NCAA Football

5 Possible Week Five College Football Upsets

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Five Possible Week 5 College Football Upsets

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The best thing about picking college football upsets is that, thanks to the folks in Las Vegas, you don’t have to actually win the game to win something.

Thanks to the point spread, we were right on four of our five picks last week with one team, Memphis, actually winning the game outright. Despite being a three-point underdog to Arkansas State, the Tigers of the new American Athletic Conference won their game big, 31-7.

Winning while losing, though, was the theme last week. Thanks to some overly inflated point spreads, we picked up three wins in the other four games as well. Our lone loss was thanks to West Virginia, which got blown out by a rejuvenated Maryland program. Maryland, under Randy Edsall, was a team two years removed from a 31-point loss at home against Temple and has benefited from some terrific recruiting.

Utah State was a great value at 6.5 points, and its 17-14 loss to USC proved that. Duke was another great value getting six points and the Blue Devils extended visiting Pitt to a 58-55 loss. Host Rutgers opened last week a one-point underdog to Arkansas and we jumped on that early, with the Scarlet Knights not only covering but winning the game outright, 28-24. (By the end of the week, though, the line had moved the other way, with the Scarlet Knights being a 1.5 favorite. Whether you had Rutgers as an underdog or a favorite last week, you still won.)

Here are some Week 5 underdogs who could win the game outright.

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5. Notre Dame Over Oklahoma

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The Fighting Irish, despite being at home, are installed as a three-point underdog in this one. Rather strange considering that they beat the Sooners, 30-16, on the road last season and Oklahoma won't have big offensive tackle Lane Johnson, a first-round pick of the Philadelphia Eagles, to block Louis Nix III and Stephon Truitt. Notre Dame rides a home crowd of 80,000 to a close win here.

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4. Akron Over Bowling Green

Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

When you are a mid-major like Akron, you can go either one of two routes in hiring a coach: A young, hungry assistant or a proven guy looking for any job. The Zips went the proven guy route by hiring Terry Bowden and that seems to have worked as Bowden had them one minute from upsetting Michigan in The Big House. He might not beat Bowling Green, but his Zips will certainly cover a hugely inflated 15.5-point spread on the road.

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3. Central Florida Over South Carolina

Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

In a matchup of two very good coaches, Steve Spurrier of South Carolina and George O'Leary of Central Florida, O'Leary gets the edge for two reasons: He's at home and he's getting seven points. The Black Knights might be the best team nobody knows about. More people will know after Saturday. If the Black Knights don't win, they will almost certainly cover.

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2. Iowa State Over Tulsa

Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

One of the rules of thumb in backing a team is always go for the underachieving Power 5 team over an underachieving mid-major, and Iowa State is the play here. Despite losing to Northern Iowa in the opener, the Cyclones gave a great account of themselves in a 27-21 loss to Iowa last week and seem to be improving every week. Tulsa has been a tough team to trust after getting blown out in the opener against Bowling Green, 34-7. The Cyclones getting three points at Tulsa should make this an interesting Thursday night game to watch.

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1. Western Kentucky Over Navy

Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

Both Western Kentucky and Navy own wins over teams from the lower tier of the Power 5. The Hilltoppers beat Kentucky, 35-26, while the Middies beat Indiana, 41-35. The Hilltoppers, a 1.5-point underdog in this one, have benefited from three years of great recruiting from Willie Taggart, now at South Florida, and that talent should be able make enough explosive plays downfield to lift them over the visiting Middies.