October 16, 2021

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The Education Specialists

Upset Alert For Notre Dame, Penn State?

College Football Week 5 is an absolute dream if you’re a football fan in the Midwest. There’s plenty of marquee matchups ranging from Cincinnati going into South Bend to Michigan and Wisconsin putting their pride on the line early in the year. This week– potentially more so than any other so far this year– could be filled with upsets and disruption atop the college football rankings.

Let’s take a dive into the top college football matchups of Week 5.

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College Football Week 5 Odds

Date Game Odds
10/2 Michigan @ Wisconsin WIS
10/2 Minnesota @ Purdue MIN
10/2 Auburn @ LSU LSU
10/2 Charlotte @ Illinois ILL
10/2 Western Kentucky @ Michigan State MICH ST
10/2 Northwestern @ Nebraska NW
10/2 Indiana @ Penn State PSU
10/2 Texas @ TCU TEX
10/2 Cincinnati @ Notre Dame
10/2 Oklahoma @ Kansas State OTB

College Football Week 5 Top Games

Cincinnati at Notre Dame ()

When the dust settles on this upcoming season, no one will be able to say Cincinnati is unproven. Games at a very good Indiana team and now at Notre Dame will prove the Bearkats’ mettle and– potentially– get them in the Playoff conversation. Luckily for them, they have a week of rest in between their trip to Bloomington and this game. Behind the Peach Bowl against Georgia last season, this very well may be the most important football game of the last few decades for Cincinnati.

We can expect a similar game to the 2020 Peach Bowl, with both teams hanging their hats on sturdy defenses for this upcoming season. Cincy ranked 12th in red zone scoring percentage allowed while Notre Dame struggled in the red zone on offense last year (76.7% ranked 102nd in the FBS). Notre Dame’s Kyren Williams is one of just two returning starters from a season ago, but the Irish landed grad transfer Jack Coan (from Wisconsin), who’s an experienced and talented quarterback.

This will be a physical game of pride and grit and a great future candidate to bet the under.

Indiana at Penn State ()

Penn State has the largest increase in projected wins versus their 2020 win total among teams that played at least six games last year. In short, they’re expected to bounce back in a big way. Hosting the Hoosiers is a major stepping stone in reestablishing themselves as one of the top dogs in the Big Ten, with the winner likely being the only challenger to Ohio State for the throne in the East. Last year, this game came down to an incredible overtime where Indiana quarterback Michael Penix Jr. had a diving conversion to win the game.

This year, the game returns to Happy Valley, where the Nittany Lions are 10-0 all time against Indiana. Penn State’s offense was staggeringly inefficient last season before firing offensive coordinator Kirk Ciarrocca. They hired Mike Yurcich, who led Texas to a top-20 explosive offense and top-10 scoring offense in 2020. Indiana, on the other hand, returns a chunk of their defense who ranked in the top 20 in scoring allowed and top 10 in their turnover margin.

The turnover battle will be critical in this one, as the Nittany Lions went 0-5 last season behind eight interceptions from quarterback Sean Clifford. During their 4-0 stretch to cap the season, Clifford threw just one interception.

Michigan at Wisconsin ()

While the all-time record is dominated by the Wolverines (due large in part to a 23-1 streak by Michigan ranging from 1965-1990), the last few years have been the teams trading huge blows to the other. The average point difference in the past three seasons is 28, with Wisconsin nailing the coffin shut for Michigan in 2019 and 2020. In 2021, plenty of pride rides on this game.

This is also the second game in a row for Wisconsin pitting their worth on the line (previous week was against Notre Dame). Sophomore Graham Mertz should be rolling by this week and whether he is the phenom he was recruited to be or not will be fairly well established. The evisceration of the Wolverines has come on the ground against Wisconsin, with the Badgers scoring five rushing touchdowns in each of the last two games.

Traveling to Madison is going to be a tough get-right game for Michigan in this series. Stigma may push this game’s point total fairly low, so keep an eye out for the over.

Oklahoma (OTB) at Kansas State

Odds for this game will be posted as soon as they are made available.

Wait… really? Yes, really. For those who haven’t paid much attention to Kansas State Wildcat football for the past few seasons, they’ve been the bane of Oklahoma fans’ existences. The past two seasons saw the Sooners drop inexplicable games to K-State, both of which were the final nail in the coffin of OU’s CFP chances. For those who think it was a pair of flukes, the Wildcats are 0.500 against Oklahoma over the past eight seasons.

Throw out records, metrics, and players– this is a game to keep an eye on. The Sooners are 76-21-4 all-time against the Wildcats (including a 54-2 stretch between 1937 and 1992) but until they regain control of this series, Kansas State puts Oklahoma on upset alert every season.