‘Noles defense just surrendered 450 offensive yards and five TDs to a middling South Florida program last week. With quarterback Mitch Trubisky having set career-highs in the tense 37-36 win over Pitt (453 passing yards and five TDs – eerily similar numbers to what Florida State’s D just gave up), the Tar Heels have a pretty potent offense going for them to hang tough with the Seminoles this Saturday.
By the way, the North Carolina converted three fourth-down opportunities in its game-winning drive and after trailing by 13 in the fourth quarter of Week 4’s game, so the team certainly comes through in the clutch to keep games close until the final snap.
Prediction: UNC covers +11 in a loss by giving FSU a run for its money, 34-29.
3. Wisconsin Badgers vs. Michigan Wolverines
Where: Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor, MI
Date and Time: Saturday, October 1, 3:30 PM ET
Line: Wisconsin Badgers (+10.5) at Michigan Wolverines (-10.5) – view all NCAA Football odds and lines
In a blockbuster showdown featuring a couple of top-10 schools, the No. 8 Wisconsin Badgers will bring their daunting defense to Ann Arbor in hopes of containing the No. 4 Michigan Wolverines’ rabid ground attack. The Wolverines ran for season-highs of 326 yards and six touchdowns in the easy 49-10 victory over Penn State, giving Michigan an whopping 38.3 average margin of victory for the season.
However, Jim Harbaugh and his boys have yet to face an elite program this season, and they’re running into a hardened Badgers team that shot up the AP Poll’s rankings from unranked to eighth-best in the nation after limiting then-No. 8 Michigan State to just two field goals in a stunning 30-6 win last Saturday.
Wisconsin’s D hasn’t given up more than 17 points to any of its first four opponents this season, and that unit saw no signs of regression after it faced an ranked team just this past week. In fact, Wisconsin forced four turnovers from the Spartans in the win and now has a whopping nine takeaways through the first four games.
Prediction: The Badgers (+10.5) slow down Michigan and win back-to-back road games against the two best teams from the Motor City, 29-23.
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