Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) – Jameis Winston is back in uniform for
the Florida State Seminoles, but that won’t help them defeat North Carolina
State, a team flying under the radar on the college football landscape.
The Wolfpack are getting zero respect in Las Vegas as they are 19-point
underdogs at home against the defending champions. The last time they hosted
Florida State (2012), they were 16-point underdogs and upset the third-ranked
In fact, N.C. State has won six of the last 13 meetings, and the Wolfpack were
underdogs in all six wins. Furthermore, they are 11-2 against the spread
versus Florida State in those 13 meetings.
This year’s squad could be the team’s best since 2010, a year the Wolfpack
also defeated Florida State at home, 28-24. That season, they won nine games,
including a victory over West Virginia in the Champs Sports Bowl.
N.C. State is off to its best start since that 2010 campaign with four
consecutive wins. After shaky victories over Georgia Southern and Old Dominion
(two underrated squads), coach Dave Doreen’s team has turned it around with
dominating wins over South Florida (49-17) and Presbyterian (42-0). This
contest will be their toughest test to date, but it is not as if Florida State
is setting the world on fire winning by 40 points per game.
The 3-0 Seminoles have won each of their three contests despite a combined 93
points scored. For comparison purposes, they put up 157 points in their first
three games last season. They also have allowed 60 points this year after
giving up just 26 in their first three 2013 matchups.
Clemson had ample opportunities to win last week’s battle, but its kicker
missed a pair of field goals and the center made a costly poor snap when the
Tigers had the ball at Florida State’s 1-yard line. It is true Winston was not
around to help Florida State’s offense, but the defense allowed over 400
yards, something it did not do last season until the national championship
game against Auburn.
Speaking of Winston, he has not played a snap since late in the third quarter
on Sept. 6. Don’t forget, he threw two interceptions in the first half versus
Oklahoma State in Week 1, so his timing might be a little off.
The Wolfpack have had four games under their belts with their new quarterback,
former Florida signal caller Jacoby Brissett. Even though Brissett has not
faced the toughest schedule to date, at least he has experience against the
Seminoles when he played with the Gators.
N.C. State has enough offensive firepower to stay with Florida State and cover
the inflated spread.
Take North Carolina State plus 19 points in the first of two five-star plays.
The second key selection this week pits Louisiana Tech against Auburn. It
seems every other week Louisiana Tech is a major play and Week 5 is no
The Bulldogs, who are unbeaten against the spread versus FBS competition this
season, come off one of their poorest efforts in years – a 30-27 loss to
Northwestern State. It was their first loss to an FCS school since 2000.
Take away that contest and they are 2-1 SU and 3-0 ATS with a cover as 33-
point underdogs against Oklahoma in Week 1 followed by SU wins over Louisiana
and North Texas.
Louisiana Tech is getting 33 points once again, this time from Auburn. The
Tigers are back home after an emotional road win over Kansas State in a
matchup of two Top 25 teams. Next week, they host LSU, the only team they
failed to beat during last year’s regular season.
Back in 2012, Auburn needed overtime to beat ULM the week before playing LSU,
and last year, the Tigers failed to cover against Mississippi State prior to
taking on LSU.
Auburn might be caught looking ahead for a third straight season. Louisiana
Tech will be fired up after its dismal performance. The Bulldogs are not as
bad as they looked last week and will cover the large spread.
Take Louisiana Tech plus 33 points.
The lone three-star play comes from the Mountain West Conference as Boise
State takes on Air Force in Colorado Springs.
Boise State has defeated Air Force the last two years but failed to cover each
game. Back in 2011, the Broncos were ranked fifth in the country and came into
the contest off a 50-point blowout victory over Colorado State. Meanwhile, the
Falcons had dropped a 14-point decision as seven-point favorites over San
Diego State. The Broncos, favored by 30 points, defeated Aif Force by only 11
points and outgained the Falcons by just 15 yards!
Last year, the Broncos led by only four points at halftime but won, 42-20.
Still, they failed to cover the 24-point line against a team that would finish
This time around, the Falcons are on their way up in the standings with two
wins in their first three games. They crushed Nicholls State by 28 points and
won at Georgia State, 48-38. In between, they lost at Wyoming when the Cowboys
scored on a 3-yard touchdown pass inside the final minute of play.
After ranking just 12th nationally in rushing a year ago, Air Force is back to
its normal self, holding down the fifth spot heading into Week 5. Even though
Boise State is second nationally in rushing defense, that position will surely
fall after taking on Air Force’s option attack.
The Broncos have had trouble with not only the Falcons but also against
another option team in New Mexico. Under Bob Davie, the Lobos almost upset
heavily favored Boise State in 2012, falling by only three points as 24-point
underdogs. Last year, they were 36-point dogs and covered the spread once
Boise State has won and covered its last three games. However, this is a prime
spot for the Broncos to go down, particularly with a trip to rival Nevada
coming up on Oct. 4.
Take Air Force plus 13 points.
Take Appalachian State +18 (Georgia Southern) and Vanderbilt +17 (Kentucky)
Take Fresno State -5.5 (New Mexico), UTEP +26 (Kansas State), Bowling Green
-4.5 (Massachusetts), Washington +7.5 (Stanford), Arkansas +8 (Texas A&M),
Southern Miss +9.5 (Rice) and Syracuse +12 (Notre Dame).
THIS YEAR’S RECORD
My overall record stands at 41-29 after a 10-6 mark in Week 4. The headline
game lost, bringing the five-star plays below .500 at 2-3. Both three-star
selections were victorious once again, so they currently stand at 6-1. The
two-star choices went 6-2 for a four-week total of 15-15. The one-star plays
went 2-3 for an 18-10 mark.
THIS WEEK’S JEFF FRANK DIRTY DOZEN
1-T) Florida State, Alabama and Ole Miss, 101; 4) Georgia, 100.5; 5) Oklahoma,
100; 6-T) Oregon and Auburn, 99.5; 8) Baylor, 99; 9) Michigan State, 97; 10)
Texas A&M, 96.5; 11-T) Wisconsin and Ohio State, 95
(The Dirty Dozen is not a reflection of a given team’s won-loss record. It is
based on power ratings used to predict spreads for the upcoming week. At the
beginning of the season, all FBS teams are assigned a power number, which
changes on a week-to-week basis depending on the results of the previous